The Wolverine

March 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MARCH 2018 THE WOLVERINE 71   FOOTBALL RECRUITING West Bloomfield (Mich.) High three- star outside linebacker Lance Dixon Dixon, the No. 10 player in Michigan and No. 21 outside linebacker nationally, has emerged as one of the staff's top tar- gets at viper and he happens to live only about 35 miles from Ann Arbor. He's been receiving a lot of attention from U-M and could be viewed as a Michigan lean. Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin could make things in- teresting, but it'll be tough to lure him away from the hometown team. Baltimore St. France four-star inside linebacker Shane Lee With former Michigan staffer Biff Poggi running the show at St. Frances, a lot of talented players in the Baltimore area are going to end up there. Lee is one of those, and is rated as the No. 1 inside linebacker and No. 33 overall prospect nationally. At 6-0, 235 pounds, Lee is built like a rock, loves contact and moves pretty well. He'd be a perfect compliment to Thomas and Dixon if the Wolverines can land him. DEFENSIVE BACK Scholarship Players In 2019: 13 Need: 2-3 Commits: 0 The Michigan coaching staff has built tremendous depth in the secondary by hitting on guys like Lavert Hill and David Long in 2016 plus Ambry Thomas in 2017. Inking five defensive backs in 2018 should add to that depth, and makes both corner and safety a lower priority in 2019. There are still some really good defen- sive backs on U-M's board and the staff already appears to be in pretty good shape with a few of them: Lawrenceville (Ga.) Archer four-star cornerback Andrew Booth Michigan continues to recruit Georgia extremely hard and Booth will be on the list of Peach State products to receive the full-court press. At 6-0, 180 pounds, he's a bit shorter than U-M's 2018 sign- ees, but he's long and well put together. The No. 8 cornerback and No. 70 over- all prospect nationally will be coveted by everyone, but U-M is putting work in to sway him. Loganville (Ga.) Grayson four-star cornerback Kenyatta Watson Another Peach State corner, Watson looks more like U-M's five signees in 2018 at 6-2, 183 pounds. Watson plans to visit Michigan in the spring. The No. 10 cornerback and No. 99 overall prospect nationally will also be also coveted by many. Detroit Martin Luther King four-star safety Marvin Grant U-M is in great shape with several tal- ented safeties, but as an in-state pros- pect who happens to be close with King alumni Lavert Hill and Ambry Thomas, it seems reasonable to expect Michigan to land Grant. At 6-2, 190 pounds, he has great length and size, and he may actually end up play- ing the viper position should he come to U-M. For now, he's the No. 9 safety and No. 110 overall prospect nationally. Alexandria (Va.) Episcopal four-star safety Litchfield Ajavon Hailing from the same high school as U-M defensive end Luiji Vilain, Ajavon has been on campus a couple of times and could be leaning toward Michigan. He has a great build at 6-0, 185 pounds, and is considered the No. 5 safety and No. 79 overall prospect nationally. SPECIAL TEAMS Scholarship Players In 2019: 2 Need: 0-1 Commits: 0 Technically Michigan didn't sign a spe- cialist in 2018, but does have a verbal pledge in place from Northville (Mich.) High senior kicker Jake Moody. The 6-0, 175-pounder is considered the No. 1 kicker in the country by Kornblue Kick- ing and has committed to Michigan as either a blueshirt or greyshirt. "A blueshirt would be a scholarship in the fall or a greyshirt would be a scholar- ship in the winter [meaning he would be a freshman in 2019]," Moody explained. Michigan also has a couple of other guys committed as preferred walk-ons from the 2018 class who will compete as kickoff specialists and punters. It's tough to pre- dict how things will play out in 2019 until some things shakeout with older players fighting for spots as preferred walk-ons. ❏ Committed Juniors Enjoyed Success In 2017 Michigan has four commits in the 2019 class and the group experienced ridicu- lous success on the field in 2017. Louisville (Ky.) Trinity four-star defensive end Stephen Herron Herron was a force all year, racking up 96 total stops, 19 tackles for loss and 11 sacks. He and Trinity finished the year an unblemished 15-0 and won the 6A state championship by defeating St. Xavier 38-21. Norcross (Ga.) Greater Atlanta Christian five-star defensive end Christo- pher Hinton Hinton faced double and triple teams all year long, but still managed to record 39 tackles and two sacks. He also picked off one pass and recovered a fumble. He helped Greater Atlanta Christian finish the year 12-2, but they did fall to Peach County 28-23 in the semifinals of the Georgia 3A state playoffs. Akron (Ohio) Hoban four-star offensive guard Nolan Rumler Rumler and Hoban finished the year at 13-1 and brought home the Division II state title after defeating Winton Woods 42-14 in the final game of the year. The championship in 2017 gave Hoban and Rumler three consecutive titles. Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy three-star outside linebacker Charles Thomas IMG Academy plays the toughest schedule in the country each year, traveling around the nation to take on the top teams from all over. The Ascenders finished 9-0, but due to being a Florida High School Athletic Association independent, cannot play for a state title. Thomas, playing in a backup role as a junior, tallied 52 tackles, three stops for loss and one sack. He also recorded two interceptions. — Brandon Brown Detroit Martin Luther King four-star Marvin Grant —'s No. 9 safety and No. 110 overall prospect nationally — has connections to the Wolverines that could result in him ending up in Ann Arbor. PHOTO BY BRANDON BROWN

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