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Linebacker Nikhai Hill-Green’s path to Michigan, outlook for 2022

Hill-Green brings versatility to the linebacker position.

Michigan Spring Game Photo by Jaime Crawford/Getty Images

Versatile and now a leader on Michigan’s defense, linebacker Nikhai Hill-Green is a player that will be used in a lot of ways this season.

The story so far

Hill-Green came to Michigan as a three-star prospect out of Baltimore, Maryland, ranked as the No. 393 player in the 2020 class. Hill-Green attended St. Frances, where Michigan running back Blake Corum also attended, as well as current Michigan associate head coach Biff Poggi, who was the St. Frances head coach back then.

Hill-Green’s played on special teams during a shortened 2020 season but started to receive more playing time in 2021.

Former Michigan defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald was impressed by Hill-Green’s ability to play both linebacker spots (MIKE, WILL) and his film study abilities. As the season wore on, Hill-Green continued to gain trust from the coaching staff.

“Being a student of the game and knowing what to do and why it’s important to do it that way,” linebackers coach George Helow said. “The way that he sits up and takes notes and asks questions and studies film is everything and I think you’re starting to see he’s really playing comfortable out there.”

Hill-Green made clutch tackles in a tight game against Rutgers after Josh Ross left due to injury. Hill-Green had 8 tackles (six solo) in Michigan’s 20-13 win, and the eight tackles led the team.

Hill-Green had just one career tackle heading into 2021 and then put up 50 tackles (35 solo) last season.

Outlook moving forward

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Hill-Green is on an upward trajectory. His coaches find him to be really savvy in the film room, which in turn helps him diagnose plays better and get to the point of attack faster. Hill’s skill set should make him versatile. He’s a linebacker that can stop the run, and he should be able to participate in pass coverage at an adequate level, too. Hill-Green’s speed and downhill explosiveness should give him a healthy number of chances to blitz the quarterback.

Hill-Green is a Swiss Army knife and Michigan is lucky to have him.

Hill-Green performed well stopping the run last season and should be expected to do well against the run again in 2022.