Wolverines on the Line: Michigan Defensive Line Preview

David MendenhallCorrespondent IApril 27, 2009

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 6:  Defensive end Brandon Graham #55 of the Michigan Wolverines raises his arms during the game against the Miami of Ohio Red Hawks on September 6, 2008 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The Wolverines defeated the Red Hawks 16-6. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Wolverines are going to have a very young defensive line this year. The D-line is going to be anchored by senior Brandon Graham. Personally, I am excited to see the D-line this year.

There is a lot of talk out there saying how the D-line will struggle this year after losing TT, Tim Jamison, and Will Johnson. Although they were a big part of the D-line, I believe it will be one of our strengths on defense. Here is my D-line preview and why I think it will be pretty darn good this year.


Brandon Graham (Defensive End): 6'2", 268

Graham is a senior this year, and he is going to be looked upon to lead the D-line. He should have a great season.

Last season, Graham had 46 tackles, 20 TFL, and 10 sacks. He was second in the nation in TFL and tied for seventh nationally in sacks. He is the active leader in sacks and TFL on the team. He was voted to the Big Ten's second team, and he was also the team's Bo Schembechler MVP.

Graham is nothing less than a monster. He spends most of his time in the opponent's backfield. I believe he will have better stats this year than last year. I also think he will be a first round pick in the 2010 draft. Look for Graham to have an All-American year.


Ryan Van Bergen (Defensive End): 6'6", 261

RVB has had a pretty good spring this year. He will most likely be the starter opposite of Graham. Ryan was not really a factor for the team last year. He is primed to have a decent/good year this season. As long as he can do a little bit, he should help out the team. 

RVB is hard to profile because he didn't play his freshman year, and he really didn't play too much last year. I think he has made big strides to become the starter. So look for RVB to come off a little slow but continually get better as the year progresses.


Mike Martin (Defensive Tackle): 6'2", 291

Mike is a big filler in the middle. Last season, he led all freshmen with 20 tackles. He also had 4.5 TFL and two sacks. Mike showed what he could do with the playing time he got. He is ready to take the DT position and run with it. He is one of the strongest and fastest guys on the D-line.

I think he will be equal to what Taylor was last year. He will be a big part of making sure the line is up and going. He will also help Big Will learn his position. Look for Martin to be a man-beast this year and rack up some great numbers.


Will Campbell (Defensive Tackle): 6'5", 315

Will was one of the most sought out defensive tackles this year. He is very strong but very green. Will has had a pretty good spring. The biggest thing was his loss of fat and gaining of muscle. He has had to work hard on fundamentals this spring. He will not be able to push around whomever he wants in college. If he can get lower and learn to use his weight, he will be a great tackle for us.

I think Will is going to start off a little slow and have some huge progression during the season. He will continue to grow and be a big time player. I can't wait to see Campbell and Martin plugging the middle for us.


I think this will be our starting line this year. Anthony LaLota is going to redshirt, and Craig Roh will not. Roh should bring some good pass rushing this year. Everyone knows that our backups are good but not great. Hopefully our line will stay healthy. Other than that, I still believe the line will be one of our strengths this year. Look out for the Wolverines' line this year.                    

GO BLUE!!!!!!!!