2013 Recruiting Question

Submitted by Webber's Pimp on September 4th, 2012 at 10:11 AM

In the aftermath of the Alabama game, one thing that struck me is how easily the Alabama O-Line pushed around our defensive front. Alabama in general looked like a bigger, stronger, and more violent version of Wisconsin.They just beat us up.  Our lack of size on the defensive front has been a recurring theme for the past 4 seasons of Michigan football. Last year we performed at a very high level but by all accounts the defensive front four was still undersized. The reason is of course Mattisson and Hoke are trying to implement their system and defensive philosophy using RR era players. Suffice to say that the prior staff did not emphasize our size in the trenches.

So my question is have we done enough this year in terms of recruitng the DT/NT position? In looking at the incoming class we have Henry Poggi and Maurice Hurst Jr as the only DT's slated to come in. We signed Pipkins and Godin (is he really a DT?) last season plus a slew of DE prospects which could conceivably be moved over. But given what we saw this last Saturday do we need more? I am concerned about the defensive front four going forward. 

Edit: Forgot to add Henry to last year's list. The DE's are Strobel, Wormley (he's hurt though), Mario O (way undersized at least weight wise) and Taco. Admittedly a pretty good haul. But all things considered (depth etc) is it enough?



September 4th, 2012 at 10:17 AM ^

The '11-'12 and '12-'13 classes include Pipkins, Wormley, Strobel, Godin, Henry, Ojemudia, Poggi, Hurst, and Charlton.  Almost any school in the country would take that haul.  Pipkins, Henry, Hurst, and Poggi are all either nose tackles or 3-techs.  Wormley, Strobel, and Godin all may play the 3-tech too.  Michigan will be very good at D-line in a couple of years.

Remember that Campbell, Washington, and Black were making their first-ever starts.  Pipkins and Ojemudia played in their first-ever games. 

david from wyoming

September 4th, 2012 at 10:17 AM ^

Don't forget that just about all of the Alabama offensive line is all american caliber. Lewan is a great player. A line of five Lewans is what we just faced.

Also, we have three DL or former DL coaches on staff. In two years the DL will be young but very promising. If four years the DL will be awesome.


September 4th, 2012 at 10:21 AM ^

DL is the one area I don't really have any concerns about in the future. I feel that a coaching staff that includes Hoke, Mattison, and Montgomery can develop whoever we recruit.


September 4th, 2012 at 10:23 AM ^

While I share your concern, this year has been a down year in terms of DT recruit size/talent in the region... when there's little to pick from in our region at a particular position, it's typically reflected in our recruiting classes.  Considering these regional limitation, our D-line recruiting has been very strong.

Plus, that Alabama O-line is an outlier.  Sure it would be great to have a D-line that could withstand their assault, but I'm not sure anyone does.

Lastly, one has to put some trust in the fact that we have 3 D-line coaches on our staff...

Brown Bear

September 4th, 2012 at 10:21 AM ^

After Saturday the staff has decided they will only recruit Defensive Linemen. All offers to other positions have been rescinded. Henry Poggi will play two ways as a DT and Qb and Maurice Hurst will now play DT/RB since Shane Morris, Deveon Smith and Wyatt Shallmans offers have been taken off the table. Our coaching staff has finally "got it" after the Bama game and are going to stock up on the line.


September 4th, 2012 at 10:29 AM ^

Look, our DL isn't going to be great, but they are probably OK.  They were facing potentially FOUR all Americans.  We don't even have 1 all american on our DL.  We won't face anything like that again all year.  


September 4th, 2012 at 10:54 AM ^

Yeah, the Bama O-Line has two seniors (one of which was an all-american) and two guys who were in the top 5 recruits overall in their respective classes. The other guy is Anthony Steen, a junior, who is a pretty good guard. 


September 4th, 2012 at 11:01 AM ^

has been all-american at TWO other positions and won the lineman award they hand out.  This year he'll probably win the Remington.


If only we had such great confidence in our backup LT to be able to move Lewan to Center like Alabama did.  I mean sheez.

Sione's Flow

September 4th, 2012 at 11:15 AM ^

Barrett Jones of Alabama is the THE top offensive lineman in the country, according to most experts.  They could line him up anywhere on the line and he'd be a force.  Hopefully with our last couple O-line hauls soon we'll have the same type of line shoving people out of the way for UM.  The D-line hauls that Hoke and the staff are making will start to show on the field in a couple of years.  Brady was lucky that he had a D-line with Martin, VanBergen, and Heininger on it for his first year.  Now he has some rebuilding to do, which we all saw coming.  The Oline and Dline will be fine.  

Indiana Blue

September 4th, 2012 at 11:38 AM ^

with their offensive running scheme and the variety of their running backs vs. anything to do with the play of our D line.   The D line actually caused several QB throw aways with their pass rush ... better than our blitz packages.   I also thought they played hard the entire game.

Alabama is a good a power running attack as there is in the country.  MUCH "beefier" than what Oregon runs ... which is still very effective.  The vast majority of tackles on running plays comes from the LB and safeties ... not D linemen.

I look for this D line to very good by the time the B1G season is upon us.

Go Blue!


