Name: Jess Speight
Weight: 288 lbs.
High school: Richmond (VA) Collegiate
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #67
Last year: I ranked Speight #90 and said he would be a backup center (LINK). He played in seven games and made 7 tackles.
TTB Rating: N/A
Speight has slowly climbed the ranks of Michigan football over the past few years. He came in as a preferred walk-on and the brother of quarterback Wilton Speight, who transferred from Michigan to UCLA. I liked him as a recruit and thought he might be able to work his way onto the field on the offensive line. After spending his first couple seasons on campus playing center, he switched to defensive tackle last fall when there was a need for depth. By the end of the season, he was playing some key minutes.
While Speight is not expected to start in 2020, there is once again an opportunity for him to play. Part-time starter Michael Dwumfour transferred to Rutgers, but sophomore Chris Hinton is expected to step into the starting lineup alongside nose tackle Carlo Kemp. Other players involved in the competition include Speight, Donovan Jeter, and Mazi Smith, among others. Hinton’s parents have been pretty vocal about being opposed to playing due to COVID-19, so there’s a chance that he will opt out of the season. That could elevate Speight’s importance for 2020, but I’m operating under the assumption that Hinton will play (NOTE: No Michigan players have opted out for 2020 as of this writing). I don’t think Speight will be a difference maker, but he’s an okay role player.
Prediction: Backup defensive tackle