ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Perhaps one of the most tantalizing concepts that was teased in fall camp was when it was learned that Michigan football is working quarterback Alex Orji out as a kick returner. A sophomore who stands at 6-foot-3, 236 pounds, Orji more resembles a linebacker than a quarterback.
On Wednesday, his position coach, Kirk Campbell, said that it’s no surprise that Orji is adept at returning kicks, because he has tools that you just cannot teach. Though the Wolverines have four players on The Athletic’s annual ‘freaks’ list, Campbell says that Orji will be on there before he departs Ann Arbor.
“Alex is obviously a physical specimen, right?” Campbell said. “If he’s not going to be the No. 1 freak in the country on that list by the time he is a senior, I’ll be surprised.”
While Orji is working at backup quarterback — a position that’s still being determined by the so-called ‘Michigan Method,’ where they’re continuing to work out who has what role on the depth chart by playing in games — Campbell says that it’s important that they find different ways to get him on playing time, regardless of the position.
If kick returner is it, then that will be one option. If it’s quarterback, that’s another. But it appears as if there are more options that the coaching staff is exploring with the enigmatic, physical talent.
“We’ve really refined his throwing motion,” Campbell said. “Like the kid has developed so much, so getting him a spot on the field as one of our best 11 is something that we’re continuously going to look at.”
Orji did not play in the season opener against East Carolina in Week 1. But perhaps he will be available in Week 2 when Michigan football hosts UNLV at The Big House. Kickoff will be at 3:30 p.m. and the game will be nationally broadcast on CBS.