Michigan football 2024 defense player stat predictions

The Wolverines are dealing with a ton of turnover after winning the national title in 2023, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The Wolverines replaced their head coach, defensive coordinator, all defensive position coaches, and over half their starters from last season. Of course, the ship will keep sailing with the same expectation — wins. Michigan returns a good amount of talent and has an NFL-level defensive coordinator, so the pieces are certainly there to once again have a top-level unit.

Check out our offensive stat predictions here.

Michigan needs to replace its top two tacklers from last year, the sack leader, interceptions leader, and PBU leader. Here are our predictions for who will lead the team in each category.

Tackles: Ernest Hausmann

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Hausmann had the third most tackles on the team in 2023 as a backup linebacker and is slotted to see the field significantly more in 2024. Without an injury, there’s almost no doubt he will lead the team in tackles. Newcomer Jaishawn Barham will likely be the other starter, but I think his role will be more of an edge/linebacker hybrid rather than a true middle backer. Hausmann has shown the speed, strength, and vision to be a terrific player, and should be a good replacement for Junior Colson.

Sacks: Josaiah Stewart

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Last season, the defensive line rotated heavily which made it tough for any one player to stand out, and Stewart still registered 5.5 sacks. This year, much like Hausmann, he will be one of the starters on the edge across from Derrick Moore. The choice between Moore and Stewart was tough, but Stewart is better built to get after the passer and should spend a fair amount of time in opposing backfields next season.

Interceptions: Will Johnson

Photo: Isaiah Hole

This spot was locked in for Rod Moore until tragedy struck. Now Johnson, who is probably the best player on the team, is the guy who brings back the most ball production. Johnson snagged four picks last year and simply has a knack for turning it over. The only reason he wouldn’t continue to force turnovers is because opposing quarterbacks simply avoid his side at all costs — which is a distinct possibility.

Snaps: Ernest Hausmann

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Back to the well here. Hausmann has to be the leader in the middle… there’s no one else who fits the bill. He’s been with the program for an entire season, showing he is capable of making plays, and now has the task of rallying players around him. There’s a shot that Will Johnson takes this spot as well, but I think the staff will be more inclined to rest him in the early season contests.

PBUs: Will Johnson

Photo: Isaiah Hole

This is, once again, contingent on the fact that quarterbacks are bold enough to actually challenge Johnson next season. In that case, it’s a similar story to interceptions. Johnson has proven ball skills and understands how to play with leverage and break up passes. He should be good to lock down pretty much any receiver in the Big Ten and is expected to earn himself All-American honors and an early first-round draft selection.


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