2010 Countdown: #4 Mike Martin

2010 Countdown: #4 Mike Martin

August 31, 2010

Name: Mike Martin
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 299 lbs.
High school: Catholic Central High School in Redford, MI
Position: Nose guard
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #68
Last year: I ranked Martin #7. He had 51 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 1 forced fumble.

Martin has been somewhat underappreciated at Michigan over the past two seasons. It’s rare that a true freshman defensive tackle steals snaps from a talented fifth year senior, but that’s what happened when Will Johnson saw his minutes declining in 2008. Last year Martin developed into a force in the middle of Michigan’s defense, racking up 51 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss as a sophomore. Those are pretty good numbers for a guy who plays between the center and guard and gets double-teamed on a regular basis, especially when one considers that he played with a bum shoulder for much of the season. (The aforementioned Terrance Taylor’s best season included 55 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss as a junior in 2007.)

The upcoming season will be a big test for Martin. No longer will he be aided by having Brandon Graham to one side of him, soaking up some double-teams. This is Mike Martin’s defensive line, and though it’s the strength of the team, it’s not outstanding. He’ll be flanked by a tackle/end tweener (Ryan Van Bergen) and a fifth year senior starting for the first time (Greg Banks). The defensive backfield is in shambles, and the linebacker crew is in limbo. Martin’s backup, sophomore William Campbell, hasn’t played consistently enough to wedge himself into the starting lineup, so Michigan has a 333 lb. benchwarmer. Martin needs to remain healthy in 2010 and step his game up another notch. He needs to play like an All American this season for Michigan’s defense to resemble adequacy. Hopefully he can replicate William Carr’s junior season, during which Carr earned 82 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, and 6 sacks. That’s asking a little much, though.

Prediction for 2010: 60 tackles, 4 sacks

The voting for #4 went like this:
36% for Troy Woolfolk
26% for Martin
23% for Tate Forcier
12% for David Molk


  1. Comments: 21385
    Aug 31, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    "… during which Carr earned 82 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, and 6 sacks." That's an incredible year. I don't remember him being *that* good. Wow.

    As for Campbell, at least those 333 pounds will warm a lot of bench.

  2. Comments: 21385
    Aug 31, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    I'm going to have to say that I somewhat doubt Martin's numbers actually go up this year. Losing Graham is going to see him get alot more attention. While Martin is a beast, he's also undersized for the role he's being asked to fill. I'd say he'll end up closer to 40 tackles and 2 sacks.

  3. Comments: 21385
    Aug 31, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    @ Anonymous 9:26 a.m.

    You know, I considered the loss of Graham when thinking of Martin. However, I think/hope that Greg Robinson will be aggressive in his playcalling up front, which will hopefully allow Martin to get some penetration with some linebackers blitzing around him. I know I'm going out on a limb with that prediction, but I do think that his production will see a slight uptick.

  4. Comments: 21385
    Blue in South Bend
    Aug 31, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    He may as well blitz the linebackers on every play; they don't seem to do very much when they try to play like, you know, linebackers.

  5. Comments: 21385
    Aug 31, 2010 at 8:53 PM

    I'd second the more negative view on Martin. To me, Terrence Taylor is an appropriate comparable. He too was slightly undersized and seemed primed to improve as a returning starter. But without his dominant teammate beside him (Branch) he seemed to regress a bit in his senior year. Not that he was bad, he just didn't make a production leap that many expected. Martin may come in a bit under our soaring hopes for his junior year. The all-conference talk may not be realized until 2011.

    All that said, Martin is the only guy (besides Mouton) who is an upperclassmen, a returning starter, and an elite talent. He has to have a huge year for the team to have a winning season.

  6. Comments: 21385
    Sep 02, 2010 at 12:42 AM

    Mike saw many double teams toward the end of last year and that was with a bum shoulder that needed surgery. He has consistently improved. I think he will put up big numbers for a NT.

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