Name: Jess Speight
Weight: 290 lbs.
High school: Richmond (VA) Collegiate
Position: Defensive tackle
Class: Redshirt senior
Jersey number: #67
Last year: I ranked Speight #45 and said he would be a backup defensive tackle (LINK). He made 2 tackles.
TTB Rating: N/A
I want to take a walk down memory lane to Speight’s first appearance in the countdown (LINK):
Speight, who is the brother of former Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight, is the rare walk-on offensive lineman who actually got me excited a little bit. . . . Speight’s time won’t come this year, but he’s one to keep an eye on in the coming years.
When the Michigan program took Wilton’s “little brother” as a preferred walk-on, I thought he was a guy who could eventually work his way into the starting center position, post-Cesar Ruiz. Obviously, Speight made the transition to defensive tackle, so I’m no Nostradamus. But he did start one game in 2019 and has played in a total of thirteen games, making 7 total tackles.
Entering his final year on campus, I think Speight will probably end up playing one of the defensive end (4i) positions as a backup. I don’t think he’s strong enough to play nose tackle and stand up to double teams as an interior guy, but he might be able to handle some single blocks from offensive tackles. He’s not going to turn into a star overnight, but for a team lacking experienced bulk on the defensive line, he should be back in the rotation once again in 2021.
Prediction: Backup defensive end
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