2017 Season Countdown: #30 Luiji Vilain

2017 Season Countdown: #30 Luiji Vilain


August 6, 2017

Luiji Vilain (image via 247 Sports)

Name: Luiji Vilain
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 247 lbs.
High school: Alexandria (VA) Episcopal
Position: Defensive end
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #18
Last year: Vilain was a senior in high school.
TTB Rating: 90

Vilain grew up in Canada, but a couple years before graduation, his name started to pop up on Michigan’s radar. He was attending camps in the midwest and eventually ended up in Alexandria, VA, to finish out the final two years of his high school career. That was probably a good choice, because offers started rolling in. Penn State, Rutgers, and North Carolina all took runs at him at various times, but perhaps that early familiarity with border state Michigan helped out in the end. He became an Under Armour All-American and powered his way up to #56 overall in the 247 Composite rankings, including #36 overall to 247 itself.

Vilain joins a team with no established backup at weakside end. Taco Charlton graduated, and his backup, Chase Winovich, will step into the starting role. Everyone else is almost totally inexperienced, and one bullet in the chamber was ejected when Corey Malone-Hatcher retired due to medical reasons. Donovan Jeter worked there in the spring, but he’s more of a strongside end or even a 3-tech in the long term. Other options include redshirt freshman Ron Johnson, redshirt sophomore Mike Jones, sophomore Carlo Kemp, and freshman Kwity Paye, along with redshirt junior linebacker Noah Furbush, who has been rumored to be getting a chance to put his hand down. There’s some talent in there, but no one looked ready to step up and be an impact player in the spring. Paye and Vilain just arrived this summer, so we haven’t seen them in college pads yet, but the coaching staff is reportedly pleased with how Vilain has looked since hitting campus. I think he will play a fair amount this season and eventually lock down the backup WDE spot.

Prediction: Backup weakside end; 20 tackles, 2 sacks

5 comments

  1. Comments: 17
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    LeeR
    Aug 06, 2017 at 12:52 PM

    High praise (and a low #) for an untested kid. Here’s hoping you nailed it. If he’s anywhere near this valuable to the team, then we’ll have a very good player on our hands.

  2. Lanknows
    Comments: 3724
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Aug 06, 2017 at 11:57 PM

    #30 seems about like the best case scenario for Vilain. Michigan has a lot of options for backup DE.

  3. Comments: 571
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Aug 07, 2017 at 1:36 AM

    I don’t like to rely on young defensive guys anywhere on defense because they are essentially 18 year olds playing against 21 year olds with experience and physical maturity. A 19 year old with 1 year in the system has at least a chance to compete.

    Problem with this team is it’s talented but way too many young guys. If this team wins 9 games I’ll be happy. Ten and I will call it a day. Thank goodness the conference isn’t loaded with depth and UM has just enough upperclassmen to slightly offset the youth. I could see this team improving and by the end of the year performing like a top 10 team. We will see.

  4. JC
    Comments: 184
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    JC
    Aug 07, 2017 at 1:40 PM

    WDE is an interesting position this year. From spring or last season it would appear Jones and Johnson aren’t quite ready. I think Vilain could be the primary backup, and I think Paye could get a few looks as well, as he came in with a significant amount of good weight put on during the off season.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3724
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Aug 07, 2017 at 6:28 PM

      Kemp and Furbush are options too. Some guys you have to figure out how to get on the field. Kemp is going to get snaps – being Gary’s backup might not be a big enough role for him. Similarly for Furbush, the role for a traditional OLB/SAM have been very limited in this defense (both at Michigan and at Don Brown’s BC teams.)

      I think Vilain is Plan A though.

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