The Michigan Wolverines have been dominant in the trenches recently. This offensive line has won back-to-back Joe Moore Awards, presented annually to the nation’s top unit; but in consecutive years, they have also fallen short in the opening round of the College Football Playoff (CFP).
Given this recent trend, it came as no surprise that left guard Trevor Keegan returned to Michigan for one simple reason: to win a national championship.
The story so far
Keegan came to Michigan as a four-star recruit in the fall of 2019. In high school, Keegan was the top-rated player in Illinois and one of six (Trente Jones, Nolan Rumler, Karsen Barnhart, Zach Carpenter, Jack Stewart) offensive linemen recruited by then-offensive line coach Ed Warriner.
This class just keeps getting better. Can’t wait to Coach this 6man crew. pic.twitter.com/WDoiTqYJNB— Ed Warinner (@4Warinner) December 15, 2018
During his first season, Keegan was relegated to the bench as he transitioned from a high school left tackle into a Big Ten left guard. As a sophomore, Keegan made his collegiate debut against Michigan State, appearing on special teams.
Due to injuries, sickness and sheer dysfunction in 2020, Keegan eventually played significant snaps at left guard in the tumultuous season's final three games (Wisconsin, Rutgers, Penn State). At the conclusion of the year, more questions existed than answers.
Would head coach Jim Harbaugh be fired? Where does that leave offensive line coach Ed Warriner? How many players would transfer out of the program?
Harbaugh was retained, but Warriner, the man who recruited Keegan to Ann Arbor, was not. In a decisive and shrewd move, Harbaugh promoted tight ends coach Sherrone Moore to co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.
The 2021 season saw a revitalized Michigan team on both sides of the ball and a physically dominant team on the interior. The Wolverines finished the season 12-2, won a Big Ten Championship, and reached the CFP. Keegan started 11 games (appeared in 13) and was a key part of what the late John Madden called, “As good of an offensive line performance” as he ever saw against Ohio State. It was a magical season that was hard to top, but somehow, Keegan and the Wolverines were even better last season.
Michigan finished the regular season undefeated, won another conference championship and reached the CFP. Keegan was recognized as an All-Big Ten selection (first team, coaches; second team, media) and gave considerable thought to the NFL Draft.
However, a quest for an elusive National Championship brought Keegan back for one more season.
Outlook for 2023
Keegan is looking to do a few things this fall: beat all three State schools (again), win an unprecedented third consecutive Joe Moore Award and third straight Big Ten Championship, but above all else, win Michigan’s first National Championship since 1997.
As an upperclassman on the line, Keegan will be looked to as a leader on the field and as a mentor for rising stars like Giovanni El-Hadi. Keegan will have to serve as the glue between a new left tackle and a new center, but zero drop-off is expected as long as Keegan is healthy.
Health permitting, Keegan is a lock to repeat as an all-Big Ten performer and will garner serious consideration for All-American status.
Those who have stayed are already Big Ten champions, two-time champions at that. If the Wolverines are going to take that next step and win a national championship, you can be assured Keegan and the boys up front paved the way to victory.