New York Giants center John Michael Schmitz had an up-and-down rookie season in 2023 and appears to be ready to take the next step to become one of the NFL’s top centers.

Schmitz started 13 games for Big Blue as a rookie and showed signs of his draft pedigree (he was taken 57th overall in Round 2 last year) and was named to Bucky Brooks’ 2023 All-Rookie Team.

In a recent interview with KSTP-TV in Minneapolis, where Schmitz played his college ball for the Gophers of Minnesota, he reflected on his “welcome to the NFL” moment from last year.

“I would say going against one of the best nose tackles in the NFL every single day at practice,” he said. “Dexter Lawrence — he’ll definitely make you a lot better real quick. He’s a great player (and) great person off the field as well. He just pushes you to be a better player.”

Schmitz isn’t the only Gopher on the Giants’ roster. Carter Coughlin, a reserve linebacker and special teams ace who was recently re-signed, has helped Schmitz along with his acclimation to the New York and the NFL.

“It’s great. I mean, we definitely just chit-chat about everything,” Schmitz said. “You go through your thought times and, obviously, me and him being pretty close with the Gophers. . . it’s nice to have someone like that, that I already have a bond with. Just someone to kind of lean on and ask those questions, like, ‘Hey, can you help me out here?’ Like, ‘What do I do?’ It’s nice to have a Gopher on the team.”

Meanwhile, Schmitz is already working hard this offseason and plans to arrive at organized team activities (OTAs) in regular season shape.

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