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Every Michigan Football opponent’s best player

A look at Michigan’s schedule and who’s the best from each squad.

Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One Venture X - Ohio State v Utah Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

It’s starting to feel like football season and it’s time to start talking about Michigan’s schedule and what each opponent is made of. Today we take a look at (arguably) the best player from each Michigan opponent.

vs. Colorado State (September 3)

DE Mohamed Kamara: A bright spot on a fledgling team, Kamara posted 7.5 sacks last season. Kamara is a bit undersized at 6-foot-1, 250 pounds, but has speed to get to the edge and is worth keeping an eye on.

Hawaii (September 10)

WR Zion Bowens: Over 20 players transferred out of Hawaii’s program and there’s a new coaching staff but one player who stood out last season was Bowen’s, a wideout that didn’t catch a lot of passes but made the ones he did snag count. Four of Bowens’ 12 catches on went for 20 yards or more last season and he had the second-longest touchdown grab in program history (93 yards).

UConn (September 17)

WR Keelan Marion: Wearing No. 1 is fitting, and he was their best player last year as a freshman on the 1-11 team. The six-foot, 197-pound Marion can stretch the field and do damage in the open field. Marion averaged an impressive 16.9 yards per catch last season.

Maryland (September 24)

QB Taulia Tagovailoa: Taulia is an impressive player who can make big plays with his arm and legs. Tagovailoa passed for 3,860 yards and 26 touchdowns last season, both Maryland records. Tagovailoa was stellar for much of the season on a mediocre team that would have been much worse without him quarterbacking the team. With Tagovailoa as quarterback he presents a threat to opposing defenses of all talent tiers — he can get things done.

at Iowa (October 1)

DB Riley Moss: Moss was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award in 2021 and was the Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year after a season in which he tallied four interceptions. Moss has returned three interceptions for touchdowns in his career. Moss and the Iowa defense will hope to have a better output than their 42-3 loss to Michigan in the Big Ten Championship last December.

at Indiana (October 8)

QB Connor Bazelak: Quarterback play was an issue for the Hoosiers last season and the Missouri transfer should be able to provide some consistency at the position in 2022. Bazelak started two seasons at Missouri and has a career passing percentage of 66.3%. Granted, Bazelak needs to cut down on his interceptions but Indiana was really bad offensively last season, surprisingly bad, and Bazelak at least provides some optimism.

vs. Penn State (October 15)

QB Sean Clifford: It feels like Clifford has been at Penn State ten years but the Nittany Lions are in much better shape with him returning to the program for one last season. It hasn’t always been pretty for Clifford at Penn State but he’s always been a gamer, a player that battles through injuries, and is someone who’s hard to rattle. Michigan walloped a wobbled Clifford time and time again last year but he kept getting back up in a tightly contested game, one that received praise from Jim Harbaugh after the game. Clifford can turn any game into a dogfight and he's always someone to be concerned with despite a career that has had glorious games and doozies, too.

vs. Michigan State (October 29)

WR Jayden Reed: MSU quarterback Payton Thorne deserves an honorable mention after setting a program record with 27 passing touchdowns, but Reed’s skill-set is versatile and he has the makings of a very good NFL prospect. Reed had 6 receptions for 80 yards against Michigan last season and 1,026 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns. Reed and the Michigan State passing game may be relied on even more with running back Kenneth Walker III now in the NFL.

at Rutgers (November 5)

DB Max Melton: Melton led the Rutger defense with three interceptions last season and returned one for a touchdown. Melton’s freshman season was impressive, also adding a punt block and fumble return to his resume along with six pass breakups.

vs. Nebraska (November 12)

LB Garrett Nelson: Nebraska’s defense has the ability to be stingy and play hard and the leadership of Nelson is a reason why. Nelson had five sacks last season along with four QB hurries and 11.5 tackles for loss. Nelson had six tackles against Michigan last season.

vs. Illinois (November 19)

RB Chase Brown: Brown has made the 2022 Maxwell Award Preseason Watch List after a 2021 in which he led Illinois with 1,005 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. Brown is also a threat in the passing game, evident by his 14 receptions and 142 receiving yards last year.

at Ohio State (November 26)

QB C.J. Stroud: Stroud is a great collegiate quarterback and he will be looking to topple Michigan this year after coming up short last year. Stroud was a Heisman finalist after passing for 44 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions in 2021. Even in the 42-27 defeat to Michigan Stroud showed how talented he is, throwing for 394 yards and two touchdowns.