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Mike Sainristil’s journey at Michigan, outlook for 2022

Offense. Defense. Special Teams. Sainristil can do it all.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Sainristil is someone who has done it all for the Wolverines, and that fact won’t be going away in 2022.

The story so far

Sainristil came to Michigan as a three-star prospect in the 2019 class out of Everet, Massachusetts. Sainristil played on offense and defense in high school but would ultimately move over to receiver at Michigan.

Sainristil’s first two years for Michigan included 15 receptions and four touchdowns. Sainristil’s production went up even more in 2021, providing clutch catches and reliability when Michigan needed him. Sainristil had 22 receptions, 312 yards, and two touchdowns in 2021.

Sainristil was impactful in more ways than one. He excelled in run blocking and was a special teams contributor as well.

Sainristil’s tenacity and the fact he has a lot of tools in his arsenal led to head coach Jim Harbaugh calling Sainristil this off-season to ask if he’d like to play some cornerback.

“On both sides of the ball he plays with a level of toughness and maturity,” new defensive coordinator Jesse Minter said. “He’s a really good football player. I think he’s a guy you could put anywhere. It shows up on special teams how he plays, shows up on offense, and his ability to block and be a role player — but also make plays when he gets the ball in his hands.”

Outlook moving forward

Sainristil will be playing on the defensive side a good amount in 2022, he’s a natural fit. However, he’ll still be getting snaps on special teams and at wideout.

“Project him as a two-way player, maybe a three-way player,” Harbaugh said.

Sainristil’s move to corner shows the depth at the receiver position, including Ronnie Bell, Cornelius Johnson, A.J. Henning, Roman Wilson, Andreldownfield Anthony, among others. Michigan wants to maximize Sainristil’s talents and find creative ways to get him on the field.

Sainristil will likely play the majority of his snaps at nickel, and his move to the defensive side of the ball is more than an experiment, it’s a move Michigan believes will result in a steady amount of production.

While two or three-way players have become less common in college football, Harbaugh’s always been willing to let players get snaps on both sides of the ball if he feels it can aid the team. Expect to hear Sainristil’s name called in a variety of ways.