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Braiden McGregor’s journey to becoming the next great Michigan edge rusher

After being derailed by injury to start his Michigan career, McGregor is looking forward to making himself a household name

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 24 Maryland at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The recruiting profile for senior edge rusher Braiden McGregor gave Michigan fans a lot of things to look forward to. However, his first steps on campus included a few tender ones, as he recovered from a knee injury that ended his senior season at Port Huron High School early. Even though he was the top recruit in the state of Michigan, and one of the top pass rushers in the nation, there was a long line ahead of McGregor for starting snaps at edge.

Since McGregor committed to the Wolverines, Michigan provided edge rushers to teams all throughout the NFL via the draft. Rashan Gary, Chase Winovich, Mike Danna, Kwity Paye, Aidan Hutchinson, David Ojabo and Mike Morris have all been drafted since that time.

Speaking to the media last week, McGregor said he’s been working to make himself the next name on that list this offseason.

“So, at the end of last year, I felt like I finally started feeling like myself again and being able to trust my body 100 percent,” McGregor said. “Just be the athlete that I was coming out of high school, be that guy. So, stacking on top of that is just the offseason focusing on my lower body a lot, getting some more weight in my lower body was one of my emphasis and I added about seven pounds this offseason.”

Even had McGregor not joined a team with three rounds worth of draft picks at his position, he still would have battled adversity through his injury recovery. He leaned on his coaching staff and teammates in Ann Arbor to help him through that first year on campus.

“I mean, it sucked in the moment and I hated, you know, a lot of days as a freshman,” McGregor said. “You think, ‘I’m that guy out of high school, I’m going to be able to go in and compete for a starting role.’ Then as any freshman, you get here and you’re like, ‘ok, these guys are pretty good.’ But having the support system that I have, you know, around the building, at home with my family, and my dog being able to hang out with him when I go home, it helped out a lot.”

McGregor said his day are a lot brighter since his freshman year. Looking ahead to his senior season, he now faces a four-man competition for two edge positions. He said he’s using lessons he learned from his freshman year to help him capitalize on the moment he’s waited for.

“I think the No. 1 lesson is to trust the process,” McGregor said. “Coach tells us that all the time you’re gonna get your time, and when you get your time you got to shine. So, you know, just trust the process, know that you’re going to be good one day, your knee is going to feel better, all that. So I think that’s just one of the big things and just, don’t take your time for granted.”

McGregor appeared in all 14 games last season and started three of them. Do you expect to see him top that total this season? Let me know in the comments.