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Top defensive targets for Michigan in the transfer portal

The Wolverines are in the market for some upgrades on defense this offseason.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 21 Michigan at Rutgers Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With Michigan’s new-look defensive coaching staff set in stone, the work has begun to not only recruit the 2022 class, but also players who are in the transfer portal.

That work had begun for the Wolverines even before the shakeup with the defensive staff. Director of recruiting Matt Dudek and some of the assistants who were on staff at the time had reached out to several players in the transfer portal. Some of those guys will continue to be top targets for Michigan moving forward, as the new staff evaluates the current roster.

Here are a handful of defensive players Michigan has already been in contact with, and who I think are the top targets for them currently in the transfer portal.

Mohamed Diallo, DT, Central Michigan

One of the first big-time targets for the Wolverines who entered the portal this offseason is Diallo, a 6-foot-4, 305-pound defensive tackle who made a name for himself in Mount Pleasant with the Chippewas.

He started four games this past season at CMU, racking up 19 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Those stats are eye-popping having only played in four games.

Before his time at CMU, Diallo played at the junior college level and then transferred to Texas A&M for one season in 2018. And it just so happens that one season at A&M led to some familiarity with new Michigan co-defensive coordinator Maurice Linguist, who was coaching cornerbacks at the time.

Given the recent pipeline with CMU, Diallo should be a prime candidate to wind up in Ann Arbor this offseason. And if that happens, I’d expect Diallo to get instant playing time.

Treshaun Hayward, LB, Western Michigan

Another in-state target, Hayward would be another immediate plug-and-play for Michigan.

Hailing from Ypsilanti, and having attended Skyline High School in Ann Arbor, Hayward managed to put together a successful career in Kalamazoo. In a shortened 2020 season, he racked up 50 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks in five games. The year prior, he won Mid-American Conference Player of the Year by totaling 142 tackles, 10.5 for loss, five sacks, one pass deflected, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble.

Given he is from the area, and attended college in-state already, the Wolverines should be able to land Hayward if they want him (they should want him). Much like Diallo, I’d expect Hayward to get starting snaps in 2021.

Henry To’o To’o, LB, Tennessee

To’o To’o is the most recent addition to the portal, having hopped in last Wednesday.

One of the better players on Tennessee this past season, To’o To’o compiled 76 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, one sack, one interception and three passes deflected. He was also a True Freshman All-American selection in 2019.

The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder will be a junior this upcoming season, and will likely be an instant impact player wherever he winds up. According to a report by 247Sports’ Chris Hummer, the four schools that have already positioned themselves in this recruitment are Michigan, USC, Alabama and Georgia.

A four-star in the class of 2019, To’o To’o was a top 50 overall player.