Semaj Bridgeman, Ex-Wolverine

Tag: Semaj Bridgeman


29Apr 2024
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Semaj Bridgeman, Ex-Wolverine

Semaj Bridgeman

Rising second-year linebacker Semaj Bridgeman has entered the transfer portal. Bridgeman was a 247 Composite 4-star, the #26 linebacker, and #302 overall in the class of 2023 when he came out of Philadelphia (PA) Imhotep.

Bridgeman did not play in any games last fall as the Wolverines made a run to a national championship. Michigan lost starters Junior Colson and Michael Barrett to the NFL, but their replacements are two transfers: Ernest Hausmann (Nebraska) and Jaishawn Barham (Maryland). Furthermore, the coaching staff is rumored to be looking at adding at least one more linebacker for depth purposes.

Looking back on his time being involved with Michigan, he was disappointed when recruiter George Helow was not retained. Then he was coached by Chris Partridge, who was fired in the wake of the Connor Stalions cheating scandal. Then he was coached by analyst Rick Minter for the remainder of 2023 after Partridge’s firing. And now there are rumors that the coaching staff, including new linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary, is trying to recruit over some of the backup linebackers. So one can definitely see why there might be some frustration and a desire to start fresh somewhere else.

Bridgeman is the second linebacker to enter the portal in the last week, joining 2024 signee Jeremiah Beasley. From the 2023 class, Bridgeman joins CB Cam Calhoun (Utah), WR Karmello English, OG Amir Herring, and CB D.J. Waller, Jr. (Kentucky) as transfers one year after hitting campus.

23Mar 2024
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2024 Spring Football Preview: Linebacker

Jaishawn Barham

2023 Starters: MLB Junior Colson, WLB Michael Barrett
Losses: Colson (NFL), Barrett (NFL)
Returning players: Jaydon Hood (RS Jr.), Ernest Hausmann (Jr.), Micah Pollard (Jr.), Jimmy Rolder (RS So.), Semaj Bridgeman (RS Fr.), Jason Hewlett (RS Fr.), Hayden Moore (RS Fr.)
Newcomers: Jaishawn Barham (Jr.), Jeremiah Beasley (Fr.), Cole Sullivan (Fr.)
Projected starters: MLB Barham, WLB Hausmann

With the prevalence of the nickel position, linebacker has been somewhat de-emphasized in recent years. A position group that used to play three guys is now primarily whittled down to two. Michigan had a very good two in 2023 in Junior Colson and Michael Barrett, but both are off to the NFL. Both have had very different paths, with Colson playing three years – two as a starter – and Barrett bouncing around between running back, slot receiver, Viper, and weakside linebacker.

Michigan will have two new starting faces at linebacker in 2024, and both of them are transfers who previously wore red. Barham is a two-year starter at Maryland whom the Wolverines poached this off-season. Hausmann started as a freshman at Nebraska in 2022 before joining the Wolverines in 2023, rotating heavily with Colson and Barrett as basically a third starter. So while both will be new starters at Michigan, they have three combined years of starting and another year of heavily involvement out of four college seasons. That’s a ton of experience for two “new” starters and should help Michigan’s defense succeed in 2024.

The backup situation is a little murkier, especially with a new defensive coordinator (Wink Martindale) and a new linebackers coach (Brian Jean-Mary). Jimmy Rolder got a lot of experience in 2022 before playing sparingly in 2023 in the hopes of preserving his redshirt, which was a successful endeavor. Rolder seems like the most likely guy to emerge as a rotational guy or primary backup in 2024. Meanwhile, Jaydon Hood is a fourth-year player who was recruited by Jean-Mary to Michigan out of high school; some suspected Hood would have left by now with no clear path to playing time, but he’s still wearing a winged helmet.

Junior Micah Pollard has played a ton of special teams and some in a backup role, but the rest of the guys are total unknowns on the college level. Semaj Bridgeman, Jason Hewlett, and Hayden Moore all redshirted in 2023, and Michigan gets two early enrollees involved this spring with in-state product Jeremiah Beasley and Pennsylvanian Cole Sullivan. There are way too many players (10) in the linebacker room to support just two starting spots, so this is a position group that will certainly be thinned out by transfers within the next couple years. But for now, it will be interesting to see who could eventually step in, because both Barham and Hausmann could conceivably jump to the NFL with solid seasons in 2024.

8Jul 2023
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2023 Season Countdown: #85 Semaj Bridgeman

Semaj Bridgeman (image via Twitter)

Name: Semaj Bridgeman
Height: 
6’2″
Weight: 
225 lbs.
High school: 
Philadelphia (PA) Imhotep
Position: 
Linebacker
Class: 
Freshman
Jersey number:
N/A
Last year: 
Bridgeman was a senior in high school. He made 27 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 3 recovered fumbles (1 returned for a TD).
TTB Rating:
 N/A

Bridgeman is a thumping middle linebacker prospect who committed to Michigan just over a year ago, on July 1, 2022. He ended up ranked as a 4-star, the #26 linebacker, and #301 overall in the 247 Composite rankings. In many years we might be talking about him as an early contributor, but with the way things have played out at linebacker, he might be in line for a redshirt.

Bridgeman was not entirely happy when linebackers coach George Helow was replaced by Chris Partridge, and perhaps for good reason. Not only was Helow the guy who recruited Bridgeman, but Partridge has seemed to show in the 2024 class that he likes guys who can run, and Bridgeman doesn’t really fit that profile. Though he’s not slow, speed and quickness are not his strong suits. Elsewhere on the team, Michigan returns Junior Colson and Michael Barrett – both of whom have a lot of starting experience – and have added Nebraska’s Ernest Hausmann, not to mention the up-and-coming Jimmy Rolder, who played quite a bit as a freshman last season. That’s a pretty solid group of four linebackers to take most of the snaps this season, so breaking into any kind of meaningful rotation would require a couple of injuries. Bridgeman is probably headed for a redshirt, but 2024 could be a big year with Barrett gone and possibly Colson off to the NFL after his junior year.

Prediction: Redshirt

28Jul 2022
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Visitors: 2022 BBQ at the Big House

Collins Acheampong

Note: Rankings mentioned are from Rivals.

2023

Collins Acheampong – DE – Santa Margarita (CA) Rancho Santa Margarita: Acheampong (4-star, #21 WDE) committed to Michigan in March.

Brooks Bahr – DE – Chicago (IL) Wilmette: Bahr (3-star, #45 SDE) committed to Michigan in March.

Semaj Bridgeman – LB – Philadelphia (PA) Imhotep: Bridgeman (4-star, #12 ILB) committed to Michigan in July.

Hit the jump for more.

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