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What to expect this year from Michigan’s true freshman who didn’t enroll early

Today marks the first day the non-early enrolled freshmen are with the team.

NCAA Football: Indiana at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s official — all the true freshmen for the Michigan Wolverines football program who did not enroll early are on campus, or are at least expected on campus this week.

It’s been a long time coming, as the players who enrolled early like Will Johnson, Darrius Clemons and more have been with the program since snow was still on the ground. But the other nine players who signed in the 2022 cycle are now officially with the program and are ready to contribute.

Let’s take a quick peak at each player and get a sense for what we may see out of them during their first year in Ann Arbor.

Zeke Berry

No. 170 overall on the composite, No. 13 S, No. 12 from California

The 6-foot, 195-pounder from Concord, California was one of the most important gets for Michigan in the 2022 class. He was at a position of need and is among the better prospects in the country at the safety spot. The Wolverines beat out the likes of Oregon, USC, Washington, Pitt, Arizona and more for his signature.

With Brad Hawkins and Daxton Hill moved on, there will be plenty of opportunities to crack the two-deep behind RJ Moten and Rod Moore, the projected starters for this year. I really like Berry and think he will get a shot at some early playing time, given how easy the schedule is early in the season. If he flashes in those early games, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of him as the year progresses.

Jimmy Rolder

No. 220 overall, No. 21 LB, No. 6 from Illinois

Another big pick up in the 2022 class for Michigan was Rolder. He was a relatively unknown prospect until he broke out his senior season. He went from unranked to a four-star prospect in a flash and all of a sudden had schools like Michigan, Florida, LSU, Ohio State, Wisconsin and more knocking on his door.

Given the uncertainty at the linebacker position, I think Rolder has a clear opportunity to make a name for himself. Junior Colson is the only clear starter in my mind, so a guy like Rolder can absolutely make a push for defensive snaps in 2022.

Kenneth Grant

No. 448 overall, No. 59 DL, No. 10 from Indiana

This one was a tight recruitment for a little while. Grant was an Ohio State lean, but Michigan was able to seal the deal and he committed a couple weeks after his official visit for the Maize Out game against Washington.

This dude is a monster of a human being. At 6-foot-4 and 335 pounds, Grant is everything Jesse Minter and Mike Elston want out of a nose tackle. There are guys ahead of him along the defensive line, including early enrollee Mason Graham, so I wouldn’t expect too much out of Grant in 2022. A year in the strength and conditioning program will do wonders for him. Look for Grant to make some noise as early as 2023.

Marlin Klein

No. 551 overall, No. 30 TE, No. 57 from Georgia

There was absolutely zero drama in Klein’s recruitment. He was among the first commits in Michigan’s 2022 class, committing all the way back in Sept. 2020. He never wavered from that commitment despite other offers coming his way.

Given the current depth chart, tight end is a difficult position for a true freshman to emerge as an offensive threat. However, another true freshman may have already done that in early enrollee Colston Loveland, who showed his skills in the spring game. Klein probably won’t see the field much in 2022 and is a potential redshirt candidate.

Alessandro Lorenzetti

No. 682 overall, No. 55 OT, No. 2 from Connecticut

Much like Rolder, Lorenzetti was a late bloomer. Hailing from Canada and making the move to the United States, you can see why he wasn’t a standout prospect until he was heading into his senior year. But once he emerged, he did receive other standout offers from Georgia, Michigan State and Penn State, to name a few, but ultimately picked Michigan a week after making his official visit.

The toughest position to make an immediate impact at is along the offensive line. Michigan has had some guys recently do, but Lorenzetti isn’t like a Zak Zinter or Cesar Ruiz. He is relatively new to the game and needs at least a year before he is ready to truly compete.

Micah Pollard

No. 719 overall, No. 71 LB, No. 100 from Florida

Linebackers coach George Helow used his connections in the Sunshine State to reel in Pollard, a 6-foot-3, 200-pounder from Jacksonville. There was a slight scare Pollard would commit to Auburn, but he chose Michigan about a month or so after his official visit.

Like I mentioned with Rolder, there will be opportunities for these young linebackers to compete for playing time. Pollard is unique in that he could play a traditional linebacker spot, as well as the David Ojabo edge rushing position. I’m interested to see where he will fit in with this defense.

Damani Dent

No. 777 overall, No. 65 S, No. 105 from Florida

Dent was another late riser in the 2022 class, going from unranked to a three-star in not a whole lot of time. He visited Michigan in September and ultimately chose the Wolverines over his other two finalists, Oregon and Pitt.

As previously discussed, there are roles to be had at both safety spots. I don’t anticipate Dent being in the two-deep to start the year, but I could see him find a way in there as the year goes on. He will have to jump guys on the depth chart like Berry, Makari Paige, Keon Sabb and Quinten Johnson, but Dent is talented and hard-working enough to make a bit of noise. I’m really interested to see how he progresses heading into the season.

CJ Stokes

No. 796 overall, No. 63 RB, No. 10 from South Carolina

Mike Hart’s first commitment as the running backs coach at Michigan, Stokes comes to Ann Arbor from a place the Wolverines haven’t historically found a lot of success on the recruiting trail — South Carolina. He officially visited for Victors Weekend last year and committed the very next day.

With Blake Corum, Donovan Edwards, Tavierre Dunlap and even Kalel Mullings ahead of Stokes, I don’t foresee him performing all that much, if any, in 2022. He may find a place on special teams, but unless there is a blood bath against one of the early season opponents, I don’t expect Stokes to have any carries this year.

Deuce Spurlock

No. 1009 overall, No. 93 LB, No. 40 from Alabama

Another linebacker from the south, Spurlock earned his offer from Michigan in June, took an official visit on Sept. 24 and committed exactly two days later.

Even though he wasn’t as ranked as high as Rolder or Pollard, I think Spurlock can find a place on the team this season. It likely won’t be on defense, but I think he’s got what it takes to carve out a role on special teams. He has the speed and hard-hitting ability to be a special teams ace, so look for him to potentially make his way onto the field in that capacity in 2022.