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Junior Colson’s road to Michigan, outlook for 2021

The true freshman wants to make an impact.

Michigan v Illinois Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Our look around the linebacker group in Ann Arbor continues as we preview every player on the Michigan Wolverines roster. We now move to true freshman inside linebacker Junior Colson. With Mike Macdonald now at the helm, Colson may have opportunities that he wouldn’t have had under Don Brown. He’ll have plenty of hype behind him heading into this season.

The story so far

Colson was born in Haiti and spent the first nine years of his life there. The future Michigan linebacker moved to the U.S. and became a standout at Ravenswood High School in Brentwood, Tennessee. Marking 175 tackles, 30 tackles for loss, and 14 sacks in his junior season, Colson ascended to a Top-100 player in the class of 2021.

His senior season was not quite at the same superstar level recording 59 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks in 12 games. Still, this earned Colson a nomination as a semi-finalist for the 2020 Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker.

Before moving to the defensive side of the ball, Colson was a wide receiver. His ball skills as a linebacker are very strong and his coverage skills have impressed. At 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, he is already the size of a Power-5 collegiate linebacker. There is real potential that he could play meaningful minutes for the Wolverines this season. He has shown some pass-rushing potential as you can see here with this sack of J.J. McCarthy:

Clearly, with his physical traits and athletic prowess, he earned plenty of scholarship offers from some of the nation’s top programs. Still, the No. 10 linebacker in the country chose Michigan over Florida State, Oregon, Penn State, Texas A&M, and USC.

Outlook moving forward

Colson very well could be a starter on the team by the season’s end. Cam McGrone and Adam Shibley have moved on from the program and there is now a gaping hole in the linebacker room with two middle linebackers in Macdonald’s scheme. Kaleel Mullings and Michael Barrett may be the favorites as of today, but Colson could certainly finagle his way into it. If not a starter, there will be room for Colson in the rotation at the position. He may see some nickel packages with his ability to cover running backs out of the backfield, and maybe even some receivers in the slot.