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Meet Michigan’s version of Cooper Kupp: Peyton O’Leary has ‘all the traits’

There’s a lot to like about O’Leary’s toolbox of skills.

Big Ten Network

Peyton O’Leary arrived at Ann Arbor as a walk-on, and now he’s on the cusp of legitimate playing time at wide receiver for the Michigan Wolverines this fall.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound O’Leary had a spring game to remember, hauling in six receptions for 126 yards. That’s not including his game-winning two-point conversion that put the Maize team up 22-21 over the Blue team with under two minutes left in the game.

Backup quarterback Davis Warren believes there’s a realistic chance that O’Leary can crack Michigan’s rotation at receiver.

“It’s there,” Warren said after the spring game. “He’s got all the traits.”

O’Leary was able to get open deep, get open on short and intermediate throws, as well as in the red zone. He’s shifty, has great attention to detail as a route runner, and if the spring game is an accurate reflection of who he is as a player, well, he can consistently catch the heck out of a football.

Jim Harbaugh said last year that O’Leary had a “Cooper Kupp-like training camp”. It seems that nickname has stuck.

“We call him Cooper Kupp in the room,” Warren said, taking credit for being the one to give him the nickname.

O’Leary received a scholarship from Michigan in February and said he has been playing well recently. O’Leary wants to continue to put out good film so the coaches send him into the game every Saturday this season.

“I feel like I’ve always played well in practice and I’m just waiting on my chance,” O’Leary said. “Be patient, wait for my time to come.”

The time is now with Ronnie Bell headed to the NFL and Andrel Anthony transferring. O’Leary has jumped up the depth chart some and will aim to move up even more between now and the time the season starts in September.

“Once you’re here the best person plays,” O’Leary said in February. “They don’t care what your name is.”

Could O’Leary have a specialized role within Michigan’s offense? Or could he be so good he’ll see the field in most situations — any down, any distance, any type of scenario? O’Leary looks like he might be the type of wideout a quarterback can trust in crunch time. In short, don’t be surprised if O’Leary becomes a big piece of Michigan’s success on offense this season. If he can consistently get open and catch the football, he will play.

“He can carve out a role for himself,” Warren said. “I’m super excited to see him do that.”