Tuesday, July 23, 2013

2013 Season Countdown: #37 Matt Godin

Matt Godin (left)
Name: Matt Godin
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 277 lbs.
High school: Novi (MI) Catholic Central
Position: Defensive end
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #99
Last year: I ranked Godin #72 and said he would be a backup defensive end. He redshirted.

Godin put on a few pounds since last year, when he was a long kid who needed to remold his body a little bit. He redshirted during the year and entered the spring competing for the strongside defensive end position, which has been vacated by Craig Roh. The primary backup there last year was Keith Heitzman, who started in the spring game, but Godin got plenty of time.

Michigan needs someone to step up at the vacated position, and Godin looked pretty decent in the spring. He's a strongside end/defensive tackle tweener, so he's not an explosive edge rusher. But if Michigan wants him to hold the point of attack while the weakside end and SAM linebacker come off the edge, then I think Godin can hold his ground. He'll be competing with the likes of redshirt sophomore Heitzman and redshirt freshman Chris Wormley, so there's not a whole lot of experience in the running. I think the edge goes to Heitzman, who has game experience and a good motor, but Michigan should be able to rotate a couple guys without losing much from first to second string.

Prediction: Backup strongside end


  1. Didn't Tom Strobel move back to SDE? I expect him to also be in the mix for playing time at the position. IMO, he is a slightly more talented version of Godin. I think Heitzman begins the year as the starter, but I think Strobel will be the starter by Big Ten play.

    1. When the raw materials are considered, that may ultimately be the case long-term, but it doesn't square with the current reality (where Strobel hasn't gained much weight or moved his way up the pecking order).

    2. I don't think they have released an updated roster with current weights, but I have heard Strobel is much bigger than last year. All we have to go off is a spring scrimmage and a bunch of opinions. I think Wormley is the most talented of the SDE's, but he still has a ways to go to get there. IMO, Strobel has the motor of Heitzman, the size of Godin and is not far behind Wormley in terms of talent.

    3. Strobel was apparently told at the end of spring that he will be tried at 3-tech this fall. He was definitely not in contention to start at SDE, as Heitzman, Godin, and Wormley were all ahead of him. And if Taco keeps growing (already at 6'6" 265 lbs), he could easily be at SDE next spring.

    4. Strobel, along with a couple other guys, is playing both DT and SDE. He wasn't very big in the spring, so I didn't think DT was a serious option, at least not for this year. To me he looks more like a SDE. I don't really think Strobel will be a starter this year. I don't really think he'll play very much this season. There's just a lot of competition.

  2. These kind of position battles are fun to track as a fan. I don't know who is going to win out in the DL playing battle (Heitzman, Henry, Godin, Wormley, etc.) and I don't think the coaches are sure about it yet either. But, the depth and talent are enough to not be concerned. With the coaching we have, especially with a reliable rock like Washington and a talented kid like Pipkins in the middle, DL will be a team strength. Our SDE will be a good player even though, on paper, it's one of the question marks of the team.

    I also think Black could fit into the conversation at SDE. That seems like his natural position and I think he could become a Van Bergen type of player that moves inside and out situationally. With Washington, Pipkins, and Black sure to play prominent roles, Godin has a lot of people to compete against for the remaining snaps, but I think he'll be part of the DL rotation.

    1. Regarding the SDE competition, I like what I have seen out of Heitzman so far. He is not as big as some of the other guys, but he is a scrappy player and he gets off blocks pretty well. But I can certainly see Godin rotating in there. Godin could be especially valuable against teams with good power running games.

    2. Well, we have bodies, but proven talent is something else. Washington is decent, but not a star, and Pipkins has yet to show any real talent on the field. Whoever ends up starting at SDE will probably be decent too, but there is nobody in that mix who's ever been a producer at a high level.

      You can't just judge this year's talent by how it looks compared to our D three years ago..you have to judge how it measures up against a championship level defense. Right now, we have no proven stars and no likely high draft picks on D. We need a LOT of player development this year.

