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What we hope to learn from the Michigan Spring Game

The Wolverines are set to have a great team in 2023, but here’s what we want to learn following Saturday.

NCAA Football: Michigan Spring Game Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

A dynamic shift has happened over the course of the last two seasons in Ann Arbor, and the Michigan Wolverines are favored by many to win the Big Ten for a third season in a row. There is talent galore on both sides of the ball for Jim Harbaugh and his staff, and this may be the best group he has had in his time at Michigan.

With spring practices underway, there are a few position battles brewing, and some new faces are looking to replace the guys who left for the draft.

Here are three things I hope to learn from the spring game on Saturday.

Will the OL or DL have the edge?

Right around this time last offseason, everyone was curious how the defense was going to look without Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo. Spoiler alert: everything was fine.

2022’s Spring Game showed us a defense that looked far and away better than the offense. That transitioned exceptionally well into the regular season where Mike Morris, Mazi Smith, Mason Graham and Kris Jenkins all formed one of the best defensive lines in the country.

Now, Graham and Jenkins return with a defensive line loaded with talent once again. Transfer Josaiah Stewart is already receiving praise from defensive coordinator Jesse Minter, Braiden McGregor showed flashes in 2022, and Derrick Moore was one of the surprise true freshmen with solid play as well.

Then you take a peek at Michigan’s offensive line coming off back-to-back Joe Moore Awards. Olu Oluwatimi and Ryan Hayes are onto the next level, but the Wolverines still return three starters and brought in Drake Nugent, Myles Hinton and LaDarius Henderson from the portal.

Henderson is probably the favorite to be the starter at left tackle, but Hinton, Jeffrey Persi and Karsen Barnhart will likely be fighting for time in the spring. We’ll be able to see the depth chart taking shape despite most of those guys being able to play multiple positions.

It will be fun to see where both sides of the ball are at on Saturday, and I think there is a real chance the defense has the edge once again despite the offensive line going in with more preseason confidence.

How is the WR room shaking out?

Michigan’s wideouts had their struggles in 2023. There were a lot of dropped balls and miscommunications with J.J. McCarthy. That can be put on both parties, but there’s little doubt this unit needs to be better.

Roman Wilson is back and has a shot to be the top dog this season. It will be fascinating to see his progression early in the offseason and see if he is ready to make the jump. If not, it could be Cornelius Johnson, who had a huge game against Ohio State last season and also has a chance to become McCarthy’s favorite target.

Beyond that, it’s a battle in this room, and it’s exciting to see who could break out. A lot of people think it could be Tyler Morris, who’s connection with McCarthy goes back to high school. However, A.J. Henning is the most experienced and is electric with the ball in his hands. Could this finally be the year we see him break out?

Another name to watch out for is Darrius Clemons, the star of last year’s spring game. It’s entirely possible that is replicated on Saturday as we see him transition into a bigger role.

Is Amorion Walker going to live up to the hype?

One player I didn’t mention in the receiver room is Amorion Walker, who deserves a whole section of this article to himself. We have heard so much hype this offseason about the dual-threat sophomore. Harbaugh said he already envisions Walker as a starter as he transitioned from wide receiver to cornerback.

Will Johnson has been banged up this offseason, and it appears Walker has not missed a step lining up in his stead. Having Mike Sainristil go to corner worked out last year, and the Wolverines are looking to replicate it once again with Walker.

Then, you have to question if we will also see him on offense. A huge part of his recruitment was he wanted to play both ways, and he lined up at receiver in six different games last year. Is his name also being thrown into the hat as a fourth or fifth receiver on offense? If his elite speed and change of direction skills are on display, we could see the first legitimate two-way player at Michigan since Jabrill Peppers.