The Wolverine

March 2020 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MARCH 2020 THE WOLVERINE 23 2020 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE MOST POTENTIAL OL Jeffrey Persi, San Juan Cap- istrano (Calif.) JSerra — At 6-7, 275 pounds, the towering tackle has so much upside. Persi has the height and athleticism, and will certainly add weight once he gets in Michi- gan's strength and conditioning pro- gram. Once the big man puts it all together, he has an opportunity to be a premier left tackle for the Wol- verines. Persi is ranked as a four-star prospect, but he has the talent and projection to be a national top-250 prospect, though none of the three major services listed him there. FASTEST MAN WR Roman Wilson, Honolulu St. Louis — Nicknamed the "Fast- est Man in Hawai'i," Wilson brings unmatched speed on the outside for Michigan. The three-star prospect can absolutely fly down the field. Need proof? Wilson ran a verified 4.37-second 40-yard dash at The Opening Regional in Los Angeles in the offseason. That's blazing fast. Wilson will stretch the field for the Wolverines and be a true vertical threat. STRONGEST MAN OL Zak Zinter, Cambridge (Mass.) Buckingham Browne & Nichols — At 6-6, 300 pounds, Zinter legiti- mately looks like a World's Strongest Man competitor. The dude is huge and plays with a mean streak. When I saw him this fall, he served up pan- cake after pancake and made sure to finish his blocks with authority. A true road grader, Zinter is listed as a tackle but will likely transition to guard, where he can truly use his brute strength to his advantage. BIGGEST HITTER LB Cornell Wheeler, West Bloom- field (Mich.) High — Former Michi- gan player and current West Bloom- field head coach Ron Bellamy told me earlier this season: "When Cor- nell hits you, you feel it." And that's completely true. A natural inside backer, Wheeler fills gaps in a hurry and loves to lay the wood. You can really hear the pads pop when he makes contact. The Rivals250 pros- pect was the Detroit-metro Defen- sive Player of the Year and will be a thumper for the Wolverines. FUTURE TEAM CAPTAIN DE Braiden McGregor, Port Hu- ron (Mich.) Northern — McGregor pledged to Michigan over Notre Dame in May and never wavered from his commitment. The consensus four-star prospect became a leader for the Wolverines on the recruiting trail and is still working to help bring more talent to Ann Arbor. McGregor commands respect and is a guy oth- ers want to play with. An early en- rollee, McGregor will be a big part of Michigan's program for years to come. BEST RECRUITER D e f e n s i v e c o o r d i n a t o r D o n Brown — The veteran coach de- serves a ton of credit for this class. He helped put together a truly special linebacker group, headlined by three Rivals250 prospects in Mullings, Wheeler and Osman Savage. On top of that, Brown used his strong New England ties to help the Wolverines land an offensive lineman ranked among the nation's top 150 in Zinter as well as a dynamic playmaker in Eamonn Dennis. Brown was a force on the trail this cycle. ANALYST ROUNDTABLE TOP RECRUITING EXPERTS SHARE THEIR OPINIONS ON MICHIGAN'S CLASS The Wolverine spoke with three of the top recruiting experts in the industry — Tom Lemming, Adam Friedman and Josh Helmholdt — once Michi- gan's 2020 signing class was wrapped up, with the trio providing their takes on several intriguing topics regarding the Maize and Blue's haul. Lemming is the co-host of CBS Sports' television show "The Lem- ming Report," the editor of Prep Foot- ball Magazine and has been scouting high school prospects since 1978. Helmholdt serves as the Midwest recruiting analyst for and has been covering recruiting for 17 years, while Friedman currently acts as the Mid-Atlantic analyst for the same outlet, an area of the country the Wolverines targeted heavily in their 2020 class. Who is the best overall player in the class? Friedman: "I think [Baltimore St. Frances four-star running back] Blake Corum, [Milton (Mass.) Acad- emy four-star linebacker] Kalel Mull- ings and [Frankfort (Ill.) Lincoln Way East four-star receiver] A.J. Henning will be able to contribute early. [Cam- bridge (Mass.) Buckingham Browne & Nichols four-star offensive tackle] Zak Zinter could end up being a guy who contributes more than some of the other players in the class, just because of how big and strong he is. "He can have an impact on almost every play as an offensive lineman, with his ability to keep guys out of the backfield. Michigan will be able to rely on a lot of players in this class, and it'll be important for them to get the explosive playmakers the ball in space and make their offense a little more potent." Helmholdt: "From the guys I've seen, I'd have a hard time picking anybody over [Torrance (Calif.) Nar- bonne four-star cornerback] Darion Green-Warren. I watched him at the All-American Bowl earlier this year, and he's an outstanding, elite-level cornerback. A.J. Henning also has a chance to be a real difference-maker, though it was disappointing he didn't show more at the All-American Bowl, where guys with his skill set usually excel. "We've seen A.J. before and know the kind of skill set he has, so he prob- ably needs to just refine his playmaker key a little bit if he's going to have that top-end impact at Michigan." Lemming: "Either [Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic four-star safety] Jor- dan Morant or A.J. Henning, though there's not necessarily one guy who stands out amongst the others. "I was at Baltimore St. Frances [this winter], and Blake Corum is another guy who tore it up last year. I thought he improved more than any other run- ning back in the country and proved to be a big-time kid. I think he'll be a star at Michigan. "You could also throw [Port Hu- ron (Mich.) Northern four-star defen- sive end] Braiden McGregor into that conversation, along with Zak Zinter. Zinter has great potential once he gets stronger and bigger weight-wise, be- cause he looks thin at 300 pounds." Which prospect do you think is a bit underrated and perhaps flying un- der the radar? Friedman: "I like what [William- stown (N.J.) High three-star defensive

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