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How will former Wolverines fare on their new teams?

Several ex-Michigan players have a chance to make a big impact in a new uniform in 2023.

Connecticut v Michigan Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

Welcome to the transfer portal era. The transfer portal currently serves as a faux-free agency for college athletics with limited regulation in order to not distract the NCAA from investigating fast food purchases.

Coupled with NIL, the portal invites change every season and theoretically helps with the national power balance. Michigan has benefited from the portal this offseason by adding several future contributors such as center Drake Nugent, tackle LaDarius Henderson, corner Josh Wallace, and linebacker Ernest Hausmann, among others.

However, the Wolverines have also been affected adversely as those who once stayed to become champions have now left. Some of the Michigan departures will thrive with expanded roles in new schemes; others will face the same struggles that diminished their roles in Ann Arbor.

Let’s take a look at the players who left and what we can expect from each of them in 2023.

EDGE Eyabi Okie - Charlotte

2022 Stats: 18 tackles, 6.5 tackles-for-loss, 4.5 sacks

2023 Projected Stats: 30 tackles, 13.5 tackles-for-loss, 10 sacks

At times, it will be unfair for Eyabi Okie to go up against AAC competition. Okie is a pass-rushing specialist who will wreak absolute havoc off the edge. While still improving as a run defender, Okie has to be the odds-on favorite to lead the conference in sacks.

TE Erick All - Iowa

2021* Stats: 38 receptions, 437 yards, two touchdowns

2023 Proj. Stats: 47 receptions, 538 yards, four touchdowns

Exciting offense and Iowa football go together like peanut butter and paint thinner. Erick All will presumably be the top target, but returning tight end Luke Lachey will cut into some of his production in this limited passing offense.

LB Nikhai Hill-Green - Charlotte

2021* Stats: 50 tackles, 2.5 tackles-for-loss

2023 Proj. Stats: 77 tackles, five tackles-for-loss, one sack

NHG is an excellent run-stuffing defender, and his lack of lateral quickness will be less exposed dropping down to AAC competition. Expect him to be among the leading tacklers on Charlotte this season.

EDGE Taylor Upshaw - Arizona

2022 Stats: 11 tackles, four tackles-for-loss, 1.5 sacks, one interception

2023 Proj. Stats: 22 tackles, nine tackles-for-loss, 6.5 sacks

Taylor Upshaw wanted a bigger role and found one in Tucson after a brief pit stop in Boulder. Alongside All-Conference EDGE Laiatu Latu, the duo will form one of the best pass-rushing combos in the Pac-12.

WR/PR AJ Henning - Northwestern

2022 Stats: Nine receptions, 60 yards / 28 punt returns, 201 yards, one touchdown

2023 Proj. Stats: 34 receptions, 447 yards, two touchdowns / 13 punt returns, 55 yards

AJ Henning will bring a MUCH-needed positive presence off the field for the Wildcats and an electric presence on it. But how much difference can a return specialist with shaky hands make for a team that hasn’t won a game on North American soil in two years?

DL George Rooks - Boston College

2022 Stats: One tackle, one fumble recovery

2023 Proj. Stats: 15 tackles, two tackles-for-loss, 0.5 sacks

George Rooks was an ascending player for the Wolverines but unfortunately played at a position log-jammed with young talent. Rooks will have an opportunity to see the field early and often with BC.

QB Alan Bowman - Oklahoma State

2020* Stats: 150/232, 1,602 yards, 10 touchdowns, seven interceptions

2023 Proj. Stats: 219/340, 2,696, 18 touchdowns, nine interceptions

Alan Bowman has not been a starting quarterback in three years and is currently locked in a positional battle in Stillwater. He will never set the world on fire, but he will bring experience and steady leadership to the Cowboys’ offense.

QB Cade McNamara - Iowa

2021* Stats: 210/327, 2,576 yards, 15 touchdowns, six interceptions

2023 Proj. Stats: 183/292, 2,083, 12 touchdowns, five interceptions

Cade McNamara joins an offense with fewer weapons, creativity, and all-around competence than he has ever played with. McNamara is an upgrade from Spence Petras, but with Brian Ferentz still in charge of the offense, no quarterback will ever reach their true potential in this system.

S RJ Moten - Florida

2022 Stats: 31 tackles, 2.5 tackles-for-loss, 1.5 sacks, one interception

2023 Proj. Stats: 33 tackles, one tackle-for-loss, two interceptions

Despite the slight uptick in box score production, RJ Moten has steadily regressed as an all-around player since 2021. Moten quickly became a liability in run support and subsequently saw his snap count decline at Michigan. Expect more of the same in Gainesville.

WR Andrel Anthony - Oklahoma

2022 Stats: Seven receptions, 80 yards, one touchdown

2023 Proj. Stats: 37 receptions, 512 yards, three touchdowns

Andrel Anthony has the straight-line speed to help elevate this offense next season; however, he will have to drastically improve his consistency as a route-runner and pass-catcher if he is going to stay on the field for Oklahoma head coach Brent Venables.

Best of the Rest

DL Julius Welschof (Charlotte), TE Louis Hansen (UConn), Deuce Spurlock (Florida), CB Damani Dent (Charlotte)

These final four players will all compete for limited rotational time and will primarily serve as special teams players in 2023.