A 1997-style defense
Led by Charles Woodson, that 1997 Michigan football defense is the best I’ve ever seen in college football. Yet, this 2023 Michigan defense is pretty special in its own right.
The Wolverines are allowing just 5.9 points per game. It’s true that Michigan hasn’t played any ranked teams at this point, which wasn’t the case for the 1997 team.
This Michigan squad also doesn’t have someone quite as dominant as Charles Woodson. That player this year plays offense (J.J. McCarthy). But this is the deepest, most talented defense I think I’ve ever seen.
The top three cornerbacks are all pros. Will Johnson is going to be a top-10 pick, while Kris Jenkins and Mason Graham are also first-rounders in my mind, and maybe Kenneth Grant too.
Junior Colson, Michael Barrett, and Ernest Hausmann are also NFL players, as are all four of Michigan’s pass rushers — Braiden McGregor, Jaylen Harrell, Derrick Moore, and Josaiah Stewart who leads the team with five sacks, are draft picks too in my eyes.
Michigan even has a trio of safeties that look like future pros in Rod Moore, Makari Paige, and Keon Sabb, who has two interceptions so far this season.
Michigan still has work to do in order to reach the same level as the 1997 team, but the starting defense has scored more points than it has allowed this season.
Think about that for a second.