It’s been a long offseason for fans, but kickoff to the 2017 college football season is fast approaching. Michigan opens its preseason football camp on July 31, beginning the Wolverines’ preparations for the season opener on Sept. 2 against Florida in Arlington, Texas.
Land of 10 brings you a preview of each position group leading up to the start of practice.
Today: Defensive line
DL Chris Wormley, DT Ryan Glasgow, DL Matt Godin, DE Taco Charlton
DL Maurice Hurst (RS Sr.), DE Rashan Gary (So.), DE Chase Winovich (Sr.), DT Bryan Mone (RS Jr.)
Others on the roster
DE Carlo Kemp (soph.), DT Michael Dwumfour (soph.), DE Donovan Jeter (Fr.), DT Aubrey Solomon (Fr.)
Who to watch
Gary, Winovich, Hurst, Mone
Breaking it down
Never mind that Michigan lost its four defensive starting linemen to graduation and to the NFL. One of the philosophies of Michigan defensive line coach Greg Mattison is to build depth within the position group, and the Wolverines don’t just have depth. They have refined depth and skill, as well as a balance of youth and experience.
Rashan Gary is the focal point of Michigan’s defensive line. Less than 17 months ago he signed with Michigan as the nation’s top recruit. As a freshman, he didn’t just plug holes on Michigan’s defensive line, he proved himself to be a force while developing as a college-level defensive end, with 27 tackles, 1 sack and 7 quarterback hurries.
Earlier this month, he was named as one of Sports Illustrated’s “Top 40 workout warriors” in college football.
If the accolades are affecting him, he isn’t showing it. Instead, Gary is making a point to develop himself as a leader.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys coming on the D-line and I need to take the leadership step,” Gary said during Michigan’s spring practices.
Gary’s teammates on the defensive line aren’t slouches, either.
Hurst announced in December that he would return to Michigan for a final season, and is regarded by many as the leader of the position group. Last season, Hurst had 34 tackles, including 11.5 for a loss of 59 yards, 4.5 sacks and 7 quarterback hurries.
Winovich played at linebacker and tight end in his first two seasons at Michigan, before blossoming at defensive end in 2016, where he had 35 tackles, 5 sacks and 5 quarterback hurries.
Mone eyes an injury-free season, his first since his freshman year at Michigan in the fall of 2014. Mone missed all of 2015 with a broken ankle, then missed three of Michigan’s first four games of 2016 with a knee injury.
Michigan’s incoming freshmen defensive linemen are also a formidable group, highlighted by Solomon, a 5-star defensive tackle, and five 4-star defensive linemen.