We decided to grade out the 2013 class as it winds to a close- today we take a closer look at the defensive line. Tell us what you think!
A year after hauling in 3 potential 5-techniques (Wormley, Strobel, Godin) and a Weakside DE (Ojemudia), this position wasn't one that needed much depth in the 2013 class. However, as was repeatedly evidenced throughout the year, Michigan desperately needs some pass rushers on this team. Thus, the only commit in the class is a 6'6, athletic pass rusher in OH DE Taco Charlton.
Although Charlton enrolled early, he'll have to battle with 3 guys who sit ahead of him on the depth chart right now (Beyer, Clark, Ojemudia), as well as a couple of SAM linebackers (Gordon, Ryan) who sometimes put their hands in the dirt and rush the passer, if he wants to see the field next fall. Although Charlton has the size (he's already up to 260, about the weight that starters Beyer and Clark played at least season, and ahead of Ojemdudia), Taco's far from a done deal. While his upside has earned him four stars across the board, he needs to develop that talent. His highlights show poor leverage, inconsistency when exploding off the line, and poor hand use. Still, his long arms and rangy athleticism make him a prospect with tantalizing upside. Additionally, the staff has shown a willingness to mix freshmen into the D-Line, perhaps more so than any other position. If I had to guess, though, he'll get a redshirt.
As of right now, it looks like Taco will be the only DE in this class. Although the staff seemed to place a premium on the position earlier in the cycle, the rejuvenated offering effort has not seen much attention placed here. Former offer recipients Christian Lacouture and Elijah Daniel recently eased off of their verbal commitments to Nebraska and Clemson, respectively, but neither seems to have garnered much interest from Michigan since. This is somewhat surprising in the case of Lacouture, as Michigan finished a very close second to Nebraska earlier in the cycle. Michigan has also eased off of WA DE Joe Mathis (who will be picking between Washington and Utah) and NJ DE Al-quadine Muhammad, although the latter could be for grade reasons.
Taco's greatest ability is to rush the passer, which Michigan desperately needs. However, he's far from a finished product and there's no guarantee he'll reach that potential.
Tackle was another position that didn't really need numbers, as either Godin or Wormley (or both) will likely join Henry at the 3-tech, with Pipkins at the nose. Instead, Michigan went out and got two very solid, albeit very different, prospects.
MD DT Henry Poggi was a highly recruited prospect from the Gilman School, where his dad coached him. Based on offers only, you would likely assume he's the headliner of this class. With two older brothers and a dad coaching him up over his career, he looks like one of the most college ready D-Linemen that Michigan has recruited in years. However, that's not to say he's the most physically gifted. I'm a little concerned by how slow he gets off the ball in his senior highlights, although that can be improved with coaching. My guess is his ceiling is around RVB's.
On the other hand, MA DT Maurice Hurst is very explosive. I noted a lot of inconsistencies when breaking down his junior year highlights, but he's really improved into his senior year. I said this on twitter a few weeks ago, but I'd put money down that Hurst is the most productive defensive linemen from this class, when all is said and done.
While Michigan seemed to be pumping the breaks on the position after Poggi dropped, they've recently been in hot pursuit of FL DT Jay-nard Bostwick, a late riser with offers from Alabama, Florida, FSU, and LSU, to name a couple. I'm not as high on him as others (he also gets off the ball pretty slowly), but there's no denying his quickness in small spaces, his hip flexibility, and the violence with which he plays. I don't think Michigan will land him, but they'll have a shot-it sounds like he'll be taking a January official.
I think people tend to over-hype Poggi, based solely on his offer list, and Hurst is far from a complete player. Still, both look like they could be solid contributors (at least at the collegiate level), and adding Bostwick would certainly not hurt the grade.