Three Michigan football players on first All-American roster for 2023 season
Michigan football has had a stellar 2022 campaign after beating both rivals and winning the Big Ten. The Wolverines found themselves in the College Football Playoffs for the second straight year, but Corn and Blue had the same result two straight seasons — a first-round loss.
However, an unbeaten season is no small feat, especially in the Big Ten. For a team to stay undefeated and win their conference, they must have dynamic players on the roster. Last season, Michigan had four All-Americans. Blake Corum, Olu Oluwatimi, Jake Moody and Mike Morris all had All-American honors.
Looking ahead to 2023, Pro Football Focus released an All-American roster in early 2023. The Wolverines had three players on the PFF roster.
The first, unsurprisingly, was running back Blake Courm. The senior fullback shocked some people when he decided to return for his senior season and forfeit the NFL Draft where he may have been one of the top running backs on the board. Corum rushed for 1,463 yards in 12 games last season and was in the Heisman vote. If he can stay healthy this season, expect him to come back into the conversation in 2023.
Corum’s 96.2 rating not only led all players in the country last season, it was the best PFF ever from a Power Five player.
Highest-rated seasons by a Power Five player in the PFF College era (since 2014)
Corum’s first 96 tries/touchdowns were second in the nation behind only Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim, who received another 72 carries. The junior should be on the shortlist of favorites for the Heisman Trophy next season.
Depending on who you listen to or what you read, seeing Drake Nugent on this list may shock you. The Wolverines landed Oluwatimi from Virginia as a graduate transfer last season and it worked wonders. Jim Harbaugh and corn and blue hope they can find the same success with the transfer from Stanford in 2023. Nugent, although it looks like it will be a lock to start in the center, will face both Greg Crippen and Raheem Anderson to anchor Michigan’s offensive line. in 2023.
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Despite losing Outland Trophy winner Olusegun Oluwatimi, Michigan should still have an elite game in the middle of their offensive line.
Nugent is the highest-ranked center on this list and is the most valuable returning player at the Power Five position based on PFF wins above average. Stanfordtransfer’s blocking rating of 84.1 ranked third among all centers in the country last season. Between Nugent creating holes in the middle and two top-10 running backs in Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards, the Wolverines’ ground game should be deadly again next season.
Will Johnson is another surprise to make the PFF All-American roster for 2023. PFF lists Johnson as a “Flex-D” position and has Kool-Aid McKinstry and Kalen King ahead of him at cornerback, but Johnson still has found its way onto the list. Just a freshman last season, Johnson became arguably Michigan’s best defensive back by the end of the season. He should have a great second year.
Johnson entered Ann Arbor as a five-star rookie and immediately showed he was worth the hype.
He will remind many of Patrick Surtain II thanks to his height (6ft 2in) and lock down ability. As a true freshman, Johnson led all corners of the Power Five with a 91.1 rating in men’s coverage. His two man interceptions were also tied for fifth in that same group.
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The story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire