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Veteran linebacker views depth as a strength for Michigan football

The linebacker group is looking confident so far this spring.



veteran linebacker, michigan football, Nikhai Hill-Green
Michigan linebacker Nikhai Hill-Green (41) tackles Rutgers quarterback Noah Vedral (0) during the second half at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Just one year ago, it wasn’t hard to realize that linebacker depth was one of the main concerns going into the Michigan Wolverines’ 2022 campaign. Now, heading into Michigan football’s 144th season, linebacker depth might be a strength. Thanks to some new additions and recently found health, veteran linebacker Nikhai Hill-Green feels confident about the Michigan football linebacker room for this coming season.

Veteran linebacker is confident in the Wolverines’ depth

One of the most important aspects of a winning team is having talent from top to bottom. A few star players can only get you so far, especially considering how frequent injuries can be in a sport as physical as football.

That becomes even more true in a position such as linebacker, which can often be seen making plays all over the field. For Michigan football in 2022, talent wasn’t necessarily the issue at the linebacker position. Instead, injuries took a toll on that part of the defense.

Players like veteran linebacker Nikhai Hill-Green missed large chunks of time due to injury. Still, according to Hill-Green, that shouldn’t be nearly as much of an issue this season. “It’s great; it’ll only make me better. You know, like I always tell the linebackers, if you get better, I get better. So, I feel like with depth, that will only help us stay fresh,” the newly healthy linebacker said after the Wolverines’ spring game on Saturday. “It’ll help me make more plays. It’ll help the young guys have playing experience and help them make more plays. I just think it’s awesome.”

Getting some of the younger guys more experience will always be an essential aspect of building a team. It could be even more beneficial for Michigan football, considering star linebacker Junior Colson is currently sidelined with an injury.

Newly acquired transfer could take on a big role this season for Michigan football

While having a veteran linebacker group is never a bad idea, having some young stars on a roster can only improve things. Coach Jim Harbaugh understood that to be true, so he took to the transfer portal to help address it.

Sophomore Ernest Hausmann, formerly with Nebraska, could be just the man for the job this season. As a freshman in 2022, Hausmann recorded 54 total tackles and one sack. His only sack of the year came against none other than the Michigan Wolverines. Coming out of the spring game, it appears that this momentum has only continued as he’s started to turn heads already.

Following Michigan’s spring game, Nikhai Hill-Green had some high praise for Hausmann, particularly regarding his athleticism. “Ernest, he’s fast, he’s rangy, I like his length. What I’ve been trying to help him out most with is just like shed blocks because we’re in a defense where we need finesse linebackers, but we need linebackers who can, like I said, win that one-on-one, shed the blocker, and make the tackle.”

Hill-Green also noted what a willing learner Hausmann is, an underrated trait all young football players should aim to have. “But I like him; he’s a worker, he’s a sponge. He absorbs information well, and I’m just excited to see how good he can be, how good I can be, and how good our entire room can be.”

While good health is never guaranteed, Michigan football appears to be headed in the right direction. If all goes according to plan, linebacker play could easily be a strength for the team in 2023 and into the near future.

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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.