Michael Onwenu wasn't the biggest name in the 2016 recruiting class for the Michigan Wolverines, but that won't stop the massive lineman from garnering praise from Jim Harbaugh and, potentially, on-field opportunity in the near future.
Harbaugh addressed the media on Monday evening, and while he covered a myriad of topics, praise for the 6-foot-3, 350-pound true freshman was high on the list. Here is what Harbaugh had to say, viaMark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press:
"He can be a contributor on either side of the ball, he's that good. He's going to school, he's taking tests and he's playing both ways. He might just be my favorite guy right now. He's awesome, I really like him a lot."
Onwenu was a consensus four-star recruit from nearby Detroit, and he was projected as an offensive guard. However, it seems clear that Harbaugh and company see an expansive future for the 18-year-old that could also include time at defensive tackle, even in the midst of a deep, talented defensive line under Don Brown and Greg Mattison.
While Onwenu won the honor of the highest praise from Harbaugh on Monday, the head coach also expanded on some of the battles happening across the roster, including the fact that upperclassmen weren't ready to cede control just yet:
"Some of the really good players in that class have heated some of the competitive waters at multiple positions. Right now it's competitive and I don't see any of our older guys just giving their jobs away not through the nine practices. It's still to be determined but there's some competitive, heated-up waters more than you see on really any team I've been on, where a group of new guys they're showing they're on track to be either starters or backup players."
Michael Onwenu is a physical presence unmatched by anyone on the current Michigan roster and he could bring a unique dynamic to the table immediately. If we've learned anything under Harbaugh to this point, being the best player at the position is all that matters and Onwenu has a chance to carve out a meaningful role.
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