The Wolverine

September 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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SEPTEMBER 2021 THE WOLVERINE 51 BY EJ HOLLAND M arlin Klein arrived in the United States as a tall, lanky wide re- ceiver with upside. In just two and a half years, the Ger- many native has transformed himself into one of the nation's premier tight ends. Klein is ready to finish his amaz- ing journey with a strong senior season at Rabun Gap (Ga.) Nacoochee before starting another one at Michigan. "I'm trying to play a great last sea- son, especially for the school," Klein said. "I'm so thankful that they gave me an opportunity to come over here. Like Coach always tells me, be a great high school player. "I'm trying to end this chapter before I move on to Michigan. I can't wait un- til the season officially starts." The 6-6, 220-pounder — who is rated as the No. 50 prospect in Georgia and No. 25 tight end nationally by Rivals. com — committed to Michigan over Arizona State, Florida State, Geor- gia, Michigan State, Nebraska, TCU, Vanderbilt, West Virginia and others last September. Almost a full year later, Klein re- mains locked in with the Wolverines. "I'm still fully solid," he said. "I haven't thought about going anywhere else. Even though there was a change from Coach [Sherrone] Moore to Coach [Jay] Harbaugh, nothing has changed in my opinion. Both are great coaches. "Coach Harbaugh has a great history, especially coming from the Harbaugh family. I fully trust him." Klein was originally recruited by Moore, who is now working with the offensive line. However, he has been connecting well with new tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh. "It's been more about him teaching me drills and things like that," Klein said. "It's not really recruiting any- more. I'm about to be part of the fam- ily. I'm learning a lot from him. He's starting to be my coach. I have a good relationship with him." Klein took two self-guided tours of Michigan in the offseason before go- ing back home to Europe. Because he was in Germany, he did not get to take advantage of the end of the yearlong dead period this summer. With the open period coming up again soon, Klein is excited to get his first true in-depth look at the Michigan program. "I've been up there, but it was during COVID, so the coaches couldn't show me around," he said. "I saw the cam- pus and all that, but I want to be able to go into the stadium and the locker room. I want to see my future home from the inside. I'm looking forward to feeling the atmosphere in The Big House." Klein added that he's excited to see what Michigan does on the field this fall and has high expectations for his future team. "After watching the media days, it looks like they are confident," he said. "I'm confident in them. I believe with the coaching changes, this year will be a shocking year. "Michigan football is underrated. They are going to have a great season and hopefully beat Ohio State." CJ STOKES REFLECTS ON COMMITMENT CJ Stokes has become a key member of Michigan's 2022 recruiting class, but there was a point where Ann Arbor wasn't his likely destination. The three-star running back out of Columbia (S.C.) Hammond was a heavy Missouri lean going into offi- cial visit season. Still, Stokes' parents wanted him to make sure he saw some of his other options. After just 24 hours at Michigan for his official visit during "Victors Weekend" on June 18, Stokes spurned an opportunity to play in the SEC and sided with the Wolverines. "I didn't plan on doing it," he said. "Missouri was my No. 1. I had my mind set on it. I don't think I've said this to anyone else, but I was going to commit to Missouri. "My parents convinced me to check out Michigan, and my mind was blown. With Coach [Jim] Harbaugh and Coach [Mike] Hart and what they are doing, it was a perfect decision." Hart, the new Michigan running backs coach, offered Stokes, Rivals. com's No. 8 recruit in South Carolina and No. 48 running back nationally, soon after arriving in Ann Arbor and turned up the heat on him. Now that the recruiting part is done, Hart and Stokes have continued to strengthen their bond. "The reason I love Coach Hart is be- cause he keeps it real with everything," Stokes said. "He treats me like I'm part of the family. He tells me personal stuff that he probably doesn't tell anybody else, and he's not even my coach yet. We talk every day." Stokes added that he's also building a personal connection with Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh. "He's a great guy," Stokes said. "We talk about a lot of things, too. He sat down with me during my official visit and spent a lot of time with me after I committed. "That meant a lot. I believe in him as a coach. I can't wait to play for him." Stokes returned to Michigan just a little more than a month following his official visit. A fully solid commit, Stokes used the trip as a relationship- building weekend and hung out with fellow U-M pledges like Will Johnson and Mario Eugenio. "It was a great time," Stokes said. "I got to meet some of the guys that weren't there during the official visit. It's been good to meet them in person. "But we do have a group chat and talk all the time. We always talk about who we're trying to get to join us. It's been a lot of fun getting to know ev- erybody." With his decision out of the way, Stokes is focused on his senior season and making an early impact in Ann   MICHIGAN RECRUITING Marlin Klein Is Still Locked In With The Wolverines Klein, who is listed as the nation's No. 26 tight end by, committed to U-M over Arizona State, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan State, Nebraska, TCU, Vanderbilt, West Virginia and others last September. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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