|Richard Ash (#54)|
Ash committed to Michigan in December 2009 after flipping his commitment from West Virginia. He was a 263 lb. player coming out of high school, and I assumed that he would chisel his body into becoming a 5-tech defensive end or perhaps a 3-tech tackle. However, he was 300 lbs. when he arrived on campus, which is obviously a ways away from his high school weight. Recruiting analysts mentioned that he was a better player when he was 240 or so as a junior, so his weight when he arrived in Ann Arbor was an immediate red flag to me. Ash settled in at nose tackle for the duration of his career, but he never made an impact on the field. After redshirting as a freshman, he appeared in 14 games from 2011-2013 and finally made his first (and only) career tackle in the regular season finale against Ohio State.
This departure leaves Michigan somewhat thin at nose tackle with last year's starter Quinton Washington graduating and presumed new starter Ondre Pipkins coming off a torn ACL. Other options include redshirt sophomore Willie Henry, redshirt freshman Maurice Hurst, redshirt sophomore Ryan Glasgow, redshirt freshman Henry Poggi, and incoming freshmen Brady Pallante and Bryan Mone. Henry has shown the most promise, but he played 3-tech defensive tackle last season. Regardless of which players are on the two-deep at nose tackle, there will likely be some reshuffling on the defensive line. Ash may not have seen significant playing time in 2014, but he was an insurance policy in case of injury.
Along with safety Josh Furman (I'll have a separate post for Furman), this is the nineteenth (19th!) player to depart from the 27-man class before exhausting his eligibility. Courtney Avery, Jibreel Black, Drew Dileo, and Jeremy Jackson played all four years, so the only remaining members are QB Devin Gardner, P Will Hagerup, TE Jordan Paskorz, and LB Jake Ryan.