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Ike Iwunnah’s path to Michigan, outlook for 2023

Iwunnah should be an important depth piece on the defensive line.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Texas Christian at Michigan Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan Wolverines have owned the trenches over the last few seasons, and their defensive line has projected to be one of the strongest units again last year.

A big strength of the unit is its depth. Talented players like Ike Iwunnah, who has been on the team for two years but hasn’t seen game action, could be important rotational pieces along the defensive line.

Let’s break down Iwunnah’s path to Michigan and project his outlook for 2023.

The Story So Far

Hailing from Garland, Texas, Ikechukwu Iwunnah was a three-star on 247Sports, ranked as 62nd-best defensive tackle and the 167th-best Texan in the 2021 class on the composite.

At Lakeview Centennial, he was named the Texas District 6A sophomore of the year in 2018. He was honored as an all-district player in his final two high school seasons. He also lettered in track and field in both discus and the triple jump; many athletes of his size (6-foot-4, 275 pounds in high school) don’t even compete in the triple jump, let alone letter in it.

Those track accolades and his highlights do a great job showcasing his athleticism. He gets off the ball fast before engaging with an offensive lineman, oftentimes getting his hands out first to dictate the play before shedding his blocker and making a tackle in the backfield. He’s also incredibly fast for his size, he’s disruptive in the run game, and he has a lot of power in his bull rush move.

He committed to Michigan back in Feb. 2021.

Outlook for 2023

As mentioned above, Iwunnah has not seen game action in two seasons at Michigan, but he has been promising on the scout team, being named Scout Defensive Team Player of the Week for his help in prepping for Iowa. He’s also a hard worker in the classroom, being named an All Big Ten Academic honoree in 2022.

Iwunnah should be able to fight for some playing time this season. He won’t start at defensive tackle with Mason Graham and Kris Jenkins occupying those spots, and he’ll have to win time over guys like Cam Goode, Rayshaun Benny and Kenneth Grant.

I would think Iwunnah’s speed and athleticism is what would earn him some time at defensive tackle. Hopefully Mike Elston rewards his hard work and loyalty to the program — a lot of guys in his shoes may have transferred — with some snaps as the year goes along.

Where do you think Iwunnah’s fits in on Michigan’s depth chart? Let us know down in the comments.