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Michigan Wolverines football coach has high praise for new transfer addition

Michigan football is looking forward towards the debut of this new transfer addition.



Michigan Wolverines football coach, transfer portal, AJ Barner
© Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

Jim Harbaugh has been hitting the transfer portal pretty hard this offseason, addressing all of the Wolverines’ final roster holes ahead of the 2023 college football season. In a recent interview, Michigan Wolverines football coach Grant Newsome, who oversees the tight ends, had a lot to say about AJ Barner, one of Michigan’s top pick-ups heading into the new season.

Michigan Wolverines football coach has major praise for AJ Barner

AJ Barner, a former standout tight end for the Indiana Hoosiers, is an incredible addition for the Wolverines as they enter the new season. Since Jim Harbaugh arrived in Ann Arbor, tight ends have played a pivotal role in Michigan’s offense. Barner brings both size and skill to the table, making him a perfect fit for Harbaugh’s offensive system.

“He’s just worked, which is amazing,” Newsome said according to the ‘In The Trenches Podcast.’ “The best compliment you can give someone who would come in, and especially, like you said, a guy whose was a two-year captain there, two or three-year starter, played a ton of football in the Big Ten. I mean, shoot, he caught an impressive touchdown against Ohio State.”

Last year, Luke Schoonmaker was the standout in Michigan’s tight end room, but he has since moved on to the NFL. AJ Barner can step in as a starter this year, alongside sophomore Colston Loveland, forming one of the nation’s most formidable blocking and receiving tight end duos. With the receiving corps looking thin, rising junior quarterback JJ McCarthy will likely rely heavily on these tight ends, more so than previous Michigan football quarterbacks have.

“So a guy who’s kind of been there and done that, for him to come in and there was never any arrogance or cockiness,” Newsome explained. “Or, ‘Oh, hey, it’s my room now.’ He just kind of put his head down and worked and learned and it’s just a guy who’s always asking what more he can do, how he can improve. And he’s meshed extremely well with it with the team and the room.”

AJ Barner is an ideal addition to Michigan football, bringing vast Big Ten experience, great hands, fast feet, a massive frame, and much more to the table for the Maize and Blue. Furthermore, numerous reports from spring ball, as well as the spring game itself, confirm that he is a significant addition for the Wolverines heading into the 2023 season.

If Michigan hopes to contend for another Big Ten title, and perhaps even a national title, AJ Barner and the rest of the transfer portal class must step up and make significant contributions.

“We’re very fortunate that he’s got all the physical tools to do it, he’s got the strength,” Newsome said. “And beyond that, he’s got the experience, even though they didn’t do a ton of (throwing to him) in Indiana. He knows what it’s like cutting off a backside defensive end of this conference. It’s a lot easier said than done.”

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