Josh Priebe Pursues NFL Dream at University of Michigan

Josh Priebe wants to put everything he has into making his lifelong dream of playing in the NFL a reality.

He believes he has found the right home for his final collegiate season to make that happen.

Priebe, the former Edwardsburg High School star, now calls Ann Arbor, Michigan home. The 6-5, 310-pound offensive lineman transferred to the University of Michigan in late December after a strong first four seasons at Northwestern University.

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“I wanted to leave no stone unturned in trying to do everything I can to play in the NFL,” said Priebe in a recent phone interview. “It’s all I’ve ever wanted since I can remember.

“I wanted to come to a program where I could maximize every resource available for my last season. Michigan was definitely that place. I want to put my whole heart and soul into my last season here.”

Priebe was a three-year starter at Northwestern and a third team All-Big 10 performer at offensive guard for the Wildcats last fall. He started 28 games in Evanston and played in eight more his freshman season.

Priebe opted to leave Northwestern due to the changes in the coaching staff there. Head coach Pat Fitzgerald, who had spent 17 seasons as the Northwestern coach after playing there, was fired by the school last July amid allegations of hazing in the program. David Braun then coached the Wildcats last fall.

At the end of the season, there were more anticipated changes to the coaching staff, including offensive line coach Kurt Anderson being let go. Anderson was eventually let go by Northwestern in January after Priebe entered the transfer portal on Dec. 8 and committed to Michigan on Dec. 28.

“I was really close to coach Anderson and the uncertainty at the time about his status with the program was one of the key factors in my decision to enter the transfer portal,” said Priebe.

“I was planning to go to the NFL Draft, but my grade was not as high as I would have liked,” added Priebe of his decision to play a fifth collegiate season. “I was told that it would be beneficial to me to come back for a fifth year so that’s what I did.”

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Priebe, who already has his degree from Northwestern, joins a program with plenty of change since capturing a national title in January. The Wolverines, who went 15-0, saw coach Jim Harbaugh leave to become the San Diego coach in the NFL. Former offensive line coach and offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore is now the man in charge in Ann Arbor. Moore coached the Wolverines on two occasions last fall when Harbaugh was suspended.

“The mindset of the players here is that they are motivated to keep the momentum and the success going,” Priebe said of his new teammates after a few weeks on campus. “Their focus is now on this team. Coach Moore has so much respect within the program.

“I would have loved to play for coach Harbaugh. But no one was shocked that he left. It was a big change to come here, but one I was ready for too.

“The culture here has not changed and everyone here has welcomed me with open arms. I love our offensive line group.”

Priebe should bring much needed experience and leadership to an offensive line that lost six players in total from the past season.

“I know that I have some big shoes to fill and that I have my opportunity every day here,” remarked Priebe. “I want to maximize every opportunity that I have here and I’m definitely excited to compete for a spot.”

Priebe, despite a pair of season-ending injuries and some team struggles his sophomore and junior seasons, loved his time in the Northwestern program.

“Incredible,” said Priebe of his four years as a Wildcat. “I really did love my time there. What made it special was the relationships with the coaches and the group of guys at Northwestern. I’ll always be thankful for that.

“I’m so happy that I made the decision to go to Northwestern. I don’t regret anything at all about it.”

Priebe helped the Wildcats go 8-5 overall and 5-4 in the Big 10 during the 2023 campaign. Northwestern beat Utah 14-7 in the Las Vegas Bowl to end its season.

Priebe has been spending a ton of time since his arrival in Ann Arbor pouring himself into the playbook for the Wolverines, who were one of several Division I powers to offer Priebe a scholarship prior to his choosing Northwestern. He spends six days a week in preparation for spring ball, which includes things such as lifting, mobility workouts and time in the training room.

The Wolverines, who will hold their annual Spring Game April 20, open the season by hosting Fresno State on Aug. 31. They host Northwestern on Nov. 23.

Priebe, who helped Edwardsburg score 97 touchdowns in their run to the Division 4 state title under Kevin Bartz in 2018, looks forward to finally being healthy for an offseason. He suffered a season ending foot injury his sophomore season and then a broken fibula and torn ankle tendons ended his junior year prematurely.

“I just need to take full advantage of this offseason now that I’m finally fully healthy,” Priebe said. “Then, hopefully in the fall I can showcase all of my abilities and know that I did everything that I could do to get a chance to play in the NFL.”

2024-02-28 11:39:08
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