Weight: 306 lbs.
High school: Kansas City (MO) Park Hill
Position: Defensive tackle
Jersey number: #56
Last year: I ranked Pipkins #31 and said he would be the backup nose tackle. He made 7 tackles as a backup nose tackle before tearing his ACL.
Last year was a tough year for Pipkins, who was a 5-star to ESPN coming out of high school. In what perhaps should have been a breakout second year, he tore his ACL in early October against Minnesota. Even up to that point, he was not living up to that 5-star status and was playing behind fifth year senior Quinton Washington, who was also underperforming a bit. Between those two guys, the nose tackle position was somewhat underwhelming, and the coaching staff at times had to resort to walk-on Ryan Glasgow and the undersized Jibreel Black, a DE-turned-DT. Nose tackles typically don't put up great numbers, but the difference between someone like Mike Martin - who graduated after the 2011 season - and last year's rotation was stark.
Pipkins should be ready to go for the opener on August 30th, but ACL injuries are tricky, especially for big guys. Ideally, the centerpiece of the defense would be able to be ranked higher than #28 in this sort of thing, but the position is a huge question mark right now. Michigan had a lackluster run defense last season, often seeming soft in the middle. They have moved outside linebacker Jake Ryan to the middle, but both projected starting defensive tackles (Pipkins and Chris Wormley) have had ACL tears within the last two years, and nobody on the interior defensive line has proven himself as a legitimate starter in the Big Ten. The hope is that Pipkins can hold his ground in the middle, but I am not confident that his burst - which was perhaps his most impressive trait coming out of high school - can return ten months after that kind of knee injury. He will probably be the first one on the field, but there will be plenty of rotation with the likes of Glasgow, redshirt freshman Maurice Hurst, Jr., redshirt sophomore Willie Henry, Glasgow, and freshman Bryan Mone. The Wolverines have plenty of bodies, but production is lacking.
Prediction: Starting nose tackle; 20 tackles, 1 sack