Name: Luiji Vilain
Weight: 253 lbs.
High school: Alexandria (VA) Episcopal
Position: Defensive end
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #18
Last year: I ranked Vilain #39 and said he would be a backup weakside end (LINK). He played in seven games and made 7 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble.
TTB Rating: 90
Vilain is going into his fourth year at Michigan without a lot to show for it. Injuries were a big issue for his first two years, and he was finally relatively healthy in 2019 for the first time. It shouldn’t take until year three to even see the field for a top-100 prospect, but that was the situation with Vilain. When he got on the field, he flew under the radar except against Notre Dame, which was a big night for everyone wearing a winged helmet.
As you can see that “sack” and “forced fumble” were basically due to the fact that he was the closest guy to an inept Notre Dame quarterback.
Vilain is ranked in approximately the same spot once again in 2020. Michigan has two solid starting ends in Aidan Hutchinson and Kwity Paye, but there is a little clearer path to playing time with no Michael Danna standing in the way for backup snaps. Vilain’s role for 2020 may depend on how much David Ojabo and Gabe Newburg developed in their redshirt seasons and in the off-season. This is almost a now-or-never situation for Vilain, who would be unlikely to return for a fifth year in 2021 if he doesn’t show the ability to be the heir to senior Kwity Paye’s starting end spot.
Prediction: Backup defensive end