I expect the 2013 defense to be strong once again despite losing some solid contributors such as Jordan Kovacs, Will Campbell, Craig Roh, Kenny Demens, and JT Floyd. Here is how I see the 2013 depth chart shaking out with no true freshman included.
SDE: 1. Brennen Beyer – Junior
2. Tom Strobel – RS Freshman
3. Keith Heitzman – RS Sophomore
4. Chris Wormley – RS Freshman
Analysis- After two seasons at the WDE position, I see Brennen Beyer moving to the strong side next year. He will need to gain weight, but his strength is stopping the run. Strobel has earned praise from people close to the program, and I really liked him coming out of high school. He is the future of the position. Heitzman saw some playing time in 2012 and should contribute again in 2013. Wormley already has NFL size and could be a star player in the future if he recovers fully from his injury that he sustained in camp this season.
WDE: 1. Frank Clark – Junior
2. Mario Ojemudia – Sophomore
Analysis- Beyer’s pending move to the strong side is also because of the talent Michigan has at WDE. Clark showed great potential against OSU and is an explosive player. Ojemudia, in a perfect world, would have redshirted in 2012 but saw the field because of his pass rushing ability. Michigan will be solid on the weak side in 2013.
3T: 1. Jibreel Black – Senior
2. Nathan Brink- RS Senior
3. Matt Godin – RS Freshman
Analysis- Black showed some flashes of being a dominant 3Tech defensive tackle in 2012. He has been versatile since arriving in Ann Arbor playing three positions along the defensive line. Brink didn’t contribute nearly as much in 2012 as he did in 2011, but provides solid depth at the position. Godin could play SDE or 3Tech in the future, but assuming he gains weight this offseason I see him as a future starter at defensive tackle.
NT: 1. Quinton Washington – RS Senior
2. Ondre Pipkins – Sophomore
3. Richard Ash – RS Junior
Analysis- Q was probably the biggest surprise on either side of the ball in 2012. He showed that he can be an anchor in the middle and should have a solid senior campaign. Pipkins showed flashes in 2012 of the skill set that made him a highly touted DT coming out of high school. As with all young defensive linemen, the offseason will be crucial for Ondre. Richard Ash will need to have a great offseason to contribute.
Will: 1. James Ross – Sophomore
2. Royce Jenkins-Stone – Sophomore
Analysis- Ross pretty much solidified himself as the future of the position late in the 2012 season. He is extremely athletic will instincts that cannot be taught. I see future All-Big Ten potential with his game. RJS will likely start at Will, but could play all three linebacker spots because of his athleticism.
Mike: 1. Desmond Morgan – Junior
2. Joe Bolden – Sophomore
3. Mike Jones – RS Senior
4. Kaleb Ringer – RS Freshman
Analysis- Because of Ross’ late season play, I see Morgan moving to Mike for 2013. He is a solid tackler that lacks ideal athleticism to continue to hold down the Will spot. Joe Bolden had a solid freshman campaign and will (along with Ross) provide a great future at the inside linebacker positions because of his instincts and tackling ability. Jones and Ringer provide adequate depth assuming Ringer recovers from his injury.
Sam: 1. Jake Ryan – RS Junior
2. Cam Gordon – RS Senior
Analysis- Jake Ryan will be the center piece of the Michigan defense in 2013. One of the few defensive playmakers in the 2012 season, Ryan provides a unique combination of skills with underappreciated athleticism. Cam Gordon has bounced around throughout his career at Michigan but will contribute again at Sam in 2013.
CB: 1. Raymon Taylor – Junior
2. Blake Countess – RS Sophomore
3. Terry Richardson – Sophomore
4. Delonte Hollowell – Junior
Analysis- Taylor was another big surprise in the 2012 season and locked down one corner spot heading into the 2013 season. If Countess recovers from the injury he sustained against Alabama, Michigan could have one of the best corner combos in the Big Ten. Richardson needs to add weight in the offseason but is a great athlete. Ditto with Hollowell. Michigan could see some freshman contribute in the 2013 season at the cornerback position.
NB: 1. Courtney Avery – Senior
Anaylsis- Avery is undersized as an outside corner, but provides a solid option when Michigan brings in the nickel package. He has seen significant time throughout his Michigan career and I expect that to continue in 2013.
SS: 1. Thomas Gordon – RS Senior
2. Marvin Robinson – Senior
3. Allen Gant – RS Freshman
4. Jeremy Clark – RS Freshman
Analysis- I see Gordon moving over to the strong safety position in 2013 following the departure of Jordon Kovacs. He has the skill set to play either safety spot and I expect him to be a solid starter once again in 2013. Marvin Robinson will definitely push at the position. He is a great athlete who just has to put it all together in his senior campaign. Gant and Clark are young but both have impressed the coaches this season.
FS: 1. Jarrod Wilson – Sophomore
2. Josh Furman – RS Junior
Analysis- Jarrod Wilson is the main reason I see Gordon moving spots in 2013. Wilson has underrated athleticism and has shown the intelligence and cover skills to be the future at the position. Furman is a freak athlete and one of the fastest players on the team. He could definitely push Wilson with a strong offseason.