2008 Michigan Preview: Linebackers

Projected Depth Chart

Mouton (rSo)
OR Panter (Sr)
Thompson (rSr)
OR Ezeh (rSo)
Ezeh (rSo)
OR Evans (So)
Logan (Sr) Panter (Sr) Patilla (rSo)
OR Herron (rFr)
Demens (Fr)
OR Witherspoon (Fr)
Fitzgerald (Fr) Hill (Fr)

Obi Ezeh was the starter in the middle last year as a redshirt freshman. The outside linebackers, Shawn Crable and Cris Graham are gone, but not necessarily lamented. On the strong side, expect redshirt freshman Marell Evans to work his way into a starting role. On the weakside, redshirt sophomore Jonas Mouton is a good athlete, but has been plagued by injuries during his firs two years at Michigan, and hasn’t been able to master the mental aspect of linebacking. He will battle senior Austin Panter, the former junior college defensive player of the year, for a starting role. 5th-year senior Johnny Thompson and redshirt freshman Brandon Herron provide some depth. Michigan also brought in a big freshman class of LBs, and a couple, such as Kenny Demens or JB Fitzgerald, may be asked to contribute.


Michigan Linebackers 2007
Name Tackle TFL Sacks Int
Shawn Crable 90 28.5 7.5 0
Chris Graham 90 7 1 0
Obi Ezeh 67 4 2 1
Johnny Thompson 30 2 0 1
Austin Panter 7 0 0 0
Jonas Mouton 5 0 0 0
Max Pollock 3 0 0 0

Graham’s departure isn’t quite addition by subtraction, but it’s pretty close. A lot of Michigan fans feel the same way about Crable, but I personally believe that he was just misused. Bad football players do not get drafted by the Best Team Ever Until They Lost in the third round. Ezeh should be improved from last year, and he is getting to be a big boy for linebacker. Marell Evans is a good athlete who is known for his work ethic. Johnny Thompson has never done anything to stick out to me, I think he would be a depth player if this team had a linebacking corps that you might expect from Michigan. A couple of the freshmen may be expected to contribute, but the coaching staff would prefer to play the upperclassmen.

Posted under Analysis, Personnel
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5 Comments so far

  1. RJHOVE says...

    a lot of ors here…dont know if that’s good or bad

  2. CoolBlue says...

    Isn’t Spoon out for not qualifying?

  3. Tim says...

    He will be on the team, but is a lock to redshirt now. He should be joining the Wolverines when the fall semester actually starts.

  4. Jon-Robert says...

    What is it with Mouton? Since he has not mastered the mental aspect of linebacking could he master the mental aspect of Free Safety? So, will he have a chance to play at all or is he in for Evans and Panter both beating him out in your opinion?

  5. Tim says...

    Safety is a much harder position mentally than outside linebacker. Couple that with the fact that his body is now decidedly un-safetylike, and a move back is probably not going to happen.

    That said, he will definitely play some this year, whether or not he is the nominal starter. When Panter graduates, it is likely that he starts full-time at WLB.

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