May 1, 2007

Rising star may crash the party at the MIKE

Redshirt junior John Thompson is a god to Michigan fans. They have been worshipping at his altar ever since an eight-tackle effort at Iowa in 2005. U-M's supporters also expect big things from junior college transfer Austin Panter as he battles with Thompson to replace second-team All-American David Harris at middle linebacker. However, there is a third linebacker to watch out for, someone who may crash the party …

According to sources at U-M, redshirt freshman Obinna Ezeh is a viable candidate to slide over from the strongside, where he currently backs up fifth-year senior Shawn Crable, to the middle, if necessary.

One source went even further, noting that if Ezeh is one of Michigan's three best linebackers - presumably along with Crable and senior Chris Graham - he will start in the middle of the defense.

"If Obi comes into camp and just lights it up then [U-M] will find a place for him to play," the source said.

"Right now, he's the backup SAM, but no one has locked up the MIKE job yet and Obinna got his feet wet there this spring. He could make the move there in the fall."

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