ANN ARBOR, Mich. — While Michigan football’s 2023 freshman class isn’t exactly making national headlines for how good it is on paper, there are several who are impressing a few of the team captains in fall camp.
We got a glimpse of a few in the spring game — running back Benjamin Hall, wide receiver Fredrick Moore, and cornerback Jyaire Hill — but who are some of the other first-year players who have made a strong, early impression?
Sixth-year linebacker Michael Barrett has liked a lot of what he’s seen, almost particularly on his side of the ball, though a few offensive players have also stood out to him. Barrett feels that once they get more acclimated and don’t have to split time with the freshman ‘bridge’ program, where they miss some time in camp for the classroom, that the group will really move to the next level.
“This freshman class, they got a lot of young dogs on there,” Barrett said. “On the edge, you have (Enow) Etta, I like the guys in our room and they’re working, man. So we got a couple of young guys — Jason Hewlett, Semaj Bridgeman, Hayden (Moore). A guy like, like I said, Semaj Morgan on the offensive side, we’ve got Fred (Moore) on the offensive side. Yeah, we got a lot of young talent. DJ Waller, he’s working.
“A lot of young talent how that I feel like once they get comfortable, out of the classes — they’re working at bridge during the summer and during this time so they really couldn’t have the full time to be with us and learn everything. But I feel like once they get comfortable in the building and up and kind of go out the process, they’re definitely gonna make a lot of plays.”
Nickel Mike Sainristil has a little more familiarity with DJ Waller, as the former three-star and late addition from Ohio is in his position group. Waller has garnered some praise of late in fall camp and Sainristil explains exactly why there’s some newfound excitement about the player from Youngstown.
“DJ Waller — I think for his size, he’s very freaky,” Sainristil said. “Like he moves very well for his size, he runs better than people might think because of his size. And for him, I feel like once he does understand that, once he does get the overall concept of our defense, and once it slows down for him, he’s gonna be a really special player here.”
Fans will get their first chance to potentially see many of the aforementioned on Sept. 2, when the Wolverines host ECU for the noon season-opener at The Big House.