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Kris Jenkins’ path to Michigan, outlook for 2022

Jenkins is about to receive a steady uptick in playing time this season.

Michigan v Rutgers Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images

With Christopher Hinton now in the NFL Michigan has a spot to fill along the interior of the defensive line, and Kris Jenkins appears to be the next man up.

The story so far

Jenkins was a three-star recruit out of Olney, Maryland and was ranked as the No. 513 overall prospect and No. 21 strong-side defensive end in the 2020 class. Jenkins’ senior season in high school showed he could get into the backfield and disrupt quarterbacks and running backs alike, registering 40 tackles (19 for loss, 15 sacks, five pass breakups, three forced fumbles, and a touchdown via fumble recovery.

After appearing in just one game for Michigan as a freshman, Jenkins became a rotational piece at defensive tackle and defensive end in 2021. Jenkins played in 14 games in 2022 with four starts and made 22 tackles. Jenkins’ most productive game came against Georgia in the College Football Playoff Semifinal where he had seven tackles.

Outlook moving forward

Jenkins has upside as an interior pass-rusher and is a player that will get the majority of his snaps at defensive tackles but also receive some at end.

The 6-foot-3, 275-pound Jenkins may be considered undersized but it’s clear he has some real strength and plays bigger than those measurements may indicate. Michigan will need Jenkins to be able to handle his own toe-to-toe against highly talented Big Ten offensive linemen. This is a task Jenkins believes he can handle.

“I’m trying to take that huge leap, I’m trying to take it all,” Jenkins said on the Wolverine Digest Podcast. “I want to be the guy that has that breakout season, that just flies, just unleashes everything. My nickname on the team is ‘The Mutant’, so I’m looking forward to making plays and hearing ‘The Mutant’ called everywhere.”

Michigan could use more of an interior pass-rush this season with edge-rushers like Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo now in the NFL, and Jenkins skill set fits the bill.