    3. I actually think Wormley will win out over Heitzman or Godin. I'm buying into the pre-injury buzz that he was getting a year ago.

      How exactly it all plays out, I don't know, but I think Washington and Pipkins will rotate heavily at NT and sometimes DT. Black should play a lot too, but they'll need one or two others to fill out the rotation. My guess is Wormley takes the most snaps of the remaining guys, but Heitzman seems to have earned a role too. I haven't seen anything outstanding from Heitzman yet, but I admit I haven't been paying close attention to him.

    4. @Anon 1258

      This staff has proven they develop DL talent. Campbell turned in a good season after looking barely competent for 3 years. Heininger was a walk-on. RVB developed steadily into an above average Big10 starter by his senior year. These guys make it work, and now they'll have some legit talent to mold, across the entire line.

      Pipkins (as a freshman) compares favorably to Campbell in his junior year, and should make a leap. Washington was already good but will only be better. Black's one of the more underrated players on the team, IMO. I think, yeah - we don't have a star yet - but there's something to be said for also not having any significant deficiencies to worry about. Young contributors often turn into stars as they mature. Given the talent level and proven coaching, it's likely that a star does emerge. I'd guess that, between Pipkins, Black, or Wormley, one of those guys will make on an all-conference team.

    5. Sorry, but I can't agree that Campbell had a good season last year. He got some tackles because he was out there, but he was pretty much the same player he'd always been, and a major disappointment for a 5 star recruit. He's not someone you'd want to compare Pipkins to, IMO. As far as Heininger, he was a journeyman and like Campbell, made a few plays because we had no one better to throw out there. Washington and Black are no better than slightly above average, too. None of these guys has ever scared the opposition or drawn a lot of double teams. Mike Martin was really the only NFL-caliber D-linemen we've had since Alan Branch, and nobody on the roster now has shown his level of talent yet. By my judgement, the coaching staff still has something to prove in their development of defensive lineman, and this is the year it has to start.

    6. Re:Campbell

      He wasn't a superstar, but I couldn't disagree more that he was the same player as in years past. Prior to last year he was a major liability on most plays, easily blocked, an obvious target for savvy and aware offensive coordinators. If your standard is Mike Martin, not many people are going to match that. Campbell got drafted into the NFL, so apparently some people think he's an NFL-caliber player (though probably at OL.)

      Re: Development

      Consider that last season our defense was about as good as 2011's. This despite turning over most of the DL (from Martin, Van Bergen, Heininger.) That doesn't happen if the DL doesn't play well. Certainly some people around them improved, but these kids became good players.

      Re: Pipkins

      I said he compares favorably to campbell. Pipkins did well as a freshman, so I would say he's well ahead of Campbell as a player, who wasn't competant until his junior year and even then, only on occasion. My point was that Pipkins will continue to get better because that's what nearly every linemen does with these coaches. They're proven it time and time again.

    7. I'm not knocked out by Black yet, but I thought Washington was very solid last year.

      I thought he was stout at the point of attack, soaked up a lot of blocking in front of some not that big Freshman Linebackers and was only a notch below Johnathan (too fat for us) Hankins, all without the benefit of a John Simon lining up next to him, not to mention a set of real nice DBs helping out with the occasional coverage sack.

      I think Matson took a look at a not real athletic or real big defense and gave Washington a role that gave him a chance to attack with Ryan while giving his young linebackers a chance to get there without getting hit too much.

      I like Washington, I think he's got a chance to play on Sunday.

    8. @Roanman

      I agree that Washington (and Campbell) had something to do with our LBs looking a lot more effective.

      Black has shown flashes of ability. Seems like the issue has been consistency (and the faith of the coaches that comes with it.) In the urgency that comes with a final year of eligibility, guys tend to figure that stuff out.

      I don't know if the move to 3-tech makes perfect sense, but beside a big guy at NT, it could work. If not, he'll be at SDE.