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Mapping out Michigan’s defensive line options for the 2022 class

Where will Michigan turn next after landing Mason Graham?

NCAA Football: Michigan at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan is in the process of reshaping how its defensive line room looks after the transition from Don Brown to Mike Macdonald. The Wolverines capped off 2021 with a run on defensive linemen, landing Rayshaun Benny, George Rooks and Ike Iwunnah after the early signing period.

But they’ll have to stack classes like that if they want the depth and talent they’ll need to have a championship-level defensive line. They got off to a good start yesterday when three-star Mason Graham flipped from Boise State to become the first piece of the puzzle for 2022.

Graham plays at Servite in California, which is part of arguably the toughest high school football conference in the country, the Trinity League. They haven’t started league play yet, but in the two games where stats are available, Graham has put up seven TFLs and six sacks. If he keeps up that type of production against the Mater Dei’s and St. John Bosco’s of the world, he’ll be due for a ratings bump.

The recruitment of Graham started and ended quickly, but Michigan has a few other targets they’ve been in on for a while they’d also like to add to their class. I’ve separated them into three separate groups based on where I think they land on the board.

Take No Matter What

Walter Nolen

Plan A’s

Deone Walker

Kenneth Grant

Isaiah Hastings

Plan B’s

Robby Harrison

Lemar Law

The first category is obvious. You take the No. 1 overall player in the country if he wants to commit. But Michigan can’t rely on an elite talent like Nolen to join the class, even if he’s already taken three visits to Ann Arbor. Schools like Alabama, Georgia and Florida are always lurking.

That brings us to the second group, which are top-of-the-board guys Michigan would accept a commitment from barring them already having four guys in the class.

Grant and Walker both have several Michigan Crystal Balls and just recently visited, so they’re more likely at this point. But if they landed those two and Hastings still wanted in, Walker has the versatility to move to the offensive line and create space. Walker is pushing 6-foot-6 and there aren’t many defensive linemen at the highest levels playing at that height, so his ceiling may be higher on offense.

Both Harrison and Law were supposed to take visits but canceled for one reason or another. Law was slated to take an official visit for the opener against Western Michigan, then pushed it back to Washington, then didn’t show up at all. Harrison was supposed to take an official this weekend, but he told our own Von Lozon earlier this week that the staff isn’t hosting visitors.

Those situations make it look like they’re lower on Michigan’s board and will be kept warm in case one of the guys higher up doesn’t work out.

Either way, Michigan has put itself in a good position to land a quality defensive line class. Although it’s not reflected on the composite, Grant is rated as a four-star by 247Sports and it’s been said Walker is in line for the same after his strong start to the season. Paired with an already great edge rusher class, and Michigan will have a stalwart front in coming seasons.