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Zeke Berry emerging as potential nickel for Michigan football

Michigan football needs a new nickel to replace Mike Sainristil and Zeke Berry is one name to watch according to secondary coach Lamar Morgan.



Michigan football
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sport

Michigan football lost a ton from its national championship team. But maybe the most difficult piece to replace, outside of J.J. McCarthy, will be Mike Sainristil.

What Sainristil did the last two seasons playing nickel corner for Michigan football was incredible. I think he’s the best slot corner in the draft and he’s only played two seasons of DB in college. The sky is the limit. Sainristil can play outside too and he’s an incredible tackler.

If any team needs a nickel corner or just a corner in general, they should take him in the first round. They wouldn’t regret it. He might fall to round two due to his size, but some team is getting a future Pro Bowler. Maybe even a future All-Pro.

I could gush about Mike Sainristil, a Michigan football legend, all day. But looking ahead, the Wolverines have to replace him. Rod Moore was one candidate to play more in the slot this season. Then, he tore his ACL which means he’s likely out for the year.

Zeke Berry is a DB to watch for Michigan football

Yet, in his first meeting with the media, new Michigan football secondary coach Lamar Morgan pointed to junior Zeke Berry as a name to watch.

“A guy that has really stepped up is Zeke Berry,” Morgan said. “He’s going to be a unique player for us. He’s still young and still developing but he’s got a lot of those traits.”

Berry hasn’t played a ton over the past two seasons. The 5-foot-11, former four-star recruit played in 11 games last season for Michigan football, playing mostly on special teams. Ja’Den McBurrows has also been mentioned as a nickel corner, but he’s playing on the outside too.

D.J. Waller and Jyaire Hill have also progressed as young corners this spring. Their development could allow McBurrows to play more in the slot, but I’ve always said if Michigan wants that player to be more of a safety, Berry is the best bet. He can cover but he can tackle too.  That was an essential part of Mikey’s role.

Either way, Berry will be one Michigan football defender to watch during the spring game.

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Chris has worked in sports journalism since 2005 writing for multiple newspapers and websites such as the Bleacher Report and Fansided where he has covered the Michigan Wolverines since 2016. With family ties to Detroit, Chris has been a Wolverines diehard since the day he was born and attacks every blog with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. Chris is also a Heisman Trophy voter.