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Mike Morris’ path to Michigan, outlook for 2022

The next man up at edge-rusher.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 04 Big Ten Championship Game - Michigan v Iowa Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With top-tier pass rushers such as Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo on Michigan, edge-rusher Mike Morris had to patiently wait his turn for more playing time. The time is now. Hutchinson and Ojabo are now in the NFL, and Morris is someone Michigan will be relying on in 2022.

The story so far

Morris was a three-star prospect out of Delray Beach, Florida and was the No. 396 prospect in the class of 2019. Morris committed to Florida State but that all changed when he took a visit to Michigan. Morris visited Michigan, de-committed from Florida State, and committed to Michigan in the span of three days.

“They really just say that I’m a very athletic and a hard nose football player. I’m working on my speed and power, so I can take over the game like Rashan Gary,” Morris told Maize n Brew back in 2018. Morris definitely took over the game his senior season in high school, a year where his versatility and athleticism shined through. Morris had 89 tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown.

Through Morris’ first two years on campus he tallied just one tackle, but he received a significant uptick of playing time in 2021 as a rotational piece to the puzzle on Michigan’s defense. Morris played in all 14 games (four starts) and made 17 tackles with 0.5 sacks.

Outlook moving forward

Replacing the production, the sack total of Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo won’t be easy, but the coaching staff has a lot of faith in Morris to produce.

“The state of Michigan football is scary good right now. Mike Morris could be the next Aidan Hutchinson, Ojabo,” head coach Jim Harbaugh said in March. “There’s some really exciting things going on on the defensive line.”

Morris is adding to the excitement, for sure, and wants to pave his own path and his own legacy along the d-line.

“I want to live up to my own standard and do my own thing,” Morris said this spring.

How Morris will be utilized is somewhat uncertain from the outside looking in. There’s new defensive coordinator Jesse Minter who shares some of the same philosophies as friend, colleague, and former Michigan DC Mike Macdonald, but is still his own man and will have his own wrinkles. Those new wrinkles, the creativity in scheme, should serve a player like Morris well.

“I’m really excited,” Morris said about Michigan’s scheme and the role he’ll have in 2022. “I really didn’t get to do a lot of the stuff I wanted to do because of Aidan Hutch. I accepted every role that I got and I loved every role that I got because I was able to benefit the team. But I feel like now I can step into more of an edge role in the defense and dominate in that aspect. I’m very looking forward to that.”