September 4th, 2012 at 11:40 AM ^

I think we'll be fine as long as we have a top guy like Pipkins in there.  However, seeing Vrabel's comments at OSU just reminded me of how good Washington and Spense will be.  We will have to face top D-lineman in the B1G...not just the SEC.  I think our weakness will be DE.  We don't have anyone in my mind who will be a top rusher...we still need to address that, but should be fine in the middle.


September 4th, 2012 at 11:40 AM ^

I think we have enough size/depth on the interior going forward.  Pipkins, Henry, Ash, and Washington are all pretty hefty guys, and there are a couple more guys who should eventually end up around 300 lbs. (Godin, Hurst, Poggi, maybe more).  The problem is talent level more than size.  Unfortunately, we have had a run of mediocre talent combined with mediocre size.  That should correct itself over the next few years, but the Alabamas of the world are going to give us trouble.


September 4th, 2012 at 2:53 PM ^

I could see Black move back to his 'natural' position of SDE instead of moving between WDE and DT where he doesn't seem to fit either perfectly.

Pipkins should step up and into a starting role if Washington or Ash don't elevate their games.

Brink is going to be around being gritty and whatnot.

Wormley should be good but I'd have felt better if he could have gained experience this year.  He can't even practice, so he'll be essentially a true freshman again.

I like our DL going forward very much.


September 4th, 2012 at 12:17 PM ^

The reason the DL looks bad is it lost 3 senior starters who played most of the snaps.  They only lose Campbell and Roh next year and there is a good level of overall talent.  Many kids will get to play this year.  The '13 DL will probably be better than the '12 line.  When you think about Black, Ash and Washington returning inside with all those fresh/soph recruits pushing them the interior will be solid. Beyer and Clark will be juniors along with Ojemudia at end. Heitzman/Brink will be alright at SDE and one of the young guys could step up there too. The DL won't be a liability next year.

The real concern lies on the OL where we will probably lose 4 of our 5 starters and replace them with utter inexperience.  The replacements will be 3rd stringers who haven't played (Miller, Bryant, Kalis), walk-ons, and freshman.  OL is the toughest position to play as a true freshman (see Kalis, a physically-ready 5-star, behind people like Mealer and Burzynski).  Michigan recruited 4 guys this year and 5 guys in the '13 class but I'd argue they could use another one because true freshman probably will not only play, but may well start at some point.  It important to remember that typically about half these guys will not pan out (Rodriguez, despite screwing us now with the '10 OL class, had an unusually high success rate with his OL - I think we're taking recent success for granted in that department).  True freshman playing only works out well if you have future NFL players, which maybe the do...but I'd rather have 6 shots at it than 5.

A likely starting OL next year is:  Schofield, Kalis, Burzynski, Bryant, Braden. (Yes, I'm pessimistic on Miller and expect Lewan to go pro). That sounds pretty good if you're talking about recruiting rankings, but Bryant and Braden probably won't have played a down of college football yet and Burzynski obviously isn't an elite talent.  The '12 class (Kalis, Braden, Magnuson, Bars) is going to have to play a huge role.  Long-term, we're looking good at OL, but '13 is going to be a crash course for some of these guys.


September 4th, 2012 at 2:56 PM ^

It would be very tough for a true freshman to step in and run things at OC.  Even Molk red-shirted.

As for the tackles - yeah, flip a coin between Braden and Magnuson. As long as one of them steps up, we'll be... OK.  Schofield would seem like a better option than LT than RT, but who knows...it may also depend on who the starting QB is.


September 4th, 2012 at 12:25 PM ^

*** Our lack of size on the defensive front has been a recurring theme for the past 4 seasons of Michigan football. Last year we performed at a very high level but by all accounts the defensive front four was still undersized.***


First, let me say, Bama's D line is way better than ours. 

That said, We are not smaller than them. We may be weaker, but I would doubt that outside of Williams (their freak who set all sorts of lifting records this summer), we are not all that much weaker either.  We are just not as good. Very few teams have a D line that is as good. 

Their D line (they play a 3-4 so i will include NT both DE and Both OLB) goes:


Our Dline (We play a 4-3 so I will include Both DE,  NT, DT and Sam) goes:


Add it all up and WE are 12 pounds heavier.

We both have a mixed bag of backup weights and configurations but this was the starting 5 for each.  We have to stop with the Size meme and JUST GET BETTER.

And recruiting will help, so you are right, you are just concerned about the wrong aspect of it IMHO.


September 4th, 2012 at 3:15 PM ^

New-found respect for Devin.  His athleticism is undeniable.  His character is first class.  I know it's taboo, but I am indifferent about Denard.  I bought into the hype with his first year as a starter, but let's face it, his accuracy and decision making just isn't there.  Denard has the heart of a saint, but Devin seems like a smarter QB.  The QB position is played above the shoulders, not with 4.32 speed.




September 4th, 2012 at 9:20 PM ^

The lines are going to go through some rebuilding these next few years, but once these 2012 and 2013 kids get a year or two under their belts, we're going to have great lines. I definitlely like Coach Hoke's emphasis on recruiting linemen. Can't wait to see Kalis, Braden, Magnuson, Wormley, Pipkins, etc. all starting.