The Wolverine

January 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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48 THE WOLVERINE JANUARY 2020 BY EJ HOLLAND I t was a busy fall at The Wolverine. By the time you read this, I will have covered more than 40 high school football games across the country. From August to December, I spent almost every weekend seeing U-M commits and targets in person. From Los Angeles to Denver to Boston and everywhere in between, I did everything possible to bring you the best Michigan recruiting cover- age from the road in this magazine and on I had the opportunity to see several commits in live game action. Unfor- tunately, it was impossible to see all 26, but I did get an in-depth look at 16 future Wolverines. Below, you will find my rankings of U-M's commits based on in-game performances I witnessed first-hand this fall: 16. OT Micah Mazzccua, Baltimore St. Frances Mazzccua had a rough go of it against a loaded Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei de- fensive line. The 6-5, 330-pounder is a big-bodied offensive lineman, but he is very raw from a technique point. He also needs to shed some bad weight and will likely need a couple of years to develop. The three-star prospect and the nation's No. 46 offensive tackle, however, does have a high ceiling as an interior lineman. 15. ILB Nikhai Hill-Green, Baltimore St. Frances Hill-Green rotated in and out of the game while St. Frances had a ton of issues stopping Alabama quar ter- back commit Br yce Young and an explosive Mater Dei offense. The 6-2, 225-pounder has a nice athletic profile, but he underwhelmed from an overall perspective. A three-star recruit and the nation's No. 23 inside linebacker, he needs hip work and must improve his sideline-to-sideline speed. He best projects as a true inside linebacker at the next level, but will need to fill out. Hill-Green is another upside prospect. 14. CB Andre Seldon, Belleville (Mich.) High The biggest question mark with Sel- don is his size. At 5-9 and 154 pounds, the four-star prospect is extremely small, and I don't think he has that Tyrann Mathieu edge to his game. Be- ing that short and light brings up valid concerns about him being a true cor- ner. Rivals' No. 20 cornerback and No. 232 overall recruit in the nation played mostly safety, but did have an inter- ception when I saw him against West Bloomfield. The talent is there for him to become a full-time nickel. 13. DE Kris Jenkins, Olney (Md.) Good Counsel With Jenkins, it's much more about projection than what he is right now. The three -star prospec t did flash against powerhouse Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco, but wasn't a dominant figure like his teammate and Ohio State commit Mitchell Melton. Still, I really like the 6-3, 235-pound frame on the nation's No. 18 strongside defensive end. This is a guy that will likely add 40- 50 pounds in Michigan's strength and conditioning program and slide inside to defensive tackle. 12. OT Reece Atteberry, Centennial (Colo.) Eaglecrest Atteberry is listed as an offensive tackle, but I love his ability as a guard. He is a nasty road-grader that loves to get physical in the trenches. Once he latches onto a defender, the battle is pretty much over. The nation's No. 55 offensive tackle, however, does need to keep working on his hands and actually getting on defenders. He lacks the ideal length for a tackle, but his skill set is perfect for an interior lineman. 11. QB JD Johnson, Phoenix Pinnacle Johnson was forced to medically retire towards the end of his senior season. Michigan elected to honor his scholar- ship, so I decided to keep him on this list. The 6-4, 187-pounder was up and down against Pacific Northwest power- house Sammish (Wash.) Eastside Catho- lic. He made some elite-level throws, but also left you scratching your head at times. It would have been fun to see what the one-time Rivals250 prospect (he was removed after retiring) would have turned into under Jim Harbaugh. 10. OT Giovanni El-Hadi, Sterling Heights (Mich.) Stevenson (2021) One of two Michigan commits in the 2021 class, El-Hadi is one of the more well-put together offensive linemen I've ever evaluated. He has an impressive upper half with almost no bad body weight. He has a ton of brute strength and plays with great technique. As the nation's No. 154 overall prospect in the 2021 class gets older, I want to see him latch onto defenders and finish off blocks. He hardly did that when I saw him against Detroit Cass Tech. 9. LB Osman Savage, Baltimore St. Frances On a night where St. Frances strug- gled defensively, it was Savage that made play after play. He might be a little smaller than his listed 6-2 and 220 pounds, but he flies around to the foot- ball and has the potential to play mul- tiple linebacker spots. The nation's No. 13 outside linebacker and No. 166 over- all recruit in 2020 showed off his ath- leticism by rushing for a pair of touch- downs while playing running back. There is a lot to like about his ability. 8. LB Cornell Wheeler, West Bloomfield (Mich.) High I actually had a chance to see Wheeler live twice — versus Oak Park (Mich.) High early in the season and against Belleville (Mich.) High in the playoffs. In both games, the 6-0, 229-pounder was a tackling machine. The four-star prospect, listed as Rivals' No. 245 over-   FOOTBALL RECRUITING Ranking Michigan Commits' In-Person Performances From 2019 Frankfort (Ill.) Lincoln Way East standout and future Wolverine AJ Henning is ranked by as the No. 14 wideout and No. 86 overall senior in the country. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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