|Quinton Washington (#76)|
Weight: 301 lbs.
High school: Timberland (SC) St. Stephen
Position: Defensive tackle
Class: Redshirt senior
Jersey number: #76
Last year: I ranked Washington #41 and said he would be a backup defensive tackle. He started ten games and had 32 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble.
Going into last season, Washington had 3 career tackles and looked like a backup. That turned out to be a poor assumption. He made his first career start in week three against Notre Dame and held onto the job from there. He became a pretty solid nose tackle for the Wolverines, doing a good job of holding the point of attack and allowing the linebackers to flow freely; the three starting linebackers each had between 81 and 88 tackles. Saving the best for last, he made his first career sack and first career blocked field goal against his home state South Carolina Gamecocks in the Outback Bowl. Washington is a different style of nose tackle than previous starter Mike Martin, who was a quick and explosive penetrator, but effective nonetheless.
This year Washington seems to have a pretty firm grip on the nose tackle job. His backup is the wide-bodied sophomore Ondre Pipkins, who was overweight last year and lacked some of the explosiveness that he showed as a high schooler. Greg Mattison likes to rotate defensive lineman, so losing Washington for a lengthy period of time means the third-string nose tackle (either Richard Ash or Willie Henry) would have to get significant reps. Ash has barely played throughout his career, and Henry has garnered practice buzz but redshirted as a freshman last season. Washington won't be the nose tackle who busts through the line on every play and ends up with a bunch of TFLs and sacks. He will likely become a forgotten man in a few years because of his position, but I'm sure Desmond Morgan and James Ross will remember him for a long time as a guy who kept them clean and allowed them to rack up tackles.
Prediction: Starting nose tackle; 40 tackles, 2 sacks