One of the biggest needs in the class of 2010 was for defensive linemen, especially on the interior. Each of the defensive tackles on the 2009 roster played significant minutes, including true freshman William Campbell. Even Ryan Van Bergen, who was recruited as a strongside defensive end, bulked up and was an effective starter at 3-tech DT.
Michigan’s first defensive tackle commitment came in the form of Terry Talbott, from Huber Heights, OH. (Terry has a cornerback brother named Terrence, who also committed to Michigan.) The Talbotts committed back in mid-August 2009 and Terrence stuck with Michigan through a late push by North Carolina for his services. He’s listed at 6’4″ and 255 lbs., and he’ll likely play 3-tech defensive tackle. I originally thought he would be a strongside defensive end, and some think he’ll be a nose tackle. However, I think his quickness off the ball – and his lack of bulk – make him a better fit at 3-tech, where he can take advantage of one-on-one blocks from slower guards.
The second defensive tackle came from Richard Ash (pictured above), a 6’4″, 263 lb. player from the developing pipeline in Pahokee, FL. Ash is the fourth player in three years from Pahokee (Martavious Odoms in 2008; Brandin Hawthorne and Vincent Smith in 2009). The word on the internet is that Ash has, uh, grown to be about 305 lbs. This is not necessarily ideal, as he seemed to be headed for the 3-tech DT position and doesn’t need to be quite so big. I don’t think he’ll stay at 300+ pounds, but if he stays anywhere close, I’d say he’s more likely to be a 1-tech nose tackle than a 3-tech. Ash’s weight is something to watch for when summertime rolls around.
Predictions: Talbott will earn some playing time as a redshirt freshman in 2011. There’s enough depth at defensive tackle that he can take some time to fill out. He has a very good first step, which bodes well for causing disruption in the offensive backfield. If he can maintain that quickness while adding 30 pounds or so, he could be an All Big Ten-caliber player. I have concerns about Ash, however. I have heard questions about his motor, and I have also heard that he played lethargically when his weight got into the 260s. According to Florida Varsity’s Michael Langston, Ash had better production when he was in the 240s. I always question the upside of a player whose work ethic doesn’t equal or exceed his talent, and that may be the case with Ash. I fear that Ash might not be much of a contributor at Michigan.
Grade: B-. Talbott seems like a good kid and he has plenty of athleticism. I think he’ll be a solid starter in a few years. Ash could fill a need at nose tackle, but I think his ceiling is lower than his 4-star status would indicate.
EDIT: My original post switched Terry and Terrence’s names. This will be an ongoing snafu for Michigan fans, but Terry is the DT and Terrence is the CB. Thanks to the Anonymous commenter below who caught the error.
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