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LB, DL recruiting shifting under Michigan’s new defensive coaching staff

We discuss on this week’s Future Brew.

Vrbo Citrus Bowl - Michigan v Alabama Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Among the topics on this week’s Future Brew podcast includes how hard the new defensive coaching staff has hit the linebacker position on the recruiting trail, and how that could affect other aspects of recruiting as well.

Von: The linebacker position has been hit hard, especially over the last few weeks. I went through and was looking up all the linebacker offers they’ve dished out — I’ve counted at least 14. It’s only been a couple months, so to offer 14 guys, I would say that’s a pretty decent amount. In 2019, Michigan had three linebackers in the class. In 2020, you could make a case there are several guys at the linebacker spot, but in my opinion, Jaylen Harrell is a guy that could probably play an outside linebacker in this defense. So Stephen, do you think the reason they want so many linebackers is because they have, on the roster currently, a ton of in-between guys and Vipers, or do you think they were gonna hit it hard regardless?

Stephen: I think it’s definitely a shift because before, when you only had the Viper and the edge rusher. When you’re moving into a more multiple defense overall, I think it opens you up more to take the best athletes. But when it comes to these edge rushers, you need more of those guys and I think the more guys you take that have positional variability, the harder it is for the offense to parse what they’re looking at. I think it makes sense with kind of where the game is going to have a higher number of those guys, and then figure it out later. You need to have that level of versatility to compete and make up for the advantage offenses have in college football today. Nothing is more important that having, in this sort of defense, a plethora of outside linebacker/edge rusher guys.

Von: Do you think the way they hit linebackers is going to affect they recruit defensive linemen as well, Jon?

Jon: Yeah, I think there is a spectrum on those guys as well. I think they do have to recruit specifically for nose tackle, because there are so few guys who are that big that are space eaters. So I think that’s one position you gotta define your targets there. But the defensive ends/tackles — I think Justice Finkley is a good example of a guy that most people would look at as a 3-4 defensive end, but Michigan is apparently recruiting him as the Matt Judon outside linebacker type, capable of doing both. So it’s also what Mike Macdonald has in mind and how big he wants those guys in his defense.

Listen to the entire podcast below.

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