Name: Devin Bush, Jr.
Weight: 233 lbs.
High school: Pembroke Pines (FL) Flanagan
Jersey number: #10
Last year: I ranked Bush #9A and said he would be the starting middle linebacker with 90 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks (LINK). He made 102 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, and 1 interception.
TTB Rating: 85
A lot was expected of Bush in 2017 after he had been the one main backup linebacker to sub in for Ben Gedeon and Mike McCray in 2016. Bush did not disappoint. Through the first four games of 2017, Bush made 33 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, and 5 sacks. During that time Michigan rolled out a lot of 3-3 stack packages that flummoxed offenses who had not seen Michigan run that as a base defense, and Bush thrived running from sideline to sideline, especially when making 12 tackles against Air Force. After that opening third of the season, however, Bush’s production dropped off as Michigan went to more four-man fronts and opponents started game planning to neutralize Bush. Big Ten coaches named him First Team All-Big Ten and he won the Roger Zatkoff Award for the top linebacker on the team, even though senior Mike McCray II was on the team and the flashy Khaleke Hudson racked up a ton of tackles for loss playing Viper.
Michigan comes back with a very experienced defense in 2018, but nose tackle Maurice Hurst, Jr. has left for the NFL. Hurst helped keep offensive linemen off Bush, and it remains to be seen if his replacements can do that same. Even so, Bush has the speed, tenacity, and power to be a tackling machine. While the backup middle linebacker spot is undecided as of now, there are several highly rated recruits vying for time, including Drew Singleton, Josh Ross, and Cameron McGrone. It would be a big blow to the team if Bush were to miss time, but I’m confident that defensive coordinator Don Brown could come up with a scheme or “dude” to still make the defense elite without its stout middle linebacker. But if Bush stays healthy, he should be an all-conference guy once again who has to make a decision between life in Ann Arbor vs. life in the NFL.
Prediction: Starting middle linebacker; 95 tackles, 12 tackles for loss