DL needs to be the new LB or OL

Submitted by CLord on September 17th, 2012 at 3:17 PM

SEC speed is a myth, but monstrous, athletic SEC defensive linemen is not.  If Michigan is to enter the “conversation” during the Shane Morris era, and given the state of play, DL appears to be recruiting priority #1 in the next class or two.  I personally think DL is the most important position group in football.  Defense wins championships, and it all starts up front.  85 Bears on down.  This is one of the reasons I was ecstatic to learn Hoke was a DL guy.

Michigan’s DL recruiting for 2013 appears complete, whereas OSU and ND still may have room for a few more players.  However even if Ohio and ND add no other DL, they both appear below to have out-recruited UM at the DL over the last 3 years (2 Hoke, 1 RR). 

With OSU there is little doubt if you look at the numbers, but ND can stake that claim as well, even more-so that Sheldon Day is blowing up as a true freshman.

The sign of hope is that Hoke had 6 DL in his 2012.  However that is tempered by 4 of those being Rivals 3 stars. 

As a DL coach, you’d think DL recruiting would be Hoke’s main priority.  I love his recruiting so far, but since I’m a DL first guy, I need to be seeing more Alan Branch/Pip types coming through the door to get really excited about the future, especially in light of the product we are seeing so far this year.

Data based on Rivals:

UM and peers – recent DL recruiting totals from 2011 to current:

Total players:
UM – 12
OSU – 13 *
ND – 11*

* Includes 2013 where UM is likely done, but ND and OSU will likely have room for more DL.

Star totals over this span:
UM – 5 stars – 1, 4 stars – 4, 3 stars - 7
OSU – 5 stars – 3, 4 stars – 8, 3 stars - 1
ND – 5 stars – 2, 4 stars – 5, 3 stars - 4

2013 (classes obviously not filled yet):
UM – 3
Poggie 260 4, Charlton 250 4
Hurst 305 3
OSU – 4
Hill 315 4, Price280 4, Bosa 270 4
ND – 1
Rochell 260 4

UM – 6
Pip 325 5
Strobel 245 4
Godin 270 3, Henry 270 3, Ojem 215 3, Wormley 270 3
OSU – 4
Washington 230 5, Spence 245 5,
Schutt 301 4, Pittman 245 4,
ND – 3
Day 285 4, Jones 310 4,
Okwara 240 3,  

UM – 3
Beyer 220 4,
Heitzman 237 3, Miller 268 3,
OSU – 5
Bennett 275 5,
Farris 265 4, Hayes 240 4, Miller 230 4
Hale 290 – 3
ND – 7
Williams 230 5, Tuitt 260 5
Lynch 245 4, Councell 225 4
Springmann 257 3, Rabasa 220 3, Carrico 270 3



September 17th, 2012 at 4:59 PM ^

But it's not like you went back decades.  All of these players are of recent vintage, so the idea of Frank Clark not being a lineman, for example, is silly.  Also, Miller was, at best, a two-way linemen.

For future reference, just look up this site's "Hello" posts for your position breakdowns.

Phil Brickma

September 17th, 2012 at 3:24 PM ^

I think the DL recruiting is fine, it just hasn't shown it's dividends yet because Hoke has been on the job for less than two years. OL and DL takes time to develop. These recruits won't come in and take over right away. Give them a couple more years and M has the makings of an elite program.


September 17th, 2012 at 3:26 PM ^

Hoke is doing great with DL recruiting . For large DT's and what your talking about, he took pipkins last year and is taking hurst this year.


September 17th, 2012 at 3:28 PM ^

Weird that you included Jack Miller on the DL, but left off Frank Clark. Also weird that you included an ND player who is no longer there, and another (Springmann) who is an OL. You can't rely solely on Rivals for all of your info.


September 17th, 2012 at 3:31 PM ^

We also have 2 other coaches that know the D-line. 

So as far as recruiting D-linemen, I'm not worried about star ratings.  I trust these 3 guys know what they're looking for.


