The Wolverine

2018 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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92 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2018 FOOTBALL PREVIEW BY JOHN BORTON T hree-year-old Michael Dwumfour shot a basketball well enough that the older boys hung a nickname on him. They called him "Little Man." Even at that tender age, Dwumfour showed enough competitive edge to push back against the diminutive designation. He didn't like it, and let his mother, Agnes Agboloso, know about it. "He said, 'I don't want nobody to call me Little Man,'" she recalled, with a laugh. Nobody calls Dwumfour Little Man any- more. He's 6-2, 290 pounds and big enough to potentially step into the vacated position of a consensus All-American. Maurice Hurst is gone from the middle of the Michigan defen- sive line, but the beat-down goes on. Head coach Jim Harbaugh himself pointed Dwumfour out as "the No. 1 guy" having a great spring for the Wolverines. And a coach averse to comparisons invoked Hurst himself in talking about the projected nose tackle. "He's very disruptive," Harbaugh noted. "He's been very Mo Hurst-like. "I think he's poised to have a great year. He's putting it together every day, too. Back- to-back-to-back-to-back practices. He's just been outstanding. "There are other guys, but if I had to just say one name right now, it would be Mike Dwumfour." That's music to the ears of anyone seek- ing a strong follow-up to Hurst and a crush- ing complement to high-level defensive ends Rashan Gary, a junior, and Chase Winovich, a fifth-year senior. It also sounds great to Dwumfour himself, who set out this spring to show the departing Hurst hurt could be mitigated. "It means a lot to just put on the Michigan winged helmet," Dwumfour said. "I know what Mo did was very special last season. That's not what I use to motivate myself, though. "What I use to motivate myself is to go out there and let my coaches know we have a 3-technique [defensive tackle]." Others backed Harbaugh's position, as- serting the Wolverines do indeed maintain a stocked cupboard when it comes to a mauling middle man. Linebackers coach Al Washington offered: "Dwummy's an animal. I haven't seen the development, like Coach Matty [defensive line mentor Greg Mattison] has and the rest of the staff has, but if you're on the field with Dwummy, you know where he's at, because he's always in the backfield. He's disruptive, and he's twitchy. He's a great kid and wants to do right. "He's very passionate. I'm a big fan of his and excited for what's ahead. He's a play- maker." "Michael Dwumfour is definitely stepping up," Winovich added. "We're excited about him. There was a pass rush, and I'm not go- ing to say who he was going against, but it was a prominent player. … It was like clinical smoothness and precision, with the way he clubbed. It looked effortless." According to Mattison, Winovich, fifth- year senior defensive tackle Bryan Mone and Dwumfour's childhood buddy, Gary, all had a hand in pushing the redshirt sophomore defensive tackle forward. "He's so quick off the football," Mattison said. "He has a lot of Mo Hurst in him. There are times you see him come off the ball, and you just go, 'That's really good.' And, he's a little bit thicker and a little bit bigger. "It's Rashan, and Chase, and Bryan Mone's leadership that have really gotten him to step up. He's always shown flashes, but now, all of a sudden, he's more mature. "There were times when he's played really well, and then he'd try to take a play off or he wasn't ready for a play. He's not doing that now. "He's pushing himself way past where he usually would, and that's a really good sign for us." Dwumfour adds others to the list of those who moved him in the right direction, includ- ing former teammates Ryan Glasgow, Matt Godin, Chris Wormley and Hurst, among others. "A lot of guys took me under their wings," he said. "When I was a freshman, Glasgow taught me a lot of little things that help me out now. I still text him, asking for tips." Caring And Focused Dwumfour probably had an assist coming to him. He's always been a giver, according to Agboloso — a humble, respectful, caring individual ready to look out for others in his hometown of Wayne, N.J. She went through a time of sickness when her son was younger. Among his siblings, Mi- chael stood out as the one particularly mind- ful of her. "Whenever we'd go out, the two girls would always go ahead, and Michael would always stay with me, opening the doors, hold- ing my bag when I was on the steps," she recalled. "When he was in elementary school, there was a neighbor that just moved here. Michael was ahead of him in school, and the boy had a little fear in him. "His mother spoke to Michael, and Mi- chael would make sure he got to school and back okay. He would always take care of that boy." Dwumfour also took care of business on the basketball court, well past the three-year- old stage. He proved good enough that his parents were convinced he'd pursue the hard- court in a hardcore way down the road. "If anybody would have told me Michael wanted to play football, I wouldn't have be- lieved it," noted his father, Fred Dwumfour. "He was so, so good in basketball. Down the line, when he was getting bigger, he was like, 'I want to try football.'" Mom got an inkling earlier, even if she didn't particularly like her son's growing passion for what she considered a too-rough sport. She questioned his request for a football, reminding him he already possessed three basketballs. "He said, 'Ma, please, get me a football.' He got it, and he started sleeping with the football," she noted. "Even though he was still playing basketball, the football would be on his bed, every day." THE DISRUPTOR An Improved Michael Dwumfour Could Plug A Big Hole In The Middle Of The Defensive Line Dwumfour has appeared in just 10 games during his U-M career and notched six tack- les, but coaches have compared him to 2017 consensus All-American Maurice Hurst. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL "He's very disruptive. He's been very Mo Hurst- like. I think he's poised to have a great year." HEAD COACH JIM HARBAUGH

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