The Wolverine

June July 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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JUNE/JULY 2018 THE WOLVERINE 55 BY BRANDON BROWN J im Harbaugh and his coaches landed back-to-back top-five classes in 2016 and 2017 before slid- ing to No. 24 in 2018. Last year's haul was a bit smaller than the previous two classes, but it also appeared to have a few more projects in the group such as two-star wide receiver Ronnie Bell — who was originally committed to Missouri State for bas- ketball — and German defensive end Julius Welschof. Throw in the fact that U-M defi- nitely missed on some of its top tar- gets last year, and it's clear that Har- baugh wanted to rejuvenate things during the 2019 cycle. He let go of some longtime friends in strength coach Kevin Tolbert and offensive coordinator Tim Drevno, and made some key hires in order to energize Schembechler Hall. The new faces within the program have brought life to the recruiting trail and to campus when prospects come to town. The changes appear to be working — the Wolverine staff is already off to a great start with Ri-'s No. 8 class in the country as of May 15. EXPERIENCED ASSISTANTS ARE WORKING HARD Harbaugh hired both Ed Warin- ner and Jim McElwain over the last four months, bringing in two very experienced coaches. Warinner was in charge of some the most successful offensive lines in the history of the Ohio State program, and McElwain receives a lot of credit for some of the national title runs at Alabama. Warinner was the offensive coor- dinator at Minnesota last year, while McElwain was running the whole show at Florida. Now both are in Ann Arbor and bring a ton of ex- pertise to their respective position groups — offensive line for Warinner and wide receivers for McElwain. Coaching college football isn't just about personnel groups or X's and O's. Perhaps even more important to a program's success is recruiting, and McElwain and Warinner both have had success in bringing in top talent throughout their careers. Prospects across the country have praised both Warinner and McElwain for how they've been courting them to U-M. Greenwich (Conn.) Brunswick three-star wide receiver Cornelius Johnson has become one of the hot- test prospects in the country, and Michigan has been involved for a while. The 6-3, 195-pounder is con- sidered the No. 77 wide receiver in the country by, but U-M is after him like a much higher-rated pass catcher. "I'd probably say that Michigan is recruiting me at an eight or a nine out of 10," Johnson said. "They're stay- ing in contact with me. Coach McEl- wain is texting me almost every day. "He's been involved with me for sure. He's the one who was initially interested in me, and he introduced me to the rest of the staff. He's been the main one who has been recruit- ing me." Because of that, Johnson's interest in Michigan is quite high as well. McElwain is also involved with Indianapolis Warren Central four- star wide receiver David Bell. McEl- wain is making sure that the 6-2, 180-pounder —who is listed as the top player in the Hoosier State, and the No. 19 wide receiver and No. 92 overall player in the country by Ri- — knows he's wanted in Ann Arbor. "He visited my school a little while back," Bell said. "He talked to me about his history. He told me about how much he wants me at Michigan and how much of a good impact I'll have if I went there." Both Indiana and Purdue are talk- ing to Bell about playing both foot- ball and basketball, but the Michigan staff and McElwain are also trying hard to convince him that Ann Arbor is the place to be. Akron (Ohio) Hoban four-star of- fensive guard and Michigan commit Nolan Rumler has been committed to U-M since July of last year and that means that he obviously pledged to the Wolverines long before Warinner was in Ann Arbor. With that said, Rumler has quickly bonded with Warinner and now looks forward to learning under him. Rumler's fa- ther Todd is also excited about what Warinner brings to the table as a coach and a recruiter. "Nolan knows him from school visits with his past schools and since he has been at Michigan," the elder Rumler explained. "Nolan likes him, and I hear he is a strong recruiter. He got Pat Elflein, Michael Jordan and Billy Price at Ohio State, and two huge commits from IMG Academy while he was at Minnesota. He must be pretty good." Paw Paw (Mich.) High three-star offensive tackle Karsen Barnhart committed to Michigan in late April and Warinner is a big reason why. They've known each other for a while and that gave the 6-5, 280-pounder a lot of comfort when it came to pull- ing the trigger. "We have a great relationship," Barnhart said. "We've been building that all the way back since he was at Minnesota. It's already good, and it's just going to get stronger from here on out."   FOOTBALL RECRUITING The New Assistant Coaches Are Aiding U-M's Efforts To Bring In A Top-10 Group First-year wide receivers coach Jim M c E l w a i n h a s l e d t h e c h a r g e f o r Indianapolis Warren Central four-star David Bell (above), who is's No. 1 pros- pect in Indiana, and No. 19 wideout and No. 92 overall player nationally. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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