4. College Football News Preview 2020: Michigan Wolverines Defense 3 Things To Know
– The top three tacklers are gone, but the defense that finished 11th in the nation and allowed just under 21 points per game has enough overall talent back to be great again, if the linebacking corps comes together right away.
The Wolverines lost leading tacklers Khaleke Hudson and Jordan Glasgow to the NFL, and not having hybrid pass rusher Josh Uche around anymore hurts even more.
After missing most of last year, Josh Ross is back for one spot on the outside – he’ll be a statistical star – and Michael Barrett is a promising outside option who saw a little bit of time.
On the inside, Cam McGrone will be one of the teams top tacklers after coming up with 65 stops, and there’s going to be a fight for the team’s Viper position – part safety/part linebacker. 6-0, 227-pound junior Michael Barrett will get the first look, but the gig is open.
– The defensive line is going to be terrific. The tackle combination of 6-4, 303-pound sophomore Christopher Hinton and 6-3, 286-pound Carlo Kemp are a good place to start, and there are good options ready to work in the rotation.
The ends are set, with senior Kwity Paye and junior Aidan Hutchinson back after combining for 11 sacks and 24 tackles for loss, but they’re hardly alone. It’s a deep group of pass rushers with excellent depth.
– The secondary that helped the team finish tenth in the nation in pass D has two all-star talents at safety. Former super-recruit Daxton Hill came up with 36 tackles in his freshman season, and senior Brad Hawkins made 53 stops, but he needs to make more plays when the ball is in the air.
Ambry Thomas was one of the best corners in the conference – he made 38 tackles and tied for a team-high three picks – but he opted out. Junior Vincent Gray should be ready for a bigger role after getting in plenty of work in the rotation.