Four-Star Defensive End Joe Strickland To Take Solo Visit To Michigan

Eric Rutter

After racking up double digit sacks last fall, 2022 Indianapolis (Ind.) Brebeuf Jesuit four-star defensive end Joe Strickland is having what can easily be described as a huge offseason. Over the past several months, Strickland has accrued scholarship offers from the likes of Michigan, Minnesota, Penn State and Michigan State to complement a host of ACC interest as well.

But on top of his new options, Strickland has worked to refine his game and take his talents to the next level. Standing at 6-4 and 245 pounds, the Michigan target has a special blend of power, explosivity and football I.Q. At the point of attack, and he's further harnessing these qualities under the watchful eye of 14-year NFL veteran and five-time Pro Bowler Robert Mathis.

In addition to that high level coaching, Strickland is taking in advice from college coaches, such as U-M defensive line coach Shaun Nua. Last season, Strickland compiled five sacks in one game, and Coach Nua provided his feedback on the effort.

“He liked the first step and the reactiveness,” Strickland told Wolverine Digest. “One of the flaws he saw was, it was a flaw that was on a play I got a sack on. I did the most I could since I'm playing both ways. My first step was, like Nua says, out of a track stance. I'm really explosive, and I get to my points. If the O-Lineman somehow beats me to my point inside, I'll just make a move inside or fake back outside. There is a lot of things I have in my book that I have learned over the years.”

With a stout frame and long arms already, Strickland is listed as a strong-side defensive end by, and that is mostly where Coach Nua would use the talented prospect at the next level.

“I'm pretty sure he would have me as a strong-side defensive end,” Strickland said. “Sometimes move inside to go outside. I am almost positive it's strong-side for right now unless I lose 20 pounds.”

Other coaches have tossed around the idea of using Strickland as a hybrid player in college, but the four-star standout reaffirms that he could play any position along the defensive line, even moving to defensive tackle if need be.

But before reaching that point, Strickland still needs to figure out where he would like to play his college football at. Since there is a recruiting dead period in place from now until at least September 1, Strickland admitted that it is a bit difficult to learn about prospective schools at the moment. So, Strickland is looking to take his recruitment into his own hands.

“Some guys are just going to the campuses themselves without going on the visits, just looking at the place,” Strickland said. “I might be doing that some time this summer at Michigan actually and just seeing the campus, just me and my mom. I think because we can't really get contact from them, it's just the same for right now. I think it will be fine. As the year goes on, I think it will speed up a little bit after September 1.”

With loose plans to take an impromptu visit to Ann Arbor later this summer to check out Michigan's campus. Strickland already has a pretty solid idea of what to expect compared to a normal campus visit. Last fall, Strickland took trips to schools such as Iowa, Minnesota and Notre Dame among others, so he is familiar with the usual process, but a summer visit to Michigan would have to be done without meeting the coaches in person.

“Anytime this summer, I will probably just look at the places, like places to go out to eat and campus, how the dorms look, how the facilities look from the outside,” Strickland said. “Outside of quarantine when you can go in and see and talk to coaches, just the family vibe [is important], how they take academics, just the small things like that. How the weight coach and position coach and head coach is. What is their philosophy on things? I've picked that up from most of the schools that have offered me, so I'm pretty well informed on that stuff, but position coach, defensive coordinator, just meeting them and getting a feel for how they take on their players.”

Going forward, Strickland said he would “definitely” like to visit Michigan and also expressed an interest in taking trips to Wisconsin, Northwestern, Minnesota, Penn State and Michigan State, so he is heavily interested in a throng of Big Ten programs. In fact, Wisconsin was supposed to play host to the four-star prospect right around the time the coronavirus struck, so Strickland would like to make that trip up.

How much of a focus is defensive line depth for you in terms of the 2022 class? Should the Wolverines focus more on defensive tackles or edge lineman in the '22 cycle? Let us know!