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Friday, November 03, 2006

Defensive Line

Since Last Update: Status quo. I guess we are more or less officially out with Barksdale. Rumors hold that Martez Wilson, an OMG shirtless DE, is parting ways with ND and we may have a shot.

Needs: Minor. Marques Slocum will finally join the team next year. Last year's class also included four -- now five -- defensive linemen: John Ferrara, Jason Kates, Adam Patterson, Greg Banks, and Brandon Graham. All but Patterson and Graham are redshirting.

Commitments: Depending on who you listen to, Whitehall's Ryan Van Bergen is either k-rad or merely meh. Rivals gives him three stars, but R-V-B finds himself in the Scout top 100 -- a wild difference of opinion. At 6'5" and 250 pounds going into his senior season, he could end up at either end or tackle.

Prospects: Joseph Barksdale still drops Michigan's name occasionally but the chances of him ending up here are zero. At last report, DT-desperate Notre Dame had "backed off of him," which is either face-saving bull or indication that Barksdale's considerable rep is... uh... Watsonian. Rolando Melancon once listed Michigan as his leader but has backed off that stance. He's from Louisiana, too, which means it'll be difficult to pull him from the south. Devon Still and Josh Brent, a four-star-ish end and tackle, respectively, both list Michigan but have Ohio State as their leader. It's unlikley we get either.

Then there's Wilson, long thought to be a Notre Dame lock. That's no longer the case, and he'll take a look at Michigan.

Projection: We get one guy, probably someone sleeper-ish who we haven't heard of yet.

Panic: Minor, though it would be nice to pick up another player or two.


Since Last Update: Manny Abreu committed to Rutgers.

Needs: Moderate. Michigan brought in four a year ago, but Brandon Graham showed up at 270 pounds and was instantly moved to the defensive line. Quintin Patilla, Cobrani Mixon, and Obi Ezeh are redshirting.

Commitments: None.

Prospects: Floridian Ronnie St. Fleur is listed as having high interest in Michigan by both sites and was featured in a recent Wolverine article titled "St. Fleur has one on top." Draw your own conclusions. He made a soft verbal to Minnesota in July, but then backed off. He's a middling recruit but has offers from Iowa-level schools now.

Other than that... uh... Lorenzo Edwards, a former teammate of freshman WR Greg Mathews, took an official visit earlier in the year and seemed to like it quite a bit. He's another one of the safety OLB/tweeners we're stockpiling like mad.

Projection: We pick up one or two. St. Fleur, I guess, and someone else from out of the blue.

Panic: Moderate. With Graham on the DL, our LB class from last year looks... speculative. Mixon was well-regarded but Patilla and Ezeh were sleepers. Our current LB corps shows that sometimes having blue-chippers is nice: Burgess and Crable were both heavily hyped. David Harris not so much, though.


Since Last Update: Status Quo.

Needs: Vast. No cornerbacks a year ago; Harrison, Richards, and Sears the year before that. None were can't miss prospects and only Harrison has established himself as a contributor to this defense.

Commitments: Sleeper and Michigan legacy Troy Woolfolk committed at camp. Californian Zion Babb says he's been recruited as a wide receiver but is open to a position switch, and switch positions he shall.

Prospects: Ron Johnson, Ron Johnson, Ron Johnson. Dionte Allen's decision to pursue academics at Florida State leaves Michigan in a bind. They need Johnson badly. They should get him, if reports are correct, but that's what they said about Allen.

Also being heavily pursued by Michigan is Michael Williams, a California quarterback who's been down to Michigan and Notre Dame since around March. He's coming in for a visit this weekend and will decide soon thereafter. Notre Dame seems more confident than Michigan at this point but it's around 50-50, IMO.

In the "speculative" area: rumors swirl around a Dionte Allen decommit but I wouldn't get your hopes up. #1 JUCO (yeah, JUCO) Woodny Turrene is listing us. Top-100 corner Donovan Warren, also from California, officially visited and is considering us but USC is probably the favorite. Three-star Cris Hill from Virginia has the offer list of a star and will visit after the season.

Projection: We get Johnson and someone else, hopefully Williams.

Panic: Moderate trending to minor if Johnson commits. We've got the two back-end guys we wanted for depth purposes but neither seems particularly likely to bust out and be a star. The last blue-chip corner recruit we got was either Hall or Marlin Jackson, depending on your definition of blue-chip. We need another.


Since Last Update: Status quo.

Needs: Moderate. Two safeties came in in the last class but there were none the year before that.

Commitments: Indianans Jerimy Finch and Artis Chambers were both early commitments. Finch is technically a "soft" verbal, but his latest visit is to Indiana. I don't think we have much to worry about. Chambers is a three-star-ish recruit who's been forced to play quarterback for his high school team this year but will be a safety on arrival. Finch is in the Scout top 50 but only the Rivals 250

Prospects: No one on the board who's got an offer.

Projection: It's likely Michigan is finished, but if they find themselves with a spare scholarship towards the end of the year they may take a shot at someone.

Panic: Minor. Depends on whether or not Finch and Mouton, both of whom have been mentioned as potential weakside linebackers, stay at safety. Presumably at least one of them will. Michigan should be fine at safety for the next few years. Freshman Stevie Brown has been a standout on kick coverage and will probably start seeing time in the secondary next year. Mouton's redshirting.


C+, same as earlier. Van Bergen and Finch are nice recruits but whiffing on Dionte Allen still stings. Our options on the DL and at LB are few and far between. At corner a large portion of our eggs are in the basket of Ron Johnson. If he commits like most expect him to, this class will be fine but uninspiring. If he doesn't we'll be playing with makeshift corners for at least a year or two and people will be muttering about Todd Howard and such.