Ranking 10 Michigan football spring ball risers

The Michigan football spring game is in less than a week, on Saturday, April 1, at The Big House. Who will be the players likely to impress when they put on the winged helmet?

Based on multiple factors — press conferences, official Michigan football social media, general buzz, as well as various reports — we have a pretty good idea who’s making the most out of their spring opportunities. Thus, we’re taking a look at 10 players who have generated some kind of hype and ranked them based on their viability and how much they’ll make good on the buzz.

Here are 10 Michigan football players who appear to be spring risers and how we rank them.

QB Jack Tuttle

Photo: Isaiah Hole

It’s rare that an assured backup quarterback would make the cut, but we have to include Tuttle here. The Indiana transfer via Utah has spent the majority of his career as a backup and came to Ann Arbor knowing that he would be behind, at the very least, J.J. McCarthy. Still, Tuttle has garnered big praise from Jim Harbaugh as well as his teammates throughout the process, and multiple reports indicate he may have even gotten past incumbent backup QB Davis Warren this spring.

DT Rayshaun Benny

Photo: Isaiah Hole

When the defensive line is discussed in spring availability, one name has been regularly mentioned. Most recently, Kris Jenkins discussed Rayshaun Benny (admittedly, along with the other tackles) but added a more detail on what he has seen in spring, saying: “He’s a beast,” Jenkins said. “He’s a beast. He comes off the ball quick.”

He’s not the only one who has said Benny’s taken a big step forward. But given what we saw at the end of last year, and with Mazi Smith moving on, Benny is needed on the line, and it sounds like he’s rising to the occasion.

EDGE Derrick Moore

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Though he hasn’t gotten a great deal of publicity this offseason, much will be expected of second-year edge rusher Derrick Moore. He was the subject of substantial hype last spring and made good on some of it this past fall.

Moore was mentioned by fellow edge rusher Jaylen Harrell a few weeks back, who noted: “Derrick just keeps getting better each and every day. He’s gonna be a problem. Derrick’s doing well.”

The Wolverines need edge rushers to step up with Mike Morris and Eyabi Okie gone, thus — while it may be some projection based off need and scant messaging — expect to see more of Moore this season.

RB Benjamin Hall

Photo: Isaiah Hole

We’ve heard a few times about how Hall has made a strong impression this spring, breaking some runs and doing so with power. What makes him a likely riser in spring, despite being a freshman is two-fold: Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards are out/limited due to their injury recoveries, and Michigan needs a back that can run with the power he does. Kalel Mullings is still working with the tailbacks and should be more of a factor this year, but if Hall, who wasn’t highly regarded by fans as a recruit, could be that bruiser, it would bode well for the maize and blue.

And all accounts are that he’s making the most of his opportunities this spring.

CB Ja'Den McBurrows

Photo: Isaiah Hole

This one comes less from players and reports as much as it does from those who call themselves his former teammates. When we asked both DJ Turner and Gemon Green who, across the team, they thought would take the next step this season, and neither hesitated mentioning Ja’Den McBurrows.

“He’s fast and he’s physical,” Green said. “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.”

“Yeah, definitely Ja’Den McBurrows, I can say that,” Turner said. “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.”

With Will Johnson being out/limited with injury this spring, McBurrows has a shot. We’ll see more soon if he’s made the most of it.

WRs Semaj Morgan and Fredrick Moore

Photo: Isaiah Hole

With regularity, we’ve heard rave reviews about the job that both freshmen receivers Semaj Morgan and Fred Moore have done this spring and how they will likely be early impact players. We may be cheating by including both, but when players such as Roman Wilson or Mike Sainristil were asked about the young receivers, both have always been discussed in tandem.

Morgan appears to be getting a little more of the hype as he’s more primed to fill Ronnie Bell’s vacancy. But Moore has often gotten accolades, as well. Both very well could see the field early and often.

EDGE Braiden McGregor

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Entering his senior year, McGregor came on strong late last year and has been getting hype similar to what Mike Morris was getting at this time last spring. With Morris gone, as well as Eyabi Okie, McGregor even spoke about how he knows it’s his time to step up into a leadership role as well as to be more productive. It appears he’s making the most of his opportunity, and it will be interesting to see how it coalesces in the spring game and beyond.

WR Tyler Morris

Photo: Isaiah Hole

While there hasn’t necessarily been as much hype surrounding Morris, the fact he has been featured in multiple Michigan football social media posts and was accessible to the media for a press conference last week speaks volumes about his role increasing this year. Now wearing No. 8 and fully healthy this spring, the second-year receiver should become a benefactor of what’s expected to be an at least somewhat more versatile passing game. With Ronnie Bell gone, he’ll likely become one of the major targets in the middle of the field.

DT Kris Jenkins

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Jenkins has been getting the treatment from his teammates that is given to the one who’s about to break out as the next great Wolverine. Last year, it was Mazi Smith, who is now being mocked as a first-round NFL draft pick. The year before it was Aidan Hutchinson. While the offseason hype train isn’t always perfect, it’s tended to be a good predictor of who will truly break out as a national player in the fall.

What’s more, Jenkins is taking it upon himself to be that much of a leader, which very well should help pay dividends, not just for himself, but the team as a whole.

CB Amorion Walker

Photo: Isaiah Hole

The obvious No. 1 on our list is the player who’s received the most hype, from Jim Harbaugh to just about every player who’s taken the podium this spring. Amorion Walker went from being a freshman reserve wide receiver last year to being the starting cornerback in spring, with all signs pointing to him retaining that role come fall. Harbaugh called him a unicorn, players spoke about his speed, change of direction, and other abilities. The only caveat is he’s still learning the defense and is apparently a bit raw, but with time — hopefully in spring ball and fall camp — he’ll be able to be the next, great Michigan cornerback.

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire