Kickoff for the Michigan Wolverines’ 2022 season is on Saturday as they welcome the Colorado State Rams to the Big House. The Rams have a new look with a head coaching change that shook up the Mountain West Conference. Jay Norvell, who had coached Nevada back to Mountain West title contention from 2017-21, made the in-conference switch to Colorado State this offseason, along with a slew of players who transferred from Nevada to CSU.
Two of those transfers will make the cut in this story, along with an edge rusher who is looking to take the next step. Let’s dig into the three Rams to watch for when they come to Ann Arbor this weekend.
QB Clay Millen
A three-star recruit in the 2021 class, Millen was the incumbent starter at Nevada after Carson Strong jumped to the NFL.
Millen comes from a long line of football talent. His father Hugh was a third-round pick out of Washington in the 1986 NFL Draft. As a Husky, he led Washington to a win over No. 3 Michigan in 1984 and finished the year as the No. 2 team in the country after an 11-1 season.
His brother, Cale, was a three-star prospect who committed to Oregon but has since transferred to Northern Arizona, and is now at UConn. He’ll be a redshirt sophomore competing for the starting gig.
This lineage is certainly part of the reason Millen has gotten to this point in his career, but don’t let that fool you. The redshirt freshman has a big arm and he is athletic enough to maneuver the pocket well to extend plays. He relies on that big arm a lot, which can cause some risky passes. But when it pans out, it’s a thing of beauty. Here’s a great example:
In the spring game, Millen was 22-for-33 for 292 yards, four touchdowns, and an interception. There is plenty of firepower there for him and if the Rams are going to give the Wolverines some trouble, he will be a big reason why.
WR Tory Horton
Horton was the No. 3 receiver for Nevada last season before transferring to Colorado State. As a true freshman at Nevada, Horton was in charge of stretching the field as he averaged 16.7 yards per reception and added five touchdowns. As a sophomore, his role expanded a bit and he caught over twice as many balls, 52, while racking up 659 yards and five touchdowns.
Now with the Rams, he will likely be the team’s No. 1 receiver. When Horton gets past you, he’s gone, and the Michigan corners will have to do a good job containing him so that doesn’t happen.
Edge Mohamed Kamara
Last season, the Colorado State pass rush was very impressive. Most of the pressure came from Scott Patchan who finished with 11.5 sacks in 2021. But opposite of him was a junior on the rise in Mohamed Kamara.
He has played since his true freshman season but really came into his own in 2021. Kamara tallied 9.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks his junior season. The relentless pressure from Patchan certainly helped, but he has only gotten bigger and better in his time at CSU.
Expectations for him this year will be similar to that of last year, and a big game against Michigan would help the momentum. He’ll provide a good early season challenge for Ryan Hayes and Trente Jones.