September 17th, 2012 at 3:32 PM ^

The problem is we have depth holes everywhere on the roster.  What positions do/did you not not want the staff to recruit heavily their first two classes (2012/2013)?  We had, and to some extent are still hurting at, DB, absolutely no OL, no quality LB depth, WRs and RBs that didn't fit the style the coaches want to do.  There is an icredible numbers and depth gap the coahces are/were trying to to make up from the ridiculous attrition during the RR years.  

And as far as the lower rankings of the DL, well what did we expect the first few classes?  We just came off one of the worst stretches in our history while our regional rivals saw resurgance.  I would say the coaches are far out-pacing expectations at this point.  I agree that DL (and OL) needs to be a major point of emphasis for any winning program, but I don't feel like the coaches have been neglecting it either considering everywhere else they need to get bodies.


September 17th, 2012 at 3:57 PM ^

Keep in mind as well that we're the early favorite for Malik McDowell in 2014, and have a punchers chance for DeShawn Hand as well. I agree we should always recruit good DL classes, but not time to freak out yet.

Hardware Sushi

September 17th, 2012 at 4:02 PM ^

Overreact much? Hokes first full recruiting class is 3 games into their freshman year.

Our d-line recruiting with Hoke, Mattison and Montgomery looks great to excellent. I don't know why you would even point out RR unless you want to weaken our argument by saying the current coaching staff started with less. So, in a nutshell, you're saying:

"I prefer the players Rivals ranked to the players the coaches preferred most."

Fine, if that's what you want, but it's not supporting an actual argument that we'll be bad if we don't change how we're recruiting. Plus, if you want to get into individual players - who should we have gone after instead of the guys we got:


  • Hoke had 3 weeks. This class looks weak but I'm not holding it against him. You can if you want. He still got Frank Clark.
  • Frank Clark - Signing day 3-star looking like a freak athlete with NFL potential. Starts at WDE as a true sophomore.
  • Aaron Lynch, 1/2 of the dynamic ends ND brought in with Stephon Tuitt, transferred. 
  • OSU's d-line was standard OSU recruiting under Tressel: get the best Ohio players. And Kenny Hayes is gone.


  • Pipkins - Recruited by almost everyone. Stud 1-tech. Playing relief as a true frosh. Chases down Stefon Diggs in All-Star games.
  • Strobel & Wormley - Highly respected in the state of Ohio. Both recruited by OSU, Wormley by Alabama, Strobel by ND & Stanford, many other good schools.
  • Ojemudia - Recruited by MSU & ND. Freak athlete. Hopefully he'll put on some weight and him and Frank Clark put two nasty options there.
  • Godin - Local Van Bergen-esque player. Will RVB ever be a Pro-Bowler? No, But I'll take players like him when I can get them.
  • Willie Henry - 2012's signing day special, same school as Frank Clark. Showed up over 300 bones and got solid camp reviews. Crossing fingers.

Who we didn't get and OSU/ND did:

  • Adolphus Washington - was going to OSU as long as it wasn't a complete total tire fire; Urban hiring sealed it.
  • Tommy Schutt - turned down to visit due to Pipkins, committed to PSU, OSU got lucky when PSU exploded.
  • Noah Spence - did we really recruit him that hard? Is the effort for him worth whatever little bit better the coaches may have graded him over the other 3 WDE prospects we have? Also goes to PSU until explosion.
  • Sheldon Day - Great player, can't win them all. Still believe he was steered away from Michigan by his pro-OSU coach but it doesn't matter.
  • Romeo Okwara - I don't know who this is...


  • Henry Poggi - Concensus top-150 recruit. Nick Saban has a boner for him.
  • Taco Charlton - Praised at every camp for athletic freakishness, dominates when he plays weakside. One disgusting athlete per class at this position.
  • Maurice Hurst - 6-3 275 lb. DT that moonlightss for 75 yard touchdowns as a tailback

Who we didn't get:

  • Joey Bosa - Buckeye semi-legacy. Was going to OSU or a Florida school.
  • Billy Price - Worrying about losing him is like OSU worrying about RJS or Terry Richardson coming here. Also, I like Poggi better.
  • Tracy Sprinkle - We didn't recruit him...
  • Michael Hill - We didn't recruit him...
  • Isaac Rochell - Seems like a good prospect but is ND's only d-line prospect.

