Michigan’s defense was riddled with flaws in a 2020 season that had few ups and a lot of downs. But one key part of the defense announced he would be returning for his fifth season as safety Brad Hawkins went to Twitter to let fans know that he is sticking around for one last ride with the Wolverines:
“The past year has been unlike any that we have ever seen before, filled with many challenges,” said Hawkins in the post. “Yet it was such a learning experience for me. I have learned so much about myself and where I see myself in the coming years. I was so excited for the opportunity to play this season to be able to sharpen my skills and to be the best player that I know I was meant to be, but due to unforeseen circumstances, our season was cut short. There is so much more work to do. After careful consideration and discussion with my loved ones, I have decided to come back for the 2021-2022 season.”
Hawkins’ addition to the 2021 roster will be a big one as the secondary will be the only level of the defense to not lose a starter heading into the year. Former five-star recruit Daxton Hill and Hawkins will patrol the two safety positions as Gemon Green and Vincent Gray will likely continue their roles at corner.
Meanwhile, starting EDGE rusher Kwity Paye and linebacker Cameron McGrone have elected to forgo their season seasons and head to the NFL Draft.
The pleasant surprise of Hawkins’ return is the second one of the offseason on the defensive side of the ball as Aidan Hutchinson announced in late December that he intended to return to Ann Arbor after suffering a fractured leg against Indiana early in the season.
For a defense that will be under new leadership in 2021 following the firing of Don Brown, there will be four returning senior defensive starters with the two names mentioned above along with Josh Ross and Luiji Vilain who filled in during Hutchinson’s absence.
There are still a plethora of question marks on that side of the ball, but the return of a veteran leader like Brad Hawkins can only be a good thing in an offseason full of changes.