Hayden Moore, Ex-Wolverine

Tag: transfers

1May 2024
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Hayden Moore, Ex-Wolverine

Hayden Moore (image via Twitter)

As has become the trend in recent weeks, another linebacker has entered the transfer portal. This time it’s rising second-year player Hayden Moore.

Moore was a 247 Composite 3-star, the #94 linebacker, and #1166 overall in the class of 2023. He was originally committed to Nebraska, but the Wolverines swooped in late and notched a commitment from him in mid-December of 2022, just before National Signing Day. He did not play in any games, but he was named Defensive Scout Team Player of the Week four times during his freshman year.

The depth chart at linebacker has been problematic for young players who don’t see a clear path to playing time. Two juniors are slated to start this fall in Ernest Hausmann and Jaishawn Barham, and there’s a new linebackers coach in town. At one point Michigan had ten (10!!!) scholarship inside linebackers on the roster when the team only plays two at any given time, which is kind of the equivalent of having 25 scholarship offensive linemen or 15 scholarship wide receivers for an 11-personnel team.

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

12Feb 2024
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Joey Velazquez, Ex-Wolverine

Joey Velazquez

Michigan linebacker Joey Velazquez has left the program and will play for Ohio State as a walk-on going forward.

Velazquez entered the transfer portal after the season, which was not particularly surprising. Since entering the program in 2019, Velazquez had played in just 20 games over that span (0 in 2023) with 8 tackles and 1 fumble recovery during that stretch.

Velazquez was a 3-star, the #86 safety, and #1024 overall in the class of 2019. He was recruited by Don Brown for the “Viper” position that no longer exists in Michigan’s defense. At 6’0″ and 222 pounds, he fits the athletic shape of a Viper, but he never fit in to Michigan’s defense as it’s been since 2021. Doubling as a baseball player, he had a better career on the diamond than he did on the gridiron at Michigan.

However, it appears that Velazquez will not play baseball at Ohio State and will instead focus on football, which is odd since he’s very inexperienced for a rising sixth year senior. Perhaps he just wants to be closer to home and perhaps hop on board for a potential national championship with the Buckeyes, who have spent a bunch of money to make some roster upgrades this off-season.

Velazquez is the first football player to transfer to Ohio State since defensive lineman Chris Rock left the Wolverines following the 2012 season and played for the Buckeyes from 2013-2014. But probably the most famous departure was offensive lineman Justin Boren, who ditched Michigan during the Lloyd Carr-to-Rich Rodriguez transition.

This does not affect Michigan for 2024, since Velazquez was not expected to play much of a role and was already a fifth year senior.

16Jan 2024
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Amorion Walker, Ex-Wolverine

Amorion Walker (image via MLive)

Sophomore wide receiver/cornerback Amorion Walker has entered the transfer portal. He played in thirteen games for the Wolverines over the past two seasons.

Walker came out of Ponchatoula (LA) Ponchatoula in the 2022 class and was ranked as a 3-star, the #72 wide receiver, and #522 overall. I gave him a TTB Rating of 81.

Michigan’s coaching staff believed in Walker as an athlete, and he had some freaky testing times when it comes to sprints and short shuttles. But after two years on campus, he was listed at 6’3″ and 180 lbs. Despite Jim Harbaugh saying he considered Walker to be a starter last winter, he looked overmatched in the spring game – getting torched by walk-on Peyton O’Leary – and then got passed up by UMass transfer Josh Wallace during the summer.

Players usually seem to end up closer to home when they transfer – see Oregon native Darrius Clemons transferring to Oregon State – so I would expect Walker to end up somewhere near SEC country. He has a crystal ball right now for Ole Miss.

As for Michigan, the Wolverines will once again be looking for help at cornerback after losing Walker and rising second-year player Cam Calhoun (Utah) to the transfer portal. Starter Will Johnson returns on one side, but Wallace and Mike Sainristil are heading to the NFL, leaving sophomore D.J. Waller, redshirt junior Ja’Den McBurrows, redshirt freshman Jyaire Hill, and a few others to battle for playing time. Michigan may look to the portal once again for a starter.

12Jan 2024
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Darrius Clemons, Ex-Wolverine

Darrius Clemons

Michigan receiver Darrius Clemons has entered the transfer portal following Michigan’s national championship win on Monday night.

Clemons was a member of Michigan’s 2022 class out of Portland (OR) Westview. He was a 4-star, the #24 wide receiver, and #144 overall in the 247 Composite rankings. I gave him a TTB Rating of 88 based on his 6’4″, 205 lb. frame (he was most recently listed at 6’3″, 212 lbs. by MGoBlue.com) and sub-4.4 speed.

Unfortunately, things didn’t really work out at Michigan. Maybe they could have, but they didn’t. He played in eleven games as a freshman and nine this past season, but he made just 3 catches for 33 yards in 2023 and 4 catches for 40 yards altogether. His biggest career highlight – aside from winning a natty – was a diving touchdown reception in the 2022 spring game.

For better or worse, Michigan’s style of play is not wide receiver-friendly. They play slow and run the ball a lot, which works. I mean, who can argue with the team results? But Michigan’s top receivers this season were Roman Wilson (48 catches, 789 yards, 12 touchdowns) and Cornelius Johnson (47 catches, 604 yards, 1 touchdown). There aren’t a ton of targets to go around, even when Michigan has the best quarterback in school history in J.J. McCarthy.

On top of that, Clemons was passed up in playing time by classmate Tyler Morris (13 catches, 197 yards,1 touchdown) and freshman Semaj Morgan (22 catches, 204 yards, 2 touchdowns).

The bright side for Clemons may have been that both Wilson and Johnson are out of eligibility, and there’s no clear-cut #1 receiver for next season. Michigan will need to look toward the transfer portal to try to find some contributors for 2024 and beyond. At the wide receiver position, the Wolverines will return just 40 catches and 4 touchdowns next season from the likes of Morris, Morgan, Fredrick Moore, Karmello English, and walk-on Peyton O’Leary.

Clemons was the fourth member of the 2022 class to enter the portal, following LB Deuce Spurlock (Florida), S Damani Dent (Charlotte), and RB C.J. Stokes (Charlotte).

4May 2023
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Hudson Hollenbeck, Wolverine

Hudson Hollenbeck (image via Opendorse)

Kicker/punter Hudson Hollenbeck committed to Michigan on social media. He was a class of 2022 walk-on at Mississippi State but did not see the field last season.

I usually don’t do commitment posts for walk-ons, but this seems slightly different, since Hollenbeck is joining the team from another FBS program. (Reasons for the transfer are unclear at this point, but it’s important to remember that Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach died unexpectedly, so the program is going through a change this off-season.)

Hollenbeck is listed at 6’3″ and 195 lbs. on the Bulldogs’ roster. He was a 5-star and the #7 punter in the class of 2022, according to Kohl’s Kicking, and he was a 4.5-star kicker. He enters the program with four years of eligibility remaining.

Michigan’s kicking situation is in flux, because both specialists (kicker Jake Moody and punter Brad Robbins) were drafted in last weekend’s NFL Draft. The Wolverines recently got a commitment from Louisville kicker James Turner, but he has just one season remaining. Meanwhile, redshirt sophomore Tommy Doman and true freshman kicker Adam Samaha will both be on scholarship this fall. Doman has punted once for 41 yards and had 8 kickoffs (with 6 touchbacks) in his career so far.

I would suspect that Hollenbeck will compete for playing time with Doman on punts but may be more of a factor on kickoffs, which might prevent Doman from having to pull double duty.

Hollenbeck is originally from Collierville (TN) Collierville.

Here are Hudson Hollenbeck’s Hudl highlights (say that five times fast):