ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Perhaps Michigan football fans aren’t speaking enough about Jaylen Harrell. The senior edge rusher was crucial in the second half of Week 3, having his hand in two of the forced turnovers.
On Jim Harbaugh’s appearance on ‘Inside Michigan Football’ on Monday, he referenced Harrell as being a ‘tone-setter’ on the defensive side of the ball.
“He did it last week on the field — igniter, tone-setter, difference-maker,” Harbaugh said. “A difference-maker on the field is somebody who makes the magic happen when you need to make it happen. He’s the guy. He’s been doing that. The sack, the caused fumble, the forced interception to Kris — there’s all kinds of ways he’s doing it. Consistently — doing it with consistency.”
For Harrell, he says he’s playing more confidently, because success breeds confidence.
“It feels good, just bringing that energy,” Harrell said. “Especially the second one, making the play, strip sack, it just gives you more energy, more juice, more confidence and just gets going. Because like, well, we were a little flat especially — Coach Minter, he challenged us at halftime. He said, we talked about all week how we want to get the ball, hit the quarterback’s hand and create turnovers. How were we gonna do it? So that kind of fired me up a little bit.”
Rated Michigan’s second-highest defender through three weeks according to PFF, Harrell currently leads the team with 2.5 sacks. So, how does he plan to build on his first quarter of the season?
He says just keeping the pedal to the metal, not paying attention to either the good times nor bad, and keep striving to increase his production as the season wears on.
“Just keep going,” Harrell said. “Never being satisfied, never getting too high, never getting too low. Just always finding something or just keep working at each and every day to get to that full potential, that full level.”
Fans will get another chance to see Harrell in action on Saturday when Michigan football opens up Big Ten play against Rutgers. The game will kick off at noon EDT and will be broadcast on Big Ten Network.