Michigan Football Position Preview: Defensive End
Kickoff is less than two months away and we are in the dead period for any news on the team and in college football in general. With that being said, let’s look over each position on the team and who is competing for the starting position and predict who will win each position. Today I will look at the defensive end position. This position has eight guys fighting for the top spot as Chris Wormley has been a solid starter at the position. Taco Charlton has some experience and looks to start in every game this season. Chase Winnovich and Lawrence Marshall are players with some experience, but nothing noteworthy as they look to possibly have an impact this season. Reuben Jones and Shelton Johnson are sophomores that sat out last year and could possibly contribute this season if they can step up. Joshua Uche and Ron Johnson Jr. are incoming freshman that will possibly get redshirted this year, but if they can put on a good enough performance they could see the field for a little bit. These eight men are going to fight like hell to prove to coach Harbaugh that they are the starting defensive end at Michigan. Let’s breakdown both candidate’s.
The number two defensive end on the team is Taco Charlton. The senior has 51 total tackles, 14.5 for loss, nine sacks and one forced fumble in his three-year playing career. Taco only played in 11 of the 13 games last season, so expect him to move that up to all 12 and possibly more if Michigan can extend its season. Taco is looking to continue to have a good career so he can end up in the NFL and if he has another pretty good year, he could be drafted late next year.
The first sophomore on the list with no playing experience is Reuben Jones. He sat the bench last year and while he did have a good high school career, getting 212 tackles and 27.5 sacks this could be the year he sees the field.
Ron Johnson Jr.
The first freshman on this list is Ron Johnson Jr. and he has an impressive stat line at Camden High School, getting 256 tackles, 107 tackles for loss, 17 sacks, one pass deflection, five fumble recoveries and five forced fumbles. He has the best chance of both freshman to get some playing time with his stat line for this three years on varsity in high school, but he could also sit this year out and learn from Wormley and Charlton.
A sophomore that didn’t get any playing time last year in Shelton Johnson will have a shot this year to get on the field. Johnson could get a redshirt if he can’t play as Harbaugh wouldn’t want to waste talent sitting on the bench for two years and not get one year back from him.
Last year Lawrence Marshall only played in one game and had one tackle and a half a tackle for loss. He has appeared in three games as a reserve defensive end and if he ended the year playing in a game, you can expect him to play some more this year.
While the picture above says he is a linebacker, Joshua Uche will be playing defensive end for the Wolverines. Uche had 15 total tackles, seven for loss, six sacks and one fumble recovery last season. Uche will have a long battle to end up even sniffing the field, but this season could just be a year of learning on the sidelines.
The former tight end turned defensive end, Chase Winnovich could have a chance to play more in 2016. He appeared in six games last year and only recorded two tackles and he was on the Academic All-Big Ten team last year as well. This season could be a good year for the former tight end if he has a good summer camp.
The redshirt senior is looking to make a statement for himself this season. Some people project him to be a first round pick in the upcoming draft if he can have a strong final season for the Wolverines. Wormley already has 83 total tackles, 24 for loss, 12 sacks, two pass deflections and one fumble recovery and forced fumble. Wormley is big at 6’5 300 pounds and he can be a force on the defensive line and he can even play defensive tackle if needed as well. Wormley should have a good year as Michigan has a strong defensive line.
Who Starts at Defensive End for Michigan Come Week One?
This position was a tough one to figure out with all eight players, but eventually it all made sense. Some people are going to have to get a redshirt this year and that can keep Michigan loaded into 2017.
- Chris Wormley
- Taco Charlton
- Lawrence Marshall
- Chase Winnovich
- Reuben Jones
- Ron Johnson Jr.
- Shelton Johnson (red shirt)
- Joshua Uche (red shirt)