2023 Season Countdown: #3 Mike Sainristil

2023 Season Countdown: #3 Mike Sainristil

August 30, 2023
Mike Sainristil (image via SI)

Name: Mike Sainristil
182 lbs.
High school: 
Everett (MA) Everett
Wide receiver
Fifth year senior
Jersey number: 
Last year: 
I ranked Sainristil #25 and said he would be a backup wide receiver and defensive back (LINK). He made 58 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 interception, and 8 pass breakups.
TTB Rating:

As you can see above with my prediction from last year, Sainristil’s prominence in Michigan’s defense caught us by surprise. He was talked about by Jim Harbaugh as someone who could be a two-way player, and that hasn’t been uncommon with Harbaugh. Guys like Kalel Mullings, Ben Mason, and Amorion Walker have all played some on both sides of the ball during his tenure.

What no one seemed to expect was his turning into an all-conference caliber player, one who won Defensive Player of the Week two times (against Colorado State and, more importantly, Ohio State). He was a fixture in the starting lineup, a deft tackler, and a good cover guy. The toughness he had shown as a receiver over the previous couple seasons also showed up on defense, so in his first year playing D, he was second among defensive backs in tackles and fourth on the team overall. But surely his most memorable play was when he knocked a pass away from OSU tight end Cade Stover at the last second, preserving a two-score lead.

This season I expect Sainristil to reprise his role as Michigan’s starting nickel corner. There had been talk that he could slide to outside corner if nobody stepped up there, but it seems like Josh Wallace is the starter opposite Will Johnson at cornerback. Last year there was a surprise with Sainristil, so I won’t write him off altogether as a starting outside corner. He should be even better with a year of experience under his belt and a full off-season of focusing on defense.

Prediction: Starting nickel corner; 65 tackles, 2 interceptions

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