Name: Carlo Kemp
Weight: 286 lbs.
High school: Boulder (CO) Fairview
Position: Defensive tackle
Jersey number: #2
Last year: I ranked Kemp #37 and said he would be a backup strongside end and defensive tackle (LINK). He started twelve games, making 17 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and 0.5 sacks.
TTB Rating: 84
From the perspective of pure playing time, Kemp made quite a leap in 2018. He went from a mediocre backup in 2017 to a part-time starter in 2018, and he went from being a backup defensive end to basically a full-time defensive tackle. It’s arguable how much of an impact he made, however. He finished the year with 17 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and 0.5 sacks over twelve starts. On pace for roughly 1.5 tackles per game and 1 sack every 24 starts, not many offensive linemen lined up across from him are afraid going into their matchup.
The loss of three defensive tackles boosts Kemp’s importance, and by all accounts, he’s a standout leader. Some have suggested that he should be a captain, along with rumblings about Khaleke Hudson, Josh Metellus, and others. I have little doubt about his leadership; those traits were discussed during his recruitment. He grew up in a football family (he’s the nephew of Chuck Pagano and John Pagano, both long-time NFLers) and knows the commitment it takes to succeed at a high level in football.
Unfortunately, Kemp is lacking in a couple areas. One is explosion. The other is size. He’s expected to play nose tackle, a position normally reserved for 330+ pound behemoths. When not that, they’re lighter but lightning quick. Aside from his positive leadership qualities, Kemp is basically just a guy. He will occasionally slice into a backfield and make a play, but he would be ranked lower if Michigan could afford to lose defensive tackles and still chug along. As things stand right now, Kemp is a fairly important piece of the defensive puzzle, since the interior line starts to dissolve into freshmen rather quickly after the first three guys.
Prediction: Starting nose tackle; 25 tackles, 1.5 sacks