Michael Onwenu’s clothes are fitting a little bit differently.

The sophomore offensive lineman came to Ann Arbor last year as the largest man on Michigan’s roster, weighing 370 pounds. He played at roughly 375, and at his heaviest, Onwenu said he weighed 380.

But with the beginning of the Wolverines’ spring practices, he has lost 15 pounds to cut that number down to 360, and is only looking to keep it dropping — a decision that was primarily made in awareness of his general health.

“Football is gonna be football, but I mean, I’m trying to live forever — well not forever,” Onwenu said with a laugh.

At the most, Onwenu would be comfortable playing around 335 pounds — a mark he estimated he hasn’t hit since his sophomore or junior year of high school.

And while his clothes may be slightly looser, and the decision was made out of health consciousness, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t already seen the effects of a lighter frame on the football field.

As Onwenu explained, he would only run every other ‘gasser’ — a sprint from sideline to sideline — during his freshman year. Now, with his sophomore season just months away, he’s been capable of running every single one.

“I’m working all the time, I’m doing something, so it’s not like I feel it on me,”  Onwenu said. “But I feel it during football or when I’m doing football-related stuff.”

Outside of enhancing his conditioning, Onwenu is still focused on improving more tangible aspects of his game as he — like the majority of Michigan’s roster — is tasked with replacing a 2016 Wolverine squad that was rife with experience and talent.

Though he saw time on both sides of the ball and on special teams in nine games during his freshman campaign, starters’ minutes were hard to come by.

Onwenu pointed to his footwork as the primary aspect he is trying to improve on, but also explained that learning the minute details of a new playbook could be one thing that separates himself from the pack and gives him a spot among Michigan’s starting front five.

Fortunately for Onwenu, he has familiarity on his side in his second go-around.

“Right now we’re breaking it down (to) like simple tasks and everything,” he said. “Last year when I came in, I came in in June, so it was going fast and I was in school, so I really couldn’t pick up everything at once. But now, this is my first spring ball, so we’re taking it slow. We’re starting from the basics and going on.”

If Onwenu can manage to lock down a starting role, it will likely be at right guard, where he has spent the majority of spring ball working thus far. If that’s the case, he certainly had a good model of success to follow during his freshman year.

When Onwenu first joined the program during the recruiting process, he said he didn’t look at the starters he’d be competing with. But when he finally did arrive to Ann Arbor, that wasn’t an option anymore.

Onwenu began paying attention to the guy in front of him on the depth chart, and tried to model himself after him. That guy happened to be Kyle Kalis. Now, Onwenu is trying to replicate parts of Kalis’ game, as he looks to inherit the same position that Kalis started at for 43 games in his career.

“Kyle played with a lot of passion, played with a lot of — I wouldn’t say madness — but fierceness,” Onwenu said. “He played with a lot of fire.”

And while a lot of changes may have come for Onwenu in the offseason, one thing has remained constant: he still loves his grapes — a small food obsession he became well-known for last season.

The only difference? As he joked with the media Friday night, he has added strawberries and pineapples as well.

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