Michigan Football started off the game passing versus Wisconsin. It set the tone of what was to come. Michigan knew they had to throw the ball and have a balanced approach if they were going to beat the Badgers.
The first pass of the game went to Daylen Baldwin. While it didn’t go for a completion, the Jackson State transfer is appreciative of his increasing role on the team, grateful to be a Wolverine. That trust had him ready for a long pass later that day.
“I feel that’s showing trust in me, and I gotta make sure I back them up when they trust me like that,” Baldwin said. “Gotta make the plays that come to me.”
Baldwin did indeed back them up when backup quarterback J.J. McCarthy hit him in stride for a 56-yard touchdown. “I looked at J.J., he looked to stay on the field, looked at me — I felt like the ball was coming to so I made sure I got open. J.J. did the rest, perfect ball. Didn’t even break stride, all on him.”
Baldwin has shown big play ability in the first half of the season, evident by the long score against Wisconsin, and a 69-yard touchdown versus Western Michigan.
It wasn’t realistic for Baldwin to be fully acclimated to Michigan’s scheme and playbook when Week 1 kicked off, but it looks like his role will continue to expand in the games to come, especially with Ronnie Bell out for the season.
Baldwin said that Roman Wilson and the rest of Michigan’s receivers have pushed one another in an innate fashion.
“All the receivers, we’ve just been pushing each other in ways I don’t think we even know at the end of the day. I go out there, make a good block — alright, that might inspire Roman to make a good block. Roman goes out and makes a good catch, that’ll inspire me to make sure I catch my next couple of footballs that come to me. Pushing each other without even noticing it, and we’re making each other a lot better.”
While Baldwin has height at 6-foot-2 and speed to his game, he says it boils down to the nuances of route running and fundamentally sound football.
“It’s about the details, it’s about the things that coach Gattis harps on us about, the little details, make the plays,” Baldwin said. “Everybody’s fast at this level, everybody’s big at this level, everybody can catch — it’s about the small details, and route running, making sure eyes to the catch, eyes to the tuck, and things like that.”
Baldwin, a former unranked recruit, has had a long and winding college journey that took him from Morgan State to Jackson State to Michigan. Baldwin knows the games ahead can change the trajectory of his future if he continues to produce. Even on a higher stage such as at Michigan, Baldwin is keeping with the decisions that got him to this point.
“I’ve got to think about it pretty much every day,” Baldwin said last month. “Just understand no matter what, you’ve been through the worst. You’ve had days where you really don’t know what’s going to happen next. Here at a place like Michigan now, now it’s about staying with the process. Just stay with it. It’s worked this far. Don’t stop now — keep taking the same steps you were taking when nobody knew who you were.”