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Trente Jones’ path to Michigan, outlook for 2023

Jones made a big resurgence following his injury during last season’s matchup against Indiana.

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

The Michigan Wolverines had a dominant season within the Big Ten in 2023, in large part due to the outstanding play of their offensive line.

The back-to-back winners of the Joe Moore Award, which is given to the top offensive line in the country, are led by returning starters Zak Zinter and Trevor Keegan. Beside them are notable fellow returnees Karsen Barnhart, Raheem Anderson, Giovanni El-Hadi and Trente Jones.

As if the returning firepower wasn’t enough, joining all of those guys are transfer linemen Drake Nugent, LaDarius Henderson, and Myles Hinton. We haven’t even cracked candidates that could possibly emerge, such as Jeff Persi and Andrew Gentry.

Zinter and Keegan are likely to start at both guard positions. However, the right tackle spot is up for grabs. Where does that leave returning contributors such as Trente Jones?

The story so far

Jones was a highly regarded recruit for the Wolverines. The Loganville, Georgia native was a part of Michigan’s 2019 class. Located just outside the top 100 overall at No. 108 on the 247Sports’ composite, Jones fielded offers from other top programs such as Oregon, Florida, Florida State, Texas A&M and others.

This recruitment was almost over before it started. Following his initial offer from Michigan on Jan. 16, 2018, the former four-star recruit visited Ann Arbor a month later in February and was committed to the Wolverines just three days later.

The first three seasons in Ann Arbor have yielded a steady progression for the former Under Armour All-American. After seeing little to no game action during his freshman and sophomore years, Jones appeared in all 14 games (two starts) during his junior year as the sixth lineman on Michigan’s 2021 Joe Moore award-winning offensive line.

Jones seemed primed to elevate his game to the next level during the 2022 season but was drastically slowed in his tracks following an ankle injury during Week 6 against Indiana.

Jones would make his return four games later against Nebraska but by that point in the year Barnhart, who replaced Jones during his injury, took over at starting right tackle.

Outlook for 2023

No one quite knows how Sherrone Moore will end up utilizing the available pieces of this year’s offensive line, but the battle for right tackle will more than likely rage on through the remainder of summer and fall for Jones and Barnhart. Stanford transfer Myles Hinton will also be a name to watch here as well. Jones may have been the leader coming out of fall camp in 2022, but Barnhart has made a strong case for himself on the field as well up to this point.

All that said, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top of the battle for RT in 2023. It’s perhaps one of the deepest positional battles along the Michigan offensive line, and possibly on this season’s offense as a whole.

When healthy, Jones is one of the most athletic linemen on that offense, and if allowed the opportunity to put it all together on the field, he’ll be terrorizing opposing teams in the trenches in 2023.