The Wolverine

February 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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16 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2017   INSIDE MICHIGAN ATHLETICS Ambry Thomas Will Outshine Them All By Brandon Brown Coming out of Detroit Martin Luther King High School, Ambry Thomas was ranked as the No. 15 cornerback and No. 146 overall prospect in the country. He's not necessarily con- sidered one of the elite cover men in the nation, but he's got the perfect skill set and work ethic to succeed quickly under defensive coordinator Don Brown. Listed at 5-11, 165 pounds, Thomas is still thin but has grown and has extremely long arms and legs, allowing him to play much bigger than his listed measurables. Those traits make him perfect as a press-man coverage corner, and Brown can't wait to plug him into his system. With the graduation of lockdown cornerbacks Jourdan Lewis and Channing Stribling, Thomas couldn't ask for a bet- ter scenario to walk into. He'll be able to compete for a posi- tion against other young corners and will climb the depth chart in a hurry as an early enrollee. Freshmen Lavert Hill and David Long will have a year of experience under their belts, but neither possesses the raw speed and length of Thomas. He's up next. Donovan Peoples-Jones Will Meet The Hype By Chris Balas Detroit Cass Tech has been an on-and-off Michigan pipe- line for the last several years, and that it's been on again recently is huge for Michigan. The five-star Peoples-Jones, a 6-1, 188-pounder who is ranked as's No. 1 receiver nationally and No. 12 overall prospect, is physically ready for the next level and will be the Wolverines' best freshman receiver since Mario Manningham in 2005. Manningham hauled in 27 passes for 433 yards and six scores in his first year, and it says here Peoples-Jones will beat that mark. He'll start to show why this spring. He's got the frame and the hands to contribute immediately, and while he's a strider — he admits he needs to work on his speed — he's still got the ability to pull away from defensive backs. Peoples-Jones caught 60 passes for 1,071 yards and 17 touchdowns his final year of high school, and though there were a number of big plays, he also showed advanced route running skills. He'll put it on display this spring and should be an immediate contributor on offense as a result. POINT ❙ COUNTERPOINT WHO WILL BE MICHIGAN'S TOP EARLY ENROLLEE FROM THE 2017 CLASS? Michigan is bringing in an 11-man class of early enrollees consisting of Cheshire (Conn.) Academy four-star wide receiver Tarik Black, Oak Park (Mich.) High three-star offensive tackle Ja'Raymond Hall, Beaver Falls (Pa.) High four-star defensive tackle Dono- van Jeter, Detroit Cass Tech three-star safety Jaylen Kelly-Powell, Saint Joseph (Mich.) High four-star strongside defen- sive end Corey Malone-Hatcher, Sandy Hook (Conn.) Newtown three-star in- side linebacker Ben Mason, Detroit Cass Tech five-star wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy four-star center Cesar Ruiz, Montreal (Quebec) Vieux four-star cornerback Benjamin St-Juste, Detroit Martin Luther King four-star corner- back Ambry Thomas and Florence (Ala.) three-star safety J'Marick Woods. Which incoming freshman will make the biggest impact in the spring game in April? The four-star Thomas is ranked as the nation's No. 146 senior regardless of position and No. 15 cornerback by PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM Peoples-Jones is ranked by as a five-star recruit, and the nation's No. 12 overall prospect and No. 1 wideout. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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