2020 Season Countdown: #9 Carlo Kemp

2020 Season Countdown: #9 Carlo Kemp

October 10, 2020
Carlo Kemp (image via Toledo Blade)

Name: Carlo Kemp
286 lbs.
High school: 
Boulder (CO) Fairview
Defensive tackle
Jersey number: 
Last year: 
I ranked Kemp #13 and said he would be the starting nose tackle with 25 tackles and 1.5 sacks (LINK). He started twelve games, making 40 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 1 fumble recovery.
TTB Rating: 84

A quick recap: Kemp started his career at linebacker and has since played every position on the defensive line, from weakside end to nose tackle.

He continued making strides on the defensive line in 2019, becoming Third Team All-Big Ten to the conference’s coaches. That’s a pretty nice accomplishment for a guy who’s undersized for the nose tackle job. Kemp doesn’t even have the consistent quickness off the ball of a guy like Maurice Hurst, Jr., but he does use leverage and athleticism to find his way to the ball. Michigan was able to use him on stunts with some effect. Unfortunately, the quickness and stunting was embarrassingly ineffective against power running teams like Ohio State and Wisconsin.

This year it appears Kemp will be moving over to 3-tech as Michigan deploys more four-man fronts. That makes more sense to me and hopefully allows a guy with more weight/stoutness to play nose tackle. Kemp gave a valiant effort, but without sufficient junk in his trunk, it’s an exercise in futility to play nose tackle when getting gashed by the stellar offensive lines of the Badgers and Buckeyes.

Prediction: Starting defensive tackle


  1. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Oct 10, 2020 at 1:06 PM

    I’m enjoying the countdown.

    Here is my top 20 with McCaffrey, Collins, and Thomas all removed.

    1. Milton
    2. Hutchinson – more upside than Paye IMO
    3. Paye
    4. Hawkins
    5. Kemp
    6. Hill
    7. McGrone
    8. Mayfield
    9. Hinton
    10. Gray

    11. Jackson – possibly underrated. playmaker
    12. Bell
    13. Eubanks
    14. Ross
    15. Vastardis
    16. Barrett
    17. Hayes
    18. Sainristil
    19. Steuber
    20. Barnhart

    • Comments: 49
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Blue in NC
      Oct 11, 2020 at 11:29 AM

      Not a bad list but I am baffled how Hawkins is more important than McGrone. Yes, safety is important but not more than LB and McGrone needs to be the answer. I would probably have him at 3 or 4 above Hawkins, Hill and Kemp.

      • Comments: 3845
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Oct 11, 2020 at 1:16 PM

        If you’re bad on the back end, you’re going to have some major problems giving up big plays. There are more teams that can hurt Michigan in the passing game than can push around Michigan’s front seven.

        Also, Michigan could shift Josh Ross to MIKE linebacker and insert a guy at WILL and probably not see a big dropoff. Ross has played the MIKE before, and they’ve had decent defenses with mediocre WILLs before (see: Devin Gil in 2018).

        Michigan needs all the help they can get in the secondary, especially breaking in three new starters to replace Hill, Thomas, and Metellus. Hawkins is the only returning starter in the secondary.

        • Comments: 49
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Blue in NC
          Oct 12, 2020 at 9:05 AM

          It’s a fair point and I see the logic with Ross moving over but the simple answer for me is that McGrone is a difference maker (on a defense right now that does not have many) and Hawkins (while a good player and valuable) is not. Take McGrone away and D Brown starts getting very limited in his blitz packages.

          • Comments: 6285
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Oct 12, 2020 at 2:47 PM

            I think there are more opportunities to make big plays at LB than S.

            I would guess that the NFL thinks higher of Hawkins than McGrone, though I don’t say that with a great deal of confidence.

      • Comments: 6285
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Oct 12, 2020 at 2:44 PM

        If you are good at Safety you can move some of those guys to corner or viper. If you are struggling at safety – maybe you can try to shift back a corner but they’re often not big enough or physical enough to handle it.

        Safety is more important than LB overall, I think, though it does maybe hinge somewhat on how you look at viper. I put Hawkins a bit higher just because I’m worried about depth in the secondary in general. If McGrone goes down you plug in a decent LB option like Solomon besides Ross. If Hawkins goes down you’re scraping the edges of the viable depth chart on critical passing downs, and probably forced to put a true freshman out there.

  2. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Oct 10, 2020 at 1:07 PM

    I think we got a bit spoiled on the DL during the Mattison era. I’m hoping for for a big year from Hutchinson and Paye but we need Kemp to stay healthy and productive, and someone else on the DL to step up to make it happen.

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