Brady Hoke has done a masterful job in the rebuilding of Michigan’s football program, and he took another huge step this season in recruiting the third best class in the nation.
National signing day is just a week away, and while Michigan has a chance of adding a few more highly regarded prospects, the Wolverines already have a terrific class in place. Many of the players who have committed to Michigan could have a sizeable impact early in their careers.
With rival Ohio State also bringing in an outstanding recruiting class as well, Hoke has done enough to stay ahead of the curve in creating sustainability for the program. And, as has always been the case in the Big Ten, it all starts with defense.
Eight of Michigan’s 17 4-star recruits play predominantly on the defensive side of the ball. Several of them stand to be building blocks for a terrific defense in the years to come. We’ll take a look at some of Michigan’s top defensive recruits that will shape the face of the Wolverines defense.
*All rankings courtesy of 247Sports
Dymonte Thomas: 4-star safety
Thomas’ greatest strength is his versatility, and the 6’1”, 190-pound safety has the ability to line up all over the field. He has good speed and strength, and with some experience lining up in the box as a linebacker, Thomas projects well as a strong safety for the Wolverines.
Given how difficult it is for a true freshman to earn much time on the field, Thomas’ athleticism and versatility may earn him some extra attention early in his career. It may take some time for him to adjust to a specific position, but Thomas should have no trouble developing into a terrific defensive player.
Thomas joins 4-star safety Delano Hill and 4-star cornerbacks Ross Douglas and Jourdan Lewis as members of what could be one of the strongest defensive secondaries in the conference in just a couple short years.
Taco Charlton: 4-star defensive end
At 6’’6” and 255 pounds, Charlton already has a solid frame for the weakside defensive end position. With a little added bulk from a college weight training program, he can be an extremely versatile defensive lineman.
Charlton needs to work on shedding defenders in run defense, but his biggest strength is in the pass rush. He’s shifty for his size and uses his hands well in keeping opposing blockers from getting into his pads.
While Charlton has the physicality and athleticism to make an immediate impact at the next level, he’s still a bit raw. Michigan won’t be forced to utilize him much early in his career, but Charlton has tremendous upside. With the addition of two 4-star defensive tackles in this class, Michigan has added a new dynamic with which to develop its defense.
Ben Gedeon: 4-star inside linebacker
Gedeon is the perfect fit for a Big Ten defense. He’s tough, physical and intelligent, and gives Michigan a player with tremendous potential.
Gedeon played multiple positions in high school, but his best position at the college level will be at inside linebacker. He isn’t all that agile, but his ability to shoot gaps and plug running lanes makes him a terrific fit to stop the run in Michigan’s defense.
The Wolverines have landed top recruits at nearly every position, but linebacker is not a strength of this year’s class. Still, Gedeon will probably see limited action early in his college career, but he has a chance to be one of the top linebackers in the Big Ten in the next couple years.