Throughout the spring and summersM&BR will be counting down the “23 in ’23 Wolverines to Watch”. These are the twenty-three players with the best chance to make an impact ranked by their potential impact.
Derrick Moore was a fast-rising recruit in the 2022 class. He played high school ball at St. Frances in Maryland, the home of former Michigan staff member Biff Poggi. Moore finished a near top 50 recruit in the class and was Michigan’s second highest-rated recruit behind DB Will Johnson.
Moore spent his freshman season fighting for reps in a heavy rotation on the EDGE. With veterans like Mike Morris and Taylor Upshaw getting the vast majority of the snaps, Moore was brought on slowly throughout the season.
Moore played in all 14 games for Michigan in 2022. He generated pressure in limited action and was able to register 2 sacks on the season. He had a strong performance on the field against Purdue in the Big Ten Championship game. Moore, along with Braiden McGregor, generated multiple pressures filling in for Mike Morris.
With Mike Morris off to the NFL, the door has opened for Derrick Moore to make a significant impact at the strong-side end position. He’ll have to compete with Braiden McGregor and that limits his impact. He could push McGregor for the primary role with a patented freshman-to-sophomore year jump. McGregor and Moore could also split somewhat evenly as Michigan likes to rotate and utilize a committee approach to keep players fresh on defense. Moore could also fall behind McGregor who is poised for a big season of his own.
Another factor in Moore’s ceiling will be Michigan’s scheme. The Wolverine defense entering year 2 under Jesse Minter, year 3 in this scheme, may see the full vision of the Amoeba defense realized. The defense thrives on versatility and adapting to its strength. Moore’s size, speed, and strength make him versatile enough to stand on the edge, play a hand in the ground DE, or even slide into a 3T defensive tackle. The problem is Michigan has strength at all of those spots.
Moore has serious potential, and this could be the year he becomes a major contributor. For now, he can be a solid contributor at the EDGE, and potentially fill a role doing Kris Jenkins-like things, and that gets him on this list. The margin between not being on the list or being top 15 is thin, however. His potential could make him one of the most important pieces of Michigan’s defensive front. Will that be this year or next, that is what we will have to wait to see.
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