The Wolverine

May 2021 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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54 THE WOLVERINE MAY 2021   MICHIGAN RECRUITING gan football and [assistant coach] Maurice Linguist for the opportunity," Groves posted on social media. "With that being said, I will be 100 percent opening my recruitment back up." Groves' decision to back out of his pledge comes just a little more than a month after initially picking the Wolverines. The 6-3, 185-pound Groves — Ri-'s No. 14 player in Tennessee and No. 46 wide receiver nationally — committed to Michigan in early February over offers from Arkansas, Baylor, LSU, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Penn State, Tennessee and a number of other major programs. Groves is listed as a wide receiver by Rivals. com, but the Wolverines recruited him strictly as a safety. With Groves out of the picture, Michigan has two commits in the sec- ondary in five-star cornerback Will Johnson and four-star safety Kody Jones. Both are solid and will make official visits to U-M in June. Groves is the fourth 2022 recruit to decommit from Michigan, following Rivals100 defensive back Myles Row- ser, Rivals250 linebacker Tyler Martin and Rivals250 defensive tackle Alex VanSumeren. Michigan is down to six total ver- bal commits in its 2022 recruiting class — the aforementioned John- son and Jones, three-star offensive lineman Connor Jones, three-star de- fensive lineman Davonte Miles and three-star tight end Marlin Klein. Despite Groves' decommitment, Michigan still has a top-20 class for next cycle with eight months to go before the early signing period. As of April 12, it checked in at No. 20 in's national team rankings. ❏ At The Wolverine, we pride ourselves on hitting the recruit- ing trail and seeing prospects Michigan is recruiting live at games and various events. Over the month of March, I traveled across the country and got a live look at several commits and targets. Here are the five best I saw: 5. ATH Dillon Tatum, West Bloomfield (Mich.) High The ultimate Swiss Army knife, Tatum, the No. 18 athlete nationally per, can do everything in the second- ary. Whether it's manning up on the outside, matching up with speedy wideouts in the slot or playing deep safety, Tatum is a playmaker on the back end. While he has more of a compact build at 5-11, 185 pounds and isn't a long, rangy prospect, Tatum has terrific natural in- stincts and is always around the football. He forced a handful of turnovers and came away with several passes broken up during his time at both the Pylon 7v7 Detroit and Indianapo- lis tournaments. The in-state prospect is a key target for Michigan this cycle. 4. CB Myles Pollard, Brentwood (Tenn.) Ravenwood Michigan is doing its best to pair Pollard with five-star cornerback commit Will Johnson, and it's not hard to see why. He has the traits that Michigan values in true outside corners. The four-star prospect is a legitimate 6-2 with plenty of room to add weight. He has an outstanding wing- span and knows how to use his length to his advantage when playing press man. Pollard,'s No. 31 cornerback nationally, frustrated opposing wide re- ceivers at the line of scrimmage at the Pylon 7v7 tournament in Atlanta with his length and physicality. He saw almost no action come his way during the event. 3. TE Jaleel Skinner, Greer (S.C.) High There might not be a bigger physical freak on this list than Skinner. The Rivals250 prospect looks like a towering basketball player and is a mismatch nightmare at the tight end position. Once he adds weight, his ceiling is through the roof. He's the type of athlete that is taking over the position and can be used as a flex end or even out wide. At 6-5, 215 pounds, he is a monster in the red zone, win- ning basically every jump ball. He also has the speed to get vertical and make plays downfield.'s No. 155 overall prospect nationally was one of the most dominant players at the Pylon 7v7 tournament in Atlanta. He's a top target for Michigan at tight end. 2. LB DeMario Tolan, Kissimmee (Fla.) Tohopekaliga With new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald and linebackers coach George Helow now in place, Michigan is casting a wide net at the linebacker position. One of the most physically impressive prospects on the board is Tolan. The Rivals250 prospect is extremely well put together and moves so well in space at 6-3, 205 pounds. He was a force in the middle at the Pylon 7v7 tournament in Atlanta, disrupting passing lanes and making plays on the ball. Tolan, the No. 154 ranked overall prospect nationally per Ri-, would have the potential to play any of the linebacker spots in Michigan's scheme thanks to his size and athleticism. 1. CB Will Johnson, Grosse Pointe (Mich.) South I witnessed so many amazing perform- ers across the country during the month of March, but none were better than the five-star Michigan cornerback commit. The cornerstone of U-M's 2022 recruiting class, Johnson completely locked down his side of the field at both the Pylon De- troit and Indianapolis tournaments. Johnson showed off his physicality, length and patience — all elite traits that make him special — at both events.'s No. 13 overall prospect na- tionally even saw some time at wide re- ceiver in Indianapolis and proved to be his team's most dangerous weapon. He is everything you want in a five-star recruit. — EJ Holland The Five Best Recruits The Wolverine Saw On The Road In March Five - star cornerback Will Johnson, Rivals' No. 13 overall player nationally, is the cornerstone of U-M's 2022 defensive class. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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