Who is the freshman Jim Harbaugh called ‘an absolute gift from the football gods?’

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Every year in the offseason, one of the big questions — not just with Michigan football, but across college football as a whole — is which players will come from seemingly out of nowhere to become household names. There’s particularly ample opportunity among those who are arriving for their very first year of college football, A.K.A. the freshman class.

At Big Ten media days this week, asked about which freshmen have stood out thus far, Harbaugh gave something of a cryptic answer.

“The new guys coming in? It’s really good. I mean, I probably won’t talk about it right now just because I’d leave somebody out that’s gonna be good,” Harbaugh said. “But we saw midyear players 11, 12 — was it 12 or 13? They were really good — and then we got 11, 10 more. 10, 11 More that came in in June that are outstanding, too. So, it’s a good class, too. Good, good group of football players.

”I got one I think is just an absolute, absolute gift from the football gods. Who? I’m gonna write it down on a piece of paper here. Seal it, just see if I’m not right!”

Though he wouldn’t reveal the player to the media at large, he may have revealed just who he was talking about to FOX Sports sideline reporter and The Athletic college football insider Bruce Feldman. He discussed his first-year players with Feldman and while he praised the receivers, there was one name that he mentioned in particular — which one could surmise to be the aforementioned mystery player.

Given the specificity to Feldman, Grant would be the likely candidate that Harbaugh was mentioning — especially because at the time that Feldman tweeted that, it was before Harbaugh met with those of us in the media for the podium session where he gave the above quote.

Grant hails from Merrillville (Ind.) and was a four-star according to 247Sports’ proprietary rankings, but a three-star according to the composite. He chose Michigan over Ohio State in one of the few head-to-head recruiting battles in the 2022 cycle. What’s more, he’s at a position of need, as the Wolverines have few established interior defensive linemen, with Christopher Hinton and Donovan Jeter having departed this offseason.

If Grant is who Harbaugh was talking about, it could be that much more beneficial for the program this fall than, say, a wide receiver, given that that position group is loaded with experienced playmakers. We should hopefully know more come fall camp.