ESPN’s Steele ranks UM’s defensive line No. 9


Another day, and more plaudits for Michigan’s Maurice Hurst and Rashan Gary.

In case you haven’t heard, the Wolverines’ dynamic duo on the defensive line are going to be good, whether it be individually or in tandem. Defensive coordintor Don Brown says so. The Sporting News says so. Mel Kiper Jr. says so. The preseason watch lists say so. Everyone says so.

Phil Steele, in rankings posted Tuesday for ESPN (pay site), says so, too.

The college football guru ranks Michigan’s defensive line ninth in the nation. The unit, of course, is led by Gary, a rising sophomore, and Hurst, who opted to stay in Ann Arbor for his senior season rather than head to the NFL.

They’re only a few returning from last season’s Michigan defensive line. No worries, Steele writes.

“The Wolverines lose all four starters, including players who were first-, third- and fourth-round draft choices,” he writes. “Much like the units (ranked) above, Michigan reloads yearly. DT Maurice Hurst did not start last year but had 4.5 sacks as a backup. Including this year’s signees, the Wolverines have 14 highly touted players. Rashan Gary will be a star.”

Clemson tops the rankings, followed by Ohio State. Florida, which Michigan opens the season against Sept. 2 in Arlington, Texas, is ranked No. 8.