April 24, 2013

2014 Needs Update: U-M recruiting from strength defensively

Michigan has needs remaining in the 2014 recruiting class, largely at receiver, but defensively, the Wolverines are recruiting from a position of strength and will be looking to add talent like four-star Malik McDowell.

2008 Scholi Chart

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style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(246, 246, 248);">2014
Eligibility Distribution Chart


Rs-Freshman or




Wilton Speight

Shane Morris (1)

Brian Cleary (W)

Russell Bellomy (41)style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:"
times="" new="" roman";=""

Alex Swieca (W)

Devin Gardner


De'Veon Smith (2)

Wyatt Shallman (3)

Derrick Green (4)

Drake Johnson (28)

Bobby Henderson (W)

DeAnthony Hardison (W)

Justice Hayes (42)

Dennis Norfleet (43)


Sione Houma (44)

Joe Kerridge (W)


Drake Harris

Jaron Dukes (5)

Csont'e York (6)

Da'Mario Jones (7)

Jehu Chesson (29)

Brad Anlauf (W)

Bo Dever (W)

Amara Darboh (45)

Jonathan Keizer (W)


Ian Bunting

Khalid Hill (8)

Jake Butt (9)

Clark Grace (W)

Michael Jocz (W)

Devin Funchess (46)

A.J. Williams (47)

Alex Mistropouls-Rundus (W)

Jordan Paskorz

Dylan Esterline (W)


Mason Cole

Logan Tuley-Tillman (10)

Chris Fox (11)

Kyle Bosch (12)

Patrick Kugler (13)

David Dawson (14)

Dan Samuelson (15)

Erik Magnuson (30)

Ben Braden (31)

Blake Bars (32)

Kyle Kalis (33)

Dan Gibbs (W)

Ben Pliska (W)

Chris Bryant (48)

Jack Miller (49)

Graham Glasgow (W)

Kristian Mateus

Joey Burzynski (W)


Jourdan Lewis (16)

Channing Stribling (17)

Ross Douglas (18)

Reon Dawson (19)

A.J. Pearson (W)

Terry Richardson (50)

Blake Countess (51)

style="font-style: italic;">Raymon

Delonte Hollowell (64)

Anthony Capatina (W)


Dymonte Thomas (20)

Delano Hill (21)

Allen Gant (34)

Jeremy Clark (35)

Jarrod Wilson (52)

Josh Furman


Michael Ferns

Mike McCray (22)

Ben Gedeon (23)

Kaleb Ringer (36)

Mark Lawson (W)

Dan Liesman (W)

Antonio Poole (53)

Joe Bolden (54)

Royce Jenkins-Stone (55)

James Ross (56)

Jake Ryan

Desmond Morgan (67)

Brennen Beyer


Chris Wormley (37)

Tom Strobel (38)

Matthew Godin (39)
Keith Heitzman (57)


Taco Charlton (24)

Mario Ojemudia (58)

Frank Clark (69)


Bryan Mone

Maurice Hurst Jr. (25)

Henry Poggi (26)

Willie Henry (40)

Ryan Glasgow (W)

Ondre Pipkins (59) Richard


Scott Sypniewski (27)

Kenneth Allen (W)

Matt Wile (71)


When we unveiled the first Needs Chart in February, Michigan had
landed commitments from three players -- Michael Ferns, Wilton
Speight and Bryan Mone. Since then, the Wolverines have added three
more talents and they are almost halfway to their scholarship
allotment of 14 for this 2014 class. However, looking at this chart,
it wouldn't be hard to predict 3-5 roster spots becoming available
before Signing Day next February. It likely won't grow by much more
than that, though, so still expect a class to max out around 18 or

So far, U-M has landed players at:

QB: 1

RB: 0

WR: 1

TE: 1

OL: 1

LB: 1

CB: 0

S: 0

DE: 0

DT: 1

PK/P: 0

For now, this is what the current state of the team looks like, and
here is an updated comprehensive look at Michigan's needs for 2014.


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Commitments: 1

Need on Feb. 7: 0

Need on April 24: 0

With an additional year of eligibility for Devin Gardner, Michigan
could find itself in its best state in years at the quarterback
position with four scholarship signal-callers on the roster and
promising walk-on Brian Cleary. The Gardner dynamic (if he chooses
to exhaust his eligibility with a fifth year) changes everything,
giving U-M talent to compete for the starting job, and more
importantly, the talent to compete for the backup job. It has been
rare over the last five seasons that Michigan's No. 2 has been a
legitimate QB and not won by default.

