The Wolverine

August 2015 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 97 of 177

  FOOTBALL RECRUITING M ichigan's coaching staff has em- phasized the East Coast in the 2016 recruiting class, and thus far, it has paid off. Rivals250 teammates Ron Johnson and Brad Hawkins Jr. of Cam- den (N.J.) High School are already in the fold, and the Maize and Blue seem well poised to se- cure some other pros- pects from the area. J o h n s o n , a 6 - 3 , 2 2 1 - p o u n d e r w h o is ranked the No. 6 weakside defensive end and No. 109 over- all prospect nationally, and Hawkins, a 6-2, 195-pound receiver ranked No. 42 at his po- sition and No. 206 overall nationally, have plenty of friends who are also high on the Maize and Blue. That may start with their teammate, 2017 offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz. A 6-3, 290-pound center prospect who is rated as the No. 156 player in the rising junior class, Ruiz visited Ann Arbor in June with Johnson (and a handful of other prospects from the area), and picked up an offer. He has been given the opportunity to attend IMG Acad- emy in Bradenton, Fla., but that prob- ably won't hurt Michigan too much, according to Mid-Atlantic recruiting analyst Adam Friedman. "Johnson and Hawkins are still going to be close — he's very good friends with the two," Friedman said. "Michigan is going to have some ma- jor competition that will have a bet- ter chance if he goes to IMG. His connections to Michigan will be huge still." Ruiz plans to take his time with the recruit- ing process and extend it nearly all the way to Signing Day 2017. There are other pros- pects who plan to make decisions earlier and could be positively im- pacted by Johnson and Hawkins' status as fu- ture Wolverines. Likely the first to make a decision is Philadelphia Im- hotep Charter Prep tight end Naseir Upshur. Just across the Delaware River from Camden, N.J., Upshur is close friends with the Michigan duo and very high on the Maize and Blue. He also plans a summer visit to Ann Ar- bor with a college commitment less than a week later (Aug. 2 and Aug. 8, respectively). "I do think Michigan gets him on Aug. 8," Friedman said. "Him cancel- ling his July visit to Florida State was big for the Wolverines because they were the primary competition. "South Carolina is sort of in the pic- ture, but Michigan is really the school   FOOTBALL RECRUITING Wolverines Closing On East Coast Group RIVALS.COM TEAM RECRUITING RANKINGS Through July 20 School Commits 1. LSU 17 2. Florida State 18 3. Ohio State 17 4. USC 16 5. Miami (Fla.) 22 6. Michigan State 20 7. Michigan 21 8. Penn State 18 9. Alabama 17 10. Mississippi 16

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