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Michigan football: Class of 2024 defense already covers all bases

It’s hard to imagine a much better start to the Class of 2024 for Michigan football.



Dec 31, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive backs Rod Moore (19) and Will Johnson (2) celebrate MooreÕs interception against the TCU Horned Frogs in the second quarter of the 2022 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The goal of every recruiting cycle is to create balance. As wonderful as getting the big-time 5-star recruit might feel, it doesn’t mean much if you can’t surround them with talented pieces in the other positions. Lucky for Michigan football, they’ve had little to no trouble with this, as their 2024 class has just about everything you could hope for on the defensive side.

As the class stands now, the Wolverines have six commits in their class of 2024 and four project to play defense at the next level. Those commits are defensive linemen Manuel Beigel and Ted Hammond, linebacker Mason Curtis, and athlete Jacob Oden.

On a typical defense, there are three levels you need to focus on. There’s the line of scrimmage players, where you’ll find your defensive linemen and edge rushers. The next level is the middle of the field, where you’ll generally have your linebackers. Finally, you have the defensive backfield, where you’ll typically find your safeties and cornerbacks. The Wolverines can now say they have the privilege of having at least one impact player at each level in their 2024 class.

Line of scrimmage

If you’ve followed Michigan football in about any era from the early 1900s until now, you should be aware that the Wolverines love to dominate the line of scrimmage. That’s where you’ll find the defensive and offensive linemen going at it, trying to gain leverage to give their team an upper hand.

That appears to have once again been an emphasis in this coming recruiting cycle, as Michigan already has two defensive linemen committed to play for them. Those players are Ted Hammond, a 4-star out of Ohio, and Manuel Beigel, out of Connecticut.

While Beigel doesn’t have a rating according to 247Sports, it’s easy to see why the Wolverines decided to recruit him. Looking at his game tape, he is always the biggest man on the field, and he’s got a motor that does not slow down. Those are traits that Michigan loves to have in their big men, so he could show significant improvement over the years.

On the other hand, Hammond recently got a significant boost in his rankings on the 247Sports Composite. He’s currently ranked as the No. 344 player nationally and the No. 30 defensive line prospect in the country. Not to mention, he’s a recruit out of Ohio, so it’s always fun to see the Wolverines snag a player out of Buckeye country. Overall, Hammond has the making to be an absolute star at Michigan if he continues to develop. He’s got strength and speed to match and could end up being a multi-year impact player for the Wolverines.


Mason Curtis, out of Tennessee, is the sole linebacker to join the Michigan football class of 2024 thus far. Curtis is a 4-star recruit and the No. 192 prospect in the country per 247Sports Composite. He’s also listed as the No. 17 linebacker in the country, and for good reason.

Curtis has some serious speed and is not afraid to make a big hit or two. One of the best things about him is that he has some solid height, standing at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds. While he has some room to grow in terms of filling out his frame, his size will do wonders for him in covering tight ends at the next level.

One thing that will likely forever stand true about the Big Ten is that they love their tight ends, so having a linebacker or two who can line up across from them is always a good idea.

Defensive backfield

The most recent commit to the Michigan football class of 2024 also is the highest ranked, as athlete Jacob Oden currently stands as the No. 160 player in the country per 247Sports Composite.

Oden is an exciting prospect, as he’s the kind of player I could easily see playing anywhere on the field. In high school, he played plenty of defensive back but got some work in on offense and excelled at both. He’s the kind of player who is technically sound but also very physical.

I see him playing more as a nickel back or safety, but getting him some snaps on offense wouldn’t be a bad idea. He isn’t the tallest or strongest player, standing at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, but growing up with a father who played football and coached, Oden is an incredibly intelligent player.

Thanks to his background at wide receiver, I have a feeling he’s going to become quite the ball hawk in college. He’s the kind of player who will go up and grab the ball if it comes anywhere near him, so he should force plenty of turnovers throughout his college career.

Michigan football has set itself up perfectly going into the next year of recruiting. With this defensive group already committed, they can be much more selective with who they take in their class going forward. This group could be one of the best we’ve seen from the Wolverines in years, and I expect it to continue to improve.

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A recent graduate from Kalamazoo College, Tyler has four years experience in sports writing. He currently works as assistant editor for Blue By Ninety and specializes in a variety of sports such as football, swimming and diving, and basketball.