The Fence the Mitten Project: Linebacker

The Fence the Mitten Project: Linebacker


April 27, 2020
David Reese II (image via Florida Gators)

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2019 ROSTER

  • Tyriq Thompson (RS Sr.): 3-star, #28 OLB, #362 overall
  • Junior McMullen (RS Sr.): 3-star, #86 OLB
  • Daelin Hayes (RS Jr.): 4-star, #10 OLB, #133 overall
  • Brandon Randle (RS Jr.): 3-star, #24 OLB, #361 overall
  • David Reese II (RS Jr.): 3-star, #15 ILB, #414 overall
  • Armani Posey (RS Jr.): 3-star, #58 OLB, #918 overall
  • Josh Ross (RS So.): 4-star, #9 ILB, #211 overall
  • Antjuan Simmons (RS So.): 4-star, #14 OLB, #297 overall
  • Ovie Oghoufo (RS Fr.): 3-star, #35 OLB, #545 overall
  • Kolin Demens (RS Fr.): 3-star, #29 ILB, #643 overall
  • Jaylan Franklin (RS Fr.): 3-star, #53 ATH, #695 overall
  • Lance Dixon (Fr.): 4-star, #9 OLB, #179 overall
  • Marvin Ham (Fr.): 3-star, #24 ILB, #466 overall
  • Marcel Lewis (Fr.): 3-star, #41 ILB, #936 overall
  • Jacob Wahlberg (Fr.): 3-star, #45 ILB

HOW DID THESE REAL-LIFE PLAYERS FARE IN 2019?

Tyriq Thompson (Michigan State) made 75 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 1 interception while starting thirteen games at SAM and MIKE linebacker. David Reese II (Florida) started every game at MIKE linebacker, making 94 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 1 fumble recovery on his way to being named 2nd Team All-SEC. Josh Ross (Michigan) started three games and made 18 tackles before an injury effectively ended his season, and he took a redshirt year. Antjuan Simmons (Michigan State) made 90 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 1 interception, and 3 pass breakups while starting every game and being named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten. Jaylan Franklin (Wisconsin) made 2 tackles and 1 sack in limited playing time. Lance Dixon (Penn State) made 2 tackles while preserving his redshirt. Marvin Ham (Colorado), Marcel Lewis (Michigan State), and Jacob Wahlberg (Purdue) all redshirted.

THE HYPOTHETICAL MICHIGAN TEAM IN 2019

With four starter-level players for three linebacker spots – even with Daelin Hayes moving to defensive end – this is a pretty stacked position group. The staff plays Antjuan Simmons at Viper, David Reese II at middle linebacker, and Josh Ross at weakside linebacker. Luckily, Michigan legacy Tyriq Thompson stuck around for a fifth year with no cemented starting job, which pays off when Ross gets injured. Lance Dixon and Marcel Lewis are forced to burn their redshirts in order to get them some reps and prepare for 2020, when Thompson and Reese will be gone. Here’s a possible depth chart:

Viper: Antjuan Simmons, Lance Dixon
MIKE: David Reese II, Marcel Lewis
WILL: Josh Ross, Tyriq Thompson

CONCLUSIONS

This is a pretty good unit, but there are no real superstars. Reese signed as an undrafted free agent, and he’s the guy with the best resume so far. Some of these other guys have a chance and they’re still young.

One comment

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1357
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Apr 27, 2020 at 8:45 PM

    Did Reece test bad or something?

    How can a kid who produced year after year in the SEC go undrafted?

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