As the 2022 season winds down, a countless number of upperclassmen across college football are now starting to look at what’s next — staying in school or declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Among them are Michigan linebacker Michael Barrett and left guard Trevor Keegan, who discussed what goes into such a decision at a media availability Thursday afternoon.
While Keegan simply said he hadn’t made a decision just yet, he noted he had two years of eligibility left to play in college. He also discussed a shift in mentality within the locker room from focusing solely on a NFL dream to propelling the team forward.
“There was people here who to go the NFL was all they cared about,” Keegan said. “Now there’s just dudes who have created a brotherhood, who care for each other and come in every day and work. Obviously guys still want to go the NFL, but team success comes before individual success. I think that’s our motto, we know that if we have success, individual success will come, and that’s everybody’s mindset.”
For Barrett — the jokingly self-professed “old man” in the locker room — his decision is one is he taking seriously. Following the Ohio State game, head coach Jim Harbaugh directly expressed to Barrett his desire for the graduate linebacker to return.
With at least one game left to go this season, Barrett is still mulling over his choice.
“I’ve had a lot of conversations, I’m not sure yet,” he said. “The factors would just be to up my draft stock, to put better and more tape on film at the inside back. I feel like I don’t have as much film starting inside. I feel like that’s one factor.
“I don’t want to be too old, though, if that makes sense. I feel like I’ve been here too long. I don’t want everybody looking at me like an old man around here — I’m joking, but that’s one thing that’s kind of been on the back of my mind.”
While Keegan and Barrett are the latest to have been asked about their 2023 plans, they aren’t the only ones likely to be thinking it over. Other Wolverine mainstays likely to be weighing their options include Blake Corum, Mike Morris and DJ Turner — all of whom are projected with favorable draft stocks headed into the College Football Playoff.