Michigan Wolverines: Jon Reschke

Big Ten's lunch links

April, 22, 2014
Apr 22
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Just make me an offer, Culver's.
We're taking snapshots of each position group with each Big Ten team entering the spring. Up next: the linebackers.

Illinois: The Illini lose an All-Big Ten player in Jonathan Brown but still have decent overall depth at linebacker. Mason Monheim started every game at middle linebacker in 2013, and Mike Svetina started all but one game at the star position. Both players return as juniors. Svetina will move into Brown's spot on the weak side, while the other position could be filled by T.J. Neal, who recorded 38 tackles last season. Ralph Cooper has logged significant reps as a reserve, and Eric Finney gives Illinois some flexibility after playing the star position (safety/outside linebacker).

Indiana: This becomes a more significant position under coordinator Brian Knorr, who plans to use a 3-4 alignment. Indiana should have enough depth to make the transition as it returns two full-time starters from 2013 -- David Cooper and T.J. Simmons -- as well as two part-time starters in Forisse Hardin and Clyde Newton, who started the final four games of his freshman season. Like Simmons and Newton, Marcus Oliver played a lot as a freshman and provides some depth. The key here will be converting all the experience into sharper, more consistent play.

Iowa: If you're of the mindset that Iowa always reloads at linebacker, you can rest easy this spring. If not, keep a very close eye on what happens as the Hawkeyes begin replacing one of the more productive linebacker groups in team history: James Morris, Christian Kirksey and Anthony Hitchens. There are high hopes for sophomore Reggie Spearman, who played in 10 games as a freshman last fall. Spearman, junior Travis Perry and senior Quinton Alston enter the spring as the front-runners to take over the top spots. The biggest challenge could be building depth behind them with Cole Fisher and others.

Maryland: The good news is the Terrapins return three productive starters from 2013 in Cole Farrand, L.A. Goree and Matt Robinson, who combined for 233 tackles, including 19 for loss. The bad news is Maryland loses its top playmaker at the position in Marcus Whitfield, who recorded nine sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss last season. But the overall picture is favorable, and the depth should be strong when Alex Twine and Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil return from their injuries. Young players such as Abner Logan (37 tackles in 2013) will push for more time.

Michigan: There are a lot of familiar faces in new positions as Michigan not only has shuffled the roles of its defensive assistant coaches, but also its top linebackers. Standout Jake Ryan moves from strong-side linebacker to the middle, while junior James Ross III moves from the weak side to the strong side and Desmond Morgan shifts from the middle to the weak side. Joe Bolden, who had 54 tackles last season, can play both outside and inside, and players such as Ben Gedeon, Royce Jenkins-Stone and Allen Gant add depth. The talent is there for a big year if the position switches pan out.

Michigan State: It won't be easy to replace the Big Ten's top linebacker tandem in Max Bullough and Denicos Allen, not to mention Rose Bowl hero Kyler Elsworth, but Michigan State has some promising options. Ed Davis appears ready to step in for Allen after recording four sacks as a sophomore. Junior Darien Harris and two redshirt freshmen, Shane Jones and Jon Reschke, will compete at middle linebacker. Returning starter Taiwan Jones is back at the star position, and Mylan Hicks should be in the rotation. Depth is a bit of a question mark here entering the spring.

Minnesota: The Gophers lose key pieces in all three areas of the defense, and linebacker is no exception as two starters (Aaron Hill and James Manuel) depart. Minnesota will lean on Damien Wilson, who started in 12 games at middle linebacker in his first season with the Gophers and recorded 78 tackles. Junior De'Vondre Campbell seems ready to claim a starting spot after backing up Manuel last season. There will be plenty of competition at the strong-side linebacker spot, as Nick Rallis, De'Niro Laster and others are in the mix. Jack Lynn is backing up Wilson at middle linebacker but could work his way into a starting spot on the outside with a good spring.

