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This Michigan football sophomore could see both sides of the field

It’s looking like Michigan football might have yet another wide receiver transition to the defensive side of the ball.



Dec 31, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh signals for a two-point conversion after a touchdown against the TCU Horned Frogs in the second half of the 2022 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Over Jim Harbaugh’s tenure with Michigan football, position changes aren’t out of the ordinary. We’ve seen quarterbacks transition to tight end, linebackers transition to running back and wide receivers transition to cornerback. Now, it appears as though we may see yet another position change as sophomore Amorion Walker is officially listed as a wide receiver/defensive back.

Walker’s career as a Wolverine

Coming out of high school, Walker was recruited as one of three wide receiver prospects in the class of 2022, alongside Tyler Morris and Darrius Clemons. All three freshmen saw the field occasionally in their freshman year, but Walker was the only one who saw the field in all three phases of the game, offense, defense and special teams.

As a freshman, Walker appeared in six games for Michigan football, playing wide receiver in five, defensive back in one and special teams in another. In his limited snaps, Walker was still able to make an impact, recording one catch for four yards in his first year with the team.

It’s only the beginning

One week into 2023 spring practices, it’s becoming abundantly clear that getting Walker in on defense was no coincidence. Days after the start of practices, Harbaugh had some high praise for Walker and what he’d accomplished so far. He even went as far as saying he views him as a starter.

“I consider him a starter right now, just off the first few practices, and I think those other players I mentioned will all be right there in the hunt as well,” Harbaugh said.

In addition, it seems as though he might have interest in getting him snaps at wide receiver along with defensive back. This is something Michigan football hasn’t seen since do-it-all star Jabrill Peppers in 2016. Comparing someone to Jabrill Peppers is by no means something I want to do. Still, it’s notable that Harbaugh is considering getting him in on both sides of the ball.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he would excel and thrive both as a wide receiver and as a defensive back, as a corner. Just trying to find the absolute best position for him for his career,” Harbaugh said. “Where is he going to make the greatest impact over the course of his career, benefit the most from his football ability. You just don’t know for sure whether it’s receiver or corner but the length he has, the athletic ability he has, speed that he has, and the change of direction mainly for a guy that’s 6-3, 6-4, it’s rare for a corner to have that length and speed but have that change of direction. Just want to find out. The work ethic is so strong with him. Right now, he’s chasing strength and power. If we’re right, he could be the type of corner, there are none like him. Like a unicorn.”

Walker as a two-way player

Now, it’s always fun to talk about the potential of a two-way player, but what are the odds of this happening? Regarding defense, if coach Harbaugh’s words mean anything, I’d be surprised if we don’t see plenty of Amorion Walker on the defensive side of the ball. Offense is where things start to get a bit muddy.

This past season, wide receiver was one of the deepest positions Michigan football had, with five or six players more than capable of starting. This year, things are looking much more slim, as plenty of unproven talent is about to step into the spotlight. The three most experienced receivers are Cornelius Johnson, Roman Wilson and A.J. Henning.

The next guys up are likely the trio of sophomores Tyler Morris, Darrius Walker and Amorion Walker. The potential is through the roof with all three players, but there are only so many snaps to go around, especially with a team like Michigan, which loves to run the ball.

While I could see Walker getting some snaps on both sides of the ball, I don’t anticipate it happening much early on as he learns the defense. He’s got the athleticism and length to significantly impact offense and defense, but this could be more of a possibility a year or two from now. Ultimately, how early he gets his opportunity is up to him and coach Harbaugh. In the meantime, Michigan football fans have every reason to be excited for Walker’s future with the program.

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A recent graduate from Kalamazoo College, Tyler has four years experience in sports writing. He currently works as assistant editor for Blue By Ninety and specializes in a variety of sports such as football, swimming and diving, and basketball.