Michigan Football Preview 2019

Digital Edition

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 173 of 179

172 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2019 FOOTBALL PREVIEW FOOTBALL RECRUITING BY BRANDON BROWN M ichigan had 10 commitments in the class of 2020 — five on each side of the ball — as of mid-June. The Wolverines are off to a strong start along the offensive line with four-star of- fensive tackle Zak Zinter and three-star of- fensive tackle Micah Mazzccua in the fold. Offensive line coach Ed Warinner is hitting the recruiting trail hard to add a long, lean tackle. The staff also did a good job in landing four-star strongside defensive end Braiden McGregor — one of U-M's top overall tar- gets in 2020 — and securing pledges from three linebackers. However, four-star pro-style quarterback JD Johnson and three-star tight end Nick Patterson were the only skill position play- ers pledged as of mid-June, despite a need for both running backs and wide receivers in the 2020 cycle. Going forward, Michigan will try to add more firepower to the offensive side of the ball, while focusing heavily on landing key targets at just about every position group. The following is a position-by-position breakdown for how Michigan is expected to proceed for the remainder of the recruiting cycle. All information is through mid-June, and the rankings come from Rivals. Quarterback Committed: 1 (Phoenix Pinnacle four- star JD Johnson) Projected Take: 1 Synopsis: Michigan appears all set at quarterback in the 2020 class with Johnson in the fold. There are no other offered quar- terbacks receiving any attention, and no new offers have gone out at the position since January. Johnson is listed as the No. 7 player in Arizona, and the No. 8 pro-style passer and No. 156 overall prospect in the country. Running Back Committed: 0 Projected Take: 2 Synopsis: Largo (Fla.) Pinellas Park three-star Lawrance Toafili has emerged as one of Michigan's top targets at the running back position. The 6-0, 174-pounder snuck in an unofficial visit the weekend of June 8 and worked out for the coaches. The No. 23 running back in the country is a Florida kid, but he seems quite high on the Wolverines. Baltimore St. Frances four-star Blake Co- rum is a natural for the watch list because of the school he goes to. U-M already has three commits from the Baltimore powerhouse and could very well add another in the 5-9, 180-pounder. Corum, the No. 11 running back and No. 135 overall prospect nationally, would be another great get from St. Frances. Finally, there's Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep four-star Jalen Berger. The No. 8 run- ning back and No. 39 overall prospect na- tionally checks in at 6-0, 195 pounds and is a rocket on a straight line. He lacks the change of direction that Corum has, but would pro- vide a very nice compliment if U-M reeled them both in. Berger has been saying that Michigan and Ohio State are his top two schools, but nei- ther program seems to be all in on him. Wide Receiver Committed: 0 Projected Take: 2-3 Synopsis: Michigan would like to land three wide receivers and has targeted a trio that all possess one common trait that fits new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis well — speed. Honolulu St. Louis three-star Roman Wil- son can absolutely fly, as evidenced by his 4.37 in the 40 at Nike's The Opening earlier this year. At 6-0, 170 pounds, he's a great Z receiver who can play off the line and use his speed. Michigan is going to have a good chance with him because both of his parents are from the Great Lakes State. The three- star recruit, ranked as the nation's No. 76 wideout, has already visited Ann Arbor and is giving U-M a very serious look. Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton four-star Bren- den Rice has an impressive gridiron pedigree. He is the biological son of Hall of Fame wide- out Jerry Rice. The two don't have a close relationship, but the genetics are obviously there. At 6-3, 208 pounds, Rice would fill the X receiver role. He's the No. 48 wide receiver in the country and can also really run for a big receiver. He has a top 11 with U-M in it. Last but not least, there's Frankfort (Ill.) Lincoln Way East four-star AJ Henning. He is listed as the No. 3 all-purpose back and No. 84 overall prospect nationally, but U-M loves him in the slot. The 5-10, 183-pounder has a top 10 and Michigan is in there. Notre Dame and Ohio State, along with U-M, seem to have the best chance to land him. Tight End Committed: 2 (San Antonio Christian three-star Nick Patterson and Burke [Va.] Lake Braddock three-star Matt Hibner) Projected Take: 2 Synopsis: Michigan is in a good spot with two tight ends committed, but Patterson — the nation's No. 17 prospect at his position — is starting to look around. That leaves Windsor (Ontario) Holy Names four-star Theo Johnson and Cincinnati Elder three- star Joe Royer on the board. Johnson is by far the top target, and at 6-5, 235 pounds, he's the No. 6 tight end and No. 199 overall prospect nationally. He has a top seven with Michigan battling mainly Georgia and Penn State for his services. Royer was supposed to visit Michigan the weekend of June 8, but he didn't make it. The 6-5, 220-pound three star also picked up an offer from Ohio State since being tendered by Michigan, so it may only be a matter of time before he's a Buckeye. Michigan did make his top six along with the Buckeyes, Wisconsin, Rivals rates Phoenix Pinnacle standout and U‑M pledge JD Johnson as a four‑star tal‑ ent, and the No. 8 pro‑style quarterback and No. 156 overall prospect nationally. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM The Next Class A Position-By-Position Look At Michigan's Recruiting Efforts In 2020

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