Michigan quarterback Jayden Denegal is the 2021 Mojave River Offensive Player of the Year (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

Quarterback Jayden Denegal is heading into his third season with the Michigan Wolverines. The Apple Valley native saw quarterback action in six games as Michigan went on their undefeated run to win the national championship.

A highlight for Denegal was their game against  Nebraska where he made an eight-yard touchdown pass. He also had two rushes for 10 yards.

“I had to rush to get down into the red zone,” Denegal said. “[I] threw it to (wide receiver) Peyton O’Leary and he caught it, made a play.”

Denegal was in the same quarterback room as J.J. McCarthy, who was the 10th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. He has learned not only from quarterback coach Kirk Campbell but from his fellow quarterbacks.

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“It’s my second year, I feel like I’ve developed so much, actually learning the game of football,” Denegal said. “My biggest improvement has probably been understanding defenses and getting the ball out fast.”

Prior to competing for Michigan, he attended Apple Valley High School. In the 27 games he played at quarterback, Denegal completed 307 passes for 4608 yards and made 69 touchdown passes. His efforts would make him 2021 Mojave River Offensive Player of the Year. Denegal was also invited to the All-American Bowl.

“I’ve been playing [football] my whole life,” Denegal said. “It’s been my sport my whole life, it’s the only thing I do, it’s really my biggest hobby.”

A major lesson he learned is to “be where your feet are,” and not worry about the past or future.

“Coach Campbell always talks about the quarterbacks being the most prepared unit on the team,” Denegal said. “No matter if you’re the first string, the second string … being ready at all times for you never know what’s gonna happen. If you go in the game, you want to be prepared to go in the game and execute the game plan.”

Denegal knew that he could reach his potential on and off the field at Michigan.

“I chose Michigan to be a student and also be an athlete at the best university in the world to be able to do both,” he said. “I didn’t make a mistake.”