Michigan Wolverines: Brennan Beyer

The Wolverines are less than a week away from signing day. Michigan still has its top recruit, Jabrill Peppers, in the fold, while the No. 2 and No. 3 commitments -- wide receiver Drake Harris and defensive tackle Bryan Mone -- have already enrolled.

Here’s a look back at Brady Hoke’s top three commits in each of his Michigan recruiting classes and what they’ve done so far in their careers for the maize and blue.

2013 class:

No. 1: RB Derrick Green

The freshman toted the ball 83 times this season, though if Hoke weren’t so loyal to his upperclassmen then Green probably would’ve taken over the job earlier from Fitzgerald Toussaint. Green finished the year averaging 3.3 yards per carry (third best on the team) and will look to be the featured back next season.

[+] EnlargeJourdan Lewis
Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY SportsMichigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis just missed on a few big plays during his freshman season but showed promise for the future.
No. 2: CB Jourdan Lewis

Lewis appeared in all 13 games for the Wolverines this season but only tallied 17 tackles and two pass break ups. He picked up more reps as the season came to a close but he (like fellow freshman Channing Stribling) found himself in a lot of “close but not quite there” situations with wide receivers.

No. 3: G David Dawson

Dawson redshirted this season but his name was brought up a few times, specifically during bowl practices. He should be able to compete for reps next season but likely won’t crack the starting lineup.

2012 class:

No. 1: CB Terry Richardson

He didn’t get into a game this season after appearing as a back up cornerback in four games in 2012. He was known for his speed and quickness as a high schooler, but at 5-foot-9 he seemed a little bit on the smaller end for Greg Mattison’s defense.

No. 2: OLB Royce Jenkins-Stone

As a freshman Jenkins-Stone played in 13 games on special teams and once appeared as a backup linebacker. As a sophomore he again played on special teams and one game as a linebacker. In his career he has registered 11 tackles.

No. 3: G Kyle Kalis

He redshirted last season but started eight games this season at right guard. He missed some time because of an ankle injury but showed a ton of promise on a struggling O-line. His return next season should help solidify the interior offensive line and the aid the struggles the Wolverines had.

2011 class:

No. 1: CB Blake Countess

Countess came off his ACL injury and recorded a Big Ten-best six interceptions this season. His 42 total tackles was two shy of his freshman total. He should be the vocal leader of the secondary next season as a fourth-year junior.

No. 2: CB Delonte Hollowell

In 10 games this season Hollowell tallied just two total tackles. In just four of those games Hollowell saw time on defense, as he mainly played special teams.

No. 3: DE Brennen Beyer

Beyer played at SAM linebacker this season until Jake Ryan returned and then moved back to the defensive line, where he played in 2012. He accounted for 27 tackles, four tackles for a loss, two sacks, one interception and five quarterback hurries.

Planning for success: Michigan

November, 14, 2013
Michigan is heading into a game against a winless Big Ten team as an underdog. That’s where the Wolverines are right now. Offensively, Michigan is jumbled without any cohesion up front, the running game has suffered mightily, and Devin Gardner has gotten to know opposing defensive linemen like family.

Michigan’s defense has also struggled at points, especially against the option last weekend versus Nebraska. This weekend, they’ll face more of that. If Michigan wants to reverse its downward trend, here’s what needs to happen on both sides of the ball:

[+] EnlargeZaire Anderson
Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesMichigan's offensive line needs to prevent Devin Gardner from getting beaten up like he has been in the last two games.

On Tuesday, offensive coordinator Al Borges said that the Wolverines two biggest struggles right now are pass protection and running the ball. That’s kind of a two-step guide to what not to struggle at in football. And it’s what killed the Wolverines against Michigan State and Nebraska.

Michigan will stick with its offensive front, hoping to continue building chemistry and investing in its youth. But it needs to do a better job protecting Gardner because he can’t take any more seven-sack games.

At this point, Michigan will stick with its current five starting offensive linemen because looking back isn’t really an option at this point of the season.

“If we just keep changing, then you have new guys making new mistakes,” Borges said. “You can change everybody, but it’s a recipe for disaster. We’ve done enough of that. We have to allow our football team to grow. With that, some growing pains. That’s just the way it is.”

That doesn’t mean that other guys such as Kyle Kalis won’t see the field, but the starting five will stay the same.

And so will the running back situation.

On Wednesday, Michigan coach Brady Hoke said that he still considers Fitzgerald Toussaint the Wolverines’ featured back and doesn’t see freshman Derrick Green surpassing Toussaint's number of carries.

With that, the Wolverines need to find a way to get Toussaint yards. With the Iowa linebackers and Ohio State's defense on the horizon, NOrthwestern's defense might be the easiest defense for Toussaint to find yardage against. Whether that means the offensive line actually gets push and opens holes in the middle or him going off tackle, Michigan needs to find a way to get a rushing attack going.


Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison is of the opinion that his defense will be good enough when it finds a way to win each game.

This weekend against Northwestern, that’ll be asking a lot because Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter possess a threat much like Nebraska posed last weekend with the option, leaving Mattison to decide how to pressure.

“I’m trying to pressure, thinking we can get home, and they check to option,” Mattison said. “That’s the fine line where you decide if you’re going to be a pressure team in passing situations, or are they going to change their game plan and check to a running play? There were a number of times when we came out of it okay, and a couple times we didn’t.”

Michigan will try to get pressure up front, and with this being Brennen Beyer's second game back on the defensive line, the gained chemistry from practice could show as Mattison works up different schemes and blitzes.

But Mattison said that the scout team offense had actually given the first-team defense a good look of what Northwestern will run Saturday.

