Monday, August 13, 2012

2012 Season Countdown: #17 Jibreel Black

Jibreel Black (#55)
Name: Jibreel Black
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 279 lbs.
High school: Cincinnati (OH) Wyoming
Position: Defensive tackle
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #55
Last year: I ranked Black #23 and said he would be a backup defensive end.  He made 18 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble as a backup defensive end.

Black had a decent season in 2011, but has yet to have a breakout year.  Ideally, he would have redshirted as a freshman in 2010, but a shortage of defensive linemen forced him into action that year.  Michigan's coaching staff reportedly wanted him to bulk up prior to spring 2011, but he came in weighing around 260, anyway; it seems he balked at playing too heavy in hopes of retaining some athleticism.  That got him off on the wrong foot a little bit, which helped solidify Craig Roh as the starting weakside end last season.  Black saw his fair share of snaps in 2011, and even had a signature play when he helped sack Braxton Miller on a key goal-line play late against Ohio State.  But in general, he was a little too stiff and slow at that WDE position and the coaches asked him to bulk up even more for a move to 3-tech defensive tackle.

It's quite a leap from weakside end to 3-tech tackle.  He should be familiar with the position, having played next to Will Heininger last year.  But a normal progression would be to strongside end, but Roh already took that spot.  The hope is that Black can use his quickness to outmaneuver some offensive guards, which he'll have to do if he wants to make an impact as a 279 lb. tackle.  Black's size doesn't really concern me, because plenty of 3-techs have been just fine around 280 lbs.  The biggest thing that concerns me about Black is the technique; he'll have to get better at using his hands inside to get rid of blocks.  Options are limited for quality play at the 3-tech.  There aren't really any quality backups at the position, but I don't know that Black will be a quality starter this year, either.  He's essentially playing his third position in three years (SDE as a freshman, WDE as a sophomore, and now DT), so it might take him another year to get comfortable on the interior.  Quinton Washington, Richard Ash, and Ken Wilkins might also see some time there, but all three are very unproven as even part-time contributors.

Prediction: Starting defensive tackle; 25 tackles, 3 sacks


  1. I think 3 tech is where freshman will have the greatest impact. We have a multitude of incoming and redshirt freshmen with the size and skills, to a lesser extent, to spell Black throughout the year.

  2. Question on defensive tackle roles: is it reasonable to think that we'll see a fair number of snaps this year with Pipkens at the nose and Campbell at the 3-tech, or are there technique issues that would prevent Campbell from sliding over? Given his height and his newly lithe frame, I'd think that he might be more of a natural at the 3-tech anyway.

    1. The coaches say that the positions are interchangeable, but in practice/game situations, that hasn't proven to be true. I don't think you'll often see Campbell and Pipkins on the field at the same time, except perhaps goal line situations when they put 5 or 6 defensive linemen on the field.

  3. This is a burned red-shirt that stings a bit because Black obviously has the talent to be an excellent player but wasn't ready yet and didn't produce much. He should have been a red-shirt freshman backup SDE last year - but depth the last couple years didn't allow it - and it wasn't even close.

    SDE seems like a better spot for him, but the coaches say the spots are pretty much the same. The key to the line remains Campbell. If he can play up to his potential, Black should do fine between a quality NT and Roh (who is a given to be at least decent in my mind). If Campbell is easily handled by one guy, Black (and Michigan) are going to be in trouble.

  4. The person that immediately comes to mind when I think of Black's position this year is Geno Atkins. Hopefully he can make that kind of impact. Atkins is listed at 300lbs, but I don't think he is.

  5. I am intrigued to see how JB does this year. Based on what I saw of him in HS, I thought he was had very natural DT skills. His problem of course is that he does not have a big frame. I think Hoke even lamented him being smaller than his brother at Indiana in a recent interview. His natural weight is probably around 250 or so, so he looked a bit slow at DE in the 260's last year. It will be interesting to see him at 3-tech in the 270's. I have a suspicion that he will be quite effective at times, but I agree that the coaches need to develop a back-up to rotate in with him. He cannot play a ton of snaps like RVB last year. A good NT to play next to would also help him.

  6. I don't think their is any question about the point Lanko made about Campbell, this is far and away the most suspect yet important aspect of the defence, that and the question of who will make plays within this group, we are going to need to be on well on the plus side of turnovers more then ever in order to meet the expectations of many. With this issue and that of no Martin, we are open to a slide. Unfortuantly, we are over rated at this point, not that the team or coach cares about that.

    1. Agree about being overrated by the press. UM caught a lot of breaks last year in terms of turnovers, schedule, poor opposing QB play, and improbable big plays. They could actually be an improved team and still go 9-4 in 2012. UM fans seem to be aware of this and I am sure the coaches are too. It was a boon for Hoke to have his team to play over their heads in 2011 because it helped him seal the 2012 and 2013 recruiting classes and established terrific credibility for the staff. That won't fade even if this season is a little shaky.