Michigan and Jim Harbaugh put on quite a show in Ann Arbor on signing day. Ex Wolverine Quarterback Tom Brady was there along with former New York Yankee super star Derek Jeter. But, for the real wow factor, Pro Wrestling Super star Rick Flair was on hand to add showmanship to an already impressive event. Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl winning head coach John Harbaugh was also there.
The Wolverines signing class was equally impressive as the stars in attendance. Love Jim Harbaugh or hate Jim Harbaugh, the man can coach and he can recruit and the Wolverines are coming, ready or not.
ESPN ranked this class as the nation’s 6th best.
Brandon Peters may be my favorite Quarterback for the 2016 recruiting class and I like a bunch of them. Peters is a cool customer, able to step up into the pocket under pressure and make just about any throw. He’s in possession of a strong arm, but he’s able to put a nice touch on any short pass. He feet and mechanics look nearly flawless and he is an outstanding athlete able to scramble for the first down and then more. He won’t be mistaken for an option Quarterback, but he can run. I saw him play last year and wrote about him in this post: Peters Never mind the other Quarterback in the article, he has already moved on to another team and not the Volunteers of Tennessee.
Peters should have the luxury of redshirting during his true freshman season with the Quarterbacks that the Wolverines already have on the roster. He will have to compete with last year’s recruits 6-7, 235 Zach Gentry and Alex Malzone.
At Running Back, the Michigan Wolverines signed the 4th rated guy in the country in Kareem Walker. The 6-0, 210 Walker is from Wayne, New Jersey and brings something to the table that the Wolverines did not have last season at the position. Walker is a burner that can change directions on a dime and can take it all the way at any time. Most of the backs that Michigan has are huge guys with great power, but lacking in breakaway speed. Walker gives Harbaugh and staff some new possibilities with their offense. Walker is very, very explosive and dangerous with the ball in his hands.
They also signed Chris Evans from Indianapolis. He’s 5-11, 195 and has some speed but not like Walker. He looks like a promising 3rd down back since he is outstanding catching the ball coming out of the backfield.
Kingston Davis is a 3 star back from Prattville, Alabama. Listed at 6-0, 225 to 230, Davis is something of a power back and won’t blow you away with his top end speed. However, he is quick enough to hit the hole in a hurry and pick up valuable yardage. He is rated as the 77th best Running Back nationally, but he could develop into a productive college back.
4 star Dylan Crawford is from Rancho Santa Margarito, California. He is supposed to be 6-1, 180 with about 4.5 to 4.6 speed in the 40. He is not a speedster, by any means, but seems to have outstanding athletic ability and can make the difficult catch look easy. He is one of those across the grain runners that are enjoyable to watch. He is also a very aggressive blocker and looks like he enjoys the contact.
If Crawford is not fast enough for your tastes, then Eddie McDoom certainly is. The 5-11, 180 4 star from Winter Garden, Florida is like a bolt of lightening. Excitement happens every time this guy gets his hands on the ball and he’s a threat at any time to take it the distance. He’s very graceful and fluid in his movements and will be a deep threat or a return man from day one.
The Wolverines cleaned house in the state of New Jersey and Wide Receiver Brad Hawkins from Camden is a talent. He has good size at 6-2, 210 and sub 4.5 speed and has a way of coming up with big plays. He played some Running Back, Wide Receiver, Safety and returned punts.
Ahmir Mitchell is another good sized Wide Receiver and another native of New Jersey and another talent. He’s 6-3, 205 and very phyiscal. Although he is not a burner or a track guy, he is plenty fast enough.
Nate Johnson is Michigan’s lowest rated recruit, but that is puzzling. He is 6-0, 180 and runs in the 4.4s and was a two time All State selection in Tennessee.
Devin Asiasi is absolutely devastating as a run blocker. He is a good receiver from the Tight End position as well. The 3rd ranked Tight End in the nation is 6-5, 275 and I wonder if he will outgrow the position. But, he moves really well right now for a guy of his size. The Wolverines have some talented Tight Ends returning, but Asiasi has the ability to help in a hurry.
Nick Eubanks is a 6-5, 215 speedy Tight End from Plantation, Florida. He will need to bulk up considerably to play Tight End in the Big 10, but he is a great receiver at the moment. He already blocks really well for a tall skinny guy.
Sean McKeon is only a 3 star recruit which I don’t get at all. If I were making the decisions, I might move Asiasi to Offensive Tackle and play Eubanks at Wide Receiver because McKeon is the most complete Tight End of the 3. He is 6-5, 230 and runs like a deer, and looks to have good hands He’s also a dominating blocker from his Tight End position. He is the most traditional Tight End of the group and he looks to have tremendous potential at the position.
Ben Bredeson is supposedly the 4th best Offensive Tackle prospect in the country. That may be, but I am not sure I have seen a more nasty Offensive Lineman in this class. He not only plays through the whistle, he seems to not be happy unless he knocks his opponent to the ground and piles on top of him. He is just a crushing Offensive Lineman that has a chance to player early and for a long time for the Wolverines. He is one of the more impressive players in this class and since he is from Hartland, Wisconsin I have no idea how they stole him from the Badgers. The 6-5, 295 Bredeson is super
Offensive Guard and Center:
Michael Onwenu might be the biggest football recruit in the country at 6-3, 370. Onwenu played Nose Guard on Defense and as you can guess he was pretty much unmovable. On Offense, he played Left Tackle and played it much better than I would have thought for his size. But, he is definitely an Offensive Guard at the college level and I would hope they can get about 40 pounds off of him. He does move really well for his size, but could be better at a lighter weight.
Stephen Spanellis is a big, strong guy at 6-5, 315. While he is strong and can dominate at the high school level, Spanellis could use a little help with his footwork. That should not be much of a problem and he has the size and ability to make a good college Offensive Guard.
