Freshmen likely to redshirt: Mario Ojemudia – An ideal scenario would have Mario redshirting 100% of the time, but the staff might just have to throw him in there with Frank Clark likely being suspended for a good deal of time.
Freshmen likely to redshirt: Ondre Pipkins – We’ll see how significant his neck injury is. This is one injury that you do not want to mess around with. I for one hope that Ondre waits until he is 100% before he comes back. Get well Pee Wee.
Freshmen likely to redshirt: Willie Henry – The 3 tech position should be deep enough for Henry to redshirt. Matt Godin – already nearing the 285 pound mark and could very well be an option at the SDE position this season. After Roh, the talent at that position is not great.
Player by player breakdown:
Brennen Beyer – Beyer was a bit undersized a year ago at around 230 pounds, but performed pretty well adding 11 total tackles. Brennan is now 252 lbs. and will have to pick up the slack left behind by Frank Clark and his legal troubles. With his added weight and strength Beyer should have a very solid season, especially rushing the passer.
Jake Ryan – I realize that Jake is the starting strong side linebacker, but with the likely suspension of Frank Clark looming he may have to give Beyer a blow from time to time. Ryan had 37 tackles and 11 TFL’s in a breakout 2011 campaign and looks to build on that in 2012. Jake is the definition of a football player. He is very instinctual, always around the ball, a great tackler and has a non-stop motor.
Frank Clark – Frank came to Michigan as a very raw prospect with a ton of upside. He didn’t play a ton last season (10 total tackles), but showed great athleticism in limited action. The play that comes to mind most is the one handed interception in the Sugar Bowl against Virginia Tech. Clark came to AA last fall at around 210 pounds, now as a sophomore he’s pushing 265 and could be a nightmare coming off the edge. Unfortunately, Frank got into some trouble this off-season and could very well not play at all during the 2012 season.
Mario Ojemudia – Again, redshirting Mario would be ideal, but Michigan might not have that luxury. Ojemudia played across the entire DL in high school and dominated the competition. He comes into fall camp weighing around 230 pounds which is good enough I guess, but he really needs a year to gain some strength.
Craig Roh – Craig makes the move over to strong-side for his senior season replacing Ryan Van Bergen. Roh has bulked up to around 285 pounds and seems to have kept his quickness as well. He looks to improve on his 32 tackles and career high 4 sack total from a season ago. It will be interesting to see how Craig holds up against the run game, but this move does allow for added quickness along the line.
Nathan Brink – Coach Montgomery raved about Brink last off-season mainly because of his great technique, unfortunately Brink didn’t play much due to injury. There was also a weight concern for Nathan and he is now around 275-280 which should be satisfactory. Brink also missed the Spring Game so he comes into fall camp a little behind, but if he can stay healthy he’ll provide some solid depth.
Keith Heitzman – Heitzman comes into his redshirt freshman year weighing around 270 pounds and is expected to contribute. Keith has a never quit mentality and is a solid all-around football player. He won’t be a starter, but should see a good amount of snaps this fall.
Tom Strobel – Tom is a very nice looking athlete, but a redshirt would serve him well. Right now he’s around 6’6” 250, so a year to put on some weight and muscle would be optimal. Down the road however, Strobel should be a mainstay along the Michigan defensive front.
Chris Wormley – Unfortunately, Wormley was bitten by the injury bug this past week tearing his ACL. Hopefully he will be nearing 100% by the time the 2013 fall camp opens up. Pre-injury Wormley was widely expected to get playing time either at the SDE and/or the 3-tech position. Wormley is probably one of the best athletes on this team regardless of class. As long as surgery and rehab go as planned, I’m expecting Chris to be an important piece to the Wolverines defensive puzzle.
William Campbell – “Big Will” has one final go around as a Michigan football player and is expected to fill the giant gap left behind after the graduation of Mike Martin. Campbell has all of the physical talent in the world, it’s just a matter of wanting to be a great football player. Will has always had technique issues as we all know, but did show a few flashes of what could be last season. I expect Will to have a solid season this fall, but it could be a special one if he decides to leave all out on the field.
Ondre Pipkins – “Pee Wee” already has the size and strength to come in and make an early impact. It’s not often that you find the combination of size and speed that Pipkins has. If Ondre can play with a high motor on every down and clean up some technique work he has the God given ability to be an All-American. He did suffer a scare last week (neck), but I fully expect Ondre to back up Campbell and make a big contribution this fall.
Quinton Washington – Q was favorite player in the 2009 class. In high school he was an absolute animal on the football field as an offensive lineman. Rich Rod and staff decided to move him to the defensive side of the ball and Washington has stayed there since. He certainly has the mean streak and burst to be a good d lineman, but it just hasn’t come to fruition yet. The potential is there and he has two more seasons to prove his four star rating was not a fluke.
Jibreel Black – Jibreel packed on some lbs. during the off-season and makes the move inside for his junior season. He’ll definitely add some much needed quickness and athleticism to the inside of the Wolverine’s line and should be able to get to the quarterback often. I just question if he’ll be able to hold up to the physical pounding put on him by a big offensive line.
Richard Ash – Coach Hoke has said on numerous occasions that Ash has made some good improvements over the summer. He’s a pretty big kid at 6’3” 200 and will provide some much needed depth at the position. Ash doesn’t do any one thing great, but he should be able to log some good minutes this fall.
Ken Wilkins – Played as a linebacker / defensive end in high school and is now a 294 pound defensive tackle. He has little to no game experience so I have little to go off of. He like Ash, will at least provide some depth.
Willie Henry – Henry was a late offer last season and jumped on it. His senior high school film is very impressive, as he showed really good burst off the snap and a good motor as well. He has the size to see early PT, but I’m not sure the strength is there quite yet. Michigan might not have the luxury to red-shirt him.
Matt Godin – Matt is a really big kid who reminds me of Ryan Van Bergen a bit. He will probably eventually end up at defensive tackle, but he could also play the SDE position. Godin is a really strong kid with a great frame on which to add weight and also might have to be thrown into the fire early.
Glimpse of the Future
Pass rusher and tackle are the biggest need at this point and the 2013 class does a good job of taking care of those spots. Taco Charlton is going to be an absolute beast in a few years coming of the edge. He is super quick and all of the potential in the world, but he does need to add some strength. Maurice Hurst Jr. and Henry Poggi provide a great one two punch up the middle. The overall future of the Wolverines defensive line is very, very bright in my opinion and will be the strength of the team in a few years.