The Wolverine

December 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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DECEMBER 2017 THE WOLVERINE 59   COMMITMENT PROFILE Throughout much of the 2018 recruiting cycle, Missouri City (Texas) Ridge Point four-star tight end Mustapha Muhammad was at or near the top of Michi- gan's board for the position. In late October, the 6-5, 240-pounder finally pulled the trigger for the Wolverines. Mu- hammad,'s No. 19 tight end in the country, pretty much always knew it would be Michigan and finally just felt comfortable enough to make it unofficially official. "I picked Michigan because it's the best possible fit for my family and me on and off the field," he said. "I feel like I've been everywhere, and I know what each school is doing from how they use their tight ends to their campuses. "I've taken a lot of visits and seen everything I need to see. My family and I are set on Michigan." Muhammad's trainer, Doug Smith, also knew for a while that Michigan would be tough to beat. After each visit Muhammad took, he'd discuss the situation with Smith, and the longtime Houston-area trainer al- ways felt like U-M had a leg up. "Coach [Jim] Harbaugh was a big selling point for Mustapha," Smith said. "Fortunately, he's been able to visit a lot of schools, and he's seen everything. He's been taking visits since he was in the 10th grade. He's formed a lot of relationships and he's known what he was looking for. Michigan is a great fit for him, and he's known that for a while. "He told me a while back that it was probably going to be Michi- gan. I knew that there would be a good chance of that happening, but I didn't find out for sure until a couple of days before he committed." Muhammad looked at the big picture when making his decision. He wanted to pick a place where he could excel on and off the field, and he truly believes he found that in Michigan. "I think it's going to be a really good place for me to develop as a young man not only as a football player but also in life," Muhammad said. "It will prepare me to ma- ture and get ready for the real world. "I feel like it's a great football fit because I play tight end, and that's a staple of the offense. They don't run many plays with- out one on the field, and I can fit in the passing game and as a blocker in the run game as well." It sure seems like Muham- mad is going to be a great fit at U-M as a person and a student but Texas analyst Nick Krueger thinks the on- field fit is just as snug. "Muhammad is such a big tar- get, and he has a great catch ra- dius," Krueger said. "He really catches the ball extremely natu- rally as well. He always catches the ball with his hands, and he has great tendencies there. He's a guy you can count on to move the chains, but he can also run a seam down field. "He really has the characteristics to make him a special player in the passing game. When he catches the ball, he's hard to deal with because he is put together and he's athletic at his size." As a junior, Muhammad was named to the All-Greater Houston second team after reeling in 31 recep- tions for 438 yards and four touch- downs. His senior numbers aren't going to be as impressive because of a turf toe injury that caused him to miss several games, but he's still going to maintain his four-star status with Rivals. Muhammad plans to sign his letter of intent in February when friends and teammates are doing the same, and will arrive in Ann Arbor next June. — Brandon Brown Wolverines Land Top Tight End Target Mustapha Muhammad FILM EVALUATION Strengths: Mustapha Muhammad is a phenomenal pass-catching tight end and has shown the ability to block quite well. He's not called upon to pave roads much in high school, but when he is he excels. Overall, his size, athleticism and natural ball skills coupled with the ability to block make him a very well rounded tight end. Areas Of Improvement: Even though he's decent at blocking, he'll have to get more reps in that area of the game simply because he hasn't done a lot of it. Once in college, where he can gain weight, strength and a knowledge of that part of the position, he could develop into an every-down threat in both the passing game and running game. Michigan Player Comparison: Muhammad could end up being a better version of Kevin Koger. As a freshman, Koger was 6-4 and 220 pounds, and Muhammad is already bigger than that. Like Koger, Muhammad isn't described as an ultra-smooth, elite athlete, but he gets open, catches everything and is a handful with the ball in his hands. Koger developed into a nice all-around tight end while at Michigan, and Muhammad could arrive close to where Koger was when he finished. — Analysis from ranks Muhammad as the No. 30 player in Texas and the No. 19 tight end in the nation. PHOTO BY BRANDON BROWN Texas analyst Nick Krueger "Muhammad is such a big target, and he has a great catch radius. He really catches the ball extremely naturally as well. He always catches the ball with his hands, and he has great ten- dencies there."

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