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19Aug 2022
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2022 Season Countdown: #23 A.J. Henning

A.J. Henning (image via Twitter)

Name: A.J. Henning
Height: 
5’10”
Weight: 
185 lbs.
High school: 
Frankfort (IL) Lincoln-Way East
Position: 
Wide receiver
Class: 
Junior
Jersey number: 
#3
Last year: 
I ranked Henning #23 and said he would be a backup wide receiver and starting kick returner with 14 catches for 170 yards and 2 touchdowns (LINK). He caught 10 passes for 79 yards and ran 9 times for 162 yards and 2 touchdowns.
TTB Rating:
 86

Henning had a chance to step up in 2021 after speedy gadget guy Giles Jackson transferred to Washington prior to the season. And Henning didn’t miss a beat. While he didn’t establish himself as a versatile receiver, he became the end around guy and scored on a 74-yard touchdown run in the first game. He also added a kickoff return for a touchdown against Maryland and a touchdown run against Ohio State. Henning also stepped in to replace injured punt returner Ronnie Bell after the coaches initially tried Caden Kolesar in Bell’s stead.

I expect more of the same from Henning in 2022. There’s no reason to expect fewer end arounds or jet sweeps, and his share of the passing targets probably can’t get much smaller. There’s also a good chance that he ends up handling punt returns and/or kickoff returns. I will be interested to see if Bell takes punt return duties back or if that experiment has ended. Overall, Henning can do a little bit of everything – rushing, receiving, punt returning, and kickoff returning – but if he’s not available for some reason, I think there are other guys who can absorb his role without a huge dropoff.

Prediction: Starting kickoff and punt returner, backup wide receiver

18Aug 2022
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Eyabi Anoma, Wolverine

Eyabi Anoma (image via Twitter)

Former Alabama, Houston, and UT-Martin defensive end/outside linebacker Eyabi Anoma has enrolled at Michigan.

Anoma was listed at 6’6″ and 270 lbs. as a Jack linebacker on UT-Martin’s roster. He made 36 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 3 quarterback hurries in 2021.

2018 RECRUITING RANKINGS
ESPN: 5-star, 94 grade, #1 DE, #3 overall
On3: N/A
Rivals: 5-star, 6.1 grade, #1 WDE, #7 overall
247 Sports: 5-star, 100 grade, #1 WDE, #4 overall

Hit the jump for more.

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18Aug 2022
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2022 Season Countdown: #24 Roman Wilson

Roman Wilson (image via MGoBlue)

Name: Roman Wilson
Height: 
6’0″
Weight: 
185 lbs.
High school: 
Honolulu (HI) St. Louis
Position: 
Wide receiver
Class: 
Junior
Jersey number: 
#14
Last year: 
I ranked Wilson #31 and said he would be a backup wide receiver (LINK). He caught 25 passes for 420 yards and 2 touchdowns, with 3 carries for 59 yards, in five starts.
TTB Rating:
 78

Wilson had a bit of a breakout season in 2021. He was one of four receivers to tie for the team lead with 3 touchdown catches, and he had some huge plays. He caught 2 touchdowns in a tight win over Penn State, he led the team in receiving against Ohio State, and he caught a 75-yard touchdown pass from Donovan Edwards in the Big Ten Championship game. His reported 4.37 speed as a recruit started to show itself as a threat to other teams, and he established himself as a dangerous downfield threat.

I have heard some fans and analysts peg Wilson as their guess for Michigan’s leading receiver in 2022, but I can’t get there. Maybe he can do it in 2023, but Ronnie Bell returns from injury this year and Cornelius Johnson is the 6’3″ prototype who led the squad in 2021. Wilson is a key component of the passing attack, as he can take the top off the defense. But there’s only one ball and there are only so many receiving positions, so some tough decisions are going to need to be made by the coaches and the quarterback(s) on where the ball ends up going. I would expect Wilson to be Michigan’s #3 wideout, but he’ll have some big plays along the way.

Prediction: Part-time starting wide receiver; 30 catches for 450 yards and 4 touchdowns

16Aug 2022
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2022 Season Countdown: #25 Mike Sainristil

Mike Sainristil (image via MGoBlue)

Name: Mike Sainristil
Height: 
5’10”
Weight: 
182 lbs.
High school: 
Everett (MA) Everett
Position: 
Wide receiver
Class: 
Senior
Jersey number: 
#0
Last year: 
I ranked Sainristil #26 and said he would be a starting slot receiver with 25 catches for 330 yards and 3 touchdowns (LINK). He caught 22 passes for 312 yards and 2 touchdowns.
TTB Rating:
 84

Sainristil has been right on this starter/backup edge for three years running, ranked at #25 or #26. Last season I thought he would start at slot receiver, and I was only a few catches/yards off his totals, along with expecting 1 more touchdown than he actually scored. He developed into a reliable target for Cade McNamara, if only partly because Ronnie Bell tore his ACL in the season opener, creating playing time for other guy. The highlight of his season may have been the diving reception he made on a deep ball against Nebraska.

Sainristil has worn both #5 and #19 in his career, and he nabbed #0 this off-season. He’s also on to playing another position: Sainristil played some nickel corner in the spring and continues to play on both sides of the ball in camp. It remains to be seen whether he will be the nickel going into the season. The receiver room is stacked and the defensive backs are talented, so I’m having a hard time gauging how integral Sainristil will be on either side of the ball. It’s entirely conceivable that he fades away on one side, but I can’t imagine him disappearing from both sides of the ball. He should be a pretty big factor to the team overall, but I don’t expect him to be a standout either way.

Prediction: Backup wide receiver and defensive back; 18 catches for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns, 18 tackles

16Aug 2022
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2022 Season Countdown: #26 Karsen Barnhart

Karsen Barnhart

Name: Karsen Barnhart
Height: 
6’5″
Weight: 
308 lbs.
High school: 
Paw Paw (MI) Paw Paw
Position: 
Offensive tackle
Class: 
Redshirt junior
Jersey number: 
#52
Last year: 
I ranked Barnhart #24a and said he would be the starting right tackle (LINK). He started two games at left guard.
TTB Rating:
 86

For the second year in a row, Barnhart served as Michigan’s extra lineman. He’s a utility man who can start at either tackle or either guard spot. When he was a redshirt freshman in 2020, he got a bunch of playing time on a bad offensive line. Last year he played left guard when Trevor Keegan couldn’t go, but he also was a backup tackle in blowouts. Barnhart has not really left an indelible mark as a beast of a player just waiting to break out of his cage, but he has been solid and has a good athletic profile to be “next.”

Last year’s pure blocking tight end, sixth lineman Trente Jones, is likely to start at right tackle now that Andrew Stueber has moved on to the NFL. I will be curious to see if Barnhart takes on Jones’s role as a blocking tight end, or if the staff will simply let the tight ends handle the tight end role, since the tight end room is so stacked with talent. Regardless of whether Barnhart is a blocking tight end or just the backup at guard/tackle, he’s going to play a lot. And when 2023 rolls around, he will probably have a starting role somewhere along the line.

Prediction: Backup offensive lineman