One of the best pieces of national offseason college football content is here, as Bruce Feldman has released his annual Freaks list on The Athletic, recognizing the best athletes and hardest-working players in the sport.
Four Michigan Wolverines have made this year’s list, two on each side of the ball, matching the total number of Wolverines on the 2022 list. Kris Jenkins (No. 6), Amorion Walker (No. 12), Alex Orji (No. 50), and Roman Wilson (No. 73) were all honored on this year’s iteration.
Jenkins is the third defensive lineman ranked in the top 10 over the last two seasons, joining Mazi Smith (No. 1 in 2022) and Julius Welschof (No. 7), who has since transferred to Charlotte.
As reported by Feldman, Jenkins has gained 50 pounds (257 to 307) since coming to Michigan, his shuttle and three-cone times would have been the fastest among interior linemen at the 2023 combine, and he recently performed a Turkish get-up with a 170-pound dumbbell, the heaviest that strength coach Ben Herbert has witnessed. He’s on track to be an absolute beast for Michigan this season.
Walker comes up six spots after Jenkins, and 19 spots higher than D.J. Turner on the 2022 list. This offseason, he completed the three-cone drill in an astonishing 6.10 seconds, which according to Herbert, is “the fastest time I have ever seen and likely the fastest I will ever see.” We’re not quite sure who’s going to start at CB2 opposite of Will Johnson, but Walker is athletic enough to fight for the job.
There’s a case to be made that Alex Orji at No. 50 is the most athletic offensive player on the Wolverines. The sophomore quarterback ranks No. 1 on the team in cumulative KPI score, which is used to track nearly 50 Key Performance Indicators, including frame analysis, flexibility/mobility, strength/power, and agility/speed. He likely won’t see the field much if J.J. McCarthy stays healthy, but he’ll be competing with Jack Tuttle and Davis Warren for the backup job.
Roman Wilson is the final Wolverine honored on the list, and he’ll be a key part of the 2023 offense thanks to his speed and agility. This off-season, he ran a 4.33-second 40 out of a two-point stance, 6.20 seconds in the three-cone, and had the fastest shuttle time on the team at 3.77 seconds. Wilson scored six total touchdowns last season — four receiving and two rushing — and will likely have a versatile role once again, simply because speed kills and Wilson is pretty much the Grim Reaper in that department.
While they weren’t listed on official spots on the list, Feldman did mention in Orji’s section that Blake Corum, Zak Zinter, or Mike Sainristil fit Freak descriptions and could have been featured on the list.