The Wolverine

October 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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OCTOBER 2020 THE WOLVERINE 39   COMMITMENT PROFILE A fter going more than a month without landing a 2021 com- mitment, Michigan scored a verbal pledge from Austin (Texas) Del Valle running back Tavierre Dunlap. The three-star prospect picked Michigan over fellow finalist Okla- homa State. He also held offers from Arizona State, Cal, Nebraska, Notre Dame, UCLA, USC, Washington and several other major programs. "The biggest reason for me was how prestigious the school was academically and that they played great football," Dunlap said. "I built a bond with all the coaches, and I knew it was a decision I would feel good about. This was definitely the toughest [decision] I ever made. Ev- ery school that I've talked to did a great job recruiting me, and I appre- ciate every single one of them. "[Michigan] separated when I re- alized every time I would sit and think about schools, Michigan would always pop in my head. I was just constantly thinking about playing there." Michigan offered Dunlap in the spring after running backs coach Jay Harbaugh stopped by to see him workout. While Rivals100 West Bloomfield (Mich.) High running back Donovan Edwards remained at the top of the board, Michigan con- tinued to recruit Dunlap hard. Harbaugh and the Wolverines especially made a strong push this summer and were able to win him over. "Coach [Jay] Harbaugh was the main one that was recruiting me," Dunlap noted. "Every day, he was sending me facts about the school and how I would benefit. He was honest with me from the start." Del Valle head coach Charles Bur- ton also had high praise for the way Harbaugh recruited Dunlap through- out the process. "Jay Harbaugh has done a great job recruiting Tavi," he said. "He did his homework and research. He would call, and we would talk about his tape. He came and watched him do track practices. I like the way they recruited him. They didn't big dog it and say, 'We're Michigan.' He's kept in contact with him and his family. "I've coached three kids that have played in Michigan, and one lives in Austin right now [2007-11 corner- back Troy Woolfolk], so he's been around the facility. Jim Harbaugh has a good track record. He gets flack for [losing to] Ohio State, but they've been winning ball games. He's been in the pros." Dunlap committed to the Wolver- ines without ever visiting campus, joining a number of recruits that have done the same amid the ongoing dead period and global pandemic. However, distance didn't really play a factor for Dunlap. He took a couple of virtual tours of Michigan and is originally from the Chicago area, which is where most of his fam- ily still lives. "I like the campus, and it looked like a place I could call home," Dun- lap said. "It kind of does mean a lot [being from Chicago]. It's going to be really cool to know my family mem- bers are at the game cheering me on." Dunlap,'s No. 27 run- ning back in the country, rushed for 1,341 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior. And Burton believes he is just starting to hit some of his potential. "I think the dude has an extremely high ceiling, and he's not near it," Burton said. "He's a big kid at 6-foot- 1, 208 pounds, but he has small-back skills as well. I think he's just scratch- ing the surface of what he's capable of. We're expecting him to have a big season, and I'm excited to see what he does at the next level. "I think his college coaches are go- ing to be getting a gem and are going to be super excited about what he brings to the table." — EJ Holland Dunlap, who is originally from Chicago and still has a lot of family in the area, rushed for 1,341 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM Texas Back Tavierre Dunlap Happy To Get Back To Midwest Roots With U-M Pledge FILM EVALUATION Strengths: Tavierre Dunlap likes to get north and south and hits holes quickly. At 6-0, 195 pounds, Dunlap is a bigger back that uses his power to punish defenders. He could easily play at 215-220 when he arrives at Michigan. While not necessarily fast, he is quick in between the tackles and has above average long speed. Once he hits that second gear, he is capable of breaking a long run for a touchdown. He averaged a little more than eight yards per carry last season and constantly keeps the chains moving. Areas Of Improvement: There are some question marks about Dunlap's lateral speed and quickness. While he has good vision, he could be limited to being a one cut type of back. He is powerful but not necessarily explosive. He doesn't have the juice that more elite level backs have. However, he is consistent. He is still raw in a lot of aspects of his game and will need to be coached up well in Ann Arbor. Michigan Player Comparison: Dunlap could very well exceed his ranking and be used similarly to Hassan Haskins. Like Dunlap, Haskins was widely viewed as a three-star prospect and was one of the more undervalued recruits in the 2018 class. Dunlap is as powerful as Haskins and has a similar build. He could very much be a battering ram for the Wolverines with the potential to add some different elements to his game. — EJ Holland Dunlap "Every time I would sit and think about schools, Michigan would always pop in my head. I was just constantly thinking about playing there."

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