Name: Desmond Morgan
Weight: 236 lbs.
High school: Holland (MI) West Ottawa
Class: Fifth year senior
Jersey number: #3
Last year: I ranked Morgan #22 and said he would be a starting linebacker with 80 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks. He made 6 tackles in the first game before missing the rest of the season.
Last year Morgan had to deal with outside linebacker Jake Ryan encroaching on inside linebacker territory, and Morgan found himself as the odd man out behind Ryan and Joe Bolden. Unfortunately, Morgan got hurt in the first week and missed the rest of the season. Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise for Morgan and the team, though, because he has a chance to make a bigger impact this year. The Wolverines did fairly well on defense with Ryan (112 tackles) and Bolden (102 tackles) leading the way, and it would have been a logjam with those three and then-sophomore Ben Gedeon all clawing for playing time.
This year Morgan should step in for Ryan. The former lacks the same athleticism and knack for making plays, but he averaged 80 tackles and 5 tackles for loss during his sophomore and junior campaigns. Instead of a quartet of quality players, the Wolverines have three guys inside who should be able to rotate without missing much of a beat. Morgan is perhaps the heaviest hitter of the bunch, and opponents are rarely able to break free once he gets his hands on them. He has improved his pass drops, has a good head on his shoulders, and is looked upon as a leader. The #48 Legends jersey he has worn for the past couple years, in honor of Gerald Ford, has been re-retired. Instead of returning to the #44 he sported early in his career, Morgan will don the #3 he wore as a quarterback/linebacker in high school. Morgan should be a strong, level-headed leader in the middle of Michigan’s defense this year, and he might even earn some all-conference votes from people who give extra juice to fifth year seniors who seem like they’ve been playing since the Clinton administration.
Prediction: Starting middle linebacker; 90 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 1 sack