Michigan football has a lot of returning players mixed with a lot of new faces this season. The Wolverines have talented incoming freshmen who are vying for playing time along with a bevy of impactful transfer players.
With that in mind, here are six of Michigan’s biggest newcomers in 2023.
RB Benjamin Hall
Hall’s a three-star true freshman that already runs with authority.
Hall was an early enrolee this winter and had a great spring game with 96 yards rushing and a touchdown. Running backs coach Mike Hart said people wouldn’t guess the early enrollee turned 18 years old earlier this year.
“He acts like he’s been here a long time,” Hart said in April. “He works hard, he studies, he understands the offense. He’s getting better and better every day. He’s built like a grown man. He’s 225 pounds, his legs are huge, he runs hard. Excited about his future here.”
While Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards will get the majority of carries out of the backfield this season, Hall can still be a rotational piece and an asset in short-yardage situations.
LB Ernest Hausmann
Nebraska transfer linebacker Ernest Hausmann could be a major difference-maker this fall. Hausmann received a lot of playing time as a true freshman for the Cornhuskers, playing in 12 games (seven starts) with 54 tackles (36 solo) and one sack.
Michigan defensive coordinator Jesse Minter called Hausmann a “tremendous asset” and “tremendous pickup” this spring.
Hausmann will be part of a LB group that includes Junior Colson, Michael Barrett, Jimmy Rolder, and Jaydon Hood. All these players are vying for snaps and Hausmann will be ready to compete.
“My challenge to Ernest is to go take their spot,” Minter said. “My challenge to those guys is to hold on to your spot — because he’s coming.”
OL LaDarius Henderson
Henderson’s a transfer from Arizona State that’ll be an instant leader along the o-line this season.
The tackle stands 6-foot-5, 310 pounds, and was voted a team captain at Arizona State in 2022. Henderson suffered a tendon injury last October that shut him down for the rest of the year. He was an iron man in 2021, however — Henderson was on the field for 801 of ASU’s 813 offensive snaps and allowed just 10 quarterback pressures and one sack.
Henderson had Michigan on the top of his list when he entered the transfer portal and the rest is history.
Henderson said in his mind, “Michigan is O-Line U.”
CB Jyaire Hill
Hill, a four-star prospect out of the 2023 class could ultimately be leaned upon in Michigan’s secondary similar to how Will Johnson was utilized down the stretch as a true freshman. Just like Johnson, Hill has great size at 6-foot-2 and elite speed.
“I think Jyaire Hill is going to be a guy,” Jess Minter said in April. “I don’t know if I’ll put him on Will’s track, but I think he’s going to be capable of helping us this year.”
Hill had 42 tackles in his senior year of high school with three interceptions, two sacks and three forced fumbles. Hill was also a phenom in track. Hill won two state championship relays (4x100 meters, 4x400 meters).
Hill was recently named by 247Sports as a top-100 impact freshman this season, and he’ll be someone Michigan fans will get to know well shortly.
C Drake Nugent
Michigan struck gold last season landing Virginia transfer center Olu Oluwatimi, and Michigan hopes to do the same with Stanford transfer Drake Nugent.
Nugent has a lot of experience to the tune of 24 starts for Stanford. Nugent was a captain at Stanford in 2022 and made the preseason watch lists for both the Outland Trophy and Rimington Trophy.
Nugent had a few key prerequisites for whom he committed to in the portal, and Michigan fit the bill greatly.
“My main criteria coming into the portal was, I want to go somewhere with a good quarterback, a good running back, and other good o-linemen,” Nugent said. “If I have those, it’s probably on a good team who’s already winning.”
Oluwatimi and quarterback J.J. McCarthy had a great relationship last season, and hopefully, he can have the same with Nugent.
K James Turner
Arguably the best kick in Michigan history is no longer with the program — Jake Moody was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the third round of the NFL Draft. However, Michigan added an intriguing name to the mix in Louisville transfer James Turner.
Turner set the program record for field goal percentage last season at 90.9%. Turner was 20-for-22 overall and tied the school record for made field goals in a season.
While Turner is just 1-of-6 from over 50 yards, he’s been elite under that yardage. Turner’s 46-for-53 (86.7%) from inside 50 and 32-for-33 (96.9%) from inside 40 yards. Not too shabby.