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Jesse Minter speaks on the impact of Michigan’s defensive transfers

Ernest Hausmann and Josaiah Stewart have received high praise this offseason.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Earlier this week, Michigan Wolverines defensive coordinator Jesse Minter appeared on the “In The Trenches” podcast to discuss the current state of the defense.

Minter not only fielded a variety of questions pertaining to every level of the defense, but also took the time to acknowledge the impact of two Wolverines in particular — incoming transfers Josaiah Stewart and Ernest Hausmann. These two helped round out a transfer portal class that was among college football’s best.

Hausmann, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker from Nebraska, started seven games as a true freshman for the Cornhuskers last season and is highly regarded as one of the top players that entered the portal.

Stewart, an edge from Coastal Carolina, was heavily courted during the offseason by multiple teams, including LSU and USC. The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder tallied 79 tackles, 25.5 tackles for loss and 16 sacks over the course of a two-year stretch at his former school.

When both hit the field during the spring game, the buzz surrounding these two made more sense, as they both had stellar performances. Stewart had a sack with five total tackles (two for loss). Hausmann led the Maize team in tackles, while also registering a forced fumble.

Minter appears to view Hausmann’s participation in the linebacker room as neck-and-neck alongside incumbent starters Junior Colson and Michael Barrett. Minter also offered his thoughts on where he sees that position battle.

“I think No. 1, Junior and Mike as incumbent starters, they feel (Hausmann) just right behind them,” Minter said. “And he’s not slowing down, so it makes those guys have to play better, have to study more, have to do everything they have to do to keep their job. And it makes Ernest, who’s a really, really good addition just from a mentality — he’s chasing, and he’s not going to back down either.”

Minter also likes what he’s seen from Stewart, as well as the versatility he brings to his stable.

“Josaiah Stewart; I’m really excited about him,” Minter said. “Transfer portal addition, Coastal Carolina. And (his) true freshman year, 12 sacks. Second year, they moved his position. I know actually, the D coordinator at Coastal is a good friend of mine. And they moved him to a different position, he had a little bit of some injuries he kind of battled. His second year wasn’t quite as productive but when you watch his tape, he plays the way you want guys to play — really, really physical. He’s, in a baseball term, like, he’s our change-up, in a sense of like, he’s 6-foot, maybe 6-1, not as big and long as our other guys. But he has a different skillset as a rusher.

“And so, when a tackle has to block Braiden (McGregor) one play, Derrick (Moore) the next play, Jaylen (Harrell) the next play, and then all of a sudden you throw Josaiah at him, like there’s a good versatility there amongst those four guys.”

What’s perhaps most exciting about this is these two additions only help to strengthen two position groups that lose very little from last season.

Our primary takeaway from Minter’s comments: This Michigan team has a ton of “chess pieces” to choose from, as he so eloquently put it, and it will be interesting to see how they use them this season.