My third and final breakout pick for Michigan’s defense in 2022 is Mazi Smith. Following a good 2021 campaign, Mazi Smith is set for a big year in 2022. Mazi is a total freak of an athlete for his size, as Bruce Feldman recently named him as the #1 athletic freak in all of college football.
Mazi was highly regarded as a recruit, but he had to remake his body and get into shape before he was ever going to be able to make an impact at Michigan. At 6’3″ and 337 lbs., Mazi now moves like someone much smaller. He’s got a rare blend of massive power and agility. He has shown the ability to plug up the middle of an Offensive Line in the run game and also collapse the pocket from the interior as a pass-rusher. While a Nose/Defensive Tackle doesn’t always have great stats, Mazi Smith is undoubtedly set for a big year this upcoming fall.
As a true Freshman last fall, Junior Colson finished with 60 total tackles, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 Sacks, 2 PBU’s, and 1 fumble recovery. Colson is a total stat stuffer as a Linebacker, and I expect him to be the next great Michigan LB starting in 2022.
What makes Colson so exciting is that he’s a great example of a modern LB. He can stuff the run, blitz the QB, and cover a RB or TE in space. All three of those videos came within his first season as a Wolverine. With an added year of off-season training and becoming more comfortable in Michigan’s defense, Colson is primed for a breakout 2022 campaign.
While most national prognosticators worry about who will replace Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo on the Edge for Michigan, I am not worried. When I was a student video assistant for the football program for the 2019 and 2020 seasons, I got an up-close look at every Defensive Lineman from the team in those two seasons. When doing drills, there were three DL there at the time who you could just see moved differently than all the rest. Those three in the 2020 season were Kwity Paye, Aidan Hutchinson, and Mike Morris.
While I’m not necessarily predicting Mike Morris to be a 1st Round Pick like the other two were, he undoubtedly looked the part of an NFL player as an underclassmen. What makes Morris unique, is that he stands at a towering 6’6″ and moves very well for his size. He has the versatility to play anything from a 5-technique to a 9-technique. From those positions, he rush the passer, set the edge, and drop into coverage.
He had to wait his turn behind a bunch of great edge players in front of him, but he got a chance to watch and learn from them all as well. When he finally gets his chance to showcase what he can do this fall, I expect Mike Morris to have a breakout 2022 season and announce himself as a national name.
For More Great Football Content
Follow us on Twitter at @GridironHeroics for more great content. We appreciate you taking time to read our articles. To interact more with our community and keep up to date on the latest in Football news, JOIN OUR FREE FACEBOOK GROUP by CLICKING HERE