Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Michigan's Options at Defensive Tackle

The Wolverines are well on their way to another excellent recruiting class for 2013. As I wrote in this post, the biggest needs left are linebacker and defensive tackle. Since I broke down Michigan’s options at the linebacker position in that same post, today I’m going to take a look at Michigan’s options at defensive tackle. 
There’s not a ton of offers out for a DT, mainly because the 2012 class had 3 DT signees (5* Ondre Pipkins, 3* Matt Godin, 3* Willie Henry). I can’t reiterate enough how important landing an excellent defensive tackle like Ondre Pipkins was for the 2012 class. Pipkins was the 14th ranked player in the nation (according to Rivals). Let me put this in perspective for you. Even though it’s still very early, the first DT ranked on the current Rivals100 is Montravius Adams, who is ranked 33rd. Last year’s class had 5 defensive tackles in the top-33, including Mario Edwards, who was considered by multiple sites as the top overall prospect of the 2012 class. Needless to say, this year is looking a little different than 2012 in regard to the defensive tackle position. 
Out of the 9 defensive tackles in the Rivals100 (so far this season), 3 are already committed to a school. Michigan has offered about 10 defensive tackles across the country, 2 of which are in the Rivals100 (4* Henry Poggi and 4* Greg Webb), and 1 more is in the Rivals250 (4* Billy Price who is already committed to Ohio State). I’ll be breaking down 4 different d-tackles, but Michigan will probably only take 2. This position should be an easy sell for recruits considering Coach Mattison’s presence and Coach Hoke’s focus on the defensive line. D-line coaches galore, over here. 

1. Rod Crayton
Crayton is a DT from the heart of SEC Country. Although he’s currently unranked on Rivals, we all know how easily that can change. Crayton is a huge lineman (6’1” and 285 pounds) who has multiple offers from all over the nation and is one of the top prospects out of Alabama. Offers include Michigan, Arkansas, LSU, and Penn State. He had a great junior season with 162 tackles, 10 sacks, and 40 tackles for loss. Crayton says that he wants to take his time and visit a wide variety of schools. He does not have a timeline on his decision, and also says that location is not a factor. Actually, he said that “Being away from home makes you a better man -- you have to depend on yourself.” He visited Michigan on February 19th and said that he enjoyed his visit very much. Of the Big House, he said, “I knew it was big, but oh my God, is it huge and deep looking down on it. I was thinking about how loud it is, how it’s rocking with the crowd when I’m watching a game.” Needless to say, he’s interested. 

2. Henry Poggi
Poggi is a 4* tackle out of Baltimore, MD (another MD recruit) who Rivals ranks as 43rd overall in the nation. He stands 6’3” and 250 pounds. He finished his junior season with 49 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, and one forced fumble. Poggi is a beast, with about 20 offers from schools like Michigan, Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, and Stanford. It’s too early to say much about his options, but Poggi is very interested in Michigan. He has already visited Michigan twice, but is planning another visit soon. Poggi plays a position of need for Michigan and he would be an excellent get. His favorites as of November (so things could have definitely changed) are Michigan, Tennessee, Stanford, Alabama, Auburn, and Ohio State. 

3. Eddie Vanderdoes
Vanderdoes is listed as both a DE and DT on multiple sites. He is a 4* DE on Rivals and ranked 21st overall, making him an easy candidate for a 5th star. Vanderdoes is another CA product who stands 6’4” and 285 pounds. His junior season, he had 59 tackles and 8 sacks. Vanderdoes has tons of offers including Michigan, Alabama, and Notre Dame. He plans on taking an official to Michigan, since his interest is “very, very high.” He is also impressed with Michigan’s early recruiting success, saying he wants to go somewhere to win championships. He has not specified when he wants to make a decision. Vanderdoes is another player that would be an amazing get. 

4. Greg Webb
Webb is a 4* DT out of New Jersey who Rivals ranks 78th overall in the nation. He stands 6’2” and 290 pounds. He finished his junior season with 94 tackles (wow), 9 sacks, and 3 fumble recoveries. Impressive. Webb has over 20 offers including Michigan, Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State, and Oklahoma. Webb plans on visiting Michigan, and probably with friend and teammate Dajaun Drennon (4* DE with a Michigan offer). Even though Webb has high interest in Michigan, what’s interesting is that him and Drennon want to be a package deal and attend the same university. Even more interesting? Drennon has stated that Michigan is #1 on his list. Webb says distance will not be a factor. Praising Michigan, he says, “Michigan is legendary, Michigan has the Big House and great coaching staff, and the best d-line play I’ve seen in the Big Ten.” Awesome. Him and Drennon plan on visiting together. Could be great news. 

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