Nebraska: Optimism is building for the Blackshirts in 2014, thanks in large part to the returning linebackers. The three players who finished last season as the starters -- David Santos, Michael Rose and Zaire Anderson -- all are back, as Rose will lead the way in the middle. Josh Banderas and Nathan Gerry also have starting experience and return for 2014. If younger players such as Marcus Newby develop this spring, Nebraska could have the Big Ten's deepest group of linebackers, a dramatic departure from the Huskers' first few years in the conference. Good things are happening here.

Northwestern: The top two playmakers return here in Chi Chi Ariguzo and Collin Ellis, who combined for seven interceptions and 11.5 tackles for loss in 2014. Northwestern's challenge is replacing the leadership Damien Proby provided in the middle. Ellis has shifted from the strong side to the middle, and Northwestern has moved safety Jimmy Hall from safety to strong-side linebacker. Drew Smith and Hall will compete for the third starting spot throughout the offseason. Sophomores Jaylen Prater and Joseph Jones should provide some depth.

Ohio State: Coach Urban Meyer has made it clear that Ohio State needs more from the linebackers, so it's a huge offseason for this crew, which loses superstar Ryan Shazier. The Buckeyes return starters at the outside spots in Curtis Grant and Joshua Perry, although competition will continue throughout the spring and summer. Redshirt freshman Darron Lee surprisingly opened spring practice Tuesday working with Grant and Perry on the first-team defense. Camren Williams appeared in all 13 games as a reserve and will be part of the rotation, along with Trey Johnson. Meyer said last month that the incoming linebacker recruits won't redshirt, which means an opportunity for mid-year enrollee Raekwon McMillan.

Penn State: Linebacker U is looking for more bodies at the position after struggling with depth issues throughout 2013. The Lions lose leading tackler Glenn Carson but bring back two players, Mike Hull and Nyeem Wartman, who started most of the season. The new coaching staff is counting on Hull to become a star as a senior. Brandon Bell, who appeared in nine games and recorded 24 tackles as a freshman, will compete for a starting spot along with Gary Wooten. Penn State hopes Ben Kline can stay healthy as he provides some experience, and incoming freshman Troy Reeder could enter the rotation right away.

Purdue: Expect plenty of competition here as Purdue loses leading tackler Will Lucas and must get more consistent play from the group. Joe Gilliam started for most of the 2013 season and should occupy a top spot this fall. Sean Robinson also brings experience to the field, and Ryan Russell could fill more of a hybrid linebacker/defensive end role this season. Redshirt freshman Danny Ezechukwu is an intriguing prospect to watch this spring as he aims for a bigger role. Ezechukwu is just one of several younger players, including decorated incoming recruit Gelen Robinson, who have opportunities to make a splash.

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights return a good deal of production here with Steve Longa and Kevin Snyder, who combined for 219 tackles, including 15 tackles for loss and five sacks. Quentin Gause also is back after racking up 53 tackles (8.5 for loss) in a mostly reserve role last season. Gause likely will claim the starting strong-side linebacker spot as Jamal Merrell departs. The starting spots are seemingly set, so Rutgers will look to build depth with Davon Jacobs, who had 30 tackles as a reserve last season, and L.J. Liston, both sophomores.

Wisconsin: Do-it-all linebacker Chris Borland is gone, along with Ethan Armstrong and Conor O'Neill, so Wisconsin must replace three of its top four tacklers from 2013. Derek Landisch and Joe Schobert can be penciled in as starters, along with Michael Caputo, who played mostly safety last season but should slide into one of the outside spots. Marcus Trotter brings experience to the rotation. The spotlight will be on younger linebackers such as Vince Biegel, who had 25 tackles last season, as well as dynamic sophomore Leon Jacobs and Alec James, a decorated recruit who redshirted in 2013.

WolverineNation Roundtable 

August, 1, 2013
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Michigan StadiumAdam Jacobs/Icon SMIThe university can't do a lot to Michigan Stadium without some backlash.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Every Thursday our writers take a look at three topics in and around Michigan sports. Today, they consider three changes that could (or really, couldn’t) happen with the Wolverines.

