Winning the initial push at the snap is crucial to the success or failure of most defensive plays, and that responsibility primarily rests with the defensive tackles.
That’s why the defensive tackles earn the appellation “the anchors of the defense.” Michigan has already landed a pair of tackles in Ted Hammond and Manuel Beigel for the 2024 recruiting class, but there’s plenty of room for more.
Let’s look at five additional defensive tackles Michigan could land.
1. Justin Scott
Hailing from Chicago, five-star defensive tackle prospect Justin Scott fits the “anchor” role perfectly. At 6-foot-5, 310, he possesses the stature of a tackle any defense can be built around. Twitchy with good balance, he also has plenty of raw talent. That’s why he holds nearly 30 offers, is the fifth-best defensive line recruit in the country and stands near the top of almost all Michigan recruiting wish lists.
Notre Dame is the prohibitive favorite, but Michigan still could win him over. Luckily for Michigan, Scott has pushed his decision back, giving the Maize and Blue a chance to make up ground. If Mike Elston and Sherrone Moore can get him back on campus, there is still a chance Michigan can pull off the upset.
2. Hevin Brown-Shuler
Currently listed as the 11th-best defensive lineman recruit and 95th-best recruit overall in the country, Hevin Brown-Shuler would be a fine addition to Michigan’s defensive tackle rotation. While he may come from the heart of SEC territory in Atlanta, he has already visited Michigan last month. With Penn State, Clemson and 30+ other programs vying for him, the competition will be fierce. Assuming the January visit went as well as his 247 interview indicated, the Wolverines should be in the mix for the foreseeable future.
3. Brandon Davis-Swain
Firstly, Brandon Davis-Swain may not be a defensive tackle at the next level; he could play a bevy of spots. But no matter where he ends up playing, landing top-100 overall player — an impact player for local powerhouse West Bloomfield High — should be of the utmost importance for Michigan’s recruiting efforts in the 2024 class.
Although Michigan was the first school to offer Davis-Swain back in 2020, he gave his verbal commitment to Notre Dame in April 2022. That, however, didn’t preclude him from visiting the Big House on several occasions during the 2022 season — an action directly against official Notre Dame recruiting policy. So, it was no surprise he de-committed from the Irish in December.
One doesn’t need to be a recruiting insider to see his interest in Michigan played a role in the decision. The question now is whether Michigan can capitalize on the opportunity. Davis-Swain is planning on visiting Ann Arbor in the spring, so it would be great if the Maize and Blue found a way to close the deal. He is too good to let another program get him to leave home.
4. Kellen Lindstrom
Once again, a Missouri standout makes my top-five recruits list, and with Kellen Lindstrom, I’m hardly alone. At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, his frame is more reminiscent of an edge rusher than a defensive tackle. However, he has plenty of room to grow physically. As the penultimate Top 247 composite recruit, he holds offers from more than 25 programs, and his recruitment is wide open. Although Springfield is hardly a hotbed for top-tier high school football talent, Elston should pay this highly-coveted defensive lineman a visit soon.
5. Eddrick Houston
Admittedly, this is a bit of a pipedream. Convincing a top-10 overall recruit from Georgia to pack his bags for the Great White North is a longshot, but it is definitely a shot worth taking.
Without overselling the importance, the commitment of 2025 Buford linebacker Mantrez Walker has already generated interest from his 2025 classmate, cornerback Devin Williams. Who’s to say the same can’t happen with Houston? In a crowded field of suitors, personal connections will be invaluable to gaining momentum with him. One can hope Walker will extol the virtues of the Michigan Wolverines to his fellow blue-chip teammates. If he can do this, Michigan could emerge as a dark horse contender to land him.