Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 3/27/13
Once a weakness, the defensive line is now a position of strength for Michigan Football. Thanks to a recruiting emphasis on defensive linemen, the Wolverines have a deep and talented group of players competing for starting assignments. There are so many promising players that there are numerous potential combinations for how the starting unit could shake out. Defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery left the staff for a job at Oklahoma. Now Brady Hoke will coach the tackles, Greg Mattison the ends and Roy Manning was added to the staff, he will coach the SAM linebackers. Here are the 4 positions and who is competing for playing time at each spot DE: Last year as a true freshman, Chris Wormley was very impressive in camp and was on track to play before his season was prematurely ended by injury. Wormley is still impressing and figures to see a lot of action this year. Fellow redshirt freshmen Matt Godin and Tom Strobel are also talented players who will compete for playing time. Redshirt sophomore Keith Heitzman is also in the mix and has some playing experience under his belt. Ondre Pipkins DT: Quinton Washington started 10 games last year and was one of Michigan’s best defenders. He is a load at 6-foot-4, 305 pounds and should create havoc on the interior for the Wolverines. Ondre Pipkins played as a true freshman last year and is only going to get better. He will push Washington and should see plenty of reps. DT: Jibreel Black has appeared in 39 games throughout his career and should start next to Washington on the inside of the line. 6-foot-2, 306 pound redshirt freshman Willie Henry is yet another talented young player on this defense. He should see playing time this fall. DE: Now is the time for junior Frank Clark to shine. He has beefed up to 277 pounds and is a tremendous athlete. Last year, Clark was second on the team with 9 tackles for loss. Mario Ojemudia received a lot of playing time last season as a true freshman and looks like a future star. Freshman Taco Charlton is an early enrollee and by all accounts a freak athlete. Don’t be surprised if he forces his way into the rotation this fall. This group of defensive linemen is very deep and loaded with talent. The competition for playing time will be intense and that will bring out the best in these players. Games are won and lost in the trenches and this is particularly true in the Big Ten. Michigan is now in a position where they will have a dominant defensive line. Big Ten Network analyst Gerry DiNardo observed a recent Michigan practice and came away impressed with the defensive line. BTN Spring Tour Stop 6 #WolverinesWatched one of the best and toughest defensive line pass rush drills ever. — Gerry DiNardo (@gerrydinardo) March 27, 2013 BTN Spring Tour Stop 6 #Wolverines Best competition between offensive & defensive lines we’ve seen this spring They were smashing each other — Gerry DiNardo (@gerrydinardo) March 27, 2013 In addition to Charlton, Michigan has two more freshman defensive linemen set to join the team this summer, Maurice Hurst Jr and Henry Poggi. If you would like to receive an email notification each time a new Michigan Football article is posted you can fill out our Email Notification Form. You can follow me on Twitter @isportsRob Related articles The aftermath of the Jake Ryan injury Michigan Football’s all-time best defensive linemen
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