If you were in the Big House watching Michigan play Hawaii this past Saturday you may have noticed a No. 1 jersey in the secondary during the second half without a name on it.
That’s because freshman wide receiver Amorion Walker was getting some reps in at cornerback against the Rainbow Warriors. The receiver usually wears No. 4, but since Micah Pollard already wears No. 4 on defense, Walker had to switch his jersey.
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Walker, from Ponchatoula (LA), was a three-star commit in the 2022 class. An Under Armor All-American participate was a late commitment in the Michigan class. In fact, he de-committed from rival Notre Dame on Dec. 15 and then signed with Michigan.
It’s not uncommon for Michigan to try players out at different positions, or try them on a completely different side of the ball. Just this season the Wolverines converted Mike Sainristil from wide receiver to corner and he has done an excellent job. Dominick Giudice is another, who switched from defensive line to offensive line.
Now it appears that Jim Harbaugh is giving Walker a look at the defensive side of the ball.
Secondary coach Steve Clinkscale told the media on Wednesday that he loves coaching under Harbaugh because he will give players a shot at another position during practice and then it challenges him, as a coach, to figure it out.
“Like I said before, said it publicly, I love working for Jim Harbaugh,” said Clinkscale.” “I like his mind about him. We can be in the middle of practice and decide, ‘Hey, this kid wants to get a couple reps at a corner.’ No problem. It’s my job to figure out, like with Amorion, what he can do.”
The second-year coach said that Walker is a natural at corner. He views the freshman as a very versatile piece and just an overall athlete. Michigan started using him on a third-down package, which was man-to-man since that would showcase his athletic ability. But since Walker has picked things up to quickly, he is already practicing more comprehensive zone coverage.
Clinkscale said that he loves coming to work every day because he knows he will have a new guy to work with under Jim Harbaugh.
“And so, we’re starting with him in a third down package, primarily man coverages and give him the opportunity to showcase his talents and get comfortable,” said Clinkscale. “When you play defensive back, if you’re not confident and comfortable, it’s a little hard to make plays, it’s hard to just want to be out there. So we’re finding his role. He’s a very versatile athlete, like you said, and he’s very natural at corner, to be honest with you, when it comes to the athletic piece. And, we’ve done a lot of meetings and stuff, and he actually picks things up very fast. So he knows the zone coverages and the man now.”
“But just like he and Mikey and a couple other players, like the more, you have a head coach that he loves that, those guys want to be more of a team player, and they have the ability to do it, too? As a coach, it fires me up, because every day I know I’m gonna have a different guy that I can work with and see what he can do, and then give those guys the opportunity to be successful.”
“It is in a lot of aspects,” said Clinkscale. “But for us, the way we practice, our guys are built for it. We practice pretty hard—conditioning, our conditioning strength, coaches do a great job. And then like I said, as a coach, we’re very creative from trying to find ways and packages for those guys to play.”
“Would I want him to be a permanent corner? I want him to be a permanent athlete here on the team, period. I like to see him catch a touchdown when he threw that ball at him. I’m standing there watching the play, and he beat the guy on the first step and I’m excited — Here we go. Here we go!’ And then he comes right back over, switches his jersey, we go right to corner. So I like for him to continue to just get better at both, to be honest with you. I think he can be a very exciting, electrifying weapon for us. So, I look forward to seeing what he can do.”