The Wolverine

2022 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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156 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2022 FOOTBALL PREVIEW FOOTBALL RECRUITING BY EJ HOLLAND T he NCAA's spring evaluation period runs throughout the month of May and allows college staffs to hit the road and see prospects in person. While head coaches must stay in the of- fice, every full-time assistant is allowed to visit prospects at their schools, meet with coaches and watch spring high school prac- tices. The Michigan football staff made their way across the country, seeing key targets in hotbed states like California, Florida, Geor- gia and Texas, and also swung by to see important recruits in the Midwest. In-person evaluations are paramount in the world of recruiting and often determine whether or not prospects are takes for re- spective schools. The Wolverine (and our website TheWol- in the On3 network) firmly be- lieves in following in the staff's footsteps and seeing as many Michigan commits and targets live as possible. It is our mission to provide our readers feedback on players that make up U-M's recruiting board. During the spring evaluation period, I saw Michigan recruits in eight different states as well as the District of Columbia. Here are the 10 best players from my time on the road. 10. RB Benjamin Hall Kennesaw (Ga.) North Cobb Michigan running backs coach Mike Hart stays true to his evaluations and doesn't rely on rankings to determine his target list. While accepting a commitment from the three-star Hall so early (March 29) left many U-M fans scratching their heads, Hart might very well have found a diamond in the Peach State. At 5-foot-10, 227 pounds, Hall is built like a truck with an extremely thick lower half and room to add even more weight in his up- per half. Hall is at his best when running be- tween the tackles and brings plenty of power. He pairs well with fellow running back pledge Cole Cabana, who runs a blazing 10.6 in the 100 meters. Hall flashed during his spring practices and will be a bulldozer- type in Ann Arbor. On3 currently has him listed as the No. 74 running back nationally. 9. OL Paul Mubenga Buford (Ga.) High I saw Mubenga go through spring practice for Georgia powerhouse Buford High. His team is stacked with several other Division I prospects, so practices are ultra-competitive. Mubenga is about 6-foot-4, 275 pounds and moves extremely well for his size. The three-star prospect projects best as a guard and potentially even as a center. He is a very smart player along the line and wins battles with his advanced technique. Mubenga is also an athletic lineman in the trenches with quick feet. He does need to keep adding strength and weight, but there is a reason Michigan offensive line coach Sherrone Moore is making him a top priority this recruiting cycle. On3 currently has him rated as its No. 55 interior offensive lineman nationally. 8. QB Michael Van Buren Baltimore St. Frances (2024) There is so much talk about 2024 quar- terbacks like top-100 prospects Jadyn Davis and Julian Sayin, but Van Buren is quickly working his way into elite territory and was one of the biggest risers in the latest On3 rankings release. He is currently rated by On3 as a four-star prospect, and the No. 13 quarterback and No. 161 overall player nationally. While he may be a bit on the small side at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, Van Buren is an ex- plosive playmaker and can sling it. He's not quite at a Bryce Young level, but he shares similar traits as the Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama. Van Buren was only a part-time starter for St. Frances last season but made plenty of plays against national competition. He is an accurate passer that can make plays with his legs and is really coming along this offseason. 7. OL Oluwatosin Babalade Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Babalade first caught my attention at the Under Armour camp in Baltimore earlier this offseason — before he received an offer from Michigan. Fast forward to now, and Babalade has become one of my favorite offensive line prospects of the cycle. I saw him again at DeMatha's spring showcase, and he wowed me with his athleticism, feet, technique, brute strength and willingness to get nasty. Into The Blue The Wolverine Blazes A Trail Across The Country To See The Nation's Best Players In Person The Wolverines have made Buford (Ga.) High standout Paul Mubenga, a three-star recruit and the nation's No. 55 interior offensive lineman per On3, a top priority on the recruiting trail. PHOTO COURTESY ON3.COM

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