There are plenty of snaps to go around at wide receiver in 2021. Tarik Black and Donovan Peoples-Jones moved on the last offseason. Nico Collins and left Giles Jackson this offseason. The case can be made that receiver stands to gain more than Mike Sainristil.
Sainristil flashed his potential at times in both 2019 and 2020 but never had a true breakout game in either season. Look for that to change this upcoming season.
The story so far
Sainristil hails from Everett, Massachusetts, and was recruited heavily by Don Brown. Everett High School is a powerhouse and won back-to-back state titles in 2016-17. In his senior year, Sainristil tallied 32 receptions for 792 yards and 12 touchdowns along with 290 yards on the ground with five touchdowns. He was then named the Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year in 2018-2019.
247Sports had Sinristil ranked 575th nationally but first overall in the state of Massachusetts. Many recruiting sites ranked him as a cornerback. However, Michigan decided to recruit him as an athlete, primarily at wide receiver. Listed generously at 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, Sainristil is certainly undersized though many scouts have raved about his fluidity and speed in pads.
As with most prospects from the northeast, his scouting was limited as there aren’t many camps available to be spotted at. Sainristil’s offer sheet included North Carolina, Ole Miss, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin. Sainrilstil committed to Virginia Tech in February of 2018, before flipping to Michigan later that year.
In his true freshmen year, Mike appeared in 13 games and made his first catch against Iowa. He then caught his first touchdown pass from Dylan McCaffery in Michigan’s 45-14 romp over Notre Dame at home. He received the occasional pass throughout the season and was a solid contributor on special teams. His final stat line as a freshman consisted of 8 receptions for 145 yards with one touchdown.
As a sophomore in 2020, Sainristil continued to contribute on special teams, started the final game of the season at punt returner, and continued to improve at wide receiver. In a shortened, six-game season Sainristil ended the year with seven receptions for 82 yards and two scores. The first of those two touchdowns were the first touchdown thrown by Cade McNamara in his career against Wisconsin.
Outlook moving forward
While the departure of Giles Jackson undoubtedly hurts Michigan, it presents an opportunity for Mike Sainristil to truly break out. While there is certainly plenty of speed and talent behind him in A.J. Henning and Roman Wilson, Sainristil is the most polished of the slot receivers. I expect to see Ronnie Bell and Cornelius Johnson start on the outside with Sainristil in the slot to start the season.
What will truly dictate the success of Mike Sainristil is how consistent the quarterback play is. Cade McNamara and Sainristil started to develop some chemistry near the end of the season. The development and maturation of McNamara will play a vital role in the success of Sainristil. Josh Gattis has preached “speed in space” religiously to the Michigan fanbase. This may be the do-or-die year for that mantra as Gattis has all the weapons he needs in Sainristil, Henning, Wilson, Corum, and Donovon Edwards just to name a few.