The Wolverine

April 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 45 of 67

46 THE WOLVERINE APRIL 2021 BY EJ HOLLAND M ichigan already has one of the most impressive secondary re- cruiting hauls in the country for the class of 2022. The Wolverines notched commit- ments from five-star Grosse Pointe (Mich.) South cornerback Will John- son, four-star Germantown (Tenn.) High safety Kody Jones and four-star Cross Plains (Tenn.) East Robertson safety Taylor Groves all in the month of February. Johnson, the No. 13 overall pros- pect in the country per, is a tall, long corner capable of shutting down one side of the field. Jones, the No. 17 safety nationally, was re- cruited as a versatile defensive back that will also see time at cornerback and nickel. Finally, Groves is all of 6-3 and brings a ton of upside. Keep in mind that Michigan strug- gled to land defensive backs last cy- cle. With former cornerbacks coach Michael Zordich known as a less- than-effective recruiter and former safeties coach Bob Shoop not even physically present on the sidelines last fall, the Wolverines signed just two secondary players during the 2021 recruiting cycle. While Ja'Den McBurrows and Rod Moore are solid additions, the two three-star prospects aren't expected to compete for early playing time. Michigan needs instant impact play- ers in the secondary. That's where new U-M co-defen- sive coordinator Maurice Linguist enters the picture. Linguist was able to reel in both Groves and Jones through his pre-ex- isting relationships with them. He also played a pivotal role in closing with Johnson, who was arguably the top overall target on Michigan's board. But Linguist and the Wolverines are far from done. Michigan is continuing to cast a wide net as it looks to add more talent to the back end this cycle. Linguist is looking to score yet again in the state of Tennessee. The top remaining target on his cornerback board is four-star Brentwood (Tenn.) Ravenwood cornerback Myles Pollard, a former teammate of 2021 Michigan linebacker signee Junior Colson. Shortly after announcing for Michigan, the aforementioned John- son teamed up with Linguist for a group Zoom call with Pollard. The two made their pitch on why Pollard should be next to join the group. "It was a good call," Pollard said. "We've been talking a lot recently, so this was just more about practice stuff and what they're doing. He had Will on the call and wanted us to be face-to-face with each other. It was a lot about getting a feel for him and Will together. Will talked to me about my top schools and why he felt like Michigan was the best fit for him. "I like [Linguist's] knowledge of the game and his coaching. He's produced some great NFL defensive backs. He's a great family guy. He's someone that I can vibe with." Pollard,'s No. 31 cor- nerback nationally, recently named Michigan in his final group along with Kentucky, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vir- ginia Tech and Washington. Pollard is looking to make a self-guided trip to Ann Arbor and would like to make a decision before the end of spring. Linguist has Michigan in great shape with Pollard and is doing his best to make a splash down in the Lone Star State with Beaumont (Texas) West Brook's Bryce Ander- son, who is the top overall target for the Wolverines on the safety board. Linguist actually recruited Anderson — who recently backed out of his ver- bal commitment to LSU — as a young prospect during his time at Texas A&M and was on the cusp of landing him. "I almost committed when Coach Mo was at Texas A&M," Anderson ad- mitted. "He's been recruiting me really hard at Michigan. I love Coach Mo. He talks to me every day. He shows a lot of love. He told me I'm the No. 1 out- of-state prospect on his board." Anderson, the No. 4 safety and No. 43 overall prospect in the coun- try, added that he loves Linguist's résumé, especially the fact that he spent last season in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys. "When he went to the league, he had [safety Donovan Wilson] from A&M go and play for him with the Cowboys," Anderson said. "He showed me how he developed him and turned him into a potential Pro FOOTBALL RECRUITING The Wolverines Are Building An Elite Defensive Back Class Brentwood (Tenn.) Ravenwood cornerback Myles Pollard is a former teammate of 2021 Michigan linebacker signee Junior Colson, and the four-star prospect is arguably the Wolverines' top remaining target at his position in 2022. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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