The Wolverine

February 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2017 THE WOLVERINE 57   COMMITMENT PROFILE Detroit Cass Tech five-star wide re- ceiver Donovan Peoples-Jones com- mitted to Michigan live on ESPN2's Recruiting Nation Dec. 14, making U-M fans and coaches some of the hap- piest people in the world of recruiting. Flanked by his parents, Roz Peoples and Eddie Jones, the 6-1, 188-pounder threw on a Michigan hat and was nearly mauled by his head coach and Michigan alum Thomas Wilcher. Once the excitement dissipated, Peo- ples-Jones broke down the three rea- sons he picked U-M. "Michigan fit every need that I wanted," he said. "First was academics. Secondly, I want to play with the best. I believe Jim Harbaugh is one of the best coaches in college football, and I really think he can develop me into the re- ceiver that I want to be. Third, I wanted to be in a comfortable environment. "I really don't think that any col- lege town is better than Ann Arbor, and I'm ready to be at the University of Michigan." The next morning, Wilcher wel- comed a few media members into the weight room of Cass Tech and told a story of when he first knew that Peoples-Jones was going to be special. "We were doing our testing during the summer time back when he was an incoming freshman and I think he jumped about 10-something feet in the broad jump. I was like, 'Man, is that far?' Everyone was going seven or eight feet," Wilcher explained through laughter. "I told the rest of the team, 'Y'all better jump farther. There's no way he can out-jump everybody.' "I Googled the furthest jump and he was among some of the furthest jumps in the United States. He out-jumped a lot of players at the combine that year. I knew this guy was someone special.'" Wilcher said that Peoples-Jones' explosiveness would translate to the next level and so will his work ethic. "When he starts getting all of his tools together, and he's confident in everything he's going to be great," Wilcher said. "The key thing is just not settling. I think he can still get better and keep building confidence each day, each month and each year. "As long as he keeps working on making himself better, he'll be great — and I know he'll do that." Midwest analyst Josh Helmholdt has been watching Peoples- Jones since he was a freshman and also believes Michigan landed a future star. "Peoples-Jones quickly ascended into five-star territory," Helmholdt said. "He has explosive play-making ability. "He actually won the receiver MVP at the Rivals Camp Series event in Cleveland, as a sophomore in what, I would say, was the deepest wide re- ceiver event I've ever been to. He beat out guys like Donnie Corley, KJ Ham- ler, and Hunter Rison, among others. "What makes him uncommon in a good way is that he has a great, physical frame. He has the athleti- cism and the speed to be special. He also has the intangibles to make big plays, and the will to be great and dominant. That's what makes Dono- van Peoples-Jones a five-star talent." Those abilities allowed Peoples-Jones to outshine everyone in the state of Michigan during his senior campaign and earned him Gatorade Player of the Year honors.'s No. 1 wide receiver and No. 12 overall player na- tionally hauled in 60 passes for 1,071 yards and 17 touchdowns this past sea- son, leading the Technicians to a 14-0 record and the Division 1 state title. He averaged 17.8 yards per reception and also intercepted four passes on defense. The Associated Press Division 1-2 Player of the Year was also selected to play in the 2017 U.S. Army All- American Bowl, where he caught two passes for 22 yards. Peoples-Jones had a final five of Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Florida and Florida State. He took of- ficial visits to all but Michigan State, and was down to the Noles, Buck- eyes and Wolverines before pledging to U-M. He has already graduated high school and is on campus in Ann Arbor as an early enrollee. — Brandon Brown Michigan Lands Five-Star In-State Wide Receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones FILM EVALUATION Strengths: All of Donovan Peo- ples-Jones' natural abilities could be listed as strengths. He has great size and strength, runs very fast and ef- fortlessly, jumps out of the gym, and seems to catch everything thrown his way. He is a prototypical, do-it-all wide receiver. Areas Of Improvement: Route running is something that basically all wide receivers need to work on coming out of high school, and Peoples-Jones is no different. He's actually quite good already, but his natural talents — while on an elite level — might not be enough to win matchups in college. If he can refine the techniques and learn tricks to get open in college, he'll be indefensible. Michigan Player Comparison: Peoples-Jones compares favorably to former five-star wide receiver David Terrell. Peoples-Jones has a build that you don't often see in high school wide receiver, and Terrell was billed as a physical specimen coming out of high school as well. Terrell was a touch bigger, and Peoples-Jones is probably a bit more athletic and explosive. The size and skills to make life very difficult for defensive backs are shared traits. — Analysis from Peoples-Jones racked up 60 receptions for 1,071 yards and 17 scores during his senior season at Detroit Cass Tech. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM/NICK LUCERO Midwest analyst Josh Helmholdt on Peoples-Jones "He has the athleticism and the speed to be special. He also has the intangibles to make big plays, and the will to be great and dominant."

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