At SB Nation I previewed how Michigan will rebuild a defense that’s losing nine starters. I don’t know how shocking this will be for everyone but I think they’ll probably still be elite even despite losing so much.
The up and coming DL is going to be fantastic, new DE starters Rashan Gary (former 247 #1 overall) and Chase Winovich were really good in spot duty last year and returning DT Mo Hurst was highly disruptive.
The challenge is replacing all the starters in the secondary, and I actually don’t think it’ll be replacing Peppers that’ll be hard. I honestly believe they stuck him at that “Viper” sam/space-backer position because they didn’t have anyone else smart and versatile enough to play there. Now they’ve been developing a few guys for that role and should be fine. The real challenge will come from how much man coverage that Don Brown likes to play and doing so without Jourdan Lewis, Channing Stribling, or Delano Hill returning.
They’ll be fine though, I’m sure.
Btw, this was an interesting and quick read, even if John U Bacon is a total homer for Michigan and spends a brief portion of a chapter decrying SEC recruiting methods while pretending as though it’s sheerly the prestige of the U that consistently draws in elite players from the same private school in New Jersey every year. He got great access and a fascinating account of how things work at a major institution is what follows: