The Wolverine

October 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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OCTOBER 2020 THE WOLVERINE 37 BY EJ HOLLAND M ichigan football is back. Every- one around the program cele- brated the monumental day that was Sept. 16, including the future of the program. U-M's commits were overjoyed with the Big Ten's decision to rein- state fall football. "You love to see it," said Raheem Anderson, the No. 2 center in the country per "I can't wait to watch Michigan whoop on every- body in the Big Ten." Added 2022 Rivals250 defensive line commit Alex VanSumeren, brother of Michigan junior Ben Van- Sumeren: "I know how much work the players and coaches put in, so I'm happy they can have a season. It was hard watching other conferences play, knowing guys like Ben wanted to be out there bad." While most of Michigan's com- mits took the Big Ten's original de- cision in stride, four-star offensive lineman Tristan Bounds was visibly upset when he found out the school he gave a verbal pledge to wouldn't be suiting up this season. Bounds shared similar sentiments and offered up some critique about the way the conference handled the situation. "I think it's the right decision in supporting the players because they want to play," Bound said. "It's up- setting they didn't get it right in the beginning, but I'm glad they are go- ing to have a season." Michigan head coach Jim Har- baugh and director of recruit- ing Matty Dudek were in constant contact with parents and recruits throughout the process and provided updates on COVID-19 testing num- bers as well as ongoing practices. Three-star linebacker commit Tyler McLaurin was especially impressed with the way Michigan attacked the situation head on and believes the Big Ten will safely return to play. "The Big Ten allowing them to play this year is spectacular on their part," he said. "Creating a medical protocol to ensure the safety of every player and coach is a magnificent job. I have the utmost amount of trust in the guys and coaching staff at Michigan to come up on top of the conference. "Hopefully, the NCAA allows us recruits to come visit a game day because I hear nothing beats seeing Michigan in person." And that's the next step for com- mits in the class. Some have never been to Michigan and want to get a closer look at their future home. Oth- ers want to confirm that their choice is the right one. While football is back, the dead pe- riod was recently extended through Jan. 1, which means recruits cannot make official visits. "The boys and I were hoping to get out there for a game," said Quin- tin Somerville, the No. 7 weakside defensive end nationally according to "Hopefully, some- thing can happen for us to all get out there." Added three-star linebacker pledge Jaydon Hood, who is eagerly await- ing his first trip to Ann Arbor: "This is what I've been waiting for," he said. "I can't wait to get up there to watch it. Go Blue!" J.J. MCCARTHY RECEIVES ALL-AMERICAN BOWL JERSEY Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy quarterback J.J. McCarthy became the first Michigan pledge to receive his All-American Bowl jersey via a virtual presentation on Sept. 16. McCarthy, the No. 5 pro-style quar- terback and No. 30 overall prospect nationally per, will take part in the game Jan. 9 in San Antonio. The contest showcases some of the top high school football players on a yearly basis and is broadcast live on NBC. "It means a lot because it was something I always dreamed of when I was little," McCarthy said. "It was one of those things that every young football player grows up see- ing on TV. It's gone on for decades, so it's a really cool accomplishment. It doesn't make me settled, but it's an awesome accomplishment." McCarthy will have the opportunity to compete against and with other top recruits nationally, including future teammates like Rivals100 wide re- ceiver Xavier Worthy, Rivals100 line- backer Junior Colson, Rivals250 defen- sive lineman Quintin Somerville and elite kicker/punter Tommy Doman. "It's going to be so much fun play- ing with all that talent, especially some of my future teammates," Mc- Carthy said. "All that talent in one place, it's going to be great. The spot- light was on us at a young age, and those are the people I can relate to the best. We all come together in such a unique way. Getting to know the guys and build relationships that will last a lifetime is the awesome part." McCarthy, who committed to Michigan last year, is already get- ting a taste of being on a national stage. He transferred from La Grange Park (Ill.) Nazareth Academy to na- tional powerhouse IMG Academy this offseason. McCarthy passed for 333 yards and five touchdowns in IMG's 49-13 season-opening victory over Venice (Fla.) High. "It's a shame I had to leave," Mc- Carthy said. "It's a shame it went down like that [after Illinois canceled high school football this fall]. As you know, my teammates and I and Coach [Tim] Racki were ready for the season. "But we have to control what we can control. Coming to IMG was ev- erything I was hoping for and more. It's definitely been an exponential learning experience in so many MICHIGAN RECRUITING Commits React To Big Ten Football's Return T h r e e - s t a r l i n e b a c ke r c o m m i t Ty l e r McLaurin was ecstatic to hear the Big Ten allowed football to be played this fall, and was among the pledges that hoped for a chance to visit for a U-M game. However, the NCAA recently extended the dead period through Jan. 1, which means recruits can't make official visits. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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