Michigan’s wide receiver room went down a man when Giles Jackson transferred to Washington, but there’s still plenty of talent. While head coach Jim Harbaugh named the top three going into camp, a recent addition — and a rising freshman — have made the competition much more interesting.
As reported in yesterday’s INSIDE THE FORT, Daylen Baldwin is making his presence felt. The Jackson State transfer (6-3, 215 pounds) adds more than just a big body to the room.
“He’s progressing really well … been impressing the other players in the summer cycle,” Harbaugh said. “He’s got a big catch radius. We got a chance to actually work him out, and it was really good.
“He’s a kid from Michigan who was a bit of a late bloomer. He had a really good spring season — we noticed him in the transfer portal and then liked what we saw, contacted him, and then he had some good options and chose Michigan.”
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As of now, junior Ronnie Bell, redshirt sophomores Cornelius Johnson and Mike Sainristil are the top three heading into camp, Harbaugh confirmed.
“Roman Wilson is going to emerge, as well,” he said. “A.J. Henning is good going to be good. That group … Daylen is definitely going to be in the mix. [Freshmen] Andrel Anthony. Cristian Dixon — he was there as a midyear in the spring, did some really good things.”
The group is led by Bell, who some believe can be a 1,000-yard guy this year depending on quarterback play. His want-to and desire sets him apart.
“He always just goes, all the time,” Harbaugh praised. “He goes in the training environment, goes in the practice environment. Just over the last year, he has really put a focus on the details, the fundamentals of the position. Josh [Gattis] has done a great job with him. I see those things getting refined. The technique, I think, is even going to show more.”
It’s been a battle between Bell and Johnson as to who’s been the best receiver from spring to early July, he continued.
“C.J., I’ve seen a real [move] over the summer cycle, spring and summer. He’s there every day,” Harbaugh said. “Then he’s trying to crush every workout as well, even on the days where maybe he doesn’t feel like it but gets into it and crushes it. That bodes well.
“Mikey’s a leader. Mikey does great. Roman is going to really do some really good things along with A.J., and then we’ll see with Daylen and Andrel and Cristian. Those are our top guys.”
Anthony was one of the surprises of spring and could battle Sainristil for time. He’s fast and shifty and might have been one of the steals of the 2021 class.
“I love Andrel,” Harbaugh said. “I can get my phone out here and show you the pictures, must have been a 2015 picture of me and little Andrel. He was a young camper, sixth grade. Couple years later, now he’s a freshman, we take another picture at the camp … then junior year, then a picture the first day he got here.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on him, but I think he’s going to be really good.”
Adding to the pressure, he’s wearing the No. 1 given in the past to Michigan greats. Several believe he’ll live up to its legacy.
Overall, the receiver room still has plenty to prove, but there’s talent. Should Cade McNamara or J.J. McCarthy, maybe Alan Bowman raise the bar in the quarterback room, this group could be one of the team’s top surprises.