The Wolverine

September 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 31 of 51

32 THE WOLVERINE SEPTEMBER 2020 BY EJ HOLLAND M ichigan has one of the top 2021 offensive line classes in the coun- try. The Wolverines hold four com- mitments up front, including three from top-150 prospects nationally. If the rankings hold, this would be the first time U-M has reeled in a trio of top-150 offensive linemen since 2013. Prior to that year, it had never been done in the era, which dates all the way back to 2002. Needless to say, this offensive line haul is special. Position coach Ed Warinner has done a tremendous job of building relationships and scoring big wins on the trail this cycle. Warinner is also coming off an off- season that saw all four of his eligible offensive linemen get selected in this past April's NFL Draft. Warinner is not only a magnetic recruiter, he is also one of the best developers of tal- ent in college football. So it's no surprise offensive line- men are flocking to play for Warinner. The highest rated of the bunch is in-state Rivals100 offensive tackle Giovanni El-Hadi, who is ranked as the No. 51 overall recruit in the coun- try. The Sterling Heights (Mich.) Ste- venson product looks like a premier right tackle. He has an athletic build with great feet and technique. From talking to those close to the program, there are expectations for El-Hadi to be a multi-year starter and a poten- tial high NFL Draft pick. The 6-6, 285-pounder was the first commit in Michigan's 2021 class and has been a vocal leader for the Wolver- ines throughout the process. His pas- sion for the Maize and Blue and skill set could make him a special player for the Wolverines down the line. "El-Hadi is a guy you love on film, but when our guys got to see him in person at the Future 50 [camp], his stock went up even higher," Ri- vals Midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt said. "When you only watch film, it's like a judge trying to decide a case without all the evi- dence. When you get that full picture of everything that's going on, which seeing a guy in person provides you, you can get a more clear perspective on who they can be at the next level. "El-Hadi just checks so many boxes across the board — size-wise, athlet- icism-wise, strength-wise. I always think back … one of the best initial punches I've seen from an offensive lineman is [former Wolverine] David Dawson, and while I don't know that Giovanni is quite at that level, I'm always impressed when I turn on the film and see how powerful his initial punch is. But he complements that by being very light on his feet. He has that athleticism to handle a de- fensive lineman crossing his face on a stunt and be able to stick him there. "He has that ability to handle a speed rush off the edge and mirror that defensive end stride for stride. So he has the ability to block down and then kick out to the second level, and he's able to do so many things at that offensive tackle position that he's really an impressive prospect. I've got to imagine Ed Warinner is licking his chops to get him in that offensive line room." Then there is Greg Crippen, the No. 136-ranked overall prospect na- tionally. The former Notre Dame com- mit is listed as a guard, but was re- cruited to play center in Ann Arbor. While he needs to add weight and strength to his 6-4, 270-pound frame, it's hard to find a better center prospect. Crippen is a player that could rise even higher in the rankings if he con- tinues to impress at national power- house Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy as a senior. He was the commander of a talented offensive line there last year and is working under former NFL offensive lineman George Hegamin. "He's our second-year starting center," Hegamin noted. "He's a very dedicated kid. He goes about his business. He's as professional as anyone I've coached or been around from my days in the NFL and in col- lege and working with elite high school offensive linemen. "He's as good as they get. Work ethic and leadership are his biggest strengths. Honestly, he's going to fig- ure out whatever you put in front of him. His largest strength is always going to be his ability to figure things out and lead the group. You can't ask more than that from a center.   FOOTBALL RECRUITING U-M's Crop Of Offensive Line Commits Is Already One Of The Best Ever In Rivals Era Giovanni El-Hadi was not only the Wolverines' first commit in the 2021 class overall, he is the highest-ranked offensive line commit, checking in as the No. 51 overall prospect in the land according to PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - September 2020