Michigan LB Jaydon Hood 'taking steps forward' into potential larger role

Anthony Broomeby:Anthony Broome04/12/24

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The Michigan Wolverines are cultivating a bunch of new depth pieces on the defensive side of the ball this year, but one of its solutions could be in a player who has spent the entirety of his time waiting for an opportunity.

Senior Jaydon Hood is working in a rotation that includes juniors Ernest Hausmann and Jaishawn Barham at the top of the depth chart as the team replaces Junior Colson and Michael Barrett. He appeared in 12 games last season, making 13 tackles and forcing a fumble.

Entering his fourth season, Hood continues to work on honing his craft and being someone who can be relied on.

“I’m working on anything and everything I can do to contribute to the team,” Hood told the media on Thursday. “On special teams, playing linebacker, helping young kids, anything I can do to get ready. I’ve been working on my knowledge of the game, and awareness. I’ve been with [linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary] a lot, been with [defensive coordinator Wink Martindale], so I’m preparing myself.”

There has been a total overhaul of the coaching staff on defense at Michigan during a transition out of the Jim Harbaugh era, but the standard remains the same. Hood has been in Ann Arbor for all three seasons of the team’s contention renaissance.

Continuing that standard as an experienced leader is something he does not take for granted.

“Definitely taking steps forward,” Hood said. “It’s an honor to play at Michigan with the number one defense and a national champ. So I don’t take that lightly. I prepare myself every day knowing that and I’m just trying to keep myself better. So I stepped into that role. I’m ready.

“Because I have been here, I know what needs to be done. I was here for three years so continuing that standard and meeting new standards for new coaches.”

Michigan loses nine years of collegiate experience a the top of the depth chart with Colson and Barrett off to the NFL, but Hood has not seen much of a dropoff with what Michigan has in spring ball. Hausmann and Barham have a chance to slide in seamlessly, but he says the position group overall has plenty of leadership.

“Ernest has definitely stepped up,” Hood said. “I mean, he’s already one of the leaders anyways, but he’s definitely stepped up, and Jaishawn is coming into his own. He’s still learning and stuff, but he’s stepping up. The room is full of leaders, I’ll be honest. Coach BJ is doing a great job making sure that we’re staying together as a group. Mike B comes through a lot, Junior comes through a lot. We’re still learning from them still even as they’re getting ready for the next part of their career.”

Things will be different and look different for Michigan moving forward, but Hood expects to not only keep things going, but be a prominent part of staying in the title conversation.

Now, it might finally be his time.

“I believe in this program,” he said. “I believe in Coach Moore, Coach Wink, BJ, I believe in myself… I waited for a reason.”

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