The Michigan Wolverines’ defense did incredibly well for most of the 2022 season, before running into the TCU Horned Frogs on December 22. When the clock struck midnight, Michigan’s dream of an undefeated season and national championship had gone up in smoke as TCU reeled off 51 points in a 51-45 victory.

Michigan football enters the 2023 campaign with a cast on defense as familiar as it is foreign, with talented and experienced players stepping into new leadership roles.

One of them is Kris Jenkins, the 6-foot-3, 285 pound senior from Olney, Maryland. With Mazi Smith departed to the NFL, Jenkins decided to return to help anchor the Wolverines’ defensive line.

Smith, among others, has faith in his ability to get the job done — and the potential to become the team’s best defender.

“He’s going to be NFL ready by the end of the year,” Smith, a first-round pick, said of Jenkins according to “He’s got a lot of traits that show all the time.”

Head Coach Jim Harbaugh believes in Jenkins’ potential.

“Kris Jenkins, potentially our best player on the defense, is going to be really good,” said Jim Harbaugh back in February of this year.

An Academic All-Big Ten selection, Jenkins led the defensive line with 54 tackles last season in 14 games. He was an honorable mention All-Big Ten player who started 14 games for the maize and blue.

Jenkins had a sack against Georgia in the 2021 National Semifinal game. He has career highs of seven tackles and three solo tackles, respectively.

Braiden McGregor, a Port Huron, Michigan native who has been called the team’s next breakout star by some analysts, thinks Jenkins has what it takes to reach the next level of his development in 2023.

“Kris Jenkins is just a monster,” said Briaden McGregor to The Michigan Daily. “Everyone will see this year come fall like, ‘yeah this guy’s going to be one of the best guys in the country.”