The Wolverine

January 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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JANUARY 2017 THE WOLVERINE 51   MICHIGAN RECRUITING LB John Pearson Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary's The St. Mary's program is well known in the state of Michigan, and fans of the Wolverines know that you'll get a good, solid kid and football player from the preparatory academy. That's exactly how 6-4, 205-pound outside linebacker John Pearson has been de- scribed. He can also play some fullback and/or H-back, making him an intrigu- ing preferred-walk on candidate. "I feel great about the Michigan offer," Pearson said. "It's an outstanding op- portunity. I know quite a bit about the school and program. … I'm pretty good friends with Josh Ross so that helps, too." All signs point to Pearson accepting the offer and being a member of the program next fall with Ross. S Ty Rocconi Mobile (Ala.) UMS Wright Rocconi, a 6-0, 193-pound, two-star safety, has received attention from pro- grams all over the country, but a pre- ferred walk-on tender from U-M may be the best of them all. "I feel outstanding and I'm extremely thankful for the offer," Rocconi said. "I knew it was likely based on what the coaches were telling me, but it's still pretty awesome. Michigan is one of the top football programs of all time and has outstanding academics across the board." OG Jess Speight Richmond (Va.) Collegiate The younger brother of Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight, the 6-4, 280-pound offensive guard has already accepted Michigan's preferred walk on offer and is excited to get to U-M and try to earn a scholarship. That's been Speight's approach all along, and he even turned down a full- ride opportunity from North Carolina State where his grandfather, Bobby Speight, is a legend as an All-American basketball player. "Ever since Wilton was at Michigan I've paid close attention to them obviously," he said. "I've always been interested in them pretty much since they recruited Wilton. Whether they knew it or not they were pretty much recruiting me, too. … I got to come out of the tunnel before some games when I was younger and I've had an idea about the program from a very close point of view. "I really admire the whole school and program and have for about three or four years now." LB Justin Woodley La Jolla (Calif.) The Bishop's School The 6-1, 205-pound Woodley also holds offers from Brown, Columbia, Cornell and Harvard. Education is im- portant to him, and Michigan can pitch that along with elite football. "I like the opportunity," the two-star inside linebacker said. "It's special to get a good education and still play big-time football. I'm definitely going to think about it, talk about it with my family and try to get out there in January." Aside from Speight, it's a bit too early to tell who will join Michigan's program from this group. Many pros- pects at the level of the previously mentioned players are hoping that their senior film earns them some full-ride, Division I opportunities. If they don't, partial scholarships in the Ivy League or at the Football Cham- pionship Subdivision level are still enticing for some who want a more prominent, on-field role. FOUR-STAR RUNNING BACK OPTS TO STAY NEAR HOME Groton (Mass.) Lawrence Acad- emy four-star running back AJ Dil- lon has flipped his commitment from Michigan to Boston College. The 6-0, 228-pounder —'s top player in Massachusetts and No. 21 running back nationally — released a long, well-thought-out statement on explaining why this decision was the best move for him. "I believe that Coach [Jim] Har- baugh and the University of Michi- gan have something very special be- ing put together. I love the University of Michigan and everything that the school stands for from academics to athletics. "However, this is a selfish decision, and after meeting with my family I feel like my attendance at Boston College for the continuation of my athletic and academic career is the best place for me. "I've developed great relationships with the coaches and players at Bos- ton College, and am excited to be a part of the Eagles family and uphold that BC tradition." Michigan still holds commitments from Los Lunas (N.M.) four-star run- ning back O'Maury Samuels and Loganville (Ga.) Grayson three-star running back Kurt Taylor. The U-M staff is also aggressively pursuing the nation's top overall prospect, An- tioch (Calif.) Senior five-star running back Najee Harris. ❏ For regular repor ts on M ichigan football recruiting plus videos of U-M commitments and targets visit 2017 Michigan Commitment List Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (High School) Tarik Black WR 6-3 201 Cheshire, Conn. (Cheshire Academy) Ja'Raymond Hall OL 6-5 255 Oak Park, Mich. (Oak Park) Kai-Leon Herbert OT 6-4 279 Plantation, Fla. (American Heritage) Joel Honigford OT 6-5 277 Sugarcreek, Ohio (Garaway Local School) James Hudson DE 6-5 271 Toledo, Ohio (Central Catholic) Donovan Jeter DT 6-5 255 Beaver Falls, Pa. (Beaver Falls) Jaylen Kelly-Powell S 6-0 180 Detroit (Cass Tech) Corey Malone-Hatcher DE 6-3 246 Saint Joseph, Mich. (Saint Joseph) Ben Mason LB 6-3 230 Sandy Hook, Conn. (Newton) Dylan McCaffrey QB 6-4 185 Highlands Ranch, Colo. (Valor Christian) Phillip Paea OL 6-4 277 Berrien Springs, Mich. (Berrien Springs) Kwity Paye DE 6-3 225 Warwick, R.I. (Bishop Hendricken) Joshua Ross LB 6-0 219 Orchard Lake, Mich. (St. Mary's) O'Maury Samuels RB 5-10 190 Los Lunas, N.M. (Los Lunas) Andrew Stueber OT 6-6 305 Darien, Conn. (Darien) Benjamin St-Juste CB 6-3 185 Montreal, Quebec (Vieux-Montreal) Kurt Taylor RB 5-9 201 Covington, Ga. (Newton) Ambry Thomas CB 5-11 165 Detroit (Martin Luther King) Luiji Vilain DE 6-4 240 Alexandria, Va. (Episcopal) J'Marick Woods DB 6-3 198 Florence, Ala. (Florence) 2018 Michigan Commitment List Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (High School) Emil Ekiyor OL 6-4 315 Indianapolis (Cathedral) Otis Reese S 6-2 195 Leesburg, Ga. (Lee County)

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