“That’s a huge thing, especially as the season goes on, when your numbers go down a bit,” Mattison said. “You’ve got to do a good job to make sure you get a great look.”

Michigan linebacker depth 

May, 14, 2013
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.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan football coach Brady Hoke said Saturday that Jake Ryan, the team’s leading tackler who suffered an ACL tear a few games into spring practice, could return as early an mid-October.

“I’m not a doctor,” Hoke said, “but possibly middle of October.”

It’s promising news for Ryan, who had to watch Michigan’s spring game from the sidelines on crutches Saturday. A mid-October return would place him right around Michigan’s bye week, early enough to play in both the Michigan State and Ohio State rivalry games.

Ryan led the Wolverines last season with 88 tackles, including 56 solo tackles, en route to an All-Big Ten season. He finished third in the conference in tackles for losses (16).

Because of the injury, the Wolverines have been forced to regroup, moving rush end Brennen Beyer back to the SAM linebacker position, which he played as a freshman. Beyer is competing with Cameron Gordon at the position but with a possible mid-October return, Michigan could find themselves regrouping yet again, halfway through the Big Ten season.

WolverineNation mailbag 

May, 23, 2012
Keshawn MartinMike Carter/US PresswireMichigan opening the B1G season with Michigan State in 2015 and 2016 raises eyebrows.
Just when we thought sporting excitement would be over for Michigan fans until September, the softball teams goes and upsets No. 9 Louisville and advances to the NCAA Super Regional.

We didn't get any softball questions this week, but if you have some lingering thoughts on the season, please send them in next week because we love hearing from our readers!

Mike will be taking care of next week's mailbag so email (michaelrothsteinespn@gmail.com) or tweet (@mikerothstein) your questions to him! But now, on to this week's questions…

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Defensive end is the one spot on the defensive line that has a little bit of depth, as defensive tackle has been gutted. Three of four starters across the line are gone.

And within the Wolverines' defense, what happens on the line is the biggest question mark. Michigan does have options, however. In defensive coordinator Greg Mattison's system, he can move guys who have played on the outside inside -- see Ryan Van Bergen -- and guys who appear to be defensive tackles all over the field -- see Mike Martin.

Both of those guys are gone, but there is some depth for Michigan waiting to play -- mostly at the ends.

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WolverineNation Mailbag

February, 29, 2012
Frank ClarkLon Horwedell/Icon SMISophomore Frank Clark, along with Brennen Beyer, is expected to give Michigan more of a pass-rushing element from the defensive end position next season.

We’re well into spring break for Michigan students. But the basketball team is still around and the fans don’t get a spring break, so we know you have questions.

And we love hearing from our readers. Michael will be handling next week’s mailbag so if you have any questions send them over to michaelrothsteinespn@gmail.com.

Q: @Showboat804 via Twitter: If Michigan has a terrible season next year how will [Michigan coach Brady Hoke] keep this recruiting class together?

CJ: I don’t think that’ll be a problem. Hoke put together much of last year’s No. 7 class in the country without so much as a game under his belt as a Michigan coach (though he closed it out as a BCS bowl game champion). If the team does poorly that could act as a positive for many young players because they could see the potential for playing time (especially with so many four stars already committed). Also, it’s not just Hoke holding this class together. Several of the 2013 commits have already begun trying to establish a family-like feel in their class.

Q: Art Vandelay via Twitter: U of M lacked an edge rusher last season. Who's the favorite to get pressure this year, and who are they targeting for this for 2013?

CJ: Last year it would’ve been Craig Roh, who’s likely moving to the other side of the line. But I think this season someone like Brennen Beyer might drop down from linebacker to defensive end, giving Michigan an athletic pass rusher. Frank Clark saw some playing time as a freshman and should be another piece to Michigan's pass rush puzzle. Part of the Michigan coaches’ goal has been to add speed at this position, which they did in the 2012 class with Mario Ojemudia. One of Ojemudia's biggest strengths is his speed off the edge, so he’ll have a chance to get some time early. They have also already addressed that need in the 2013 class by adding Taco Charlton. At 6-foot-6, 235 pounds Charlton has a lot of athleticism and size that is highly wanted at his position.

Q: Van Shumake via Twitter: Why are U of M fans arrogant & think their school has the "winningest" record when early on they played inferior opponents?

CJ: I think arrogance is in the eye of the beholder, so it’s not really an objective question. And Michigan fans don’t just think Michigan is the winningest program -- it is. The Wolverines have amassed 895 wins over their 132-year history (that’s 6.8 wins per season). And it’s not that they played inferior opponents in the beginning. The Wolverines had a solid coach for the first two decades of their program. Fielding H. Yost invented the forward pass, changing the game and making defenses completely unsure of how to defend. In 1901, the Wolverines outscored opponents 550-0. In 1902 it was 644-12. It’s not that they were playing terrible teams. They were very good early on and it gave them some cushion in the later years when everyone began catching up.
Brady Hoke chatted with the media one last time before shutting things down in preparation for Ohio State on Saturday -- oh, and he wished the media a Happy Thanksgiving, too. Here's what mattered from the presser, in convenient bullet form.

  • Freshman linebacker Brennen Beyer "probably won't play" Saturday against Ohio State. He injured his leg against Nebraska last week. Hoke was unsure of his availability for whatever bowl game the Wolverines end up playing in as well. Otherwise, Vincent Smith and Ricky Barnum are doing fine.
  • Hoke on Nebraska coach Bo Pelini's comment about defensive players faking injuries this season: "That's ridiculous. I wouldn't do that. (Jordan) Kovacs? Come on. Us?"

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