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Jim Harbaugh says new commit Alex Orji’s ‘like looking at Herschel Walker playing quarterback’

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A dual-threat QB with strength to his game.

Dallas Cowboys v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

2022 three-star Sachse, Texas quarterback Alex Orji is the definition of a dual-threat quarterback.

Michigan’s happy to land Orji, a former Virginia Tech commit, who had offers from Oklahoma, Nebraska, Baylor, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt, TCU and others .

Orji threw for 2,064 yards with 28 touchdowns and 8 interceptions in 2021 while rushing for 1,187 yards and 24 rushing touchdowns. For Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, he’s impressed with his high school film — Orji has a mix of speed and power, along with upside throwing the football.

“I’ve seen him on tape a lot. He plays at the highest level of football in Texas,” Harbaugh told Jon Jansen on the In the Trenches Podcast. “Runs for 1,200 yards — you can watch the tape and say this guy’s a great runner, I mean, tremendous runner. If he had 400 yards, you’d say he’s a really good running quarterback. If he ran for 600, you’d say the same thing — but 1,200 yards, that’s way, way up there for a quarterback. And don’t get the thought in your head that he can’t throw the ball, he throws it really, really well.”

Orji’s stature is already that of a developed man, and he’ll add more muscle to his frame from here. Orji was hard to take down during his senior season, and Harbaugh is even comparing Orji’s stature to a great running back of old — Herschel Walker.

“You can see why when you meet him in person, I don’t know what he weighs, but not an ounce of fat on him. It’s gotta be 235, 240,” Harbaugh guessed. “It’s like looking at Herschel Walker playing quarterback, who can really throw the ball. Super excited about him.”

Orji’s road to Ann Arbor came sudden this month. Orji was going to commit to Virginia Tech, but his plans changed when Hokies head coach Justin Fuente was fired in mid-November. Harbaugh and Michigan already had expressed interest in Orji in the past (Harbaugh offered the QB personally), and then reaffirmed their intrigue after Fuente was fired. This allowed Harbaugh to get to know Orji’s father, and develop a genuine relationship with the Orji family.

“Just really getting to know Alex’s dad, Mr. Orji. Just somebody you meet and right away there’s a lot I’m supposed to glean from this man,” Harbaugh said. “Alex was committed to Virginia Tech and we had offered him, recruited him, and he was solid with Virginia Tech. Their head coach got let go and we called him up and said, ‘Hey, we’re here, we’re not gonna twist anybody’s arm.’ He decided to come up on an official visit and that was the first time I met Alex and his family. And it was love at first sight for me, and super excited that he’s coming here.”

Orji wasn’t the only quarterback to sign their letter of intent with Michigan on Wednesday, so did Jayden Denegal, a three-star QB from Apple Valley, California. Denegal threw for 1,545 yards with 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions along with 281 yards rushing and 8 rushing touchdowns.