The Wolverine

March 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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70 THE WOLVERINE MARCH 2018   FOOTBALL RECRUITING who signed with Clemson. That makes many believe that Lowe will follow Law- rence to Death Valley, but that won't stop staffs from trying to land him. Lowe is the No. 65 player in the state of Georgia. OFFENSIVE LINE Scholarship Players In 2019: 12 Need: 4-5 Commits: 1 Michigan really struggled recruiting offensive linemen in 2018, landing only one in Jalen Mayfield. Inking trench players is always a priority even if there's not a ton of room in a small class. U-M does already have one commit along the O-line in 2019 in Akron (Ohio) Hoban four-star offensive guard Nolan Rumler. The 6-4, 300-pounder is as solid as ever and won't be wavering. He's the No. 5 offensive guard and No. 98 overall player nationally, which is a good start for U-M up front. Tackles are definitely the higher prior- ity along the line, but with Rumler in the fold and other guards high on U-M there could be some other interior additions as well. Rumler is a solid centerpiece to build around with candidates like: Warwick (R.I.) Bishop Hendricken School four-star offensive tackle Xavier Truss From the same high school as U-M defensive end Kwity Paye, Truss and his coaches are definitely familiar with Michigan. At 6-7, 325 pounds, Truss is a prototypical tackle prospect. The four-star said that Michigan and Penn State were standing out to him back in early January, but he picked up an offer from Alabama Feb. 13. He's not in the Rivals250 yet, but that is ex- pected to change moving forward. Fort Washington (Md.) National Christian Academy three-star offen- sive guard Will Harrod Listed as a guard but built more like a tackle at 6-6, 305 pounds, Harrod hasn't been shy about how much he likes Michigan. In fact, as of mid-February, he was considered the next 2019 prospect to drop for the Wolverines. He's ranked the No. 14 player in Mary- land and hails from one of the up-and- coming talent-producing schools in the Mid-Atlantic region. It would be big for the Michigan staff to plant some flags at National Christian Academy. Tampa (Fla.) Plant four-star offen- sive guard Will Putnam Putnam received an in-school visit from Sherrone Moore during the evalu- ation period, making it seem as if he is a high priority for the U-M staff. The 6-4, 280-pounder excels at wres- tling and is a brute up front. He and Rumler would make for a very impres- sive haul on the interior of the offen- sive line. Putnam is listed just ahead of Rumler as the No. 4 offensive guard and No. 74 overall prospect nationally. DEFENSIVE LINE Scholarship Players In 2019: 14 Need: 4-5 Commits: 2 Defensive line is probably the big- gest area of need for U-M in 2019, spe- cifically on the interior. As of February 2017, there will only be five defensive tackles on the 2019 roster and three of them have yet to prove themselves. Defensive end is in pretty good shape even though Rashan Gary will almost certainly be playing on Sundays by then. The U-M staff has also already received verbal pledges from Norcross (Ga.) Greater Atlanta Christian five-star strong- side defensive end Christopher Hinton and Louisville (Ky.) Trinity four-star weak- side defensive end Stephen Herron. The Michigan staff would love to sup- plement the already impressive D-line haul with players like: Cincinnati Walnut Hills four-star de- fensive tackle Jowon Briggs Briggs is a very interesting young man. At 6-3, 275 pounds, the junior is as strong as an ox and dominant in the middle of the defensive line. On the flip- side, he's soft-spoken, intelligent and very into music, reading and academics. Because of that, schools like Michigan, Notre Dame and hometown Cincinnati appeal to him. As the No. 3 defensive tackle and No. 96 overall player in the country, just about every school would love to have him. Lewis Center (Ohio) Olentangy Or- ange five-star defensive end Zach Harrison As a five-star prospect from just outside of Columbus it's hard to imagine Harri- son ending up anywhere other than Ohio State, but the Michigan coaches are going to pursue him hard. At 6-5, 245 pounds and with the longest wingspan Michi- gan has ever measured on a prospect, he looks like a future NFL pass rusher. Harrison is considered the No. 2 strongside defensive end and No. 14 overall prospect nationally. Wichita (Kan.) Northwest three-star defensive end Marcus Hicks Hicks was visited by Sherrone Moore in mid-January, passed the eyeball test with flying colors and picked up an of- fer. At 6-6, 230 pounds, Hicks has a crazy athletic build and looks like an over- sized wide receiver. He's just the No. 40 player at his position, but looks to have tremendous upside. Kentwood (Mich.) East Kentwood four-star defensive tackle Mazi Smith Michigan may have missed out on East Kentwood's biggest stud in four-star of- fensive tackle Logan Brown, but will try to avoid going 0-2 with Smith. The 6-3, 302-pounder flashes greatness at times and is ranked as the No. 7 defensive tackle and No. 127 overall prospect nationally. He's been to U-M multiple times and will surely return in the near future. LINEBACKER Scholarship Players In 2019: 8 Need: 2-3 Commits: 1 Linebacker is another position that was recruited well in the 2017 class, but the U-M staff signed just Cameron Mc- Grone in 2018. U-M does have a com- mit from Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy three-star outside linebacker Charles Thomas in the 2019 class, but would like to reel in a couple more. Thomas looks like a Devin Bush clone, so bringing in a bigger, inside thumper type along with a viper candidate should be the remaining focus. That type of targeted approach gives the staff a chance to zero in on a couple of players like: Jowon Briggs of Cincinnati Walnut Hills is listed as a four-star talent, and the No. 3 defensive tackle and No. 96 overall prospect nationally by PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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