The Wolverine

April 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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APRIL 2021 THE WOLVERINE 41 PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM BY THE NUMBERS 1 Fumble recovered by Michigan's defense in six 2020 games. The Wol- verines were not good at takeaways under former coordinator Don Brown. 2 Six-game starters return at linebacker from last year — Ross at weakside linebacker and Barrett at viper, but do they move positions in a new attack? The two combine for 16 career starts; nobody else at the position group has started a college game. 187 Career tackles for Ross and Barrett. Solomon, with six, is the other only linebacker with more than one collegiate stop. POSITION BATTLE TO WATCH The Sam (strongside) linebacker position is important in what co- ordinator Mike Macdonald wants to do defensively, and it will be manned by someone without much experience. Ojabo will get a look here and Colson could, too. WHO'S GONE CAM MCGRONE The speedy inside linebacker notched 26 tackles, two stops for loss and half a sack in five games last year before being lost for the season with an injury and then declar- ing for the NFL Draft. ADAM SHIBLEY The former walk-on was forced into significant minutes after McGrone went down, and he recorded 23 stops, including three for loss, in six games. He has moved on to Notre Dame as a graduate transfer. BEN VANSUMEREN The fullback turned linebacker made little impact, before announcing a transfer to rival Michigan State. WHO'S BACK REDSHIRT JUNIOR JOSH ROSS The 6-2, 230-pounder has been steady throughout his career, though he wasn't his best last year. He still led the team with 53 tackles in six games played. He'll be asked to lead the linebacker corps this fall. REDSHIRT SOPHOMORE MICHAEL BARRETT He looked as though he was destined for greatness with a huge opener at Minnesota, but then faded. He still finished with 44 tackles (third on the team), and now will likely move to middle linebacker. SOPHOMORE ANTHONY SOLOMON Though another undersized former viper, the 6-1, 212-pounder has played in 16 of 17 games his first two years and contributed on special teams. FRESHMAN KALEL MULLINGS The Massachusetts native was good enough to see action in all six games last year. TOP NEWCOMER FRESHMAN JUNIOR COLSON's No. 82 overall player nationally en- rolled early and is a candidate for early playing time. He is physically ready at 6-2, 230 pounds and notched 234 tackles, with 37.5 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks, in his last two prep seasons. LINEBACKERS "There's a lot to sort out here. What position is Michael Barrett or William Mohan and David Ojabo? These are guys the previous defensive coordinator loved and talked about them in glowing terms, but we never really saw them on Saturday. Now we're at the point where they're going to play, and we'll see what they can do." — Michigan football sideline reporter Doug Karsch QUOTABLE M ichigan's linebackers took a step back- ward in 2020, and not just a small one. Though it wasn't entirely their fault — U-M's defensive line wasn't up to par and didn't do a great job protecting them — this crew wasn't physical enough, over- ran plays too often and didn't meet its potential. Enter George Helow, who takes over for Brian Jean-Mary after he bolted for a similar position at Tennessee. Helow comes to U-M from Maryland, where he coached spe- cial teams and inside linebackers. He will have to find how the pieces fit in moving players from former defensive coordinator Don Brown's sys- tem to first-year DC Mike Macdonald's, and there will likely be some shuffling around. There are lots of bodies, but not much ex- perience. BY CHRIS BALAS SPRING FOOTBALL ANALYSIS . SPRING SCHOLARSHIP ROSTER No. Name Class Ht. Wt. Hometown 23 Michael Barrett R-So. 6-0 227 Valdosta, Ga. 25 Junior Colson Fr. 6-2 230 Brentwood, Tenn. 41 Nikhai Hill-Green Fr. 6-1 225 Baltimore 8 William Mohan Fr. 6-1 205 Brooklyn 26 Kalel Mullings Fr. 6-1 233 West Roxbury, Mass. 55 David Ojabo R-Fr. 6-5 250 Aberdeen, Scotland 12 Josh Ross R-Jr. 6-2 230 Southfield, Mich. 10 Anthony Solomon So. 6-1 212 Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 29 Joey Velazquez R-Fr. 6-0 224 Columbus, Ohio 44 Cornell Wheeler Fr. 6-0 231 West Bloomfield, Mich. Position coach: George Helow (first year at U-M) PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN MICHAEL BARRETT

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