Wednesday, July 1, 2015

2015 Season Countdown: #60 Allen Gant

Allen Gant
Name: Allen Gant
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 225 lbs.
High school: Sylvania (OH) Southview
Position: Linebacker
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #12
Last year: I ranked Gant #56 and said he would be a backup linebacker and special teamer. He made 5 tackles.

The Wolverines have been rather deep at the linebacker positions for the past couple years, which can perhaps explain why it has been difficult for Gant to see the field much. Last season he was behind a couple other players at SAM linebacker, and when Michigan used its nickel package - which happened quite a bit - the SAM linebacker was taken off the field altogether. So for a second year in a row, Gant was essentially limited to special teams, where he made 5 tackles.

Nothing much should change in 2015. Michigan lost middle linebacker Jake Ryan to graduation and the NFL, but everyone else returns at the position group, except Michael Ferns (who transferred after his freshman year) and Chase Winovich (who transitioned to offense). Those two freshmen were behind Gant, anyway, so the struggle for playing time remains. On the plus side for Gant, four senior linebackers will graduate after the upcoming season and he looks to have put on some of the weight he has been lacking the last few years. On the negative side, the coaching staff is recruiting a ton of linebackers in the 2016 class, and if they don't think he can be a major contributor next season, this could be his final campaign in the Maize and Blue.

Prediction: Backup linebacker, special teamer


  1. Every team needs special teams players, and undersized LBs who don't break through to playing time can often fill the role capably.

    It'll be interesting to see what Gant decides to do when the option of a grad transfer comes up next year.

    1. All coaches pay lip service to special teams, but Baxter seems to be the real deal. He has a history of playing a lot of starters on ST's, so we can expect a more competitive environment in all phases of the game. Not sure about Gant specifically, but there will be traditional special-teamers who get squeezed out of playing time in '15.

    2. I really hope not. I've heard the same thing, but how much more valuable is somebody like Lewis over somebody like Stribling on punt return coverage, or Bolden over McCray, or Houma over Shallman?

      We saw the costs of this when Countess went down (which ended up being a big deal because that red-shirt ended up hurting MIchigan more than it hurt.)

      Baxter obviously knows what he is doing, but I generally dislike playing starters on special teams unless they're going to make a real impact (i.e., at returner).

    3. There's no way Harbaugh would have hired Baxter unless he wanted to give special teams a higher profile. Someone like Baxter would preach that risk of injury on special teams play is no worse than a play from scrimmage statistically, and special teams plays have a bigger impact on average than a typical play from scrimmage.

  2. Are we sure Winovich was moved over to offense? That seems very odd to me (along with Pallante and possibly Poggi)... some of those defensive positions will have very limited options in a couple years, partially thanks to only like 4 defensive recruits in last year's class. When these 4 senior LBs leave, it will be Gedeon, McCray and... a couple other guys who aren't true freshmen. The DL situation, especially DT, could be equally desperate. The last time I was this worried about a position group's medium-term prospects was 2013's OL a couple years beforehand. And that did not turn out so well.

  3. No. Look for him to return to lb. Spring game experimentation.