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Michigan football’s five most important new players

Taking a look at the new faces Michigan brought in who should play a big role in 2022.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Michigan Wolverines will feature a ton of new talent on both sides of the ball during the 2022 season. We got a small serving size during the spring game and we will likely have even more early on during the non-conference slate at the Big House.

In no particular order, these are the five most important new players for the upcoming year.

Will Johnson

The former five-star legacy cornerback will definitely play a role in 2022; whether it’s a big one or not is still to be determined but he will probably be playing a decent amount on defense this year. Johnson impressed this past spring and hopes to do the same during fall camp, which starts in just a couple short weeks.

The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder probably won’t be a starter right away, but he should be out there early and often alongside DJ Turner, Gemon Green and Mike Sainristil, among others.

Olu Oluwatimi

Possibly the most important acquisition this offseason was through the transfer portal. Oluwatimi is a monster at the center position and instantly became one of Michigan’s best players along the offensive line when he announced his transfer to Michigan from Virginia.

Olu was a runner-up for the Rimington Award last season, given to the best offensive lineman in college football. He turned heads this spring and without a doubt will be snapping the ball on Sept. 3 when the Wolverines host Colorado State.

Darrius Clemons

It seems unusual to put a wide receiver on this list given the plethora of talent Michigan already had at the position, but here we are.

Clemons isn’t like many of the wide receivers on Michigan’s roster. He has elite size and speed that will make it difficult to keep him on the bench. In the spring game, the 6-foot-3 freshman showed the ability to go downfield and make an incredible and athletic catch for a touchdown.

I have been very high on Clemons since he was being recruited out of high school, so I am particularly excited to see what he can do at the next level. He, much like Johnson at corner, will not be a starter, but rest assured, he should contribute a lot.

Mason Graham

As unusual as it is to see a receiver on the list, it may be even more unusual to see an interior defensive lineman. But the placement is justifiable given Graham had a very impressive spring game and was reportedly just as impressive throughout the spring.

Outside of veteran and potential captain Mazi Smith, Michigan’s interior defensive line is a bit unproven. There is talent there, but there is also an opportunity for Graham to earn a spot on the two-deep this fall if he continues to show out in camp leading up to the start of the season. You don’t see many interior defensive lineman make an impact their first year in college, but Graham could be different.

Derrick Moore

Given the question marks at pass rusher following Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo being picked early in the NFL Draft, it seems reasonable to put a top-50 player in the country at a possible position of need on the list.

Moore balled out his senior year of high school and followed that up with an impressive showing at the Under Armour All-America game, a game in which he won MVP after compiling a couple sacks and tackles for loss. The former St. Frances Academy star was a late addition to Michigan’s 2022 class, committing and signing with the Wolverines on the opening day of the Early Signing Period in December.

After enrolling early and practicing with the team, Moore stood out to Harbaugh, as the head coach said he is, “going to be a fabulous player. Probably will also be a really good player right away in the fall. He’s really gifted physically.”

That kind of praise from the head man will likely earn Moore some snaps on defense early in his career. If for some reason guys who are expected to contribute at a high level this season like Mike Morris and Jaylen Harrell don’t play well, a guy like Moore could be thrust into significant action sooner than expected.