Michigan’s 2021 defense took a hit on Tuesday afternoon, as redshirt sophomore linebacker Cameron McGrone announced via Twitter that he will enter the 2021 NFL Draft.

McGrone missed one of Michigan’s six games this season with an injury. In the other five, he recorded 14 solo tackles with two for loss and 0.5 sacks. He emerged as the starting middle linebacker in 2019 as Michigan tried to fill the hole left by Devin Bush Jr., showing end-to-end speed and ability to make impact plays.

He was one of the lynchpins of Michigan’s defense over the last two seasons, and replacing him won’t be easy. Though there are still draft and eligibility decisions to sort out for everyone on the roster, since even seniors get a free year due to COVID-19, there isn’t an obvious name on the roster to start at middle linebacker next season.

Anthony Solomon, William Mohan, Kalel Mullings and Nikhai Hill-Green are all names that could get a look during spring ball. Michael Barrett, if the coaching staff chooses to move him from VIPER, could be an option as well. So could Ben VanSumeran or David Ojabo.

That will only add to what is likely to be a transition year for the defense, as it works through a new coordinator after the firing of Brown.

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