Five Michigan football players receives recognition award

Diamonds In The Rough Crucial To Michigan’s Success


The Wolverines are the best team in the nation, the defending Big Ten champions, and a participant in the College Football Playoffs despite the fact that a number of key players who are vital to the team’s success on the field were not high profile recruits.

Stars are important, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. However, highly driven, culture-building, developing three stars also exist, and Michigan boasts a number of them that are integral to the formula that has made the Wolverines a serious competitor.

As of right now, Michigan’s 2024 class is No. 19 nationwide, per 247 Sports. Though the class features a solid mix of what makes Michigan so excellent right now—some highly rated stars, some middle-of-the-pack, versatile guys, and some lesser rated potential gems—that does seem a bit low given how much success Michigan has had recently. Now that the 2023 Early Signing Period is over and some Michigan supporters are beginning to worry about the class of 2024, let’s look at six unheralded prospects that have elevated the Wolverines to the top of the country. One is a young player with promise, four are Michigan Men at heart and captain material, and one is a transfer who has played a significant role in the defense this season.

Michigan Legends
Kris Jenkins

The idea that “The Mutant” is a three-star contender on all platforms is really astounding. Experts believed there were 486 players better than Jenkins when he graduated from high school. That is absurd. Jenkins is one of Michigan’s most crucial defensive players right now and a true beast. He is strong, agile, adaptable, and unrelenting. Although he doesn’t pack the stat sheet, he is one of the best interior defensive linemen in the game.

Mike Sainristil

Remarkably, Sainristil received a four-star rating from every source, including ESPN, which is surprisingly the least involved in recruiting coverage. As a high school prospect, Mikey was seen as an athletic who could play on both sides of the ball, which occasionally detracts from a prospect’s ranking. The former receiver’s journey at Michigan is evident, but he has now developed into one of the nation’s top nickel corners. In addition to being a two-time captain, he is an outstanding ball hawk with exceptional talents and an off-field champion who would improve any squad or locker room. He was clearly greatly undervalued as a high school talent and is a future professional.

Rod Moore

Moore follows the trend; he was genuinely rated as a four-star prospect by 247Sports and On3, but it was evident that he was not a blue chipper since he had over forty offers. Moore caught Michigan’s attention, and it has paid off handsomely. The Ohio native, who made the game-winning interception against the Buckeyes back in November, was aware of the rivalry between Ohio State and himself. Like Sainristil, he has an uncanny ability to be in the right spot at the right time and make plays with the ball and tackle opponents in the open field. It’s difficult to determine who is more crucial to Michigan’s secondary between him and Sainristil.

Mike Barrett

As a dual-threat high school quarterback, Barrett found his niche as a versatile, sideline-to-sideline type of linebacker for the Wolverines after switching positions several time. All he’s done since arriving at Michigan is win more games than any player to ever wear the winged helmet. If he and U-M can beat Alabama on Jan. 1, Barrett will notch win No. 60 — an incredible feat. For now, he’s a captain on the No. 1 team in the country and the most veteran player on a very veteran team.

Young Star-Semaj Morgan

The wide receiver room at Michigan was in reasonably decent shape heading into the 2023 campaign. Semaj Morgan, an incoming freshman, wasn’t expected to play much because of the presence of Luke Bryan, Cornelius Johnson, Tyler Morris, and lab-built receiver Darrius Clemons, all of whom have established themselves. Tyler Morris might also contribute in the slot. Morgan, though, would not back down. In actuality, he didn’t play a great deal of snaps, but he was very active on the field. Despite having only 20 touches (17 receptions and 3 rushes) at the end of the season, he scored four touchdowns and nearly housed a punt in the Big Ten championship game. Morgan wasn’t a monster recruit at 5-9 and 185 pounds, but he has proven that he is capable of making monster plays.

Key Transfer Addition -Josh Wallace

Finally there’s Wallace, who was the lowliest recruit of them all, which explains why he ended up at UMass first. ESPN didn’t even rank him, while Rivals had him listed as a two-star prospect. 247 Sports was the kindest to him by putting 141 cornerbacks ahead of him. He developed and shined at UMass and is now a key starter for the Wolverines.


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