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Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Michigan linebacker depth

By Tom VanHaaren

The injury to Jake Ryan affected a few positions along Michigan’s depth chart at linebacker, such as moving Brennen Beyer from defensive end, Desmond Morgan back to MIKE from WILL.

Michigan still has some needs that are being addressed in recruiting, so here is a look at the current depth chart with the strengths, weaknesses and what they mean in terms of recruiting.

James Ross III
Royce Jenkins-Stone
Ben Gedeon

Strengths: Ross saw the field in his freshman season and could be a star for Michigan at the WILL spot with continued growth. The depth that Michigan has here is young and talented. That makes it easier for recruiting purposes.

Weaknesses: With Morgan moving back to MIKE there isn’t a ton of depth behind Ross with regards to playing time. Jenkins-Stone has only seen the field on special teams and Gedeon isn’t on campus yet.

Recruiting: Since Ross is so young there isn’t a huge need at WILL right now for Michigan. There are options still on the roster if the coaches needed to switch anyone around. This spot will likely be addressed further in the 2015 class.

Michael Ferns
The commitment of Michael Ferns makes an already strong MIKE linebacker contingent that much stronger.
Joe Bolden

Strengths: Morgan is back at what is probably his more natural position, which should help his progression. Bolden saw the field as a freshman. If he can continue to get better this could be another bright spot for Michigan.

Weaknesses: There aren’t really a ton of weaknesses at MIKE for Michigan as long as Bolden and Morgan hold up. The coaches like to rotate players, so this is a strong spot for the Wolverines right now.

Recruiting: Michigan landed Michael Ferns in the 2014 class, which will keep the strength of this position going. Ferns is the No. 7 ranked inside linebacker and is probably already close to being college-ready physically.

Cameron Gordon
Mike McCray II

Strengths: Can we include that Ryan might be back by October? McCray has a lot of potential to be successful here, but he’s unproven at this point.

Weaknesses: With Ryan going down there is a ton of uncertainty at SAM. Beyer moved back to linebacker after switching to defensive end, so he will need to be steady without mistakes. There isn’t a ton of depth here either, so it would help if McCray can catch on fast.

Recruiting: Michigan is looking to add a SAM to the 2014 class, with the main option being Chase Winovich (Jefferson Hills, Pa./Thomas Jefferson), who recently visited Michigan. Winovich is likely to make a decision in the next few weeks, so Michigan could have this spot filled soon. If Winovich goes elsewhere there are still options for the Wolverines since it is still early in the process.