You can pre-order John U. Bacon’s new book, Overtime, which is coming in September (LINK):
Name: Mazi Smith
Weight: 303 lbs.
High school: Kentwood (MI) East Kentwood
Position: Defensive tackle
Jersey number: #58
Last year: Smith was a senior in high school (LINK). He made 81 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, and 3 forced fumbles.
TTB Rating: 86
Michigan is in a weird transitional phase on the defensive line. For several years the Wolverines have had returning standouts on the line to take up many of the snaps, including Chase Winovich, Rashan Gary, Maurice Hurst Jr., Chris Wormley, Ryan Glasgow, and others. And now not only is Michigan replacing most of its defensive line, but there’s a new defensive line coach doing the development. Michigan lost Bryan Mone (graduation), Lawrence Marshall (graduation), and Aubrey Solomon (transfer to Tennessee) from the tackle position alone, not to mention several defensive ends.
In order to get enough bodies on the field, Michigan needs to play freshmen in 2019, and Smith seems like a certain bet to be one of them. The Wolverines are particularly lacking in big bodies to take up space in the middle, and Smith is hovering just over 300 lbs. after losing a chunk of weight. He enrolled early in January and while I don’t expect him to stand out – few freshman defensive tackles do – he should be able to eat up some snaps. The Wolverines are probably looking at him as someone to be on the two-deep, either at nose tackle or 3-tech. I look back at the likes of freshman seasons for Solomon and Ondre Pipkins with indifference for their effectiveness, so this will probably not be a great season.
Prediction: Backup defensive tackle
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