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Enow Etta’s path to Michigan, outlook for 2023

The defensive line prospect has the potential to be the crown jewel of the Wolverines’ 2023 recruiting class.

When your newest defensive line commit has the type of size and raw talent that Enow Etta has, you sleep well at night. Better yet, you probably sleep how Michigan football defensive line coach Mike Elston sleeps. The position group returns an absolutely LOADED level of talent this season — one that is only bolstered by the potential of Etta.

Etta is just the tip of the iceberg for the defensive line. Jaylen Harrell, Braiden McGregor, Josaiah Stewart, Derrick Moore and others are all looking to get a piece of the action this fall. But with so much talent along the edge, where will that leave the Wolverines’ top-ranked 2023 recruit in the short term?

The story so far

Hailing from Covenant Christian Academy in Texas, Etta was a force in high school. Prior to his emergence along the defensive front, Etta played backup tight end as a freshman before eventually exploding for an average of nearly 20 sacks per game over a three-year span with the Cougars.

Naturally, as a consensus four-star, interest poured in for Etta following the success of his position change. He fielded offers from big names such as Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, LSU, Tennessee, USC and several others, but would eventually choose the Wolverines — citing his relationship with U-M coaches and the academic reputation as primary reasons for his commitment to the Wolverines.

“I had to choose a school that checked all my boxes,” Etta said during a Twitter Space he took part in with The Michigan Insider back in December.

Etta finished high school as the No. 116 overall player in the nation, the No. 14 defensive lineman and the No. 20 player in the state of Texas, per the 247Sports composite.

Outlook for 2023

Despite Etta and all his physical prowess, it’s important to temper expectations. Michigan fields one of the deepest defensive line units in the country, and the defensive end position on that roster is no exception.

During a recent position group discussion on Jon Jansen’s “In the Trenches” podcast, Elston named Etta specifically as a guy who is “doing a fantastic job.” And while it’s likely we’ll see the freshman get a bit of run during the course of the season, the expectation is the Wolverines keep Etta in a developmental role as guys like Harrell, Moore, Stewart and McGregor take center stage for the bulk of the 2023 season.

There’s certainly a world where Etta does, in fact, see some time this season via special teams, and possibly some less-meaningful matchups, but look for the defensive end to be more of a stash-and-save guy who can develop into a game-breaker in a year or so.