The Wolverine

April 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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40 THE WOLVERINE APRIL 2021 DEFENSIVE LINEMEN BY THE NUMBERS 5 U-M defensive line- men have fathers that played in the NFL: Jay- len Harrell (James), Chris Hinton (Chris Sr.), Aidan Hutchinson (Chris), Kris Jenkins (Kris Sr.) and Taylor Upshaw (Regan). 9 Sacks tallied by U-M in six games last year. The Wolverines were 12th in the Big Ten and tied for 104th nationally in get- ting to the quarterback. 82.9 Was Hutchinson's sea- son-long grade in 2019 per Pro Football Focus, which ranked 12th na- tionally among edge defenders who logged at least 700 snaps. His 2020 mark of 82.5 ranked 32nd overall, though he played just 149 snaps. WHO'S GONE TACKLE CARLO KEMP The two-time captain was undersized, but he gave his heart and soul on the interior line. END KWITY PAYE An injury slowed him as a senior, but Paye is still projected as a first-round NFL Draft pick. END LUIJI VILAIN The Ontario native came in as a top-100 recruit, but two knee injuries derailed his progress. He transferred to Wake Forest this offseason. WHO'S BACK SOPHOMORE TACKLE CHRIS HINTON The former five-star recruit recorded 13 tackles last season, and has a high ceiling. JUNIOR END AIDAN HUTCHINSON A broken ankle ended the legacy Wolverine's season, but Hutchinson is still one of the Big Ten's top defenders. He's notched 11.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks among 98 career stops. FRESHMAN END KRIS JENKINS He only played in one game last fall, but coaches dubbed him one of the unit's up-and-comers. REDSHIRT JUNIOR TACKLE DONOVAN JETER The former four-star recruit has yet to reach his potential after 24 games with four starts. REDSHIRT FRESHMAN TACKLE MAZI SMITH Another former four-star prospect that finally started to see the field last year. REDSHIRT SOPHOMORE END TAYLOR UPSHAW Upshaw has started two games in 12 appear- ances. He registered three tackles for loss — one off the team high — with one sack last year. REDSHIRT SOPHOMORE TACKLE JULIUS WELSCHOF The German notched six tackles last year and is learning on the interior line. TOP NEWCOMER FRESHMAN TACKLE RAYSHAUN BENNY The nation's No. 9 defensive tackle and No. 98 overall prospect will have a chance to contribute early, though he doesn't arrive until June. The 6-5, 275-pounder is explosive and has the potential to be a dominant run stopper. POSITION BATTLE TO WATCH Hutchinson will be a stalwart at one end, but who will step up on the other side? U-M desperately needs a pass rusher here, and Upshaw will battle freshman Jaylen Harrell, a scout team standout last year, and others for the right. I njuries and the absence of a pass rush were key parts of the defense's struggles in 2020. The Wolverines' 1.5 sacks per game average were better than only 19 of the 127 schools that played last fall, and the unit's aggressive nature often left the defensive backs on an island without the cover of pressure on the quarterback. The Wolverines' rush defense was middle of the pack, allowing 4.16 yards per carry (55th nationally), but wasn't stout enough on the interior while sur- rendering 178.83 rushing yards per game (79th). Those are numbers that need to improve this year, and many of the same players will be back to try doing so. BY CHRIS BALAS SPRING FOOTBALL ANALYSIS . SPRING SCHOLARSHIP ROSTER No. Name Class Ht. Wt. Hometown 32 Jaylen Harrell Fr. 6-4 235 Tampa, Fla. 13 Chris Hinton So. 6-4 305 Johns Creek, Ga. 97 Aidan Hutchinson Jr. 6-6 269 Plymouth, Mich. 94 Kris Jenkins Fr. 6-3 265 Olney, Md. 95 Donovan Jeter R-Jr. 6-3 318 Beaver Falls, Penn. 17 Braiden McGregor Fr. 6-5 260 Port Huron, Mich. 90 Mike Morris R-Fr. 6-6 276 Belle Glade, Fla. 99 Gabe Newburg R-Fr. 6-5 265 Clayton, Ohio 92 Phillip Paea R-Jr. 6-4 302 Berrien Springs, Mich. 58 Mazi Smith R-Fr. 6-3 305 Grand Rapids, Mich. 67 Jess Speight* R-Jr. 6-5 290 Richmond, Va. 70 Jack Stewart R-Fr. 6-4 318 New Canaan, Conn. 91 Taylor Upshaw R-So. 6-4 256 Bradenton, Fla. 96 Julius Welschof R-So. 6-6 286 Bavaria, Germany Position coach: Shaun Nua (third year at U-M) * Former walk-on "This group needs to be better both rushing the passer and against the run. There were too many times last year when linebackers didn't have a chance to get to the ball because one of the linemen was in their lap." — Michigan football side- line reporter Doug Karsch QUOTABLE PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN AIDAN HUTCHINSON

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