While most of the attention will be paid to names like Jourdan Lewis, Jabrill Peppers and Jake Butt, the best position group for the Michigan Wolverines operates outside of the "star" power generated by those elite talents. That position group is the defensive line and one of the leading college football experts in the country ranked Michigan's unit as the best in the Big Ten for 2016.
Phil Steele of ESPN Insider weighed in with his top 15 defensive lines in the country, and while Michigan did not arrive until No. 10 overall, that was good for top billing in the conference.
The Wolverines defense allowed just 80.5 rushing ypg and 2.5 ypc in the first nine games. But after NT Ryan Glasgow was injured, the Wolverines gave up more than 300 rushing yards to both Indiana and Ohio State. They lose three defensive linemen (totaling 20 starts, 11.5 sacks) but have two potential first-round draft choices in DE Chris Wormley and NT Maurice Hurst, get Glasgow and Bryan Mone back and add elite recruit Rashan Gary.
The depth for Michigan up front is staggering, with the top overall recruit in the nation (Rashan Gary) operating on the second unit. Chris Wormley, Taco Charlton and Ryan Glasgow have all been included on various All-Big Ten preseason squads, with Mo Hurst generating all kinds of attention for his work in a limited role last season.
If there is a weakness of this group, it comes in the form of pure pass rush, where only Charlton and, potentially, Gary profile as upper-tier players in 2016. Still, it would be difficult to pinpoint a more talented group from top to bottom, and in an era when depth is everything along the defensive line, the Wolverines have an advantage over the competition on a weekly basis.
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