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January 22, 2014
Top 25 Countdown: Jibreel Black
Senior defensive tackle Jibreel Black had the best statistical season of his career in 2013, finishing with 27 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He checks in at No. 9 on TheWolverine.com's Top 25 countdown.
The Top 25 is voted on by the Staff of TheWolverine.com.
Preseason Expectations: The Michigan coaching staff moved Black inside in 2012 with pretty strong results. He finished that year with 20 tackles, including five tackles for loss and three sacks, two pass breakups and a forced fumble.
His quickness and agility caused problems inside for opposing offensive lines, and the Wolverines were counting on more of that disruptiveness inside in 2013.
"Jibreel Black is a guy that has played a lot of football here," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said before the season. "His quickness is going to be an ally for him, and for us. He's got a very good first step and a lot of explosiveness."
His Season: With defensive tackles, the statistics will never really jump off the page. For instance, Detroit Lions all-star nose tackle Ndamukong Suh finished the 2013 season with 36 tackles.
Black capped his Michigan career with his best statistical season, recording 27 takedowns, 7.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two pass breakups and a forced fumble.
Racking up tackles isn't necessarily the duty of the tackles, and Black pitched in plenty of help in the run game that doesn't show up on the box score.
Her provided constant chaos in the middle, muddling opponents' blocking schemes and allowing the linebackers to come in free for mop-up duty. Black's presence in the middle was a big reason why the Wolverines ranked 35th nationally in yards per rush allowed (3.8).
TheWolverine.com Analyst Will Heininger: "Jibreel did a better version of what he's done every year, which is use his talent to the best of his ability. Jibreel is an undersized guy for the interior D-line, but he's quick and he gives linemen fits sometimes with that quickness.
"You see him in the backfield, and you'll see Jibreel jump out of the gap but actually make the play or disrupt it so much that it bounces outside. A lot of the negative plays he generated on defense, Jibreel was the reason that it bounced or broke down for the offense. Someone else would get the statistic, but he was the cause of the disruption.
"He was a senior this year, and he got better every year. He did what was asked of him, and he was a good pass rusher from the interior. He got pressure on the quarterback, and you'd hope some of the young guys would take that part of his game and make it part of their game."
Black's Career: Black first earned playing time as a defensive end in 2010, making his way onto the field in five games and finishing with seven tackles.
From there, his productivity and ability increased every year, and he made a seamless transition from defensive end to three-technique defensive tackle before the 2012 season.
Although he was undersized, at 6-2, 278, for his new role in the middle, Black was a consistent disruption inside, using his speed and athleticism to get the best of bigger, stronger guards and centers.
"He's gotten so much bigger and stronger," Bernie Barre, Black's high school coach, told Cincinnati.com after the 2013 season. "He's had a heck of a career. One of the things I'm most proud of is that he graduated from the University of Michigan in three and a half years. I think that's pretty impressive."
Click here to see the rest of the Top 25