Friday, April 13, 2012

Poll Results: Who will be Michigan's starting WLB against Alabama?

Desmond Morgan (#44) played extensively as a true freshman last season
A couple weeks ago, I posted a poll asking who the starting weakside linebacker will be against Alabama in September.  Michigan has two returning starters at the position, but both have some deficiencies and some Michigan fans have made noise about wanting them to be surpassed.  Here are the results of the poll:

Desmond Morgan: 64%
The sophomore Morgan appears to be the starting weakside linebacker going into the spring, which continues his reign on the spot from last season.  Last year he made 63 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, and 1 sack while playing in twelve of the thirteen games.  He has added some weight during the off-season, so we'll see if that affects his speed in a significant way.

Joe Bolden: 17%
Bolden is a 6'3", 230 lb. true freshman who enrolled early and has been practicing with the team throughout the spring.  He earned rave reviews at the Under Armour All American Game practices, and so far this spring, practice observers have been impressed, too.  According to several accounts, he has passed all but Kenny Demens for middle linebacker reps this spring.

Brandin Hawthorne: 5%
Hawthorne is a 6'0", 214 lb. senior who played pretty extensively last season.  He made 43 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 1 sack while starting five of the twelve games in which he played.  He lost playing time in the second half of the season to Morgan, though, and this spring he has still been a backup.

Antonio Poole: 5%
Poole is a 6'2", 212 lb. redshirt freshman who has yet to see the field for the Wolverines.  Some rumors have suggested that he's the #2 weakside linebacker this spring, but he has also seen some reps behind Demens and Bolden at the MIKE position.

James Ross: 4%
Ross will be a true freshman in the fall and has yet to enroll at Michigan.  As far as recruiting hype goes, he's the most touted linebacker of the entire group.  But he's also probably the smallest and he has the least experience, so it will be an uphill battle for him to get on the field this fall.

Kaleb Ringer: 0%
Ringer is one of three true freshmen to enroll early in January (Bolden, safety Jarrod Wilson).  He has been practicing this spring, but generally seems to be the least mentioned of the three.  And with the depth at inside linebacker, he seems to be way down the list.  He has also been getting limited reps at middle linebacker.

Other: 0%


  1. Thunder,
    How do you see the linebacker spots working out next year after Demens graduates? I think Bolden, at least from his Under Armour AA Game performance, is too good to leave off of the field next year. But do you see him moving to middle linebacker and Morgan staying at will or the opposite since Morgan doesn't seem to be quite as quick as Bolden? Just looking for some insight on that. Thanks.

    1. I'm a little torn here. The early reviews on Bolden are good, and he's apparently already worked his way up to #2 on the depth chart. I've always thought that Morgan would slide over to MIKE when Demens graduated, and I'm going to stick with that prediction until I see a little more of Bolden. Of course, 2013 will also have redshirt sophomore Antonio Poole and sophomore/redshirt freshman James Ross, so there's going to be some competition. Considering that Morgan will probably be a two-year starter by then, I'm guessing he'll start somewhere, whether it's MIKE or WILL.

      My expectation (as of now) for 2013:
      WILL: James Ross
      MIKE: Desmond Morgan
      SAM: Jake Ryan

    2. That would be a nice starting linebacker corp. The depth should be really nice with Bolden, Poole, Gordon, Jenkins-Stone and Ringer all probably decent backups, in that order mostly.

    3. UM will soon have the "problem" of too many competent LB's. Hard to imagine after the last 10 seasons...

      Really interested in seeing Boldon play in the scrimmage. I've heard it predicted that Bolden could be better than Demens by mid-season. Not sure if I buy it at this point, but I don't sense that Mattison is thrilled with Demsn. If Bolden is another guy who can look decent as a true freshman, you have some potential of some legit, multi-year starters at LB.