The Wolverine

February 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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52 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2022 M ichigan made a big splash by hir- ing defensive line coach Mike Elston away from Notre Dame Jan. 17. Along with being a well-respected coach, Elston has been an extremely suc- cessful recruiter, helping the Irish put together several spectacular classes. He will now bring his recruiting prowess to Ann Arbor and is sure to get a jump-start on helping the Wolverines flip a couple of prospects he recruited to Notre Dame. And that will start with five-star edge rusher Keon Keely. On3's No. 4 overall prospect nationally out of Tampa (Fla.) Berkley committed to Elston and the Irish in June 2021. Michigan was already work- ing to flip him, and the addition of Elston will only help its cause. Expect Keely to make a visit at some point this offseason. Elston could also help the Wolverines get back in the mix for On3 Consensus top-100 defensive lineman Brenan Ver- non out of Mentor (Ohio) High. Vernon, the No. 64 overall prospect nationally, committed to the Irish just a day after Keely but has a strong relationship with Elston and picked up a U-M offer early on in his recruitment. Aside from early Notre Dame com- mits, the Elston hire should create plenty of buzz with top recruits nation- ally, including offensive lineman Luke Montgomery, the No. 59 overall pros- pect nationally per On3. Elston served as Montgomery's primary recruiter for the Irish and was set to stop by Findlay (Ohio) High on Jan. 17 to see him. "Mike has been first class with Luke and us all the way," said Montgomery's father, Mike. "He's a top-five recruiter that we have dealt with to date. He had a great vision for Luke in their [defensive] scheme but was always supportive if Luke decided to pursue offensive line at Notre Dame. "He wanted Luke at Notre Dame, no matter what, and we appreciated that. I just congratulated him via text and look forward to continuing to build rapport with him. Luke is pursuing offensive line at U-M still, to be clear." Elston is also familiar with several of Michigan's priority defensive line targets. On300 Trussville (Ala.) Hewitt-Trussville defensive lineman Hunter Osborne, the No. 127 overall prospect nationally per On3, was already in the process of setting up an offseason visit to Michigan. With Elston onboard, that is sure to happen. "It truly surprised me," Osborne said. "Me and [Elston] have a great relation- ship, and he had to do what's best for him. It sits about the same with [Michi- gan]. I had a good relationship with Coach [Shaun] Nua and an even better one with Coach Elston, so it is all good." Elston was also heavily involved in the recruitment of On300 Detroit Cass Tech defensive lineman Jalen Thompson, the No. 226 overall prospect nationally per On3, who is one of the Wolverines' most important in-state targets this cycle. "That's most definitely surprising, but I feel that it's a very positive effect from them after the loss of Coach Nua," he said. "That's big-time for Michigan," added Tacoma (Wash.) Lincoln defen-   MICHIGAN RECRUITING U-M Makes Recruiting Waves With Mike Elston Hire Elston, who played linebacker for the Wolverines from 1993-96, spent the past 12 years at Notre Dame and was a big part of the Fighting Irish's success under head coach Brian Kelly. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER/COURTESY BLUEANDGOLD.COM 2022 Michigan Signee List Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (High School) Zeke Berry DB 6-0 195 Concord, Calif. (De La Salle) Darrius Clemons WR 6-3 205 Portland (Westview) Jayden Denegal QB 6-4 215 Apple Valley, Calif. (Apple Valley) Damani Dent S 6-0 190 Jacksonville, Fla. (Terry Parker) Andrew Gentry OL 6-8 310 Littleton, Colo. (Columbine) Mason Graham DL 6-3 292 Anaheim, Calif. (Servite) Kenneth Grant DL 6-4 335 Merrillville, Ind. (Merrillville) Kevonte Henry* DE 6-4 208 Lawndale, Calif. (Leuzinger) Will Johnson DB 6-3 190 Detroit (Grosse Pointe South) Connor Jones OL 6-7 285 Monument, Colo. (Palmer Ridge) Kody Jones DB 5-11 175 Memphis, Tenn. (Germantown) Marlin Klein TE 6-6 215 Cologne, Germany (Rabun Gap [Ga.] Nacoochee) Alessandro Lorenzetti OL 6-6 285 Montreal, Quebec (Windsor [Conn.] Loomis Chaffee School) Colston Loveland TE 6-5 230 Gooding, Idaho (Gooding) Derrick Moore DE 6-4 250 Baltimore (St. Frances Academy) Tyler Morris WR 6-0 175 Bolingbrook, Ill. (Nazareth Academy) Alex Orji QB 6-2 226 Sachse, Texas (Sachse) Micah Pollard LB 6-3 200 Jacksonville, Fla. (Bartram Trail) Myles Pollard DB 6-2 185 Brentwood, Tenn. (Ravenwood) Jimmy Rolder LB 6-2 220 Orlando Park, Ill. (Marist) Keon Sabb DB 6-2 200 Glassboro, N.J. (Bradenton [Fla.] IMG Academy) Deuce Spurlock LB 6-2 220 Madison, Ala. (Madison) CJ Stokes RB 5-11 190 Columbia, S.C. (Hammond School) Amorion Walker WR 6-4 180 Ponchatoula, La. (Ponchatoula) * Committed but not signed 2023 Michigan Commitment List Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (High School) Semaj Morgan WR 5-9 178 West Bloomfield, Mich. (West Bloomfield) Andrew Rappleyea TE 6-4 215 Millbrook, N.Y. (Milton [Mass.] Academy) Adam Samaha K 6-0 170 Ann Arbor. (Huron) Raylen Wilson LB 6-0 205 Tallahassee, Fla. (Lincoln)

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