There are many questions surrounding the Michigan Wolverines roster heading into the 2022 season. However, one area that is not cause for concern is the wide receiver room. Nearly every significant contributor from the position group is returning, along with both starting-caliber quarterbacks on the roster.
A player to watch out for in the crowded room this season is Roman Wilson. The junior from Honolulu caught his stride in his sophomore season and was on his way to a really impressive season. Now all signs are pointing towards a breakout for Wilson in his third year at the program. Let’s evaluate how he got here and what’s next for the speedy wideout.
The story so far
Wilson committed to Michigan back in July 2019 and enrolled shortly thereafter. He was a part of a top-15 class for Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines that have had some contributors, but plenty of question marks that remain.
The good news is Wilson has been more of an exclamation point. His speed on the field has popped since day one in Ann Arbor. As soon as he stepped foot on the field, he was already the fastest player Michigan had on the roster. For the Speed in Space Josh Gattis was trying to incorporate, the true freshman was the perfect archetype.
That is why Wilson saw the field early in his freshman season. He caught two passes for 34 yards in his first collegiate game in a blowout over Minnesota. Then he had his first career touchdown against Indiana. Michigan learned early if you got the ball in No. 14’s hands, typically good things would happen.
In his sophomore season, Wilson continued to show improvements. Against Wisconsin, Wilson caught a career-high six receptions for 81 yards, including a massive catch to open up the second half that got the Michigan offense cooking:
He was named Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts in what turned out to be a blowout win for the Wolverines.
Wilson’s ability to expand the field may be his greatest asset. Even if he is not the first option for the quarterback, every defender on the field has to know where he is because of his vertical presence. If you lose him, things like this happen in big moments:
Throwback Thursday: Michigan RB Donovan Edwards LAUNCHED a 75-yard touchdown pass to Roman Wilson in the Big Ten title game 〽️pic.twitter.com/u5C1VvHhYI— PFF College (@PFF_College) February 3, 2022
All-in-all, despite missing a game and dealing with a wrist injury that cost him some playing time and a full game in 2021, Wilson finished third on the team in receptions and receiving yards. He also was tied for the most touchdowns on a squad that won the Big Ten Championship.
Outlook for 2022
Wilson is one of my breakout candidates for this upcoming season. Yes, Ronnie Bell is going to be back on the field and will be commanding targets. However, Wilson has only seen improvement and an increase in his role since he stepped foot in Ann Arbor.
Mike Sainristil’s switch to defensive back only adds another position for Wilson to naturally fill in. If Michigan and its new offensive coordinators look to stretch the field a little more, expect No. 14 to be traveling to the end zone often in 2022. Speed kills, and Wilson certainly has a lot of it.