Ronald Johnson Jr is a high school teammate of Brad Hawkins in Camden, New Jersey. If he wasn’t such a good prospect at Defensive End, Johnson could be a really good Tight End in the Big 10. He is really fluid, quick and aggressive coming off the corner and a great pass rusher. Sometimes, they played him inside, and he was just too quick for the Offensive Linemen and he is 6-4, 230 and a 4 star prospect. He will need a little time to bulk up to play as a down lineman.
Carlo Kemp might be one of the more intriguing prospects in this class. He is 6-3, 260 and his coaches in Boulder, Colorado played him all over the field. He played Defensive End, Outside Linebacker, Inside Linebacker and Running Back. From his Running Back position he showed athletic ability that we are not used to seeing out of a 260 pound man. He also never gives up on a play and will keep fighting until the play is over no matter what position he is playing which demonstrates outstanding heart and character. I can’t predict if he will be the best player in this class when the smoke clears, but I can almost guarantee if all things go smoothly that he will be a player
for the Wolverines.
This is where things went really, really well for Michigan. Rashad Gary was the very best recruit in the country and they beat the world, and then finally Clemson for Gary. This 5 star prospect is just way too quick for his size and he looks sometimes as if he’s been shot out of a cannon. He moves so well that he could play any Defensive Line position and very, very well. The landing of Rashad Gary was a major, major accomplishment for the Michigan coaching staff. The Paramus, New Jersey native should have an early impact at Michigan and dominate there for 3 seasons before announcing for the NFL. I will be shocked if he’s not at least a 2 year All American and that is a lot of pressure to put on a kid.
Michael Dwumfour is yet another Jersey guy coming to Ann Arbor. Don’t let the 3 star and 48th best Defensive Tackle ranking discourage, this guy is also very good. He moves so quickly for a big man that you would think he is 50 pounds lighter. He is just way too quick for his size and lives in opponents backfields. There must be something I am missing on his ranking. This guy can play.
Devin Bush Jr is a 5-11, 225 Outside Linebacker prospect from Pembroke Pines, Florida. This kid is just flat out explosive. Michigan just improved their defensive team speed dramatically as soon as this guy hits campus. He is just a blur. If he misses on a play, he is back in on it in the blink of an eye because of his incredible quickness. If he wasn’t such a talent at OLB, I would love to see what he could do with the ball in his hands at Running Back. Downside with him is he loves to do that
shoulder hit and not wrap up like is so popular these days. That works well in high school, but can cause trouble in the big leagues. This 4 star recruit should see the field in a hurry. His father, Devin Sr, played Linebacker for Florida State back in 1993 when they won a national title.
Ellenwood, Georgia native Elysee Mbem-Bosse is an outstanding 4 star Inside Linebacker kind of in the mold of a Raekwon McMillan at Ohio state. He’s a tremendous athlete with the size to plug the middle and the speed to run from sideline to sideline. Michigan fans are going to love this guy, while haters will fear him. He’s about 6-3, 230 with 4.6 speed.
Joshua Uche is a slightly undersized, but very speedy Outside Linebacker prospect from Miami. He played Defensive End in high school and was just explosive coming off of the corner rushing the Quarterback. He is listed at 6-2, 215, but runs around a 4.5 or 4.6. Michigan did wonders to improve it’s team speed almost across the board, but especially at Linebacker.
Lavert Hill was one of only two Michigan players signing with Michigan on signing day. Hill is not a big guy at 5-11, 175 but he is a shut down 4 star corner that should excel at the college level. He supposedly runs the 40 in less than 4.4 and he can cover some serious real estate in a hurry.
Joshua Metellus is a high school teammate of Devin Bush Jr at Pembroke Pines in Florida. In much the same style as Bush, Metellus is a hard hitting aggressive Defensive Back. His coaches used him as something of a rover who rushed the Quarterback often and played close to the line of scrimmage. But, he was still used in pass coverage as well. Very talented player with excellent speed and play recognition. He is only rated as the 22nd best at Safety, but that is probably not going to be right when all is said and done.
Coming from McKeesport, Pennsylvania is Safety Khaleke Hudson. He is only rated a 3 star and the 40th best Safety in the nation, but Hudson can play. He was used as a Running Back and as a Safety and was a play maker on both sides of the ball breaking many long runs and coming up with big plays on defense time after time. He will be interesting to follow.
Pembroke Pines was the 8A State Champs in Florida and Michigan made off with 3 of their best players including Safety Devin Gil. The 6-1, 200 Gil played Middle Linebacker but is projected as a Safety in college. Like his teammates, he is extremely quick and aggressive. Time will tell if he can adjust to the Safety position, or he might play elsewhere.
Much was made of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh climbing a recruit’s tree. That recruit was David Long from Los Angeles Loyola High School. I suppose climbing that tree worked pretty well. Long is not a big guy at 5-10,175 but he is really fast and supposedly runs in the low 4.4 range. He is listed as an Athlete by recruiting services, but he was an excellent Cornerback in high school and he could wind up there at Michigan.
Was climbing that tree worth it for Harbaugh? Probably so.
Quinn Nordin was the kicker that was committed to Penn State before Jim Harbaugh drug his sleeping bag into Nordin’s home. Nordine was a life time Penn State fan and Harbaugh was able to flip him which shows you what kind of recruiter that he is.
This is an outstanding recruiting class and by the time all is said and done it may be as good as any ranked higher than it.
You have to particularly like how the Wolverines improved their team speed and especially at Linebacker. But, the best prize of all is Rashad Gary in the Defensive Line.
Ben Bredeson at Offensive Tackles is also about as good as it gets.
Running Back Kareem Walker should make an immediate impact and Quarterback Brandon Peters could turn into a future super star.