The Wolverine

February 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2022 THE WOLVERINE 55   COMMITMENT PROFILE M ichigan is already building momen- tum in the 2023 recruiting class. The Wolverines added On300 Mil- ton (Mass.) Academy tight end Andrew Rappleyea to their list of junior pledges during their first post-dead-period re- cruiting week in mid-January. Rappleyea picked Michigan over of- fers from Boston College, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Tennessee and a number of other Power Five programs. For the Rappleyea family, the decision to pick the Wolverines came down to what U-M could offer on and off the field. "Michigan has a very strong blend of academics and athletics," said Andrew's father, Allan Rappleyea. "It's hard to find elsewhere when you're trying to check both of those boxes. When you look around the country, it's pretty dif- ficult to find that blend of those two things. That's why I thought Michigan was a good fit. It was always a good fit. "When you look at Stanford, it's a great school, but it can't compete ath- letically. We thought about the SEC, but I told Andrew there is no school that can compete academically other than Vanderbilt. It's really tough to argue against Michigan." Rappleyea, who is listed by the On3 Consensus as the nation's No. 10 tight end and No. 169 overall prospect, visited Michigan for its historic win over Ohio State Nov. 27 and earned an offer soon after. The Wolverines invited Rappleyea back for a return visit once the dead pe- riod came to an end and gave him and his father an in-depth look at the program. Rappleyea wasted no time making a decision, calling Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and giving the Wolver- ines a verbal pledge just hours after ar- riving back in New England. Allan said the visit was an absolute grand slam. "I told him we could make more vis- its, but I also asked him if he thought any other visit would be superior," the elder Rappleyea said. "He said, 'No, I think this is the place for me.' "Michigan stands out. It doesn't have to try hard to stand out at anything. It just jumps out at you. But I liked that there weren't a lot of people there. They deliberately kept it pretty limited so that the kids would get a little more atten- tion. My guess is there were only five to seven offensive players and maybe about the same on defense. "The session with the academic advi- sor stood out as well. They do offer aca- demic support to all the athletes. Their academic advisor is by position, which I think is a great idea. They test the kids when they arrive and tailor their aca- demic program based in part on that." Both Rappleyea and his father also spent extended time with Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh, who led the way in his recruitment. Harbaugh has recruited the tight end position at a high level since moving over from run- ning backs last recruiting cycle. Like 2022 Michigan signees Marlin Klein and Colston Loveland, Rapple- yea is an athletic pass catcher with the frame to add weight and become more polished as an in-line blocker. Har- baugh did a tremendous job on selling the Rappleyea family on fit, develop- ment and relationships. "I though his style was direct, clear and very articulate," Allan said. "We were in his office on the visit, and he was showing us how he taught tight ends to block and using different pads and tackling dum- mies. He brought up different videos. I thought that was really thoughtful. "This guy really knows how to teach. I watched my son interact with him, and I thought it was interesting how he was teaching this kid. I really enjoyed his candor." Rappleyea is originally from Millbrook, N.Y., but transferred to Milton Academy in the Boston area before his junior sea- son. Rappleyea helped lead Milton to an Independent School League title last sea- son and finished the year with 21 recep- tions for 475 yards and four touchdowns. Rappleyea will graduate next spring and be a regular enrollee at Michigan. — EJ Holland 2023 Tight End Andrew Rappleyea Chooses U-M After Standout Visit Rappleyea — the No. 10 tight end and No. 169 overall prospect nationally accord- ing to the On3 Consensus — picked the Wolverines over Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State, among others. PHOTO COURTESY RAPPLEYEA VIA TWITTER PLAYER EVALUATION Strengths: Andrew Rappleyea is a natural pass catcher that can spend time out wide or in a flex end role. He runs great routes for his size and uses strong hands to make tough grabs over the middle. He has an athletic frame at 6-4, 215 pounds with the potential to carry at least 30 more pounds. He is an extremely technical player with a high football IQ. He plays against quality competition in New England's ISL conference and was a standout as a junior. Areas Of Improvement: Rappleyea will not only need to add more weight but also strength. Development in Michigan's strength and conditioning pro- gram will be key to his success. While comfortable out wide, he can continue to improve as a true in-line tight end. Adding the aforementioned weight and strength will help him as a blocker in the run game. Adding more flexibility can elevate him to the next step as a receiving tight end. Michigan Player Comparison: Rappleyea compares well to 2022 Michigan signee Marlin Klein, who is set to enroll in Ann Arbor this summer. Like Klein, Rappleyea is more of a natural flex end than in-line player. However, he has the frame to add the weight and strength required to be a complete tight end that can also line up in-line. Both Klein and Rappleyea are intriguing athletes with high ceilings. — EJ Holland

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