Name: Cam McGrone
Weight: 236 lbs.
High school: Indianapolis (IN) Lawrence Central
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #44
Last year: I ranked McGrone #47 and said he would be a backup linebacker and special teamer (LINK). He started ten games at middle linebacker and made 66 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 pass breakup, and 5 quarterback hurries.
TTB Rating: 80
Nobody expected McGrone to be a starter in 2019. Josh Ross was the starting middle linebacker, Jordan Glasgow was the starting weakside linebacker, and Devin Gil had started at WILL in 2018. So Michigan had three starting inside linebackers for two spots, and that didn’t include Jordan Anthony, who was in the rotation.
Then Ross got hurt, and the inexperienced McGrone – who had played in just one game in 2018 – was the wide-eyed beneficiary. He made 6 tackles against Wisconsin, showing off his speed. Shortly afterward, he would go on his best streak of the year, with 35 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks against Iowa, Illinois, Penn State, and Notre Dame.
This year McGrone leaps into the top ten of the countdown partly because of the important position he plays – middle linebacker – but also because of the complete lack of experience behind him. Glasgow is blocking punts in the NFL, Jordan Anthony entered the transfer portal, Gil transferred to USF, and Ross shifted to WILL. Michigan has two solid players at inside linebacker, but behind them is redshirt freshmen Charles Thomas and Joey Velazquez, true freshmen, and walk-ons. And while there has been positive buzz about the true freshmen, the crickets have drowned out anything about Thomas and Velazquez.
McGrone should get a chance to show off his blitzing ability and sideline-to-sideline speed in 2020, and hopefully he can stay healthy throughout the year.
Prediction: Starting middle linebacker