Happy Thursday, folks. I’ve been battling the flu this week so today’s Brews are going to be a little abbreviated. Also, please forgive any fever-induced errors this morning. Nonetheless, this morning we have: highlights from Spring practice on Rashan Gary and the rest of the defense, a little bit of recruiting news, plus basketball and the weekend in review.
Let’s hit the links:
One player expected to take a big step forward this year is Rashan Gary. Gary got his share of playing time last year - seeing action in all 13 games - but this year he’s expected to take his place as a starter and a leader, a big step. Gary credits Taco Charlton and other seniors entering the NFL draft for helping him grow in Don Brown’s system last year. This year, he’s planning to pay it forward - taking this year’s crop of recruits under his arm as Charlton and others did for him.
Even with the accession of Rashan Gary to a starting role, there are plenty of questions on the defensive side of the ball. Don Brown has the task of replacing 10 starters from last year’s unit, and while returning players with experience like Gary, Mo Hurst, and Mike McCray help, getting this unit game ready will still be a tall task. Don Brown isn’t nervous, though. He says he’s excited because of the way his guys are competing during spring ball. Brown also says that spring practices identify who the core guys will be in the fall, so stay tuned.
Devin Bush Jr. believes Michigan's defense is talented enough to pick up where 2016 left off https://t.co/gdtl77iMFs— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) April 4, 2017
Giving the perspective of one of those young guys on defense looking to step up this year, Sophomore LB Devin Bush Jr. recently spoke to Nick Baumgardner over on MLive. Bush says now is their time to shine, and the goals this year are a playoff berth and a national championship. More than just talk, Bush even incorporated this quest into a new tattoo on his shoulder. For now, the tattoo is unfinished - a symbol of the goals yet to be achieved by Bush at Michigan. The whole interview is good, so if you have the time this morning I recommend clicking the link above and giving it a read.
If there’s one immutable truth in college football, it’s that recruiting never stops. As Nick told you last week, Harbaugh has been making a push into Georgia and Florida with the 2018 class and it has some SEC coaches on edge. Last week Harbaugh continued this push into Georgia by offering 2018 ATH Mike Barrett. Barrett plays as a dual-threat QB in high school, but Sam Webb reports that Harbaugh is looking at him as a RB. Barrett is a three star recruit with an offer count in the mid-teens, and Scout reports ($) that Michigan, Tennessee, and Georgia Tech. are his current favorites.
Continuing with the southern recruiting theme, Jay Harbaugh is recruiting Florida 4* RB Asa Martin. Formerly of IMG Academy, Martin transferred home to Decatur, AL for his final season. Sam Webb reports that Florida is the current leader for Martin, but that Martin also likes Auburn, Michigan, and Ole Miss. Martin looks to be an EE candidate and so it’s important to get him on campus as soon as possible.
Michigan basketball had an historic run this year, bottoming out in January but recovering to win the B1G Tournament and reach the Sweet Sixteen. Despite losing some senior leaders, John Beilein’s crew could be quite good next year. Like Anthony, I’m skeptical that DJ Wilson will leave for the NBA and I think the chances of Mo Wagner leaving are even lower. I think we’ve already seen all the attrition we will see from this team, with Walton and Irvin graduating and Donnal and Dakich transferring. Despite losing offensive threats in Walton and Irvin and depth in Donnal and Dakich, there are a number of reasons why next year’s team could be even better - chief among them are Kentucky transfer Charles Matthews and soon-to-be freshman shooting phenom Jordan Poole. Add in newly crowned Michigan Mr. Basketball Isiah Livers and this team should be pretty good next year.
This is something that I came across early in the week that I thought was pretty cool. It’s a recap of what Michigan sports teams accomplished this prior weekend (a fair bit), and I thought I would include it here at the bottom of this morning’s Brews. Go Blue.