We have 1 five star and 16 four stars out of 23 in this class based on rivals. I don't even know if I have a question other than what the hell else do you want besides "ALL THE RIVALS FIVE STARS"? 


September 17th, 2012 at 4:35 PM ^

Someone who pays more attention to their team could be more specific (and they apparently don't post player participation on their website), but I'm pretty sure Washington, Schutt, and I believe another freshman DL were in the game for OSU on Saturday, late in a very close game against Cal.

At the same time, Michigan is redshirting 4 DL and will only graduate BWC and Roh from this year's group (I believe we've played 11 guys, which doesn't include 4-star RS soph. Ken Wilkins). 

I think we're in pretty fantastic shape now and going forward.

Hardware Sushi

September 17th, 2012 at 4:52 PM ^

Agreed. I'm definitely not commenting above on this year's depth, but I think our overall outlook is strong going forward. I really hope Willie Henry and Maurice Hurst work out as solid inside guys to go along with Pipkins.

Also, my dog is named Maurice so I'm especially rooting for Hurst to be good.


September 17th, 2012 at 5:02 PM ^

caliber D-linemen don't exactly grow on trees. 

2013 is/was very weak for DT in the MidWest IIRC so we did the best we could with what was local and who we could lure from out of the area - I would give the staff an "A" for pulling Poggi and Hurst from outside our region.

All that said - we would be screwed if we had ended up whiffing on PeeWee in 2012.  I hope to see some "Day-like" performances from him before the year is over.


September 17th, 2012 at 4:07 PM ^

Is this only a topic of discussion because that's where we've had "poor play" as of late?

I seem to think that is the only reason this topic is being discussed. We have NO Idea where we truly stand as a D-Line yet... We played manhandling Alabama's O-Line for our first game, then an offense that is generally successful with smaller bodies (Triple- Option), THEN we played a team that is a bottom barrel of whom we can't really measure much off of because, let's face it, EVERYONE knew we'd win and therefore I feel the effort was not 100% there. I've been saying for 2-3 weeks that we won't know what we TRULY have until we play Notre Dame... Which I feel will be a much better game than what ND @ Sparty was.

I expect our DL will be fine next year with the combination of Beyer/Strobel...Pipkins...Black/Washington...Clark/Wormley

I'm more worried about what will the post-Denard offense look like...


September 17th, 2012 at 7:28 PM ^

 I'm only freaked out about the O line depth if Lewan leaves early. Kalis and bryant at the guard poistions, Jack Miller at center, Lewan and Magnuson/ Braden at the tackles. You still have burzynski ,Gunderson. Bars , Braden/ Magnuson as non freshman back ups. Throw in an awesome freshman class of Dawson, LTT, Fox, Kugler and Bosch and I'd say depth won't be a huge problem but inexperience might be


September 17th, 2012 at 4:11 PM ^

FWIW, this would have qualified for moderation under the BiSB "Snowflake Rule" had you not included statistics in your post.  Opinion threads are like a--holes . . . everyone's got them and they all stink.


September 17th, 2012 at 4:53 PM ^

That's a gigantic loophole to the snowflake rule.  Just to be certain I'm okay, all my new posts/threads will now contain at least one statistic, true or otherwise.

Leprechauns are 2.6 times more likely than humans to attack homeless persons while they are asleep.  I think Michigan's line play has been below average, but probably should have been anticipated given the amount of returning experience.  Additionally, on an annual basis, 291.4 hookers are murdered by pairs of midgets dressed as My Little Pony.  Would be nice to have Mike Martin still here.  5 hookers are murdered annually by Craig James. 

Monocle Smile

September 17th, 2012 at 4:14 PM ^

is rather skewed. Mike Martin and Brandon Graham were the two best Michigan DL in the past twenty years, yet you pick Alan Branch (who was very good, but overrated by M fans) and Ondre Pipkins (who has yet to see meaningful time and IS A FRESHMAN) as your shining examples?

This, plus your woefully inaccurate information, leads me to conclude that it is currently amateur hour. Try harder next time.