The Michigan football team‘s defense is expected to be led by a number of new faces this season. Individually, which player is expected to see the biggest rise by the end of the upcoming season?
Answering questions from listeners on their latest episode of The Wolverine247 podcast, 247Sports beat writers Zach Shaw and Steve Lorenz broached the subject while playing the classic stock game with the Michigan defense. Both players broke down, one could figuratively buy low now and sell high later this season. The full episode can be found in the embedded link below.
Shaw: This one is from Wolverine Pulse. He says “interested to talk about high end newbies like Braiden McGregor, Kris Jenkins, Jaden McBurrows”. (McBurrow) at cornerback, another guy who I think you and I ran this hype train — put the train on hold because he got injured all spring. So I’m going to turn that into a quick question. Let’s play the classic stock market game: if there’s a player you buy low hoping to sell high in, say, six months, you know, who would you buy? It can therefore be a starter. It may be someone who is good but you think it’s going to be elite this year. Or it could be a non-starter who you think will be a starter and a household name or maybe a sleeper who isn’t necessarily constantly discussed. .
The defensive side of the ball seems to be with seven starters, looks like you’re going in a bunch of different directions here. So I’m really curious who you buy cheap from, on the defense side. What do you have? Who is your choice?
Lorenzo: Yeah, that was tough. Part of me wants to say Mazi (Smith), but we’ve talked a lot about him already. So just to talk about someone else. I know he got injured this spring, but I’m still convinced of what Rod Moore could potentially provide Michigan as a safety. I don’t think you can measure the value of a kid who comes in right away like a real freshman and really to be fair, not a real freshman advertised by any means to walk in and look to belong as fast as he did. I mean to couple growth spurts, I think against Washington, I think he gave up the touchdown pass but was right there. Just to have a kid come in right away and look like they belong, played great against Ohio State. I think, let’s say, turned out to be useful, I mean. I don’t anticipate any hiccups or anything (in terms of injuries). I think we’ll be ready for fall training and all that.
But yes, Michigan is obviously going to miss Daxton Hill and Brad Hawkins. But I definitely think Moore is another guy who’s good. Could give Michigan some really good football this year and he’s a guy who maybe, because he wasn’t here for the spring, still slept. It’s almost like where people feel like Brad Hawkins has always slept like every year. It’s like maybe it’s just the place where everyone sleeps on the guy. So you know, I’ll say Rod Moore. But you are right though. There are a lot of different directions you could take defensively, which says a lot about how Michigan has recruited and how it’s grown on that side of football over the past five or six seasons.
Shaw: Yeah, I think Moore was a great choice. I mean, he was very good last season. I mean, think of how many high profile (recruiting) targets or high profile safeties he beat and basically that wasn’t even a question. In week eight of his true debut season, he was their starting security moving forward. So I like this choice.
I will – I probably made a pretty good pitch for Kris Jenkins (earlier in the episode), but I will stay in the defensive field. And there are two that I can think of. McBurrows, I think I’d like to wait and hear from you, post-injury, where he stacks up in that room before buying, necessarily, but he would be good value. I think there’s a very good chance he’ll be a solid corner as a redshirt rookie this season. There is a lot of excitement around him. Similar excitement from a real freshman who didn’t play a ton in my opinion to what there was about DJ Turner when he was a real freshman, felt similar tones. Like ‘oh yeah, this guy, he’s ahead of the curve, he was definitely a hit.’ But corner isn’t always the position, Will Johnson might be the exception, but corner isn’t always a position where if they really like a real freshman, they don’t necessarily throw him in the fire in the middle of a Big Ten season.
So I’m going to go with the guy that I think some people are, are a bit down about how last season went. I think RJ Moten is going to be my lowest purchase. Sell top guy. I think it’s his athletic potential, his reach. You know how he can move. I think he’s still setting up pass coverage, just like Rod Moore. I think there was growth, some growing pains last season. But I think with maybe, you know, just a little more time and the ability to develop some comfort. Getting that spring ball where he was really capable of, to apply everything he learned last season. I think he’s someone who’s going to be really productive for Wolverines this season and I really like his cap. I think the phrase that’s been used about him as a rookie, you know, center field athleticism makes it sound like he’s able to use his feet very effectively.
There are areas where he needs to grow, but the longer your first year in redshirt, the more you are thrown into the fire. It will come easier down the road, there is so much that you already know, that you have already been asked to do. And so I think this is the year where (Moten) takes a step forward.