Spring practices haven’t been going on for long, but Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has already singled out a few players that have been standing out.
The head man started off his weekly podcast by mentioning redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Donovan Jeter, who is a guy many of the coaches have raved about this spring.
“Donovan Jeter continues to cement his spot and his role and — keeps going the way he’s going, he’s going to definitely be a starter for us,” Harbaugh said.
Remember, defensive tackle Michael Dwumfour is not participating in spring practices right now due to injury, so Jeter may not be the starter for long once Dwumfour comes back.
Harbaugh also pointed toward an early enrollee as someone who has turned some heads — wide receiver Mike Sainristil.
“The other newcomer is Mike Sainristil. He’s on his way to cementing a spot in the starting lineup as well,” Harbaugh said. “Doing a fantastic job at all the receiver positions. He’s really been outstanding. And it’s not just — he’s getting open. He’s fast. He’s added a level of speed and quickness to our offense that has been outstanding. Josh (Gattis) talks about speed in space, and Mikey is doing a heck of a job in that area.
“And also blocking. There’s been times to where he’s blocking 40, 45 yards downfield and getting touchdown blocks. Really happy with Mike Sainristil.”
Harbaugh also noted Sainristil is the No. 2 punt returner and No. 4 kick returner right now. Again, things will probably change once Donovan Peoples-Jones returns from his injury, but it is always encouraging to hear a (severely) low-ranked prospect is already on his way up the depth chart and will fight for immediate playing time at several spots.
One final player Harbaugh singled out was redshirt freshman running back Ben VanSumeren.
“He’s showing speed, he’s showing a cutting ability that we didn’t foresee as well. The lightness on his feet to be able to stop, start get back up to full speed. And then also the finish,” Harbaugh said.
The running back position has been a big talker this offseason, with Chris Evans being off the team, O’Maury Samuels off the team and Karan Higdon graduating. VanSumeren is certainly a guy to monitor, especially with Zach Charbonnet out this spring.
Other depth chart notes:
- Nick Eubanks and Sean McKeon are the two starters at tight end, with Mustapha Muhammad right behind them. Luke Schoonmaker and early enrollee Erick All will also factor in.
- Aiden Hutchinson is the starter at anchor end while Kwity Paye is the starter on the opposite side. Carlo Kemp is currently the starting nose tackle, with early enrollee Mazi Smith the backup.
- Josh Uche is the starting SAM linebacker. Josh Ross and Jordan Anthony are fighting for the MIKE position while Cameron McGrone and Devin Gil are fighting for the WILL position. Khaleke Hudson is, obviously, the starting Viper.
- Ambry Thomas and Vincent Gray are the starters at corner right now (Lavert Hill is out due to injury). Brad Hawkins is starting at nickel while Josh Metellus and J’Marick Woods are the starting safeties.
- Quinn Nordin and Jake Moody are continuing to battle for the starting kicking job.
Here is the full episode: