3 Michigan football players land on 2023 College Football Freaks List
Don't look now, but we are just 17 days away from the Michigan Football team kicking off their 2023 season against East Carolina. The Wolverines are on a mission as they not only look to continue their domination against Ohio State and the rest of the Big Ten, but they are on a mission to win the National Championship. When you look at Michigan's roster, it does not take long to realize that it is absolutely stacked with athletes on both sides of the ball. In fact, four Michigan Football players have landed on Bruce Feldman's annual College Football Freaks List.
Here are the four Wolverines that Feldman put on this year's list, along with a summary of what he said about each player.
DT Kris Jenkins (No. 6 on list)
- Jenkins Development & Achievements: Under Jim Harbaugh and strength coach Ben Herbert at the Wolverines, Jenkins, the son of former NFL star Kris Jenkins, transformed from a 257-pound player to a more powerful and explosive 307-pound defensive lineman. Last season, he recorded 54 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, 20 QB pressures, and led all defensive linemen nationally in run stops.
- Impressive Physical Feats: Jenkins demonstrated incredible strength and agility by performing a Turkish get-up with a 170-pound dumbbell, the heaviest ever witnessed by Herbert. He also does pull-ups with a 100-pound weight and showcases exceptional speed and jumping abilities for a 300-plus pound athlete.
- Comparison to NFL Combine Participants: Jenkins' agility times for the shuttle and 3-cone were faster than any interior defensive lineman at the year's NFL combine. Additionally, his broad jump would rank as the best, his vertical jump as the second-best, and his bench press number is surpassed only by Mazi Smith.
“He’s the mutant of all mutants,” Harbaugh tells The Athletic. “He just keeps going and going. He’s No. 1 in our KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). He’s over 300. He’s the poster child for enthusiasm unknown to mankind. Watch him become a top-10 pick.”
WR Amarion Walker (No. 12 on list)
- Walker's Journey & Transformation: Originally a three-star recruit from Louisiana, Walker transitioned from a 156-pound freshman playing wideout and defensive back in 2022 to an athletic 6-3 1/4, 180-pound player at Michigan.
- Exceptional 3-cone Drill Performance: Walker completed the 3-cone drill in an unprecedented 6.10 seconds during the offseason. This time is significantly faster than Jaxon Smith-Njigba's combine record of 6.57 seconds from the previous spring and even surpasses the long-standing combine record of 6.42 set by Oregon's Jeff Maehl 12 years prior.
- Additional Athletic Feats: Walker showcased further athletic prowess with a 3.89 shuttle time, which compares favorably to the combine records. His impressive vertical jump reached 42 1/2 inches, and he recorded an 11-4 broad jump. Additionally, Walker clocked a rapid 4.34-second 40-yard dash from a two-point stance.
“It’s the fastest time I have ever seen and likely the fastest I will ever see,” strength coach Ben Herbert says.
QB Alex Orji (No. 50 on list)
- Noteworthy Wolverines: Several Wolverines showcased exceptional athletic abilities: Blake Corum displayed strength with 30 reps on the bench and agility with a 6.39 3-cone and 3.89 shuttle. Zak Zinter, standing at 6-6 and 325 pounds, achieved a 33-inch vertical jump and a swift 4.44 shuttle. Mike Sainristil impressed with a 40-inch vertical and completed the reactive plyo stairs in just 2.26 seconds.
- Orji's Outstanding Performance: Despite other notable performers, teammates often highlighted Orji as their top “Freak”. The 6-3, 237-pound sophomore quarterback tops the team's cumulative KPI score, which evaluates 48 Key Performance Indicators including frame analysis, flexibility/mobility, strength/power, and agility/speed.
- Specific Athletic Achievements: Orji's athletic feats include a 41-inch vertical jump, 2.34 seconds on the reactive plyo stairs, a 10-6 broad jump, a 3.97 shuttle, and a 6.65 in the 3-cone. In terms of on-field accomplishments during 2022, the Texas native scored two rushing touchdowns and successfully completed a pass in mop-up duty.
WR Roman Wilson (No. 73 on list)
- Wilson's Background: Previously recognized as the “Fastest Man” at The Opening during his high school years due to his 4.37 40-yard dash, the 6-0, 193-pound senior is celebrated by coaches for his exceptional speed, agility, and body control.
- Offseason Athletic Achievements: This offseason, Wilson demonstrated his elite athleticism by clocking a 4.33 40-yard dash from a two-point stance and a remarkable 6.20 3-cone drill, surpassed only by teammate Amorion Walker. He also excelled with a program-best 3.77 shuttle time, a 10.76 60-yard shuttle, and a top finish in the Wolverines' reactive plyo stairs at 2.22 seconds.
- On-field Performance: In terms of game statistics, Wilson contributed with 25 receptions resulting in 376 yards and four touchdowns. Additionally, he demonstrated his versatility by adding two rushing touchdowns.
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- Upcoming Michigan Football Season: Michigan Football is gearing up for its 2023 season kick-off in 17 days against East Carolina. The Wolverines aim to maintain their dominance over Ohio State and the Big Ten while setting their sights on the National Championship. Their roster boasts formidable athletes on both offense and defense, with four players recognized on Bruce Feldman's annual College Football Freaks List.
- Featured Wolverines on Feldman's List:
- DT Kris Jenkins (Ranked 6th): A transformed 307-pound defensive lineman with impressive agility and strength. Last season, he made significant defensive contributions and outperformed many at the NFL combine. Harbaugh praises Jenkins for his enthusiasm and predicts a potential top-10 draft pick.
- WR Amarion Walker (Ranked 12th): Evolving from a three-star recruit to a prominent figure at Michigan, Walker has set exceptional records, especially his 3-cone drill time. Strength coach Ben Herbert acknowledges his unparalleled speed.
- QB Alex Orji (Ranked 50th): Amidst a sea of athletic talent, Orji stands out as a “Freak” in the eyes of his peers. His comprehensive performance, combined with his on-field accomplishments, underscores his potential.
- WR Roman Wilson (Ranked 73rd): Known since high school for his speed, Wilson continued to impress in the offseason, registering remarkable athletic feats. On the field, he made significant contributions to the team's offensive success.
- Acknowledgment of Athleticism: Across the board, the Michigan Football team is lauded for its deep well of talent. From Jenkins' unparalleled strength to Walker's impressive speed, and from Orji's all-around athleticism to Wilson's agility and performance, the Wolverines are undoubtedly equipped with some of college football's finest athletes.
Bottom Line: Michigan Football Has Athletes FOR DAYS!
The Michigan Football team, as it approaches the 2023 season, is undeniably armed with an arsenal of athletic talent. With their eyes set on both conference dominance and national glory, they have key players like Jenkins, Walker, Orji, and Wilson making waves on Bruce Feldman's esteemed Freaks List. Their diverse skills, ranging from unrivaled speed to unmatched strength, underscore the Wolverines' potential to turn aspirations into achievements. As they prepare to face East Carolina, it's clear that Michigan's roster isn't just filled with players; it's teeming with game-changers.