2018 Recruiting Recap: Offensive Linemen

Nicholas Petit-Frere was drafted in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans
Petit-Frere, a former top recruit in the Class of 2018, started 16 games as a rookie for the Tennessee Titans in 2022.

Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 NFL Draft recap

Nick Herbig OLB-Pittsburgh Steelers
Wisconsin OLB Nick Herbig was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 132nd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
September 27, 2023

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Michigan band on the field in 2018

The Michigan band at work during halftime of its 2018 contest versus Notre Dame.

The Michigan Wolverines enter the 2023 college football season presumed by many to be the nation’s best team. They’re hoping to beat archrival Ohio State three years in a row for the first time since the 1995-1997 seasons. So, is it fair to assume that this should be the year?


There is a lot of talent returning to Ann Arbor, and it includes junior quarterback phenom J.J. McCarthy. McCarthy accounted for 3,025 total yards and 27 total touchdowns (22 PASS, 5 RUSH) in 2022. In addition, the dynamic running back duo of Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards combined to rush for 2,454 yards on 387 carries and 25 rushing touchdowns last season. The Wolverines’ running attack was the strong suit of its offense, as both backs averaged over six yards per carry. Prior to injury, Corum had three rushing performances of 160 or more yards. Not to be outdone, Edwards also posted three such efforts. He has averaged 12.2 yards per catch on 38 career receptions (3 TDs).

On the outside, two of the unit’s top four receivers return in Cornelius Johnson and Roman Wilson. Johnson, a 46-game starter in school, torched the Buckeyes to the tune of 160 receiving yards and two scores. Wilson scored twice (REC, RUSH) in the 2023 College Football Playoff semifinal versus TCU, and nearly had a third on a controversial overturned reception.

They are important because last year’s leading man, San Francisco 2023 seventh-round pick Ronnie Bell, made the 49ers roster after shining this preseason. In 2022, Bell nearly doubled the team’s next closest receiver in terms of receptions and yards.

Ronnie Bell WR San Francisco 49ers
Former Wolverines star receiver Ronnie Bell recently made the San Francisco 49ers 53-man roster.

Michigan also lost productive tight end Luke Schoonmaker, a second-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in this year’s draft. Sophomore Colston Loveland came on strong down the stretch of his freshman campaign. At placekicker, the Wolverines are turning to Louisville transfer James Turner to replace San Francisco 49ers third-round pick Jake Moody. Turner missed just 12 of his 59 field goal attempts in the ACC.

The Wolverines boasts two of the top interior offensive linemen in the college football. Offensive guards Zak Zinter and Trevor Keegan return as experienced starters. Zinter, a right guard, was named a preseason All-American selection, while Keegan, a two-time All-Big Ten left guard, has been busy putting on added weight. Talented guard/tackle graduate transfer LaDarius Henderson is competing with Karsen Barnhart. Barnhart is a 15-game starter at left tackle (5), right tackle (8) and left guard (2). Henderson started at both left guard and left tackle for Arizona State.


The reason some would consider this the nation’s best team revolves around its defense. The unit is littered with NFL prospects. The linebacking corps has two of the nation’s best in Michael Barrett and Junior Colson. Barrett, a 20-game starter, comes off a season that featured 72 tackles, three-and-a-half sacks, and two interceptions. Colson led the team with 101 total tackles and added two quarterback sacks.

The secondary lost key contributors in DJ Turner (Cincinnati Bengals) and R.J. Moten (Florida Gators), but there’s still an abundance of talent. Rod Moore’s four interceptions led the team and his 71 total tackles ranked third. The defense brings back former receiver-turned-nickel back Mike Sainristil and defensive lineman Kris Jenkins, both impact players from last year’s playoff squad. Sainirstil flashes superb instincts in man coverage and Jenkins’ activity is reminiscent of his father’s.

Many thought the Michigan Wolverines had what it took in 2022, but we never got to see them on the very biggest stage. This same defense I’m raving about gave up 51 points in an untimely defensive letdown against TCU.

Jim Harbaugh HC Michigan
Former Chicago Bears first-round pick Jim Harbaugh has compiled a 132-52 overall record at the collegiate level as a head coach (San Diego, Stanford, Michigan).

Jim Harbaugh is going to miss the first three games of the year due to the school’s self-imposed suspension. The Wolverines should fare pretty well without him in those contests (ECU, UNLV and Bowling Green). Above all else, fans are wondering if this is the year they reach the mountaintop.

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