While walk-on Darnell Davis Jr. and captain Julian Pinnix-Odrick prepare for starts on the edge against Michigan, former Rampo (N.J.) star Jimmy Hogan prepares for his most-significant role to date in a home game.
Ask Hogan and he would prefer a smaller one.
Hogan's rise to more playing time came primarily because of the season-ending injury to starter Quanzell Lambert. Up to Hogan, and he spends more time in development so his friend could shine as a senior.
“Quanzell is one of my best friends,” Hogan said. “I felt terrible. I still feel terrible. I'd much rather have him here and me be playing less as a result of it. It was a heart breaker because he's a friend of mine.”
Hogan rotates as a defensive end in space, but also moves inside as a defensive tackle in various packages for Shane Burnham's unit.
“It depends on what we're doing, but I'm comfortable with it,” Hogan said on his role. “I'm growing just as much as anyone else. I'd say I'm just working hard to get better.”
Playing in space is the biggest difference in Jay Niemann's scheme, Hogan said. Two of Hogan's three tackles this season came in an expanded role against Ohio State.
“It's just more responsibility,” he said. “I'm working as hard as I can in practice to try and fill that gap.”
Like many youth athletes, Hogan followed Michigan closely while watching games as a kid. He looks forward to a primetime clash with the Wolverines as a representative of his home state.
“I can't wait,” Hogan said. “I remember playing Michigan State last year like this and it was awesome. I just can't wait for that atmosphere, the stripe out, the crowd, all of it. … [The fans] make noise and it helps against the communication of the offense. They're always a big help for us.”