2018 Season Countdown: #10 Devin Bush, Jr.

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18Aug 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #10 Devin Bush, Jr.

Devin Bush, Jr. (image via Toledo Blade)

Name: Devin Bush, Jr.
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 233 lbs.
High school: Pembroke Pines (FL) Flanagan
Position: Linebacker
Class: Junior
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

17Aug 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #11 Lavert Hill

Lavert Hill (image via MGoBlue)

Name: Lavert Hill
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 181 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) King
Position: Cornerback
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #24
Last year: I ranked Hill #17 and said he would be a starting cornerback with 25 tackles and 2 interceptions (LINK). He made 25 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions (for 24 yards and 1 TD), and 7 pass breakups.
TTB Rating: 84

Hill received a bunch of negative attention in the spring and fall of 2017 stemming from comments made by cornerbacks coach Mike Zordich. Zordich essentially questioned Hill’s desire and toughness because he didn’t play through bumps and bruises. But when it came time for the season to roll around, Hill was ready to roll, and he played at a high level. Just like counterpart David Long, Jr., Hill was repeatedly noted by Pro Football Focus as one of the top few cornerbacks in the country. He made an interception against Cincinnati, returning it across the field for a 24-yard touchdown. Overall, it was an excellent season for his first year as a starter, and he was named Second Team All-Big Ten.

Zordich was at it once again this spring when Hill missed some time with a minor injury. Good things must be coming this year if Zordich is down on Hill, so I’m okay with it. Hill should be an all-conference player if he continues to ascend, and Michigan could have the best cornerback duo in the nation. I rank Hill a couple spots above Long because I think Hill is a little more skilled as a cover guy. But neither one cracks the top ten, because Brandon Watson and Ambry Thomas exist. Michigan has four solid corners, making the top two guys slightly less important. With another season like last year, Hill is another guy to watch who could be an early entrant into the 2019 NFL Draft.

Prediction: Starting cornerback; 30 tackles, 2 interceptions

16Aug 2018
Blog, homepage 8 comments

Happy 10th Anniversary!

On August 16, 2008, just before Michigan embarked on its worst season ever, this here blog was born with a preview of the quarterback position (LINK).

Since then the blog migrated from Blogspot to WordPress, I’ve picked up 5,679 Twitter followers, and the websites have hosted over 31 million visits from readers like you. There have been lots of other milestones along the way, of course, but it’s a little surreal to think I’ve been doing this blogging thing for a decade.

Thanks for reading and being a part of something that has become a huge part of my life. Go Blue!

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