Chris Wormley (image via Michigan Daily)
Name: Chris Wormley
Weight: 302 lbs.
High school: Toledo (OH) Whitmer
Position: Defensive tackle
Class: Fifth year senior
Jersey number: #43
Last year: I ranked Wormley #16 and said he would be the starting strongside end with 40 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, and 6 sacks (LINK). He made ten starts either end or tackle, making 43 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 1 pass breakup.
Wormley was a part-time starter in 2014, and we knew he would play a lot in 2015. It wasn’t clear how big of a step he would take, and the depth chart was murky with a wide array of talent. He broke out immediately in the Utah game with 5 tackles and 3 tackles for loss. From that point forward, he established himself as a player who could be dominant at times. Against Oregon State the next week, he had 6 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 1 sack. Of course, his pace of being headed for 36 tackles for loss couldn’t last, and it slowed down to where he just had 14.5 by the end of the year (8th in the Big Ten), along with 6.5 sacks (10th).
Going into the 2016 season, he’s an established player that opponents have to account for regularly. He can play strongside end or defensive tackle, and in fact, he has reportedly played every spot on the defensive line so Don Brown can employ him in many different ways in blitz packages. Despite being 300 lbs., he also regularly wins sprints for his position group. He’s an all-around terror. Scout’s Sam Webb said over the summer that Michigan’s staff planned to start Wormley at defensive tackle and Rashan Gary at strongside end, but I have heard other rumblings recently that perhaps Gary isn’t quite ready to start. Depending on Gary’s readiness, Wormley will either start at end or tackle, with Matt Godin and Maurice Hurst, Jr. being the other options at 3-tech. I don’t expect a huge leap for Wormley this year in terms of production, but the recently elected defensive captain should have another very solid year for the Wolverines.
Prediction: Starting defensive tackle; 50 tackles, 7 sacks