Name: Michael Barrett
Weight: 227 lbs.
High school: Valdosta (GA) Lowndes
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #23
Last year: I ranked Barrett #22 and said he would be the starting Viper (LINK). He made 44 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and 1 quarterback hurry.
TTB Rating: 82
Barrett has made quite a transition, going from high school quarterback to Viper (outside linebacker) for the past couple seasons at Michigan. Generally considered to be an athlete coming out of high school (he spent time at RB, slot receiver, and LB to start his college career), he eventually settled in where most people expected him, playing Viper. After watching Khaleke Hudson man the position for a couple seasons, Barrett stepped in and had a decent campaign. His Minnesota game was outstanding, including a strip sack that resulted in a Donovan Jeter touchdown and a 64-yard kickoff return. Unfortunately, his impact was somewhat negated afterward, notching just 0.5 tackles for loss for the final five games of the year. He did pile up some tackles in a couple games – making 11 twice – but those tackles were downfield for a struggling defense.
Barrett’s role in 2021 is very intriguing. Most insiders have him starting at one of the inside linebacker spots (early reports said MIKE linebacker, but more recently I have seen talk that he’s playing WILL). At the same time, there’s more buzz surrounding Nikhai Hill-Green, a second-year player. Barrett is a bit of an odd fit at inside linebacker with his (lack of) size, and the fear is that the former safety/linebacker hybrid might get run over. I have Barrett penciled in as a starter because of his experience, leadership, and athleticism, but the coaches might give Hill-Green a shot if Barrett struggles early.
Prediction: Starting inside linebacker
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