The Wolverine

December 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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42 THE WOLVERINE DECEMBER 2022   FOOTBALL RECRUITING and is trending toward the Wolverines. In fact, there is optimism that Michigan can get him to join the class in the next few weeks. On3 ranks Efobi as the No. 129 recruit and No. 10 interior offensive lineman nationally. Michigan also is the favorite for Sandy (Utah) Alta's Taliafi Ta'ala, who visited last month. Ta'ala is listed as the No. 27 tackle in the On3 Consensus but projects as more of an interior prospect at the next level. Landing a true athletic tackle is prov- ing to be a bit more difficult. Michigan had On3 top-100 prospect Gilbert (Ariz.) Highland's Caleb Lomu (No. 94 overall prospect and No. 9 offensive tackle) on campus for an official visit last month, but he's now trending toward Utah. The Wolverines also hosted Provo (Utah) Timpview's Spencer Fano, but there is still plenty of work to do. The On3 No. 160 prospect and No. 13 offen- sive tackle has a final four of Michigan, Utah, Oregon and Clemson, and he will make his final decision in December. TIGHT END Need: 2 Commits: 2 The latest: Michigan notched com- mitments from four-star Oswego (Ill.) High's Deakon Tonielli and three-star Carlsbad (Calif.) High's Zack Marshall over the summer. Tonielli ranks as the No. 21 tight end in the On3 Consensus, and Marshall checks in at No. 37. Both have been on campus this fall and are completely locked in with their verbal pledges. Michigan is done recruiting the tight end position this cycle and is looking ahead at several top 2024 recruits. DEFENSIVE LINE Need: 3 Commits: 1 The latest: Michigan has just one de- fensive line commit in three-star Wilmette (Ill.) Loyola Academy prospect Brooks Bahr (On3's No. 62 defensive lineman). The Wol- verines want another three-technique type in this class and have made Wiscon- sin commit Roderick Pierce a priority. The three-star Chicago Brother Rice prospect visited Michigan last month and is a true flip candidate. On3 ranks him as the No. 114 defensive lineman nationally. U-M is continuing to evaluate former Virginia commit Rodney Lora (On3 No. 64 defensive lineman in the country), but things have been stagnant there over the last few weeks. Five-star Concord (N.C.) Robinson pros- pect Daevin Hobbs (On3 No. 24 player nationally and No. 3 defensive lineman) remains in play but is very unlikely at this point in the process. Michigan also wants to add a nose to the fold and is working on Wisconsin commit Jamel Howard. The three-star prospect (On3's No. 138 defensive lineman in the land) does not have a visit set with Michi- gan just yet, but it wouldn't be surprising to see him on campus in the near future. EDGE Need: 3 Commits: 3 The latest: Michigan is done recruiting the edge position this cycle. The Wol- verines have one of the most intriguing groups in the country in Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) High prospect Collins Acheampong (On3 No. 121 prospect and No. 19 edge nationally), Colleyville (Texas) Covenant four-star Enow Etta (On3 No. 117 prospect and No. 16 defensive line- man) and international prospect Aymeric Koumba (On3 No. 52 edge). All three have limited football experi- ence but are athletic freaks — Ache- ampong is 6-8, 230, Etta is 6-4, 260 and Koumba is 6-4, 230 — with extremely high ceilings. It's safe to say that Michigan defensive line coach Mike Elston is fired up about this class. LINEBACKER Need: 2 Commits: 1 The latest: Michigan has one commit at the position in four-star Philadelphia Im- hotep linebacker Semaj Bridgeman (On3 No. 299 player and No. 26 linebacker na- tionally), but the Wolverines need another prospect here before the end of the cycle. The most likely candidate is Cincinnati Princeton's Breeon Ishmail. The three-star recruit is listed as an athlete (No. 112 in the land by On3), but he projects as a line- backer at the next level. Michigan hosted him for a visit in October, and if it pushes, he should be in the class. However, his status is still up in the air. Michigan is still keeping tabs on guys like four-star Notre Dame commit Jaiden Ausberry (On3 No. 203 prospect and No. 17 linebacker in the land) from Baton Rouge (La.) University Lab, Nebraska commit Hayden Moore (On3 No. 92 line- backer) from Aurora (Colo.) Regis Jesuit and sleeper recruit Desirrio Riles (On3 No. 106 linebacker) from Jacksonville (Fla.) University Christian, but there hasn't been much movement with any of these three of late. Taking one line- backer could also be a possibility since the board is so barren. DEFENSIVE BACK Need: 3 Commits: 0 The latest: There is only a month left before the early signing period, and Michigan has zero commits on the back end. That's certainly not ideal. The good news is there is still time for the Wolver- ines to add some talent in the secondary. Michigan is making an aggressive push for Kankakee (Ill.) High's Jyaire Hill at corner and remains at the top of his list along with Illinois. Hill (On3's No. 201 prospect and No. 23 cornerback nation- ally) values Michigan's big brand and track record of development, but he has great relationships with the Illinois staff. Florida is also making a late push. There are several other intriguing cor- ner candidates. Former Cincinnati com- mit Cameron Calhoun from Cincinnati Winton Woods reopened his recruitment and is looking to visit Michigan soon. However, Kentucky is the current leader for the three-star prospect. Fellow Cincinnati Winton Woods cor- nerback Jermaine Matthews recently picked up a Michigan offer, but the On3 No. 49 prospect and No. 7 cornerback in the land will be tough to flip from rival Ohio State. Three-star Mableton (Ga.) Pebblebrook prospect Tyler Scott is set to come in for an official visit and is an emerging tar- get. However, Tennessee is considered the heavy front-runner for On3's No. 49 cornerback. U-M is still hanging around for On3 No. 69 prospect and No. 6 safety in the coun- try Arlington (Texas) Martin's Javien To- viano, but he seems unlikely at this time. Michigan also remains in the mix for On3 Consensus four-star Sharpsburg (Ga.) Trinity Christian product and Flor- ida commit Aaron Gates (On3's No. 31 safety), who has long been considered the Wolverines' No. 1 priority at nickel. U-M defensive coordinator Jesse Minter visited Gates during the bye week and is pushing to get him on campus for an- other visit before the early signing period. Lastly, U-M recently offered former Toledo commit D'Juan Waller (6-3, 195), who can be a taller corner or safety at the next level. The three-star Youngstown (Ohio) Chaney prospect (On3 No. 140 safety) is set to visit Michigan and could commit on the spot if the Wolverines make a push. ❏

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