The Wolverine

February 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2017 THE WOLVERINE 55   COMMITMENT PROFILE Aledo (Texas) High four-star offensive tackle Chuck Filiaga trimmed his massive offer list down to Michigan, Nebraska and Oklahoma in late December, and eventually the Wolverines rose to the top. The 6-6, 335-pounder said that he's known Michigan was go- ing to be tough to beat for a while. "It was my official visit that made Michigan so attractive," Fili- aga said. "I was there for the Wis- consin game with 111,000 people. The stadium with that crowd was pretty big. It was great. "Definitely the coaching staff, too. Coach [Jim] Harbaugh came out to my house, and he was the same guy and had his same personality as when I met him for my official visit." Filiaga specifically mentioned Harbaugh as a draw, but so was offensive coordinator Tim Drevno, who will be his position coach. Ri-'s No. 16 offensive tackle and No. 175 prospect overall men- tioned the bond he's formed with Drevno as another reason why he's excited to be a Wolverine. "My relationship with him is pretty much the same as it is with Coach Harbaugh," Filiaga said of Drevno. "We're really close. We have a great bond together. He loves reggae music and so do I, so we'll be good reggae buddies. Coach Drev is a great guy and a great coach, too. He loves his athletes and you can really tell that." The pro-style scheme that Har- baugh and Drevno run was also at- tractive for Filiaga, who hopes to play professional someday. "You have an NFL head coach there with Coach Harbaugh, and he's going to recruit the best guys. I think I'm a great fit at a place like that," Filiaga explained. Texas recruiting analyst Nick Krueger has been able to closely watch Filiaga over the last year and a half and has seen a lot of good, but he has also witnessed some areas Filiaga needs to improve. "I watched him a couple times during his senior season and at that level he's dominant," Krueger said. "He got off to a bit of a rough start at Army [All-American Bowl] practice and struggled against elite guys. It could've been rust or jitters because he did get better as the week went on. "His full résumé is much more fa- vorable. He run blocks and finishes blocks at elite level. He's a massive guy and is a top-level athlete as an offensive lineman. "His technique needs a little work, and he does get off balance occa- sionally. He might not be a true left tackle, but he could be a great right tackle and could slide inside and be one of the best guards in the country. "As he gets polished off with some of that coaching, I'm sure we're going to look at him in a couple of years and see a player that looks like he's chiseled from stone. He's going to be outright mashing people in the trenches for Michigan." With his decision made, Filiaga will finish out his senior year and arrive at Michigan sometime this summer. The big lineman already can't wait to get to Ann Arbor. He couldn't be happier that the pro- cess if finally over for him. "Relief is probably the first word," he said with a laugh. "Sec- ondly, I think I'll just want to hurry up and get on campus to play some more football. I'm ready for that." Even though Filiaga is originally from American Samoa and then spent his formative high school years in California, it's a step in the right direction for Harbaugh to fi- nally land a prospect from the state of Texas. Filiaga is the third-high- est ranked offensive tackle in The Lone Star State (and the No. 14 se- nior overall) and finished his high school career by helping Aledo win a 5A Texas state championship. Filiaga becomes U-M's second high- est-rated offensive line commit be- hind Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy four-star center Cesar Ruiz, and ahead of Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage four-star offensive tackle Kai-Leon Herbert, Garaway (Ohio) High three- star offensive tackle Joel Honigford, Darien (Conn.) High three-star offen- sive tackle Andrew Stueber and Oak Park (Mich.) High three-star offensive tackle Ja'Raymond Hall. — Brandon Brown Massive Texas Lineman Chuck Filiaga Goes Blue FILM EVALUATION Strengths: Size and strength are easily Chuck Filiaga's greatest assets. He's already as big or bigger than most college offensive linemen at 6-6, 335 pounds, and he's got the strength to match. If he gets his hands on a pass rusher, it's over for the defender. Areas Of Improvement: Filiaga definitely needs to work on his footwork, bend and overall agility. As a run blocker he's devastating, but speed rushers off the edge are a problem for him. He looks to have the athleticism to get better in that regard, but it'll take some hard work and time for it to improve enough to handle collegiate pass rushers. Michigan Player Comparison: Filiaga has the skills to potentially start off as good as former Michigan offensive tackle Ben Braden was toward the end of his career this past fall. When Braden finished his time at U-M, he was 6-6, 335, which is Filiaga's current size. Both Braden and Filiaga are huge and strong but struggle a bit with speed rushers. Filiaga is a much higher-rated high school prospect, indicating he should have a much higher ceiling. — Analysis from Filiaga is easily the biggest recruit in U-M's 2017 class at a listed 6-6, 335 pounds. If those numbers are accurate, he'd tie for the second-biggest Wolverine on the roster as soon as he stepped on campus. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM/NICK LUCERO

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