Michigan edge rusher Braiden McGregor was part of the pass-rush rotation a season ago and put up 16 tackles (5 for loss), and 2.5 sacks.
With Mike Morris headed to the NFL and Eyabi Okie transferring, McGregor is going to see the field significantly more this fall.
2023 marks McGregor’s fourth year with the program, and he’s definitely the next man up.
“Oh, yeah. You’re about to see something crazy this year,” linebacker Junior Colson said about McGregor. “He’s about to have a crazy type of year.” He’s stepped into his own. He believes in himself and you can tell he has all the traits and tools to be great.”
Coaches also believe McGregor has the tools necessary to wreak havoc.
McGregor told the media how he felt it was important to build even more trust with his coaches this off-season, naming defensive line coach Mike Elston and defensive coordinator Jesse Minter. McGregor believes in himself but wants to be sure the coaches believe in him as well.
Something Minter told McGregor has stuck with him.
McGregor said Minter told him ‘man, you have what it takes, it’s all mentality. You know, you are the same size as Aidan (Hutchinson). You have the same physical tools and you saw what he did with it. So, it’s your turn.’
Colson said that “Braiden’s gonna be Braiden” and will “make his own legacy”. Even so, having the same physical tools and size as someone like Hutchinson, who amassed 12 sacks in 2021, doesn’t hurt.
Hutchinson succeeded with strength, skill, and technique, but his mental fortitude and intensity also greatly aided his feats.
McGregor was asked if part of that mentality he now has, the focus and energy, is treating every play like it’s Ohio State.
“Every day at practice, it’s like we’re playing Ohio State. Go as hard you can,” McGregor said. “I want to win every rep I go against. If I don’t, as I get done I go right over to the video board and watch it, watch it, and grab any coach and say ‘hey, what do you think here?’”
The bottom line is McGregor’s peers believe he’s about to have an elite season, as does head coach Jim Harbaugh.
“Braiden McGregor, he’s the next guy,” Harbaugh said in November. “He’s the guy that’s on the verge of stardom.”
High praise from Michigan’s head coach. Will high production follow?