The Wolverine

November 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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60 THE WOLVERINE NOVEMBER 2018 BY BRANDON BROWN A s of Oct. 16, Michigan had 23 commitments in the 2019 class and five in the 2020 class. As ex- pected, most of them are putting up some big numbers and helping their teams to impressive records. The senior prospects seem to be leading the way in terms of produc- tion for their respective schools. Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Chris- tian four-star running back Zach Charbonnet Through six games, Charbonnet had run for 918 yards and 11 touch- downs on just 93 totes, and was averaging more than 150 yards per game and 9.8 yards per attempt. He also had 14 tackles, one interception (which he returned 31 yards), two passes defended and a forced fumble on defense. Charbonnet is a big reason why Oaks Christian is 8-0 and considered the No. 13 team in the country by USA Today. Oaks Christian is also rated No. 20 in the land by Rivals national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney is expected to give Charbonnet a deserved bump up the rankings. Charbonnet is the No. 13 running back and No. 236 overall prospect nationally, but those num- bers should be better by year's end. "Michigan fans will love the way Charbonnet runs the football," Gor- ney said. "He's gritty and relentless, and he takes no prisoners. At 6-2 and 219 pounds, the Wolverines commit has the physical makeup to back up his style of play. "He can run between the tackles and drag defenders, he keeps his feet moving and he falls forward for extra yards. When he gets to the edge, Charbonnet doesn't run out of bounds. He lowers his shoulder and looks for contact. I loved what I saw from him when I watched him play earlier this year." Memphis (Tenn.) Lausanne Colle- giate School three-star all-purpose back Eric Gray Gray has looked around at other schools, and may not end up in Michi- gan's class, but for now, he's a future Wolverine and is putting up huge numbers for Lausanne Collegiate. Gray has carried the ball 118 times for 1,328 yards (11.3 yards per carry) and 21 scores. He has also brought in three passes for 41 yards and a touch- down. Without any other Division I talent on the roster at Lausanne, Gray is by far the biggest piece of the of- fense and has his team at 7-0 this fall. Rivals Southeast recruiting analyst Woody Wommack has some con- cerns about Gray. "He's been very productive, but he plays a low level of competition," Wommack said. "He makes big plays and scores a lot of touchdowns, but he's always the best player on the field." At 5-10, 185 pounds, Gray is consid- ered the No. 14 player in Tennessee and the No. 6 all-purpose back in the country. He'll likely get a rankings bump as well, but it probably won't be as significant as Charbonnet's. Boca Raton (Fla.) American Heritage four-star weakside defensive end Mi- chael Morris Morris has been physically dom- inant this season, and it's paid off in the form of a lot of tackles. Through the first six games, the 6-6, 260-pounder has recorded 54 tack- les, 16 stops for loss and one sack. He also forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and blocked a punt, which he returned for a touchdown. He's modestly rated as the No. 24 weakside defensive end in the coun- try. Rivals Florida analyst Rob Cas- sidy has seen Morris play in person and recognized early that he could be a force as a senior. "Morris has incredible size and power," Cassidy said. "While not being particularly quick, the South Florida product moves fluidly for a prospect of his size. Because of these things, Morris has a high ceiling and could develop further over the course of the next few seasons." Morris and his American Heritage squad were sitting at 5-2 as of Oct. 16. Kentwood (Mich.) East Kentwood four-star defensive tackle Mazi Smith Smith has also been dominant up front for East Kentwood. The 6-3, 302-pounder has 46 tackles, 11 tack- les for loss, two sacks, a forced fum- ble, a fumble recovery and 15 quar- terback pressures. He's also carried the ball three times for three yards and a touchdown. Smith's East Kentwood squad is 6-1 and he's a big reason why. Rivals Midwest analyst Josh Helmholdt is not surprised by Smith's production and always viewed him as a poten- tial game changer from the interior of a defensive line. "Mazi Smith brings you everything you'd want physically in a three- technique defensive tackle, from size to quickness to strength," Helmholdt explained. "He really has it all. I've seen him take over games before and simply be unblockable. "When he wants to, he can abso- lutely dominate the middle of the line of scrimmage." Smith is already solidly ranked as the No. 10 defensive tackle and No. 162 overall prospect nationally, and a bump could still take place because of how good he's been and how Helmholdt views his upside. Columbus (Ohio) St. Francis DeSales three-star safety Joey Velazquez Velazquez is a Swiss Army knife   MICHIGAN RECRUITING U-M Commits Are Stuffing The Stat Sheet Zach Charbonnet racked up 918 yards and 11 touchdowns on just 93 rushing attempts (9.8 yards per carry) in his first six outings for Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian, which was 8-0 and ranked No. 13 nationally by USA Today as of Oct. 16. PHOTO BY NICK LUCERO/COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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