Name: Joey Velazquez
Weight: 224 lbs.
High school: Columbus (OH) St. Francis De Sales
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #29
Last year: I ranked Velazquez #78 and said he would be a backup linebacker and special teamer (LINK). He played in one game.
TTB Rating: 82
Velazquez has developed roughly in the manner I expected so far during his career. After starting off his career at Viper in 2019, he moved to inside linebacker in 2020. That was a better fit for him, especially considering all the players Michigan had been bringing in at the hybrid Viper position. The one opportunity he got to see the field in 2020 was on special teams against Michigan State.
Now with the defensive coaching change, it’s unclear exactly what the defense will look like in 2021. Velazquez is still a little light at 224 lbs., and his baseball training probably holds him back from realizing his full potential in football. (He hit .174 with 7 RBI and 1 double this spring.) It’s very tough to play two sports in college, and I would not be surprised to see him make a choice sometime in the next year about which sport to choose to play full-time. There were some positive things being said about him this off-season, but at best, he appears to be at least the fifth-best inside linebacker going into year three.
Prediction: Backup linebacker, special teamer