clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Braiden McGregor on the verge of a breakout season at Michigan

The senior defensive end breaks down his goals for the upcoming season and how he plans to build off the big moments from last year.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 26 Michigan at Ohio State Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Senior edge Braiden McGregor was born and raised in the state of Michigan. He grew up in Port Huron watching the maize and blue in just about everything — from the playground in elementary school, where classmates would pick a side for the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry, to the Big House, McGregor has always been loyal to the Wolverines. He joined Jon Jansen this week on In the Trenches to highlight his journey since his arrival to Ann Arbor and the legacy he hopes his class imparts on the program.

McGregor arrived to Michigan working through an injury. He didn’t get to see much of the field his first couple of years, but in that time of healing, he was always grasping the lessons that were being thrown his way. “My time at Michigan has been very interesting, not many people have had the journey I have had to go on,” he shared, “It’s definitely different from what I thought it would be when I committed here, but looking back on it now I wouldn’t change it for anything. I have learned so many things outside of football that I can use in my everyday life after football.”

As for the lessons, it was his ability to lean on his family and trust the people that knew what they were talking about, that got him back to the field. “The biggest thing I took away, I know it sounds cliche, but never doubt yourself. There were a lot of times where I was like I might not ever play football again,” McGregor said, “I was eighteen years old and thinking that there was all this great stuff ahead of me, and it kinda got stripped away quick, and I had to earn it all back.”

He continued, “It taught me to love your family and cherish every moment with them because without them I don’t think I would be here or playing football. With that injury they helped so much. Then finally, trusting people who are professionals at their job.”

Putting it all together

Since working his way back, those around him are watching and waiting to see what is next for the senior defensive end. Coach Jim Harbaugh was cited saying that McGregor was on the verge of breaking out. The next step for McGregor is to prove it. “Again, for me it’s trusting the people that know what they are talking about,” he shared, “The verge for me was that I was there at the end of the year. I felt like myself, now it is putting it all together. I have everything I need to be successful and now it’s going out there and proving it. I am proving it to myself and I want to make it all worth it and not have any regrets.”

Bit by bit he has built himself back up and it led to some highlight reel memories for the senior to always have. On the biggest stages, in the biggest games for a Michigan fan, McGregor stepped up and made plays. Growing up in Michigan and knowing what those games mean, it meant the world to McGregor. “I think watching them [Michigan-MSU, Michigan-Ohio State] growing up and now getting to take part in it, like that sack against MSU and those two plays against Ohio State, it was a real moment for me,” he said, “Those two in particular were games I knew I wanted to make my mark on to be able to look back and have memories like that.”

One of the lessons along the way was right place, right time. As for those two aforementioned plays against Ohio State, he breaks down how he executed that lesson to translate it so he could come up big in the biggest game for the Wolverines. “Specifically that one play in the second quarter, I saw both receivers route wide,” he explained, “I knew at least one of them was coming in on a slant and I was supposed to be in that window. I got to that right spot at the right time and I put my hand up, maybe I was a little too high, but I was just so excited.”

He added, “The second one we called a timeout. We said if the running back goes out, it’s going to him. I saw the running back go out, and the wide receiver hit a bubble, so I was like I’m going to get upfield. I just stuck my hand out at the right spot, right time. I wish I would’ve caught that, I was free.”

Those are the memories for him that will last a lifetime, but his goal in his final season at Michigan is to leave the program better than he found it. “Coming here, the goal was never to lose to Michigan State, Ohio State. Putting Michigan back on the map was something my class came in specifically for,” he shared, “As soon as we committed, we started a group chat where we were like we are changing this, when we get there, we are winning.”

Now with back-to-back Big Ten championship rings, McGregor has his sights on a third, and the fourth and fifth this year. To do that, he imparted the goals he has set for himself this upcoming season. “My main goal is to put my name in that category of great Michigan defensive ends that came through here,” he said, “I want to leave my mark on that stadium, so that when I walk out for the last time, I’m not looking back and having any regrets. I want to appreciate the journey.”