June 13, 2024

Magic Mike will always be remembered as a defensive back and receiver in Michigan history.

“Mike brings about magic when it’s needed.”

The MVP of the game was spoken about by Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh after his team won the Big Ten Championship for the third time in a row. In the 26-0 whitewash of Iowa, cornerback Mike Sainristil ended with two tackles, one pass deflection, and two crucial caused fumbles. Throughout his five years in Ann Arbor, Sainristil’s performance served as a microcosm of his development. Sainristil provided the squad with all the necessary plays, including interceptions, forced fumbles, sure-tackling, pass-break-ups, highlight-reel catches, touchdowns, and inspirational speeches.

Mike Sainristil makes midseason Bednarik Award watchlist - Maize n Brew

 

Sainristil, a former Massachusetts three-star recruit, was never predicted to be a star at the next level. In the fall of 2018, Allen Trieu of 247Sports, who excels in assessing high school talent, dissected Sainristil’s collegiate prospects:

Despite being shorter than normal for the role, she possesses a powerful lower body. had a strong senior year offensively, showcasing his ball abilities and using his speed to create space. plays the zone with awareness and intelligence and is usually in an excellent position to make plays. is dangerous once he uses his open-field skill to grab interceptions. displays a strong closing and burst speed. Still has room to grow in terms of footwork and agility with his direction changes and transitions. Projected as a man-to-man slot corner, he needs to demonstrate his ability to tackle larger outside receivers. Reliable and intelligent football player who should carve out a space for himself in college.

Sainristil swiftly identified his specialty, but it wasn’t wildcat packages like Alex Orji or high-usage end-arounds like Eddie McDoom; rather, it was making appearances in crucial situations, but in a different role. Sainristil joined a packed room upon enrolling in the winter, but he quickly moved to wide receiver. In 2019 versus Notre Dame, Sainristil made his debut as a world-class wide receiver during “opportunity” practice times.

The majority of fans properly recall the 45-14 victory as Michigan’s best win of the season because of the game’s prolonged downpour and running back Hassan Haskins’s 20 touches for 149 yards. However, only a small percentage of people recall that the top receiver wasn’t Nico Collins, the current NFL sensation, Ronnie Bell, or Donovan Peoples-Jones. Mike Sainristil was the one.

Sainristil registered three receptions for 73 yards — more than Bell, DPJ and Collins combined — and his first career touchdown. It was an unlikely supporting performance from a future star like Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s hilarious turn as Dustin in Twister. But like Hoffman, who wasn’t destined for comedic glory — although he absolutely rips in Along Came Polly — Sainristil was not destined for offensive glory, although it began to appear that way in 2021.

 

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