Michigan Football Preview 2019

Digital Edition

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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THE WOLVERINE 2019 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ■ 93 DEFENSIVE LINE season to provide critical depth down the stretch. His sack total ranked fifth on the squad last year and stands second among returners. Harbaugh expressed concern in spring that Dwumfour's injury could be more seri- ous than feared. However, he was back on the field in the last few spring practices and provided an encouraging update via Twitter. "I did not tear my plantar fascia in the bowl game," he reported. "I tore it against Maryland and still played … did not miss any games. Rehab is going great, and I will be back healthy very soon." Athlon named Dwumfour a preseason fourth-team All-Big Ten pick. Jeter, meanwhile, might have been the most improved player on the entire defense. The redshirt sophomore impressed coaches when he arrived as a true freshman, but back then he was a defensive end. He proved to be a quick study, providing toughness and great work ethic before a serious knee injury robbed him of his first season. He's since bulked up and added 53 pounds to his frame, and he is now up to 6-3, 308. He appears "hell bent" on being the starting three-technique, Harbaugh said, and he'll have a shot. "The guy who has probably made the biggest jump in one year is Donovan Jeter," Brown said. "He's big, strong, always looked like a pro defensive tackle to me, but now he has his head screwed on, his body's tight, he understands the position and he is playing at a high level." His teammates have noticed. Senior line- backer Josh Uche, one of the team's bell cows as a pass rusher, reserved some of his highest praise for the former four-star recruit. "Donovan Jeter is really special," he said. "I've known it. Me and him, we've gone through stuff. We'll talk to each other, pick each other up and he's just special, man. He picked it up so much in the spring and I'm so proud of him. "I can't wait until you guys [in the media] PRESEASON ANALYSIS: DEFENSIVE LINE STARTERS ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ There's a lot of potential here, but there aren't a lot of provens, especially on the inside. Can senior Carlo Kemp hold up at the point of the attack at the nose, and can redshirt sophomore tackle Donovan Jeter continue his ascent? Just as importantly, can they both stay healthy? Jeter has struggled with injuries and played sparingly, but now he'll be called upon to play a ton of snaps against rugged Big Ten linemen. Sophomore Aidan Hutchinson and junior Kw- ity Paye, though, could emerge as one of the league's best end tandems. DEPTH ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ There are talented bodies, they're just unproven. Jeter's emergence has been a huge plus, and freshmen Chris Hinton and Mazi Smith will likely have to play. Fullback Ben Mason is still learning the position, but can provide depth as an "anything for the team" type of guy. Nobody behind Hutchinson and Paye has seen more than a few snaps on the edge — but it's hoped that CMU grad transfer Mike Danna can provide significant help as the third option. X-FACTOR If Danna is as good a pass rusher as expected, that could open up several possibilities for defensive coordinator Don Brown. He's got a knack for get- ting to the quarterback, evidenced by his 54 pressures (sacks, QB hits and hurries) last year, which tied for 16th nationally. The interior pass rush is something that needs to improve, and a lot of that could fall on redshirt junior Michael Dwumfour. Harbaugh compared him to former All-American Maurice Hurst in his quickness off the ball, and he showed flashes of it last year. They'll need more of it this season. OVERALL ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ There is plenty of talent here; it's just a matter of putting a rotation together and staying healthy. Brown likes to rotate his linemen in and out to keep players fresh for winning time in the fourth quarter, but it takes proven players to be able to do that. There are potential pros up front again, however, and this unit should be very solid by the end of the season. QUICK FACTS Position Coach: Shaun Nua (first season). Returning Starters: DT Carlo Kemp (12 career starts), DE Kwity Paye (4), DT Michael Dwumfour (2). Departing Starters: DE Rashan Gary (22), DE Chase Winovich (28), DT Bryan Mone (17). Projected New Starters: DT Donovan Jeter, DE Aidan Hutchinson. Top Reserves: DE Mike Danna (16 at CMU), DT Chris Hinton, DT Mazi Smith, DT Ben Mason, DE Luiji Vilain. Wait Until 2020: DE Julius Welschof, DE Taylor Upshaw, DE David Ojabo, DE Gabe Newburg. Newcomers: Hinton, Newburg, Ojabo, Smith, DE Mike Morris. Moved In: Danna (graduate transfer from Central Michigan), Mason (from FB). Moved Out: DT Aubrey Solomon (transferred to Tennessee), DE Ron Johnson (transferred to Rutgers), DE Reuben Jones (transferred to West Virginia). Rookie Impact: Hinton, Smith. Most Improved Player: Jeter. Best Pro Prospect: Hutchinson. YEAR-BY-YEAR RUSHING YARDS ALLOWED Rushing Yds Rushing Yds Yards Year Allowed Per Game Per Carry 2018 1,656 127.4 3.7 2017 1,572 120.9 3.5 2016 1,550 119.2 3.2 2015 1,589 122.2 3.6 2014 1,412 117.7 3.2 2013 1,822 140.2 3.8 2012 1,957 150.5 3.8 2011 1,712 131.7 4.0 2010 2,456 188.9 4.4 2009 2,063 171.9 4.4

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