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Cole Cabana’s path to Michigan football, outlook for 2023

The freshman running back adds another layer of electricity to an already supercharged locker room.

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

If you asked anyone outside the Michigan football program what their expectations are for Cole Cabana entering the 2023 season, the answer would undoubtedly be a big fat question mark.

Cabana arrives at Michigan fresh off a historic campaign at Dexter High School that saw the hometown native break every school record that exists as a running back. He’s also largely credited with helping overhaul the losing culture of the program and transform them into the No. 1 team in Division 2.

Rated as a four-star running back by the 247Sports composite rating, Cabana was the No. 6 running back and No. 2 prospect from the state of Michigan in the 2023 class.

With so much talent and raw playmaking potential, where does that leave his outlook for the 2023 season? Cabana, who missed the spring game and about half of Michigan’s allotted spring practices with a leg injury, is working his way back towards full health while learning the playbook.

Speaking to The Michigan Insider recently, it sounds as though Cabana knows the path in front of him and is aware of what he needs to do to crack the rotation as a freshman.

“As a freshman with two NFL running backs ahead of me, that spot is going to be pretty tough,” Cabana said. “I gotta make myself useful on special teams and just hope my time comes to get in at running back.”

Following the departure of A.J. Henning, the Wolverines will be in search of new, dynamic playmakers on special teams. The former Dreadnaught scored three return touchdowns during his senior season with 444 total return yards, and could prove to be a valuable candidate for kick or punt return minutes.

Sherrone Moore also appears to think highly of the the four-star recruit. Speaking recently on the In The Trenches podcast, he named both Cabana and fellow freshman Ben Hall as running backs he is excited for in the future.

“He’s (Hall) got a great future and excited about him and Cole Cabana both. Cole kind of had some injury stuff that he’s working through and he’s getting better and he’s fine now. Excited about those young backs.”

While it’s unlikely we’ll see much of Cabana during meaningful minutes this season, expect for a healthy dose of the freshman during non-conference play, as well as during garbage time and on special teams, with a larger share of the workload expected for next year.