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Keon Sabb’s path to Michigan, outlook for 2022

The highly-touted freshman is expected to see the field early and often in 2022.

Michigan Spring Game Photo by Jaime Crawford/Getty Images

Keon Sabb was highly rated four-star recruit out of high school, the third-highest in Michigan’s 2022 freshmen class and the ninth ranked safety in the country, per 247Sports. Being highly rated comes with the burden of expectation, but Sabb appears to be up to the challenge.

As a 6-foot-2, 200-pound three-sport athlete in high school, Sabb excelled anywhere his feet were, but on the football field is where he found a future. Defensively, he was positionless in the secondary, rotating between coverage and box responsibilities and attacking ball carriers with a “let the paramedics sort them out” mentality.

The name “Keon Sabb” may sound like a luxury sports car, but this human vehicle hits more like a truck.

Sabb joined the Michigan Wolverines in January as an early enrollee and was able to fully participate in Michigan’s spring camp. This invaluable head start has given him an advantage to master the playbook, adjust to a higher level of physicality and put on eight pounds of muscle in the strength program.

For 2022, Sabb is expected to provide depth at both safety positions behind presumptive starters Rod Moore and RJ Moten, as well as contribute on special teams. Co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Steve Clinkscale was recently forthcoming about Sabb’s progression of understanding of his compounded responsibilities:

“Keon has done a great job. He’s got probably the hardest job of the bunch, of those four (freshmen defensive backs) because he has to know both safeties (positions), so he knows what he’s doing. It’s now just taking that step forward on the field and applying it and being able to let loose and make some plays.

“Yesterday, we thought he had a really good practice, and he keeps getting better every week and every day. But he’s really, of all of them, has the biggest load.

“Playing corner, the big responsibility is not getting beat deep, right? Nickel, you’ve got to understand the nuances, but safety, you have to know what everybody is doing, make all the checks. And for him being a freshman, I think he’s doing a great job.”

Sabb will see the field extensively in 2022 and the first three non-conference games against inferior opponents will provide an opportunity for him to accumulate those priceless live reps on the field to help.

While there will be freshman mistakes early on, Sabb will gain his footing much like Moore did last season. It is unclear which safety position will be his permanent home, but he is undoubtedly the future of at least one of the safety positions in Ann Arbor.