By ERICK LEHMAN, Staff Writer
There are very few guarantees in college football.
There are never guaranteed national champions, and no win is ever a guaranteed victory, just ask South Carolina about The Citadel.
One thing that is guaranteed this year, though, is the Michigan Wolverines stability in the defensive line.
Michigan returns a strong defensive unit this season, and it begins with the front four.
Taco Charlton, Ryan Glasgow, Bryan Mone, Maurice Hurst, Chris Wormley, Chase Winovich, Lawrence Marshall and Matthew Godin all return for the Wolverines this season and are looking to continue the dominance that they forced a year ago.
On top of the talent the Wolverines return, they also welcome in the nation’s top recruit, Rashan Gary to Ann Arbor to join the already dominant defensive line. Also joining Gary as possible impact freshman are Shelton Johnson, Carlo Kemp and Michael Dwumfour.
Johnson, however, is suspended, according to a Michigan spokesman. It is not clear how long Johnson will be suspended, or what he is suspended for.
Harbaugh told reporters earlier this month that he was handling it internally.
Nonetheless, the Wolverines defensive front four, which welcomes back eight players from last year, all who saw some sort of solid playing time, as well as the top high school player in the country from last year.
Rashan Gary will push for time, and very well could be seen as a tackle, or an end on this defensive line.
Last season Wormley led the Wolverines with 6.5 sacks on the season, while Charlton recorded 5.5 himself. Hurts had three, while Glasgow had one.
Bryan Mone returns after suffering a season ending knee injury in fall camp last year for the Wolverines. Mone is expected to start in the center of the defensive line with Glasgow, while Wormley, and Charlton are expected to play end with Gary rotating in.
With the linebackers being inexperienced, and unproven it will be very important for the defensive lineman to put pressure on the opposing quarterback, and force bad passes. It will also be imperative that this defensive line closes the gaps in the run game, and stuffs opponents ball carries as quickly as possible to alleviate the pressure off of the young linebackers.
This defense will certainly live and die off of the defensive line this season.