The Wolverine

January 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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JANUARY 2022 THE WOLVERINE 49 BY EJ HOLLAND N ational Signing Day is in the rear- view mirror. However, this is the time to get excited about the future of Michigan football after the Wolverines landed several talented prospects. Here is our list of class superlatives for those that signed in December: BEST SIGNEE CB Will Johnson, Grosse Pointe (Mich.) South Johnson was the leader of Michigan's 2022 recruiting class and the highest rated of the bunch. The On3 Consensus five-star prospect is a tall, long, physical corner that can completely take away his side of the field. He played a lot of safety as a senior and could see time there earlier on in his Michigan career. Johnson is fundamentally sound, has great ball instincts and grew up train- ing with his father, ex-Wolverine Deon Johnson. He is the total package and should make an impact right away. BIGGEST SLEEPER DT Mason Graham, Anaheim Servite On3 has Graham ranked as just a three-star recruit. However, you would be hard pressed to find a more produc- tive defensive lineman nationally. The California native played in the Trinity League against arguably the toughest competition in America and was domi- nant; he notched 60 tackles, including 22 for loss with 14 sacks, as a senior. While he lacks length and doesn't have much of a ceiling, Graham plays with power and strength, is extremely quick for his size and has a relentless motor. It wouldn't be surprising to see him play early at Michigan. BIGGEST SIGNING DAY WIN DB Keon Sabb, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy Michigan executed arguably its best recruiting job of the cycle when it landed Sabb on the first day of the early signing period, Dec. 15. The On300 prospect left Michigan out of his top group this summer before assistant Ron Bellamy helped get him on campus for an official visit. While Michigan lost out the first time around, Bellamy never stopped fighting and got him back on campus for The Game while Sabb was still committed to Clemson. The U-M assistant was able to close on Signing Day, earning a sig- nature from arguably the best hybrid safety in the country. MOST POTENTIAL QB Alex Orji, Garland (Texas) Sachse Orji flipped from Virginia Tech to Michigan on Signing Day, giving the Wolverines one of the more intriguing prospects of the cycle. The dangerous dual-threat quarter- back can make plenty of plays with his feet but still has a lot of work to do me- chanically. If quarterback doesn't work out, he has a super high ceiling as a linebacker or edge rusher. Overall, the 6-2, 226-pounder is an impressive ath- lete with a versatile skill set. STRONGEST MAN DT Kenneth Grant, Merrillville (Ind.) High A massive human being at 6-4, 335 pounds, Grant bullies opposing offen- sive linemen on film, and I've seen him toss other high schoolers like rag dolls with my own eyes. The nation's No. 130 recruit per On3 is a powerful force in the trenches and a perfect fit at nose for Michigan. With his power and rare athleticism for his size, Grant should play early in Ann Arbor. FASTEST MAN WR Darrius Clemons, Portland Westview Clemons has run a verified, blazing 4.37 laser-time 40-yard dash. What makes the time even more impres- sive is the fact that Clemons is 6-3, 205 pounds. He is a special type of athlete and should be a dangerous playmaker on the outside for the Wolverines. Win- ning over Clemons late was huge for Michigan. FUTURE TEAM CAPTAIN DB Zeke Berry, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle There are a lot of good choices here. You could go with Will Johnson, the face of the class. You could go with offensive lineman Connor Jones, who grew up a U-M fan and works harder than any- one. You could go with running back CJ Stokes, who gave the speech of the day on National Signing Day. But I'm going with Berr y, who is viewed as the nation's No. 60 prospect by On3 and is an absolute baller that will fill Daxton Hill's role. On top of that, Berry is a smart student in the class- room, does everything the right way and just has a Michigan personality. BEST RECRUITER Ron Bellamy, Safeties coach Bellamy has established himself as one of the best recruiters in the Big Ten in his first year with the program, and he's only going to get better. The former high school coach was instru- mental in Michigan's strong close, help- ing the Wolverines land Clemons and Sabb, and flip four-star athlete Amorion Walker from Notre Dame. Additionally, Bellamy pulled in Berry and helped keep On300 defensive back Kody Jones in the fold. He also played a key role with Johnson early in the cycle. Bellamy is going to be a star recruiter.   MICHIGAN RECRUITING Signing Day Superlatives Keon Sabb, an On3 Consensus four-star recruit listed as the nation's No. 102 over- all prospect, was one of five signees that picked the Wolverines Dec. 15 and the big- gest Signing Day victory. PHOTO COURTESY ON3.COM

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