Michigan Football 2022 Freshman Top 10 Power Ranking

Every year, probably on every college football team, a freshman walks in and makes an immediate impression.

We saw several in Michigan. In 2021, Andrel Anthony and Junior Colson; in 2020, Blake Corum and Roman Wilson; 2019 Zach Charbonnet and Dax Hill; Chris Evans and Devin Bush in 2016 – so on and so on. But who will these players be in 2022?

Although Class 23 was deep (if you factor in Andrew Gentry), there are plenty of candidates who can become instant hits. While we already have a good idea of ​​some players likely to find themselves in the two-deep, there are others – particularly in distressed positions – that could make a splash in year one.

Here are our top 10 picks of freshman students who could find themselves on the field early and often in 2022, from last to first.

10 CJ Stokes – running back

Stokes has the advantage of coming on board where opportunities exist. No, he hasn’t played college football (obviously no one on this list has), but with Hassan Haskins departing for the NFL, there’s no established short-yardage waiting in the wings.

Of course, backlog sophomore Tavierre Dunlap and walk-on Leon Franklin (who saw time in 2021) could have something to say about that, and of course Michigan could do what we saw in the spring game and switch Kalel Mullings to the offensive side to call linebacker play. But Stokes, who comes in at 5-foot-10, 196-lbs, could very well fill that role – if he works hard and plays his cards right.

9 Zeke Berry – Defender

An extremely athletic, fast player, Concord (California) De La Salle could be a newcomer with immediate effect.

As a runner in high school, Berry managed a 11.14 100-yard dash, and he did so at 6 feet and 195 pounds. He’s listed by Michigan at 5-foot-11,197, which is still good for showing off his speed while batting from safe position.

The fact that the Wolverines will have to replace last year’s two starting safeties also provides an opening for the California product, though he has a steeper learning curve than another player at the position who arrived on campus in January.

8 Amorion Walker – wide receiver

Photo: Isaiah Loch

The newcomer receiving the corps will be taken by surprise similar to the group that arrived in 2017. But unlike that group, Michigan doesn’t have to rely on them right away given the depth of the position.

Still, like anyone arriving in their freshman year, the 6-foot-3, native of Ponchatoula, La., has the ability to make an instant impact on the game.

He’s not our first pick at the position, but if he’s playing full power during the bouncing ball he’ll have an advantage as he’s already familiar with the system and has already completed two collegiate-level conditioning cycles.

7 Keon Sabb – Security

Photo: Isaiah Loch

As with Berry, Sabb has an opportunity given the lack of established starters at the position. Unlike Berry, Sabb was an early enroller and so got his feet wet from the winter-spring-summer cycles.

While he made some rookie mistakes in the spring, the former five-star (he finished as a four-star) has terrific athletics and could work in defensive backfield rotation if not on special teams. His experience at IMG Academy in his senior season is a bonus.

6 Jimmy Rolder – Defender

Photo: Isaiah Loch

Jim Harbaugh got poetic about the Marist High School (Illinois) linebacker, noting that he just reminds you of the old-school Big Ten linebacker. He came onto campus this summer, but Linebackers is another positional group that doesn’t have much established depth. Even if that’s the case, we’ve seen newcomers penetrate the two-deep like we did with Junior Colson last year and Devin Bush in 2016.

At 6-foot-2, 228-pounds, Rolder is already of college-ready height, if he can tell that and his ability to capitalize on it, he might find himself seeing early minutes.

5 Mason Graham – Defensive tackle

Photo: Isaiah Loch

Amazingly, the early adopters come in at just 317 pounds and in a position of distress, playing a part in a rotation that needs body — and the ability to rush the passer. A native of Anaheim, Calif. Servite, Graham is already collegiate height, although he has never played college football outside of the spring.

He has received rave reviews throughout Spring Ball and is expected to contribute again in his first year this season.

4 Darrius Clemons – wide receiver

Photo: Isaiah Loch

Talk about players who are already ready to play. Looking straight out of the gates in the spring game in the role of an established receiver, Clemons pulled off an impressive vaulting touchdown (above).

It’s an absolutely loaded position group in an offensive that’s even more weapon-loaded. However, Clemons already has collegiate height at 6-foot-3, 214-lbs, along with a reputation for being incredible at distance running and getting separation.

He finished college, the bigger question is how do the Wolverines fit him?

3 Derrick Moore – line of defense

Photo: Isaiah Loch

When the four-star Baltimore (Md.) St. Frances Academy star arrived on campus at 250 pounds, it was thought he would be an easy drop-in for edge rushers. That may still be the case, but Moore weighed in at a staggering 279 pounds in his fall weigh-in. With the option to play indoors or outdoors, the Oklahoma decommit, already considered an immediate player, was able to influence the field from multiple positions.

He looked the part in the spring game, the question now is how does it translate to the college game when bullets fly live.

2 Kenneth Grant – Defensive tackle

Jim Harbaugh apparently gushed over Grant to The Athletic at Bruce Feldman’s Big Ten media days last week, which left us wondering – is the mysterious newcomer Harbaugh alluded to at his panel session?

Either way, the Merrillville, Ind. product enters the 2022 season with the distinction of being Michigan’s tallest player at 357 pounds. Again, it seems obvious he will see the field early and often and could be a potential difference maker in year one.

1 Will Johnson-cornerback

Photo: Isaiah Loch

Johnson, Michigan’s 2022 Resident Five Star Hotel and Legacy is the obvious choice for #1 on our list.

He’s the only one of the freshmen who could very well win a starting role (at cornerback) just outside the gates, potentially beating veteran elder statesmen who started many games like Gemon Green.

Johnson is big, fast, athletic, instinctive and a total ball hawk. It’s in his and Michigan’s interest that he’s willing to go in his freshman year. Generally, five-star players see the field early, so there’s no doubt he will. The question now is more: is he a starter or is he moving in with another player?

Anyway, we’ll be seeing a lot from Will Johnson this year.

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