ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Outside of the secondary, the defensive line boasts some of the best depth and talent on the entire Michigan football team this season.
With a little bit of it on display during the spring game this weekend, it gave a good glimpse of what U-M is potentially fielding this season. Of course, that's not counting the freshman that will be arriving this fall to compete as well.
Defensive lineman Chris Wormley is the elder statesman of the defensive line and one of the major contributing pieces to the success the Wolverines were able to have on the defensive line last season. With many of the familiar faces returning from a year ago, Wormley mentioned one player in particular that will see an expanded role on the defensive line this season.
Taco Charlton. Someone who Wormley thinks is overdue for some extended playing time.
"He's definitely stepped up this spring," Wormley said. "He's going to be starting next year for us and is going to be playing a big role, he'll be playing 60-plus snaps a game. He's ready, he's probably the most improved on the defensive line this year coming out of spring. I'm excited for him it's been coming for him and he's been working his butt off to get where he's at."
With U-M losing Willie Henry to the NFL Draft, it also gets back a major contributor from two years ago in Bryan Mone. When asked who might surprise people this season, Wormley brought up Mone's name without hesitation.
"I think Bryan Mone," Wormley said. "He's coming off a broken foot and he's just been a monster in the middle for us. He was making plays (during the spring game) and its just exciting to see. I'm glad that he's back for us and it's just another piece to the puzzle for the defense. He's playing well this spring, he had a good freshman year and he got hurt. i'm excited to see what he can do after a year of getting bigger, stronger and working on being a football player."
With U-M expected to gain younger guys in the fall and some other players making transitions to the defensive line, it allows Wormley to take on more of a leadership role this fall. Having been around the program for many years, Wormley knows what's at stake. He says that helping the younger lineman will always help make him a better player in the process as well.
"I think explaining things to somebody teaches you yourself," Wormley said. "I think when you help someone else on the field, whether its individual drills or in the film room helping them out, you can become a better player and become aware of what's going on."