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Michigan Football 2023 Position Preview: Edge Rushers

michigan edge rushers

In 2022, Michigan’s defense re-emerged as one of the best in the country. Much of that production is thanks to Michigan’s talented front seven. The Wolverines have produced a plethora of stud edge rushers over the years. Some of the most recent products include Aidan Hutchinson, Kwity Paye, David Ojabo, and Mike Morris among others. There was lacked true star power along the edge last season, but there is a good group returning in 2023. Here is what to expect from Michigan’s edge rushers.

Michigan Football Edge Rusher Preview: A Deep Group of Veterans and Youngsters

Who is in and who is out?

Returners: Jaylen Harrell, Braiden McGregor, Derrick Moore, T.J. Guy, Tyler McLaurin, Kechaun Bennett, Chibi Anwunah, Joey Klunder

Key Additions: Josaiah Stewart (Coastal Carolina Transfer), Enow Etta, Breeon Ishmail, Aymeric Koumba

Key Losses: Eyabi Okie, Mike Morris, Taylor Upshaw, Julius Welschof

Michigan had some big shake-ups at edge rusher this offseason. Morris graduated to the NFL while Eyabi Okie, Julius Welschof, and Taylor Upshaw transferred to new schools. Despite those key losses in the rotation, Michigan returns a strong group of edge rushers in 2023. Redshirt juniors Jaylen Harrell and Braiden McGregor are among the most veteran players at the position. Michigan also returns several players with game experience. T.J. Guy, Kechaun Bennett, and Tyler McLaurin have all seen game action and figure to be a part of the rotation this season.

One of Michigan’s biggest transfer additions this offseason was Josaiah Stewart from Coastal Carolina. Stewart is a former Freshman All-American and has been a productive player in his first two seasons. The Wolverines also brought in multiple recruits in the 2023 class. Four-star Enow Etta was one of their top recruits in the class. He has the ability to play all over the defensive line and should see some time early in his career. Other notable additions are three-star recruits Breeon Ishmail and Aymeric Koumba. Ishmail is a very good athlete that still needs to fill out and develop as a true edge rusher. An international prospect from France, Koumba also still needs plenty of development, but he has a high ceiling.

Projected Depth Chart

Starters: Jaylen Harrell, Braiden McGregor

Backups: Josaiah Stewart, Derrick Moore

Key Contributors: T.J. Guy, Kechaun Bennett, Tyler McLaurin, Enow Etta

While this group lacks star power, Michigan’s rotation is among the deepest in the country. Harrell and McGregor are the favorites to start given their experience. However, Michigan could go up to seven deep in its rotation. Stewart and Moore are also starting-caliber players that can make a difference. That top four group should see the bulk of snaps at edge rusher, but Guy, Bennett, and McLaurin appear ready to contribute. Michigan’s staff could get very creative with the looks they throw at opposing offenses.

Etta is a dark horse to contribute this season. He already has the size to see the field early and his versatility to play up and down the line could earn him a role. Ishmail and Koumba seem to be candidates to redshirt this season. Both are developmental prospects and will likely see minimal game action if any at all.

Read more Michigan Football position previews here: Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers | Tight Ends | Offensive Line | Defensive Line

Outlook At Edge Rusher In 2023

Michigan has made edge rusher a priority both on the recruiting trail and in the transfer portal. Their additions and development at the position have resulted in one of the better groups of edge rushers in the country. The combination of Harrell, McGregor, Moore, and Stewart will be difficult for Big Ten offenses to stop. All four players are starting caliber and have strong versatility in each of their games. Defensive Coordinator Jesse Minter could get very creative with how he deploys his defensive front. Regardless of who starts, there is a lot of talent to get on the field.

The Wolverines’ defense has a chance to be one of the best in the country. They have built a strong front seven and have a deep edge rusher group that has the ability to take over games. With an explosive offense and strong defense in place, Michigan should be in contention for a third straight Big Ten title and a place in the College Football Playoff.

 

michigan edge rushers

Photo courtesy: Kirthmon Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

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