Michigan Football Position Preview: Linebackers
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 linebacker position. This position has 12 guys fighting for the top spot as Jabrill Peppers is the new leader and face of the linebacker core. Ben Gedeon, Noah Furbush, and Mike McCray all have playing experience out of the other players and can help the weak spot on defense. Jared Wangler, Jack Dunaway, Alex Kaminski Michael Wroblewski, Cheyenn Robertson and Jameson Offerdahl all have no experience and look to possibly hit the field this season with the linebacking core needing all the help it can get. Devin Bush Jr. and Carlo Kemp are two incoming freshman who could possibly see some playing time if they impress the coaching staff. These 12 men are going to fight like hell to prove to coach Harbaugh that they are the starting linebacker at Michigan. Let’s breakdown all 12 candidates.
A linebacker with the most playing time on this list from last year is back for his senior year. Gedeon has 70 total tackles, five and a half for loss, and two sacks in his career. Gedeon has been a nice piece on the linebacking core—and while he doesn’t put up big numbers, he does his job well enough to play and could end up starting this season, keeping the middle of the field contested for opposing offenses.
Devin Bush Jr.
The first freshman on the list, Bush Jr. comes from Flanagan High School and has a shot to play his first year in the maize and blue jersey. Bush has an impressive high school career with 248 tackles, eight sacks, and three interceptions. Bush actually played in the spring game a few months back and was one of the early enrollments for the 2015 class.
A sophomore from Brother Rice, Jack is the first non freshman on this list with no experience yet for Michigan. He will have a tough time to move up the depth chart with players in front of him who have been on the team longer and have played a down.
A junior with only five games under his belt, Furbush still has a chance to increase that number in 2016. He only has four total tackles in his career, but this year he could have a chance to put an increase in those numbers by a good amount.
A junior from Lowell is another player on this list with some time on the team, but no playing time to show for it. He has a better chance than some underclassmen, but Kaminski will most likely be on the sidelines again.
A sophomore from Cardinal Gibbons with bench time being the only time at Michigan come game day. It was like that in 2015 and expect it again in 2016.
A sophomore from St. Peter’s Prep, Robertson hasn’t played for Michigan yet and with more older and experienced players in front of him, he could sit out again this year.
A senior with only three games played and two tackles, one for loss in his career is next up on the list. McCray hasn’t seen very much action despite being a senior and those stats were from 2014, as he didn’t sniff the field at all last year. This year, like Furbush, could be a year where they look to him to step up and his numbers show a good increase.
The best player on this list no doubt and possibly on the defense is Jabrill Peppers. Now Peppers is normally a cornerback who got converted to safety last year and with the linebacking core looking weak with many inexperienced players on the list, Don Brown figured moving Peppers there would be a good move and honestly it is the best move they could have made. The cornerback spots are fine and the secondary is alright without Peppers and now he can cover tight ends and running backs to shut down the offense even more and with his 53 tackles, five and a half for loss, and 10 pass deflections, you got to think linebacker will be a good spot for Peppers to show the NFL that he can go to the next level and play almost wherever you need him on defense.
The final freshman out of this list is Carlo Kemp and he can play defensive end as well, but expect him to play linebacker this year as it needs all the help it can get. Kemp had 203 total tackles, 25 for loss, 14 sacks, one interception, four pass deflections, seven fumble recoveries and forced fumbles along with a whopping six blocked kicks. If he can’t get some time at linebacker, expect him to play some special teams defense to try and block punts and kicks.
Brother of wide receiver Jack Wangler, Jared handles the defensive side of the ball. Jared was on the 2015 Academic All Big-Ten team, but besides that he hasn’t seen any type of action. Jared is a junior so if he can’t do anything this year, his senior year could finally be his shot to show what he can do.
A senior from Detroit Jesuit will see his final chance to step on the field as a Wolverine. Wroblewski has yet to play at all in his three years at Michigan and his fourth year could end up the same as the first three.
Who Will Start at Linebacker for Michigan Come Week One?
Besides Jabrill Peppers and Ben Gedeon, this list was hard to figure out where people would go and how far up and down they could sit. Check out the list below.
- Jabrill Peppers
- Devin Bush Jr.
- Jared Wangler
- Carlo Kemp
- James Offerdahl
- Cheyenn Robertson (redshirted)
- Ben Gedeon
- Mike McCray
- Noah Furbush
- Michael Wroblewski
- Alex Kaminski
- Jack Dunaway (redshirted)