Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Jibreel Black, #55

Jibreel Black (image via Columbus Dispatch)
Black attended Cincinnati (OH) Wyoming and originally committed to Indiana, where his older brother Larry was a defensive tackle. But Jibreel earned lots of offers after committing to the Hoosiers and finally settled on Michigan in January of 2010, selecting the Wolverines over offers from Cincinnati, Michigan State, Purdue, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, among others. He was a 3-star and the #26 strongside defensive end in the 2010 class.

Black entered school during Rich Rodriguez and Greg Robinson's final year in Ann Arbor, earning some playing time at defensive end immediately. He played in all thirteen games and made 7 tackles. He was a backup weakside end in 2011, making 18 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks. As a junior in 2012, Black became an undersized defensive tackle and made 20 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 2 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble as a part-time starter. As the full-time starter at 3-tech defensive tackle in 2013, he finished his career by making 27 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble.

72 tackles
14 tackles for loss
7 sacks
4 pass breakups
3 forced fumbles


Black came in with a middling amount of hype and no clear position. He didn't seem quick enough for weakside end, he was a little short to be an ideal strongside end, and he was undersized to play defensive tackle. In some packages as a senior in 2013, he played nose tackle, which meant that he played all four defensive line positions during his career as a Wolverine. When his body settled in, he was an undersized defensive tackle hovering around 280 lbs. His quickness was difficult to handle for opposing interior linemen, but his lack of bulk was a weakness for the front seven at times. Black had a solid career for a complementary player, but the lack of a star on the interior exposed Michigan to some run deficiencies during his last couple seasons.

. . . his stop near the end of the 2011 game against Ohio State. Black hemmed in fleet-footed OSU quarterback Braxton Miller and recorded half a sack to help seal the 40-34 victory against the Buckeyes.

Black was not invited to the NFL Combine. He did 29 reps of 225 lbs. on the bench press during Michigan's pro day in March, but that probably won't be enough to get him drafted. He was a solid but unspectacular starter in college. I could see him forging a career in the Arena Football League, but that's probably as far as he could go.


  1. I thought Black did a decent job overall when his raw materials were considered. Seemed like a guy who would be a good teammate ...

    He is also one of the favorite targets of the anti-RichRod crowd because he is "TOO SMALL!!!" Of course, there's some truth in that.

    1. Black has a very similar body to Brandon Graham, who was a strongside end. You can have success at that size, but ultimately, Black just wasn't explosive enough to be really effective on the edge. If you're too small to be a good DT and too slow to be a good DE, maybe it just means you're not a great football player. But he filled a role and stayed out of trouble, so good for him.

  2. Always thought that Black had nice DT skills/instincts, just not the DT frame. Was very impressed with him coming out of HS. UM tried to get his weight up his soph year (to around 270 lbs), and you could tell he just did not carry it well. It's kind of a crap-shoot with undersized recruits, some can put on good weight pretty easily, but others obviously do not. Hoke is bringing in lineman now who are already pretty close to playing weight, which is obviously a lower-risk strategy. This may sound cynical, but Black is the kind of player who would have shone at a program that pushes PED's.

  3. "Black had a solid career for a complementary player, but the lack of a star on the interior exposed Michigan to some run deficiencies during his last couple seasons."

    I'm a little disappointed in how his career played out. It seems to me he could have been a natural fit at SDE if he had just stuck there his whole career. With some guys it's just obvious where they belong (e.g., Wyatt Shallman). Sometimes it's good to develop skills at another position (like Brandon Graham did at DT early in his career), but other times you're just stunting a guy's growth.

    I thought his quickness was fine - not star-caliber, but adequate to be a quality starting Big 10 end. I think the staff messed around with him too much and didn't let him be the player he could have been. Circumstances may have dictated that a bit, as depth was not up to our standards, but it's a shame nonetheless. He definitely would have benefited from having an Alan Branch type on the line to play beside.