The Wolverine

June July 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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50 THE WOLVERINE JUNE/JULY 2018 BY BRANDON BROWN B efore the Michigan football pro- gram embarked on a trip to France from April 26 to May 3, the coaches kicked off the spring evalu- ation period, which began April 16 and runs through the end of May, excluding Sundays and Memorial Day weekend. Assistant coaches from programs around the country are allowed to head out on the road and observe prospects at their high schools in workout settings, weight-lifting pe- riods or during spring practices in the states that allow those. The U-M staff checked in on pros- pects from the 2019, 2020 and even the 2021 classes, taking advantage of the opportunity to see how kids measure up in person. It also gives the staff confidence when offering a prospect they've seen in person. Defensive line coach Greg Matti- son didn't have to travel too far to drop in on one of Michigan's 2019 targets. River Rouge (Mich.) High three-star defensive end Ruke Orho- rhoro lives less than 40 miles from Ann Arbor, which has allowed the veteran coach to stop by and see him a couple of times. "Coach Mattison came by to watch our workout showcase," Orhorhoro said. "He's my guy. He's so energetic, and I love his vibes." The 6-5, 263-pounder was a popu- lar prospect during the first week of May, reeling in offers from schools like Clemson, Michigan State, Or- egon, Penn State and Pittsburgh. Michigan got involved a littler ear- lier, offering in mid-March, and the stops by Mattison indicate that the recruiting process is heating up be- tween Orhorhoro and the Wolverines. The veteran assistant also made a swing through the Windy City. Matti- son stopped by Aurora (Ill.) West Au- rora to see 2020 defensive tackle Den- ver Warren. The 6-3, 300-pounder impressed Mattison and came away with an offer from U-M. "We met each other," Warren said. "He came to a workout at 6:30 a.m., and I called him after it was over. That's when he offered me." Mattison also extended an offer to Chicago Marist sophomore wide re- ceiver Jadon Thompson with the help of wide receivers coach Jim McElwain. The 6-2, 155-pounder has taken reps at cornerback at camps in the past and impressed there as well. He's long, smooth and athletic, and could prob- ably excel at either position in college. W h i l e M a t t i s o n w a s m i l l i n g around River Rouge and Chicago, tight ends coach Sherrone Moore was busy in the state of Texas. The for- mer Central Michigan assistant was able to put eyeballs on Crandall High four-star offensive center Branson Bragg and Round Rock Cedar Ridge three-star wide receiver and Baylor commit Jaylen Ellis — both from the 2019 class — as well as Dallas Bishop Dunne 2020 tight end Elijah Ylverton. All three prospects picked up an offer from the Wolverines during the two-day stretch. The 6-4, 275-pound Bragg is considered No. 2 at his po- sition and No. 246 overall nation- ally. Ellis checks in at 6-0, 186 pounds and has been committed to the Bears since June of last year. Meanwhile, Ylverton is unranked as a sophomore prospect but has impressive measur- ables at 6-5, 220 pounds. Running backs coach Jay Harbaugh was also in Texas checking on Michi- gan targets. Harbaugh swung by Katy, Texas, and Cinco Ranch High School to take a look at three-star inside line- backer David Gbenda May 9. The 6-0, 212-pound rising senior seems to be quite high on Michigan and was glad to see the Block M in his school. "Michigan is a great school and a great program," Gbenda said. One of U-M's other new assistants, linebackers coach Al Washington, swung by Columbus (Ohio) St. Francis DeSales to see athlete Joey Velazquez and four-star lineman Rodas Johnson. Velazquez, a 6-0, 205-pounder, is be- ing viewed by the Michigan staff as a viper and is very happy that he has an opportunity to potentially play at U-M. The Ohio State baseball pledge has always wanted to play football in college and may get that chance. Johnson, the No. 9 offensive guard and No. 161 overall prospect na-   MICHIGAN RECRUITING The Wolverines Are Taking Full Advantage Of The Evaluation Period Four-star center Branson Bragg received a Michigan offer after assistant Sherrone Moore stopped by Crandall (Texas) High during the spring evaluation period. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM 2019 Michigan Commitment List Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (High School) Karsen Barnhart OT 6-5 280 Paw Paw, Mich. (Paw Paw) Te'Cory Couch S 5-10 165 Hollywood, Fla. (Chaminade Madonna) Stephen Herron DE 6-4 225 Louisville, Ky. (Trinity) Christopher Hinton DE 6-5 265 Norcross, Ga. (Greater Atlanta Christian) Trente Jones OL 6-5 293 Loganville, Ga. (Grayson) Cade McNamara QB 6-1 170 Reno, Nev. (Damonte Ranch) Gabe Newburg DE 6-5 230 Clayton, Ohio (Northmont) Nolan Rumler OL 6-4 300 Akron, Ohio (Hoban) Jack Stewart OL 6-5 285 New Canaan, Conn. (New Canaan) Charles Thomas LB 6-0 216 Fairburn, Ga. (IMG Academy [Fla.])

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