The Wolverine

June July 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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54 THE WOLVERINE JUNE/JULY 2018   PREP PROFILES Michigan linebackers/front seven coach Al Washington has only been on staff for a few months, but he al- ready seems to be worth his weight in gold on the recruiting trail. Prospect after prospect mentions Washington as a big reason why they're interested in U-M, and Katy (Texas) Cinco Ranch three-star inside linebacker David Gbenda is one of them. The 6-0, 212-pounder picked up his offer from U-M in late March, and Washington already has made a big impact on the muscular linebacker. "Coach Washington was actually the one who told me I had gotten the offer," Gbenda recalled. "We had a great conversation. From the little we've spoken, he seems to be a very honest man and a great coach." Gbenda has plenty of big offers to consider — including from Arkan- sas, Nebraska, TCU, Texas and Texas A&M, among others — and he's try- ing to figure out exactly how he'll make his choice. "People in Texas are telling me about the magnitude of the Michigan offer, and how great of a program they are," Gbenda explained. "They were my 19th offer, and obviously one of my biggest. They're an elite program because of their history of success. "Their great academics will also play a role for me — I want to fur- ther my education and get a great degree I can potentially fall back on someday." Gbenda hasn't learned much about Michigan and actually wasn't a huge football fan growing up. He started watching once he realized how good he was, but U-M was never a team he focused on. "I actually didn't get into college football until the offers started com- ing," he said with a laugh. "I knew I wanted to play college football someday once I started watching it, though. The few teams I did tune into were Texas, Texas A&M and Oregon in 2012 when I was in middle school." Even though Michigan hasn't been in the picture for long, Gbenda is go- ing to consider the Wolverines mov- ing forward, and Washington is go- ing to make sure of that. Gbenda was named to the all-dis- trict first team as a linebacker in 2017 after a productive season. He played in nine games and recorded 56 total stops, eight tackles for loss and two sacks. — Brandon Brown U-M picked up a pledge from Holly- wood (Fla.) Chaminade Madonna four- star safety Te'Cory Couch April 15, and the staff now hopes that the 5-10, 165-pounder can work some magic in helping the Wolverines land his friend and teammate John Dunmore. Couch is highly ranked, but Dun- more is elite. The 6-3, 170-pound pass catcher is considered the No. 7 wide re- ceiver and No. 41 overall prospect na- tionally by Couch would love to bring his good friend to Ann Arbor with him and plans to be in his ear until Dunmore makes a decision. "John and I have been close since third grade," Couch explained. "I'm trying to get him to go to Michigan. Go Blue! I just told him that he liked it when he was up there, so why not? Go up there and be different." Dunmore was once committed to Florida during Jim McElwain's ten- ure in Gainesville, making for another interesting angle. McElwain is now coaching wide receivers in Ann Ar- bor, giving Dunmore an opportunity to link back up with Coach Mac in a new setting. Dunmore remembers why McElwain recruited him so hard when he was still coaching the Gators. "I'm long, athletic and have great hands," Dunmore explained. "I'm also quick and can play any receiver posi- tion on the field, including the slot. "I'm also an intelligent player." McElwain isn't the only coach at Michigan that Dunmore respects. The touted receiver is also a big fan of head coach Jim Harbaugh, and he's another reason Dunmore is so inter- ested in the Wolverines even though the offense sputtered at times in 2017. "He should still be considered an elite coach," he said. "He's done so much as a coach on all levels." Dunmore would certainly help U-M's offense. The speedy receiver has an extremely versatile skill set, which allows him to play all over the field. As a junior at Delray Beach (Fla.) American Heritage, he notched 26 catches for 272 yards and six touch- downs. He also played quarterback and defensive back at an extremely high level. Last fall, American Heritage won its second consecutive Florida 5A state championship, posted a 13-0 record and was ranked No. 3 in the nation by USA Today. — Brandon Brown Texas Linebacker Is Eyeing U-M Because Of Al Washington Wolverines Working Several Angles To Land Talented Florida Receiver ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ Cinco Ranch H.S. Katy, Texas Class: 2019 Position: Linebacker Ht.: 6-0 • Wt.: 212 Rankings: Currently un- rated David Gbenda ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ Chaminade Madonna H.S. Hollywood, Fla. Class: 2019 Position: Wide Receiver Ht.: 6-3 • Wt.: 170 Rankings: No. 7 player in Florida, and No. 7 wide receiver and No. 41 overall prospect nationally John Dunmore Gbenda "Coach Washington was actually the one who told me I had got- ten the offer. We had a great conversation. From the little we've spoken, he seems to be a very honest man and a great coach." U-M commit Te'Cory Couch on high school teammate Dunmore "John and I have been close since third grade. I'm trying to get him to go to Michigan. … I just told him that he liked it when he was up there, so why not? Go up there and be different."

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