Outgoing Michigan football players reveal who they think will be surprise players in 2023
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — As the Michigan football team prepares for the season through the spring ball practice sessions, the outgoing players showcased their skills and abilities in the annual pro day on Friday. Numerous NFL head coaches and scouts came to Schembechler Hall to have their final audition of the Wolverine contingent.
Afterward, those players met with the media to discuss how it went and we asked all 10 that were made available who they thought will be players that surprise Michigan football fans this upcoming season. Here is what each of them said, with not everyone naming a specific player.
Ja’Den McBurrows; my brother, German, whenever he get back healthy. He’s kind of recovering back fast, too. So like, watch out for him. Yeah, JaMac. Will (Johnson) gonna for sure do his thing. Yeah.
Out of the safeties Rod (Moore) continue to do his thing. That’s pretty much it.
(On Ja’Den McBurrows): He’s fast and he’s physical. I feel like he’s one of the best hitters on the team — out of the linebackers and everything. He can hit because I think like — what was it two years ago? He messed up somebody arm in the Wisconsin game or something like that off a hit? Ja’Den McBurrows is gonna be probably one of my favorites — outside of my brother and stuff like that.
Surprising the most? I’m most excited for Amorion Walker. I’ve always felt like he was an alien walking around with us. So I feel like, especially being older, the more opportunity he gets, he’s gonna do nothing to show that. Definitely.
I’m gonna go with somebody who didn’t really play a lot last year. I’m gonna say two people: I’m gonna say Kenneth Grant and then Darrius Clemons. Obviously, Amorion Walker been in the media a lot, so you guys know that he’s gonna put on a show next year. But I’ll say those three guys. They’re people that didn’t really get a chance to show they could do last season, but I feel like they’re gonna take a great jump and be really good for us next year.
Kenneth, he’s a big athlete. Anytime we did stuff over the summer, he was always at the top in either times or output or whatever. I mean, he’s like 350. So, from that standpoint, he just has all the physical traits. Obviously, he just has to put it together, but even going against him last year, I saw growth, constant growth. So if he keeps his head down, I know that I’m confident he’ll be good. A good player for Michigan next year.
Darrius is another thing. He’s big. When you look at him, he’s one of our biggest receivers and he’s a great athlete. And I mean, I thought he’s a good receiver last year, I mean, just didn’t really get the opportunity to show that but hopefully this year, he’s gonna be in that fold. Being able to catch balls, make critical blocks and things of that nature.
I’d have to go through — Amorion Walker, pretty good. I mean, he’s getting a lot of hype right now, though. So I guess everybody’s starting to know who he is. But every time I come in here, whether it’s like a week, you know, two weeks, couple of weeks, he looks like huge, like just bigger, stronger, faster. My man, what the heck’s going on? This guy’s gonna be unreal. He’s obviously transitioning to defense and all that kind of stuff.
People don’t really appreciate the long snapper, but I think (William Wagner) is gonna have a good year for himself. And he was able to snap for me here at pro day and recover from his injury, which is just gonna be huge for him. And I think he’s really gonna have a long career as soon as he gets the opportunity.
Ain’t nobody gonna surprises me. I think that they ask questions about the defense all the time. The defense, they’ll be just as good if not better.
Persi has done a really great job. I know that — I think he’s just on the climb, but I know Karsen is gonna play great this year at tackle. And I don’t know, we’ll see what the new guys — I haven’t been around them, so I couldn’t tell you.
I would say Colston Loveland, but he’s pretty much a household name. Max Bredeson. I mean, he’s still not like — people still know Max. But that kid is a baller. And he worked so hard. And I think he’s really gonna do something special this year with his role. So excited to watch him.
(On Colston Loveland): Higher than anybody I’ve seen here before in my days of being at Michigan, watching it prior, too. I think he has the potential to be one of the greatest that’s gone through here just as far as whether it’s his skill on the field, his mentality — a multitude of things. He is that guy when it comes down to it. And it didn’t take us long to figure that out. And I don’t think it took the public that long to figure it out too once he started playing in games. But he’s an exceptional player and an even better person.
(What stands out about him): Yeah, his mentality for sure. He fits right in. He is a hard-nosed kid who doesn’t get too emotionally involved in things. So say he does make no mistake, he’s gonna bounce right back. It’s not gonna affect his gameplay. That was probably the most impressive thing that I noticed this year for a freshman to have that kind of a mentality — is it gives you a step ahead for sure.
People gonna say the same thing as last year, they lost a lot of guys on defense. ‘They lost Mike and Mazi, DJ, they lost a couple leaders on defense and I hope they’re not going to do this and they have a lot to overcome.’ And it’s like, again — I said this last year — it’s like, y’all don’t say any of that during when like Alabama or Georgia has stuff like that. I feel like we’re cut from the same cloth. Put some respect on our name. Like we produce great players just like they do.
There’s too many (players to name). Like coach Harbaugh says, it’s a no-star defense. And that’s how we’re going to carry it. There definitely will be some stars that shine at some points higher than others. But everybody’s gonna come to play, there’s gonna be 11 on the field that will knock your helmet off. And I hope that’s how they’re still coaching them, I guarantee they still are.
That’s a good question. All of the freshmen that we had last year that I got to get to know a little bit. I mean, they all work really, really hard. So any of those guys could surprise some people. Whether they’re the highly-recruited guys coming out of high school, or whether they’re not, because I think we’ve seen that with my class, especially. We had a lot of three-stars or whatever. And they all turned out to be really, really good players. So, it’s kind of a guessing game, you never really know. But the whole freshman class, they could be anybody. They’re all really good players, work really hard.
Yeah, definitely Ja’Den McBurrows, I can say that. Freshman year he got injured, but now he’s back. He (was in) rehab last year, but he’s back this year. He’s definitely gonna make some noise.
He can do it all. He can play a corner and nickel, has really good ball skills, aggressive, tackle. So he’s definitely somebody I feel is gonna make some noise going into this year.