Following his fifth season as an assistant coach for the Michigan football team, Greg Mattison lost the second senior class of defensive linemen that he recruited — the first that he recruited entirely.

But he came out of it OK. He has a deeper, more experienced and perhaps more talented group to work with this fall.

“There’s a great deal of talent, a great deal of experience,” Mattison said Friday. “I’m very excited about it, and with that excitement goes the expectations for me, for them and for us.”

The defensive line suffered one major loss when end Willie Henry declared for the NFL Draft early in January. But it returns a trio of fifth-year seniors in Chris Wormley, Matt Godin and Ryan Glasgow that Mattison has coached for their entire careers.

Redshirt junior Maurice Hurst and redshirt sophomore Bryan Mone add depth, and senior Taco Charlton could fill Henry’s spot, putting the defensive line in a position to be even better in 2016.

That’s the product of years of fruitful recruiting by Mattison, and the coach has raised his expectations every year accordingly.

“They know me, that if a guy shows that he has talent, then I’m going to expect him to get all the way to the top of that talent,” Mattison said. “Sometimes things that might be acceptable (in) some places are still not acceptable. I’m always after them for perfection. I want them to be as good as I know they can be.”

And Mattison is already grooming the next crop of young defensive linemen, including redshirt sophomore Chase Winovich — a former fullback and linebacker — redshirt freshman Shelton Johnson and early enrollee Carlo Kemp. They’ll be joined by five-star recruit Rashan Gary this summer.

Starting last week during the Wolverines’ Spring Break trip to Florida, the team split practices between older and younger players, with two hours for each group individually and two hours for both together. The two hours with just the younger players allowed the coaches more time to develop them without going over the NCAA-mandated time limit.

“There’s not a substitute for experience, but the way we split practices gives you a chance to work very close with a young guy,” Mattison said, “where if you’ve got a regular practice, you’re concentrating more on the older guys.”

In part because of three long-term injuries last season — to Mone, Glasgow and graduated defensive end Mario Ojemudia — the Wolverines cultivated plenty of depth on the defensive line, to which they may be able to add this season. Mattison expressed the importance of that effort because of the proliferation of up-tempo spread offenses, which are designed to tire out the defense.

With so many players back after having success last season, the Wolverines have been optimistic about their line going forward, but Mattison said he avoids anointing a unit so soon.

“The thing I would say to them is let’s just show it on the field, let’s not talk about it,” Mattison said. “Let’s let somebody else decide that. We’re going to go out there and play the best we can, and when it’s all done, when the season’s over and everything’s done, then let’s judge this defensive line. But let’s not talk about it a year before we play.”

NOTES: Winovich continues to work at defensive end, and Mattison said he’s coming along and that he would have played him in the Citrus Bowl victory against Florida if the defense had been on the field more in the fourth quarter. … Mattison also said Gary can play either defensive tackle or defensive end but will start out at end. “The thing that’s so exciting about Rashan is you can watch a highlight type, and you can watch entire games, and it’s the same thing,” Mattison said. “This young man really is consistent on trying to play the way you want him to play. He’s also very intelligent, very high-character.”

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