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Michigan football: senior defensive tackle gearing up for massive season

Michigan football is searching for a new leader and top defender in 2023.



Michigan football, Kris Jenkins
Dec 31, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Max Duggan (15) passes against Michigan Wolverines defensive lineman Kris Jenkins (94) in the second quarter of the 2022 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

This fall, Kris Jenkins, a senior defensive tackle for Michigan football, will be relied upon to lead the Wolverines’ impressive defensive line. Last season, this responsibility rested on the shoulders of defensive tackle Mazi Smith and defensive end Mike Morris, both of whom are now in the NFL. During the offseason, Jenkins has gained considerable weight in preparation for his new role with the Maize and Blue, a role unlike any he has seen in Ann Arbor.

Michigan football senior defensive tackle in store for a big year

The Michigan football defensive line has been a focal point for the Maize and Blue throughout Jim Harbaugh’s eight-season tenure. As Harbaugh enters his ninth year in Ann Arbor, Kris Jenkins will be expected to take on a leadership role both in the locker room and on the field, which will be a new responsibility for both Jenkins and the Wolverines.

“Kris Jenkins is just a monster,” said Briaden McGregor, according to The Michigan Daily. “Everyone will see this year come fall like, ‘yeah this guy’s going to be one of the best guys in the country.”

A larger role for the Wolverines’ top defensive lineman

Throughout Kris Jenkins’ three-year tenure in Ann Arbor thus far, he has achieved notable success. He has earned three varsity letters, been selected as an academic All-Big Ten player, and received an honorable mention for the All-Big Ten team in 2022. Last season, as a senior, Jenkins started in all 14 games at defensive tackle for the Wolverines, leading the defensive line with 54 tackles over the course of the year. However, it is important to note that he held the secondary position in the interior defensive line, as the top spot was held by Mazi Smith, an All-Big Ten tackle.

“He’s going to be NFL ready by the end of the year,” Mazi Smith said of Jenkins. “He’s got a lot of traits that show all the time.”

The best defender that Michigan has?

Despite Kris Jenkins’ significant contributions to the Wolverines so far, Michigan football is expecting even more from him in the upcoming 2023 season. Head coach Jim Harbaugh has expressed the possibility of Jenkins becoming Michigan’s top defensive player this fall. This indicates the high level of expectations and responsibility placed upon Jenkins to elevate his performance and become a standout leader on the team’s defense.

“Kris Jenkins, potentially our best player on the defense, is going to be really good,” said Jim Harbaugh back in February of this year.

This fall, it is essential for all Michigan football fans to closely watch Kris Jenkins. Alongside the Wolverine defense, Jenkins will play a crucial role in leading the program’s pursuit of its third consecutive Big Ten title and potentially more accomplishments. His performance and impact on the field will be pivotal in shaping the team’s success throughout the season, one that the Maize and Blue hope to culminate with a national title for the first time since 1997.

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