1. If you could make a change or modification to Michigan Stadium, what would it be and why?

Michigan pursues Va. Tech LB commit 

December, 4, 2012
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- After E.J. Levenberry Jr. (Woodbridge, Va./C.D. Hylton) chose Florida State over Michigan in April, Michigan seemed to pretty much close its books on 2013 linebacker recruiting. But recently, those books seem to have opened yet again.

Michigan State commit Jon Reschke (Birmingham, Mich./Brother Rice) received a Michigan offer in mid-November. And now, 2013 Virginia Tech commit Jamieon Moss (Elizabeth City, NC/Northeastern) has an offer from the Wolverines.

“It was way more than flattering,” Moss said of the offer. “I’m from a small town. No other football player around here has had the honor to have offers from Michigan or Virginia Tech. It’s a huge honor. It’s a huge blessing.”

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Conley decommits; what's next? 

November, 27, 2012
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Michigan has lost the commitment of defensive back Gareon Conley (Massillon, Ohio/Washington), the No. 9 ranked cornerback prospect in the 2013 class. With 22 commitments for Michigan, there are roughly three spots open in this class.

The Wolverines have a few main targets out there, and a few prospects who could find themselves with a Michigan offer depending on how things play out.

Running back Derrick Green (Richmond, Va./Hermitage) is still a main target and has an in-home visit with Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson and defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery on Tuesday night. Green has seen two schools in his top list, Auburn and Tennessee, fire their head coaches, which can't hurt Michigan. The coaching staff has also reached out to former target and current USC commit Ty Isaac (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic), who also could be getting an in-home visit from the coaching staff.

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Michigan targets shine in HS playoffs 

November, 27, 2012
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It was an exciting few nights of high school football as the Michigan high school state finals came to a conclusion. The top teams in the state put it all on the line and the victors saw all their hard work pay off.

There were plenty of Michigan commits and targets still in the mix for a state championship. Not all came out victorious, but they all seemed to put up big numbers in the final game.

[+] EnlargeJourdan Lewis
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comJourdan Lewis was a major factor on both sides of the ball as Cass Tech repeated as state champ.
In the best performance of the weekend, and in the history books, 2014 wide receiver Drake Harris (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) had eight receptions for 243 yards and one touchdown in his team's overtime win against Orchard Lake St. Mary's.

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The Weekly Update: Recruiting news, notes 

November, 21, 2012
11/21/12
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The Weekly Update at WolverineNation is a sneak peek inside Michigan recruiting. KENNY LACY

[+] EnlargeKenny Lacy
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comDeAndre Thompkins plans on visiting Penn State this weekend.
Last week we told you that current UCLA offensive line commit Kenny Lacy (Phoenix/Mountain Pointe) was interested in visiting Michigan. The Wolverines have an opening along the offensive line and Lacy has been in contact with the coaching staff.

“I haven’t gotten a visit set up yet,” he said. “I’m still committed to UCLA, but I’m looking around.”

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Midwest week 1 top performers 

August, 27, 2012
8/27/12
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It was a busy weekend covering games, and after close to 900 miles of travel, two states and six football games, it is time to reflect on what I saw.

I made it to Massillon (Ohio) Washington vs. Akron (Ohio) Buchtel on Thursday; Cleveland Heights vs. Toledo St. John’s on Friday; Detroit Martin Luther King vs. Southfield (Mich.) and Detroit Cass Tech vs. Brother Rice (Bloomfield, Mich.) on Thursday; and ended it with University School (Fla.) vs. Trotwood-Madison (Ohio) and Cincinnati Moeller vs. Baltimore Gilman on Sunday.

I tried to pick one top performer from each team, but it would have been unfair to do that for some of thee teams and players. But here is who impressed me the most this past weekend:

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Buckeyes' Marching Band Mocks Michigan
The Ohio State marching band performed a tribute to the "Wizard of Oz" on the classic film's 75th anniversary. The Buckeyes turned the Wicked Witch of the West into their rival, Michigan.
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