The Wolverine

November 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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NOVEMBER 2018 THE WOLVERINE 65   COMMITMENT PROFILE W hen West Bloomfield (Mich.) High class of 2020 three-star inside linebacker Cornell Wheeler picked up his Michigan offer in Feb- ruary, he immediately had an urge to be a Wolverine. After all, the 6-0, 229-pounder did grow up a Michi- gan fan and always knew that an offer from the Maize and Blue would be hard to beat. "Michigan has always been there for me. They've pretty much been there from the start," Wheeler said. "I talked a lot about it with my family to make this big decision, and we just realized that the education at Michi- gan is beautiful. "It's the best education in the world. It's definitely not just about football, but the coaching staff is amazing and they'll coach me to bet- ter in life as well. They wanted me to commit earlier, but I just decided to do it now." There's a reason the Michigan coaches wanted Wheeler to commit to them earlier in the process — he's Don Brown's kind of player. Wheeler, the No. 9 inside linebacker in the country according to Rivals, is built low to the ground and he has a lot of contact courage. Because of that, he's been told that he'll be a perfect fit in Brown's system. "They like that I like to hit people. I'm a big hitter," Wheeler said with a smile. "They think I'm fast and ex- plosive. They also think I'm a high character kid as well." All of those traits have allowed Wheeler to really hit it off with the Michigan staff. He's bonded ex- tremely well with Brown specifi- cally and knows he'll excel under Dr. Blitz's tutelage. "I love Don Brown," Wheeler said. "He can be hard, yelling — all of that, but that's what coaches do. I feel like I can play in his system. "We really have a nice relationship, and hopefully it'll get even better in the future." West Bloomfield head coach and Michigan alum Ronald Bellamy also sees Wheeler as a great fit at U-M and under Brown. "He's the best middle linebacker in the state of Michigan," Bellamy said. "That kid loves football. He's instinctive, he's violent and it's a perfect fit. He's Don Brown's kind of guy. Cornell solves his problems with aggression. "We run Michigan's defense. The terminology and techniques are the same, so it's going to be a great tran- sition for him." Bellamy also touched on charac- ter in terms of Wheeler 's future fit at U-M. It's not just about football, but luckily Wheeler checks the off- the-field boxes as well according to Bellamy. "I'm really proud of him," Bellamy said. "I'm proud of the young man he's become, and I'm proud of the football player he's become. "He was selected by the coaches and the players as a captain as a ju- nior, and that speaks volumes about his leadership and his ability to take care of the guys in front of him." Now that Wheeler is in the fold, he plans on recruiting other pros- pects to join him in Ann Arbor, and he doesn't have to look very far to find prospective future teammates. Sophomore athlete Donovan Ed- wards and junior four-star safety Ma- kari Paige, a couple of Wheeler's cur- rent teammates, are high on U-M's board, and the new Michigan pledge plans on putting the full court press on his buddies. "I'm definitely going to be on Ma- kari," Wheeler said. "He's like my best friend. Donovan is the young bull of the group so him, too. He wants to go out and travel the world, but he knows where home is. "I'm definitely going to be on both of them about this." Last year as a sophomore, Wheeler was given All Oakland Activities As- sociation honors after helping West Bloomfield make it to the Division I state championship where they lost to Clarkston by a score of 3-2. He and the rest of his Lakers are hoping to return to the title game in 2018. — Brandon Brown Wolverines Land In-State Junior Linebacker Cornell Wheeler Rivals rates Wheeler — a 6-0, 229-pounder from Bloomfield (Mich.) High — as the No. 7 player in Michigan and the No. 9 inside line- backer in the class of 2020. PHOTO BY BRANDON BROWN FILM EVALUATION Strengths: Cornell Wheeler possesses outstanding instincts and absolutely loves contact, traits highly coveted for an inside linebacker. He's also quite speedy and athletic for someone with his build, which allows him to make tack- les sideline to sideline and cover well for a stout, stocky backer. Areas Of Improvement: Even though he moves pretty well for his build and size, Wheeler could stand to shape his body a bit and improve his foot speed and quickness. He's very sharp mentally, and that allows him to play fast. Improving the physical side of his approach could make him even more effective. Michigan Player Comparison: Physically, Wheeler compares very favorably to former Wolverine linebacker James Ross III. They both have a stocky build and make a lot of plays because of their instincts and nose for the ball. Wheeler has a great feel for the game, but it is hard to reach Ross levels in that area. Overall, Wheeler may have a bit more physical upside, but the two are quite similar. — Analysis from

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