2016 Michigan Spring Football Preview: Linebacker

Spring practice is just about here and there is one position on defense that has more questions than any other, the linebacker position. Thanks to multiple starters graduating and a lack of proven depth, this offseason will be extremely important for the returning talent.

Overview

Thanks to the departures of Joe Bolden, James Ross, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Mario Ojemudia, Desmond Morgan and Allen Gant, the linebacker position is open for business. The staff will have their work cut out for them this spring as they will need to figure exactly which current roster members can play the position at the elite level of the rest of the defense.

The safest bet to make an impact is Ben Gedeon who has looked to be on the cusp of breaking out since his freshmen year. Besides that, there are a ton of question marks surrounding high potential guys like Chase Winovich and Reuben Jones, as well as now upperclassman returnees Noah Furbush, Mike McCray and Jared Wangler. Or will it be the two early enrollees that take advantage of the opportunity?

Pre-Spring Expected Depth Chart

-Not enrolled yet

  1. #42 Ben Gedeon, SR
  2. #45 Chase Winovich, JR*
  3. #59 Noah Furbush, JR*
  4. #4 Reuben Jones, SO*
  5. #9 Mike McCray, SR*
  6. #19 Jared Wangler, JR*
  7. Devin Bush Jr, FR
  8. Carlo Kemp, FR
  9. Elysse Mbem-Bosse, FR
  10. Devin Gil, FR
  11. Josh Uche, FR

Names to Watch Closest

Jones, Bush Jr and Kemp. The three unproven freshmen may be some of the most physically impressive underclassman on the roster. Add that in with their athleticism, instinctual play and fit in the current defense and, as long as they show it on the field, I believe all three will be in the two deep by the end of spring ball.

Don’t Forget About Us

Gedeon and Furbush. Both upperclassman were standouts on special teams but didn’t get too much run on defense. With the departures though, both should be near/at the top of the two deep heading into spring practices. If they can both fend off the youth movement and show their experience, they should remain at the top of the depth chart.

Breakout Prediction

Winovich. When Michigan signed Chase Winovich back in 2014, he looked like a perfect fit for the program and a player that would see the field as soon as he added the proper size. Well, according to The Wolverine’s Chris Balas, the junior linebacker is putting in the needed work in the weight room ($). If that’s the case and he can find his fit in Brown’s defense, he should be the name everyone is talking about at the position this offseason.

Other Spring Positional Previews

Who do you believe will leave spring ball as the starting linebackers? Two deep prediction? Breakout players? Add your predictions in the comment section below! 

Photo Credit: Patrick Record | The Ann Arbor News