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Michigan Football 2023 Position Preview: Linebackers

Michigan linebackers

Michigan’s defensive re-emergence can be credited to its talented front seven. The play of Michigan’s linebackers has been as important to the turnaround as any other position. The Wolverines return as much depth, talent, and experience at linebacker as any other team in the country. There is a good mix of experienced veterans and rising young talent that bodes well for the room in 2023 and beyond. Here is what to expect from Michigan’s linebackers.

Michigan Football Linebacker Preview: Colson, Barrett Set to Lead

Who Is in and Who Is Out?

Returners: Junior Colson, Michael Barrett, Jimmy Rolder, Micah Pollard, Jaydon Hood, Joey Velazquez, Jerome Nichols, Joel Metzger, Christian Boivin, Trevor Andrews

Key Additions: Ernest Hausmann (Nebraska Transfer), Semaj Bridgeman, Jason Hewlett, Hayden Moore

Key Losses: Nikhai Hill-Green, Deuce Spurlock

Michigan returns the bulk of its linebacker room from last season. Starters Junior Colson and Michael Barrett are back to form one of the better linebacker duos in the Big Ten. Jimmy Rolder is another key returner who flashed starting talent in 13 games last season. Micah Pollard and Jaydon Hood round out the most notable returners and should be contributors this fall. Nikhai Hill-Green is the most notable departure for the Wolverines, but their offseason additions have neutralized that loss.

Ernest Hausmann was one of the biggest transfer additions of the offseason and should immediately contribute for the Wolverines. He is a capable starter and has been challenged by the coaching staff to push Colson and Barrett. He had a standout freshman season at Nebraska and will play a key role in this Michigan defense. The Wolverines added three linebackers through the high school ranks in the 2023 recruiting class. A four-star recruit, Semaj Bridgeman is the most highly regarded player of the three. He is instinctive and rangy on his high school film and is a strong tackler. Jason Hewlett is a high-upside prospect from Ohio with an intriguing combination of size and athleticism. Lastly, three-star Hayden Moore was not a very highly rated recruit, but he is a good athlete and standout pitcher with offers to play baseball from Washington State and Louisiana Tech.

Projected Depth Chart

Starters: Junior Colson, Michael Barrett

Backups: Ernest Hausmann, Jimmy Rolder

Key Contributors: Micah Pollard, Jaydon Hood

Colson and Barrett should once again slot in as the starters at linebacker. Hausmann had a standout performance in the spring game and has followed that up with a strong camp. He has all the talent to push for a starting job, but he will be a key role player regardless. Both Hausmann and Rolder should see most of the snaps in relief of the starters. They are impact contributors and the future of the position. This may be one of Michigan’s most talented top-four linebacker groupings in recent memory.

Michigan has plenty of talent at the top of its depth chart. Hood didn’t see many snaps last season, but that should change this year. He and Pollard should provide valuable depth at linebacker which the Wolverines were severely lacking in 2022. With that depth in place, Michigan may not have to resort to using their freshman much like they were forced into with Rolder last season.

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

Outlook At Linebacker In 2023

Michigan enters 2023 with a strong group of players in its front seven. There are several players that will likely warrant high consideration for post-season accolades and NFL Draft buzz. Colson is among the best linebackers in the country and Barrett brings senior leadership to a young, ascending room of talented players. The Wolverines were starved for linebacker depth last season, but their offseason additions and growth out of their returners have seemingly solved that issue. This linebacker room is much more talented and deeper than last year’s group.

While the defense as a whole should be one of the best in the country, the linebacker corps will be the glue that holds it all together. Michigan has several starting-caliber players at the position and this group will be crucial to the defense’s success this season. The Wolverines will once again need strong play out of their linebackers in order to be in position for a conference title and a shot at the National Championship crown.


Michigan linebackers

Photo courtesy:  Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


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