clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Braiden McGregor’s path to Michigan, outlook for 2022

The opportunity is there for a young defensive lineman to step up.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 25 Rutgers at Michigan Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The goal is to have both, but when teams lose their experience at a given position, the next best thing is to have raw athleticism ready to be seasoned. Losing explosive talents like Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo is tough, but the hope is a couple options behind them on the depth chart are able to turn their potential into production.

No one personifies this more than Braiden McGregor, who many look at as the next Hutchinson-type monster on the edge. The Michigan Wolverines had little need for him thus far, but the opportunity looks much different entering his third year. This one has 2022 breakout written all over it.

The story so far

The Port Huron native graded as the second-best prospect coming out of Michigan in the 2020 recruiting class and 123rd-overall per the 247Sports composite. This put him second among his fellow Wolverines, right between A.J. Henning and Blake Corum as four-stars just outside the top 100.

McGregor has dealt with some injuries, but it was always going to take him a little time to earn a significant rotation spot, more so because of the incumbents than a lack of readiness. Still, he did get on the field nine times as a redshirt freshman and though the stats are modest, he is a primed as anyone to fill the massive void along the edge.

Nearly everyone compared McGregor to Hutchinson upon his commitment. Both have extreme athleticism and power, combined with a tenacity and motor that is challenging to block. Hutchinson’s bend made him that top-tier pass rusher and his chase-down closing speed earned him a lot of tackles for loss. McGregor’s tape looks quite similar and it is reasonable to think he could at least follow this pattern, though perhaps at a lesser degree at first.

Outlook moving forward

It does not appear that opportunity will be the biggest challenge for McGregor, even if he is not the out-and-out starter. Michigan will feature plenty of rotation along the defensive line, and bringing McGregor on the field to attack from the strongside end spot in obvious passing downs is a great chance for him to impress.

No one can expect Hutchinson-like play from him in 2022, but the hope is to see some of those comparisons at least when given the opportunity. As is the story for basically the whole defensive line, the Wolverines really need new faces to step up this fall, which is a little bit nervy for the fanbase but an exciting time for the players who have been waiting their turn.

McGregor might not run away with a job, but there is also a real shot at him leading the team in sacks and becoming the team’s best pass rusher. He will have to navigate a busy depth chart at first, but some early fireworks should set up him up for consistent playing time throughout the rest of the year and on track for a big 2023 season as well.