Trieu: 'BUCK' recruits impressed by Michigan defense
George Seifert, the architect of a San Francisco 49ers defense that sometimes got lost behind the luster of quarterback Joe Montana, wide receiver Jerry Rice and Bill Walsh's magnificent offense in the 1980s, is credited with being the man who popularized the use of a hybrid defensive end-linebacker he called the "elephant."
It was a special name for a special player, a guy the offense would always have to be aware of because of his potential to rush the passer or drop into coverage.
That special role allowed a self-described "tweener" and fourth-round draft choice from James Madison named Charles Haley to record 12 sacks as a rookie and go on to a Hall of Fame career. Soon, these hybrids were sprouting up throughout the league from Chris Doleman to later Willie McGinest and Jason Taylor.
That concept has now made its way to Michigan in the form of the BUCK. Currently manned by Mario Ojemudia and Royce Jenkins-Stone in D.J. Durkin's defense, the importance of the position has made it a must that the Wolverines recruit one, if not a couple BUCK candidates in each class.
Two of the top prospects at that spot in the next two classes, Boulder (Colo.) Fairview senior Carlo Kemp and St. Joseph (Mich.) junior Corey Malone-Hatcher, were present on Saturday when the Michigan defense shut out BYU en route to a victory that served notice the Wolverine defense means business.
"Michigan basically played flawless," said Kemp, who was on his official visit. "Defense was great, offense was great, and special teams were great. It was three-for-three and that led to a 31-0 shutout."
"I was really impressed," Malone-Hatcher said. "I like the new scheme. They're creating havoc and I'm comfortable saying Michigan probably has one of the top defenses in the Big Ten, maybe the country. They're well coached."
Both players have had an opportunity to speak with the staff about the specifics of the position and how they fit within a defense.
Too young to remember guys like Haley, a better recent example would be Durkin's star pupil at Florida, Dante Fowler, who went on to be a top-five draft choice after playing that position.
Neither Kemp nor Malone-Hatcher are ready to decide. Kemp will visit Notre Dame, Colorado and UCLA still before making a commitment. Malone-Hatcher said he is "starting to get an idea" of what he wants to do but noted that it was still too early. He may visit Wisconsin this week and will either return to Michigan for the homecoming tilt with Northwestern or head to Notre Dame the weekend of Oct. 10.
The odds currently favor both ending up at Michigan, standing up, rushing the passer and dropping into coverage.
Wolverine commit headed to San Antonio
Michigan offensive line commit Michael Onwenu of Detroit Cass Tech was officially named to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl roster this week. Onwenu, a 6-foot-3, 365-pound senior, is a four-star prospect and top-150 national prospect on Scout.
Michigan has had at least one commit play in that game since its inaugural year in 2001. Onwenu joins a lineage of Wolverine verbals from Cass Tech to participate, following Boubacar Cissoko, William Campbell, Royce Jenkins-Stone and Jourdan Lewis.
Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.