There is a lot of hype surrounding Michigan’s defensive line, and that hype is there for good reason. The Wolverines have a multitude of talented and experienced players who will take the field for the team at the position this fall. The defensive line for the Wolverines has a lot of depth and young promise as well. The talent, experience and depth of the Wolverine defensive line puts them in a position to contend for the title of best defensive line in the country.
Defensive Tackle and Nose Tackle: The Heart of the Line
Fifth-year senior Ryan Glasgow should start at nose tackle. Ryan Glasgow showed, last season, that he was one of the strongest and most consistent defensive players for the Wolverines until his season was cut short by a torn pectoral muscle in week 9. After his injury, Michigan was unable to stop the rushing attack of both Indiana and Ohio State which hurt Michigan in both of those games.
I expect Maurice Hurst to start next to him. Hurst had a limited number of starts, but was still able to perform very well. He performed so well that he was able to earn a first round grade by Pro Football Focus. Bryan Mone will also contribute a lot at this position. Mone was in a good position to get a lot of playing time for the Wolverines before suffering a season ending ankle injury. He performed valiantly as a true freshman under Brady Hoke, so he is expected to make an impact this season.
The catch with this position is all the interchangeable parts. There are many different combinations that could see the field at one time. Hurst can play both tackle and nose, along with Mone and Glasgow. The amount of depth at this position should excite Michigan fans. More players will be able to contribute, making the Wolverine defense harder to scout and play against. The Wolverines will be able to throw many different looks at an opponent.
Weak Side Defensive End: Rush End
Taco Charlton will be the weak side end for the Wolverines. He silently had a great season, as he was a very disruptive pass rusher. He recorded 5.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for a loss. Taco also brings a lot of experience to the position as he has contributed since his true freshman year. Charlton has also impressed defensive coordinator Don Brown this spring. Rashan Gary will also contribute at this position. He will be asked to learn both end positions, so you can expect him to get in the rotation and make a big contribution.
Strong Side Defensive End: The Power End
Wormley has played defensive tackle for most of his career, but with so much depth on the interior he will play strong side defensive end. The transition will not be a problem for him, as he truly excels at both positions. He was able to accumulate 14.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks while playing mostly defensive tackle. His performance earned him a first round grade by many experts. Wormley can both plow over blockers or use his great footwork to get past them. Gary may also get some time here. Gary and Wormley’s versatility will give the Wolverines many options up front.
Versatility will be a staple with this defensive line as almost everyone on the line is able to play multiple positions. This allows a lot more flexibility up front. The front line for Michigan is a very talented group of individuals. Defensive Line coach Greg Mattison said it is the deepest, and most experienced line he has ever had. The sky is the limit for the Wolverines’ defensive line. Expectations for the defensive line are high, but the hype surrounding them is warranted. They can propel Michigan’s defense to that of the number one defense in the country.