Keon Sabb is one of Michigan’s brightest young talents on defense, and he’s poised for a potential breakout year in 2023.
As part of a series at Maize n Brew leading up to the start of the season, let’s break down Sabb’s path to Michigan and his outlook for 2023.
The story so far
Sabb was a four-star safety who attended IMG Academy in high school. He committed to Michigan in Dec. 2021 after decommitting from Clemson a week beforehand.
In 2022, Sabb played in four games, including three appearances at defensive back before redshirting. Jim Harbaugh named Sabb Special Teams Freshman of the Game for his performance against Indiana.
Outlook for 2023
With Rod Moore and Makari Paige rumored to miss the game against ECU on Saturday, Sabb is likely to get one of his first major opportunities in the Michigan secondary.
“Keon Sabb has gone straight to the top,” Harbaugh said Monday on the Inside Michigan Football radio show. “Amazing player who has really come into his own. He did last year on special teams, but we didn’t play him enough. We didn’t play him enough, in my opinion, at safety. He’s gotten a ton of reps — starter-quality player, no question.”
That quote speaks volumes about what to expect from Sabb’s usage this year, especially early on. Sabb seemed destined to take on at least a rotation role in 2023, but injuries to Moore and Paige give Sabb an opening to show he’s capable of taking on a starting role.
Moore and Paige are still most likely Michigan’s top two safeties, but the coaching staff clearly sees Sabb as a big part of the future at the position. Defensive coordinator Jesse Minter said on the radio show that Sabb made a big jump in the offseason and he’s going to get some run this year. With this possibly being Paige and Moore’s final year at Michigan, Sabb can use this year to gain experience as a rotation player before stepping into a potential starting role in 2024.