With the BBQ at the Big House is all cleaned up and media day in the books, all eyes turn to the play on the field with fall camp starting tomorrow. Everyone will get their first look at one of the most anticipated teams in the past 20 years of Michigan football. And with the anticipation and excitement, I’ve put together a couple preview posts to get ready for fall camp.
Check out the five defensive breakout candidates for the 2016 Michigan football fall camp:
DL Rashan Gary
- My most likely breakout candidate is the most obvious guess possible. Gary was the first ever unanimous #1 overall high school football prospect and for good reason. He’s an absolute freak physical specimen. At 6’5” 287lbs, he moves like a rush defensive end but has the raw power to play on the interior as a one tech. That’s crazy for an 18 year old kid.
- This is what a source close to the program said about what Gary has shown in his short time on campus: “He might be their best d-lineman already and the hype around him is definitely legit”, they said. “He has the quickest first step (I’ve) ever seen”.
- That mix of size, speed and power will get him on the field early and often but I believe it will do more than that. As long as he shows off his natural abilities, he should be running with the ones well before the Hawaii game.
- With the departure of Jarrod Wilson, the depth at safety is a bit of a question mark. But one player I believe makes a big jump and helps fill that hole at free safety this fall is Kinnel.
- The true sophomore was a player most thought would redshirt last season but proved to be just too good and too valuable to keep off the field for the staff. They ended up burning his redshirt and changing his number early on in the season so he could contribute and it may end up setting him up for an even better career in Ann Arbor.
- That early exposure and playing time in spot situations on defense and on special teams looks to have helped grow his confidence as he was a standout player during the spring game. If he continues to grow as a player, he should have no problem becoming the 3rd true safety on the depth chart.
- Marshall is a player that seems to have been on each and every “breakout” list since his freshmen year. He was a highly rated recruit and looked the part more than most defensive end recruits. However, things just haven’t completely clicked just yet thanks to off the field issues and growing into the right shape. But things look to be all cleared up now and the hype train is re-starting right here.
- With all of the talent on the defensive line, both young and seasoned, Marshall has the chance to solidify himself among the top defensive ends in the class and set himself up as a speciality pass rusher this fall which could spring board him into a starting role in 2017.
CB David Long
- Jim Harbaugh and the rest of the coaching staff made California a priority on the recruiting trail in 2016 and Long was easily one of their best gets from that move. He was a highly rated player coming into camp but his pure potential at the cornerback position wasn’t known because of his two-way play in high school. Well, from early reports, his ceiling may need to move up a couple notches.
- Speed is the number one thing reports have touched on, when talking about Long’s talents. And that’s the easiest way for any player to standout in camp and find their way onto the field during the season. Even with the top heavy depth chart, I believe Long will put on enough of a show to be on the two-deep for the Hawaii game on September 3rd.
- Another freshmen on the list. Mbem-Bosse is another member of the 2016 recruiting class that I believe has the chance to be a big time player for the Wolverines early on and throughout his career in Ann Arbor. That’s thanks to the speed and natural athleticism that he brings to the table. It’s something that most, including myself, have complained about Michigan lacking for years now. EMB brings that.
- With the staff needing to replace several linebackers from last season, the opportunity is there. And I believe that athleticism, as well as his college ready build, will catch the staff’s eyes and help him land inside the two deep at inside linebacker.
With several highly ranked recruits coming to the defensive side of the ball and playing time available at linebacker and in the secondary, breakout players will come. So, who do you think those breakout candidates will be for Don Brown’s defense this camp? Let us know in the comment section below!
Photo Credit: Isaiah Hole/Wolverine247