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Michigan Football Midseason Grades: Defense

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Michigan's elite defense has expedited the rebuilding process in Ann Arbor with high marks across the board.

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We handed out offensive midseason grades yesterday, now it's time to take a look at their compatriots on the other side of the football on defense.

Defensive Line: A

Michigan's defensive line was a bit of a question mark coming into this season. It wasn't really depth, but more of having a bunch of players there who really have yet to put it all together.

They've been able to answer that and more so far.

It started with Chris Wormley, who out of the gate was one of the most feared defensive lineman in the country and has still been good since then. Willie Henry and Ryan Glasgow have been excellent as well and Maurice Hurst has emerged as a force to be reckoned with up front, too.

The production that Michigan was going to get out of the BUCK spot was up in the air, but they've been solid in that area with Mario Ojemudia, who is now out with an injury for the season, and Royce Jenkins-Stone, who has stepped in and done a great job.

Pat Fitzgerald said a few weeks ago following Michigan's blanking of Northwestern that Michigan's defensive line was great because they keep coming at you in waves.

Teams can't run on the Wolverines right now and quarterbacks are being forced out of the pocket and having to make quick decisions.

Linebackers: B

Michigan has solid upperclassman leadership and experience at the linebacker position and they have been very solid as a second line of defense in the run game.

Desmond Morgan and Joe Bolden are good players, but at times they get a bit exposed in passing situations. Neither are all that athletic from sideline-to-sideline and Bolden especially has problems at times finishing tackles and making reads.

James Ross has probably been the best of the bunch this season with Ben Gedeon being extremely stout on special teams and looking good when he has gotten opportunities.

Defensive Backs: A

We don't give out A+ grades in this classroom, but this is about as close as you could get to it. If you've watched Michigan's defense at all this year, it's quite apparent that the secondary is one of the best in college football.

Jourdan Lewis came into this year as the number-one corner, back he has surpassed expectations in a huge way and has established himself as an All-American, and maybe even a NFL first round pick.

Across from him, Channing Stribling and Jeremy Clark has been pleasant surprises as well. Their steady play has been a big part in Michigan being able to shut down opposing teams in the passing game.

At safety, we have finally gotten our extended look at the much-hyped Jabrill Peppers and while he struggled early on in the Utah game, he has found his groove and has been an extremely versatile talent that the staff has put all over the field.

Delano Hill and Jarrod Wilson have been solid. Their jobs become a lot easier when a guy like Lewis can account for one entire side of the field.

Defensive Coaching: A

What more can be said about the job DJ Durkin and the defensive staff have done this year? Their fingerprints are all over this unit and while we saw a defense that was one of the best in college football last year, things have been taken to an even higher level here.

On this defense, there are players outperforming what we've seen from them in the past and in a lot of ways even outplaying what we thought their potential was.

With a defense as good as Michigan's they have a chance to win every game they play, regardless of what they boast offensively.

Special teams grades are up on Friday. Until then, sound off with your thoughts on our grades so far in the comments below!