The Wolverine

November 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 53 of 75

54 THE WOLVERINE NOVEMBER 2021   COMMITMENT PROFILE D amani Dent has made his decision. The three-star safety out of Jack- sonville (Fla.) Terry Parker was supposed to announce his college destination ear- lier in October but delayed while SEC programs continued to pull the trigger on offers to him. However, Dent put an end to his recruitment on Oct. 18 when he gave Michigan a verbal commitment. Dent picked Michigan over fellow fi- nalists Oregon and Pitt. For Dent, the decision to side with the Wolverines came down to U-M's elite academics, strong football program, and impressive strength and conditioning program. "The academics stood out," Dent said. "I want to major in sociology or get into real estate. They have someone that puts people in real estate. I have to think about things outside of football. "Distance isn't a problem. You have to move far in the NFL. When I walked through campus, I was signing auto- graphs. It was different. As soon as I walked in the weight room, I was al- ready working out. They had me do pull ups, curls and stretched me out for 10 minutes." Michigan took command of Dent's re- cruitment following his official visit in September for the game against Wash- ington. The Wolverines defeated the Huskies in a marquee night game in front of an amazing crowd at The Big House. Dent loved the atmosphere in Ann Arbor and was also impressed with Michigan's effort on the defensive side of the ball. "I've never seen anything like that in my life," he said. "The atmosphere was crazy. You can't get any better than over 100,000 people. The defense played great. It would look better with me there [laughs]. "I feel like I would fit in easily. They see me in that Dax Hill role. I can play corner, safety, nickel and bump into the box. I knew they were going to win — it's Michigan." Of course, relationships played a big role for Dent as well. Everybody from director of player personnel Courtney Morgan to safeties coach Ron Bellamy to area recruiter and linebackers coach George Helow was in- volved in landing Dent. In fact, Helow made his way to Jacksonville to see Dent in game action and was on him even be- fore he arrived in Ann Arbor this offsea- son. "Courtney is a cool coach," Dent said. "Coach Ron is a cool coach, too. He showed me the defense. They pulled up my highlights and highlights of Dax Hill. They compared them and showed me how I would fit in. "Coach Helow was in there, too. He hit me up before any Power Five school. We've been talking since he was at Mary- land. That's why I have a connection. He's from Jacksonville, and he tells me how it really is." Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh was also in contact with Dent and made a strong impression on him during the official visit when the two had a long, personal meeting. "Coach Harbaugh told me he liked my work ethic and knowledge of the game," Dent said. "He loved talking to me. We were in his office for about an hour and a half. We didn't even talk football, we were just talking about life." Dent was previously committed to Akron but started to generate plenty of interest after a breakout performance at an on-campus camp at Oregon this summer. While Oregon made its push, Michigan made Dent a top overall prior- ity and did everything right to earn his commitment. — EJ Holland Florida Safety Damani Dent Picks The Wolverines PLAYER EVALUATION Strengths: Dent has ideal length and athleticism at the safety po- sition with the versatility to also spend time lining up at nickel. He has above-average ball skills and a knack for making plays on the ball. The 6-1, 179-pounder is very athletic and also plays wide receiver for his high school team. While still filling out, Dent has the frame to add more quality weight. He can get physi- cal and likes to be aggressive when playing the run inside the box. Areas Of Improvement: Dent is still extremely raw. With only a handful of Power Five offers in hand, many major schools questioned his technique and ability to turn his hips. Dent has a tremendous ceil- ing, but with that also comes an extremely low floor, making him a boom-or-bust candidate at the next level. He must improve his flexibility as well as his change of direction. Michigan Player Comparison: Dent is in the same mold as Michi- gan freshman Rod Moore. Like Dent, Moore was a three-star prospect with unrefined abilities. Both had frames with the potential to carry good weight, showed off their ath- leticism by doubling as wide receiv- ers and loved to bang heads in the box. Moore got on the field sooner than many expected, and the hope is for Dent to follow in the same path. — EJ Holland Dent's decision came down to U-M's elite academics, strong football program, and impressive strength and conditioning program. PHOTO COURTESY DAMANI DENT VIA TWITTER

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