When Everett football star Mike Sainristil chose Michigan, he knew that he was entering a preeminent college program that annually attracts the best players in the nation to Ann Arbor.
That fact was borne out in this year’s NFL Draft as no less than 10 Michigan players were selected, second only to national champion LSU who had 14 players selected. A few other Michigan players were signed by teams as undrafted free agents.
Two of Sainristil’s teammates, linebacker Josh Uche and offensive lineman, Michael Onwenu, were selected by the New England Patriots. Overall four Michigan offensive linemen were 2020 draft picks, making Wolverines’ line coach Ed Warriner the Mike Milo of college football.
Sainristil, a freshman receiver, talked about his two U-M teammates who will be joining the Patriots. “The Patriots got great, hard-working guys,” said Sainristil. “They’ll give it their all for the team, real selfless guys. They’re great team players and team leaders as well.”
Sainrostil crossed pass routes with Uche during some Michigan practices. “I went up against Uche a few times, not often because they didn’t have him covering the slot [receiver] too many times in practice.”
Sainristil described the 6-foot-3-inch, 350-pound Onwenu as “a big, strong guy who will lead his running backs through the hole for sure.”
As for the entire offensive line being drafted, Sainristil said it was not a surprise. “Most definitely I expected them to be drafted. Everybody – Cesar [Ruiz], Jon [Runyan], Big Ben [Bredeson], Michael [Onwenu] – was a senior – and they’re experienced guys who know the game of football very well, know their playbook and get their assignments done. We have one starting lineman, Jaylen Mayfield, who’s back for his junior year.”
Sainristil, the Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year in his senior year at Everett, said Michigan has long been known as a consistent producer of NFL draft picks and future stars. One prominent name that immediately comes to mind is former Michigan QB Tom Brady, who was a sixth-round pick in the 2000 NFL Draft and led the Patriots to six Super Bowl victories.
Interestingly, the quarterback throwing the football to Sainristil this past season, senior Shea Patterson, an All-Big 10 third-team selection, went undrafted. Michigan wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones was selected in the sixth round by the Cleveland Browns.
Sainristil completed a successful season at Michigan with an appearance in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Talk about a display of talent: There were 25 players on the two rosters who were either drafted by the NFL or signed as undrafted free agents.
Sainristil is back home with his parents, Carlot and Raymonde, and his family following the cancellation of classes at Michigan due to the coronavirus.
“There’s no football right now but you just have to cope with it and take it day by day and hope the good news is sooner rather than later,” he said.
Sainristil said candidly that he has thought about the prospect of playing in the NFL following his career at Michigan. “You have to,” he said. “I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”