Peyton O’Leary came to Michigan as a walk-on. Now with the program for two years, O’Leary’s efforts and improvement have earned the respect of his teammates and coaches.
O’Leary is no longer a walk-on. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh recently called O’Leary to tell him he’s earned a scholarship.
“I was pumped. It’s been a dream come true to be able to play football here, and it’s truly a blessing to earn a scholarship,” O’Leary said. “My family was really proud of me. It was great too, because in my class we had four preferred walk-ons, and three of us just got put on scholarship.”
O’Leary appeared in six games for Michigan in 2022 both at wideout and on special teams. O’Leary notched one reception, the first of his career.
O’Leary’s impact reaches beyond his stat line, he’s had many good practices and received high praise from Harbaugh in August.
“He’s had a Cooper Kupp-like training camp. I mean, he’s almost got that nickname around here right now. That’s been tremendous.”
Nickel back Mike Sainristil gave O’Leary props in training camp as well.
“Peyton O’Leary is one that’s coming up right now. Walk on guy, but I don’t even look at him that way. I think he’s right up there with anybody who’s on scholarship, he’s doing really well right now.”
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound aims to get into the rotation at wideout this season and have an uptick in snaps.
“For next year my goal is to be in the top six receivers. I know that starting isn’t realistic, but I’m going to work really hard to get into that top six. Now that I’m on scholarship, I have more of an even chance to get there. Once you’re here the best person plays, they don’t care what you’re name is.”
Don’t be surprised if O’Leary makes a couple of huge plays and third-down conversions next fall. It’s a great story and one worth following down the road.