Unfortunately, Russell Bellomy's ACL injury likely means that Shane
Morris will not be able to redshirt this season and he will be a
sophomore in 2014. The coaches could try to redshirt him then,
giving him three seasons to start, but it won't work that way, and
there's a decent chance that Morris will move to No. 2 permanently
ahead of Bellomy by the time the 2014 season rolls around. With
Wilton Speight in the mix, the Maize and Blue are set in this
recruiting cycle. 


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Commitments: 0

Need on Feb. 7: 1

Need on April 24: 1

The Wolverines have plenty of depth at running back, but what the
spring revealed is they probably don't have a true standout until
Fitz Toussaint returns from injury. Players such as Thomas Rawls,
Justice Hayes, Dennis Norfleet and Drake Johnson are role players
that will seek to carve out a niche in the offense. Johnson and
Rawls possess the most potential to still emerge as every-down backs
but they didn't show enough this spring for offensive coordinator Al
Borges to believe they're capable of doing just that in the fall.

Five-star Derrick Green and De'Veon Smith address the need for a
bell-ringer, though they must prove themselves this year and into
the future. As for recruiting, Michigan doesn't need to sign another
third-down back or short-yardage back; it needs another stud to
compete with Green and Smith.


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Commitments: 1

Need on Feb. 7: 3

Need on April 24: 2

Though Michigan will not run a variation of the spread offense going
forward where there are sometimes four wide receivers on the field
at the same time, and even though it's becoming more and more
obvious that tight ends will play a huge role in Borges' attack, U-M
needs to add two more receivers in this class to bring its total
allotment up to eight for the 2014 season. That's a healthy number
that would allow the Wolverines to play three (and sometimes four)
at one time while giving the position the proper depth to make sure
the very best targets are emerging.

Michigan landed four-star Drake Harris in mid-April and not only
does he address the depth concerns but he brings with him the elite
talent quotient that the Maize and Blue find themselves lacking on
the surface. However, if Amara Darboh is as good as advertised, Jehu
Chesson continues to develop and Da'Mario Jones turns out to be the
steal many think he is, U-M should be just fine.  


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Commitments: 1

Need on Feb. 7: 1-2

Need on April 24: 0

Borges said recently that his ideal offense is a dream come true for
a tight end and the Wolverines are certainly stockpiling talented
athletes that can develop into game-changing blockers/receivers …
Ian Bunting the most recent example to come aboard. With Bunting,
Jake Butt and Devin Funchess, Michigan could boast the most athletic
tight end corps in the Big Ten in 2014, and both A.J. Williams and
Khalid Hill are not far off either.

In terms of going forward, if Jordan Paskorz does not return for a
fifth year, U-M might choose to opt for another tight end in this
2014 class but that decision could also depend heavily on how many
scholarships open up overall. It's a necessity to have four tight
ends on a roster. Michigan wants at least five. Grabbing six would
be a luxury, but if the Maize and Blue do, it should say plenty
about the future of this program and how it plans to utilize its


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Commitments: 1

Need on Feb. 7: 4

Need on April 24: 2-3

In a rather rapid way, Michigan has increased the depth and talent
on its offensive line, adding four prospects in the 2012 class and
another six in the 2013 class. It will be awhile before they all
mature, though it's likely at least two starters emerge this season
from that 2012 class in just their redshirt freshman campaigns. By
2014, the entire starting five could be from the 2012 and 2013
hauls. With its additions over the past two years, U-M is not in a
desperate predicament and can be selective in bringing more
offensive lineman into the fold. We've already seen the Wolverines
do that when they nabbed four-star Mason Cole and slow-played
three-star Tommy Doles, and we could see more of that going forward.

As for numbers, Michigan has 12 scholarship veterans (plus a few
solid walk-ons) plus Cole in the fold for 2014. An offensive line
really only needs 15 scholarship players but the Maize and Blue
could opt for three more O-Linemen in this class to bring them to
four total. They could very easily suffice with three, though. 


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Commitments: 0

Need on Feb. 7: 1

Need on April 24: 1

Michigan's staff has always operated from this idea of recruiting to
positions of strength. It's why even at a position like defensive
back, with eight corners and six safeties giving U-M 14 total (or at
least 3-4 more than needed), the Maize and Blue might just choose to
sign a few. However, this is one of those times where the staff has
to use prudence because of more pressing needs at other positions
and because the Wolverines don't have 25 scholarships to hand out.
With that in mind, signing one cornerback would be fine, signing two
would be pushing it. U-M, of course, has its eyes set on five-star
Jabrill Peppers, the No. 2 player in the country who happens to be
hip to spending his college career in Ann Arbor (though Stanford is
still very much in it also).


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Commitments: 0

Need on Feb. 7: 1

Need on April 24: 0

Josh Furman might not be back for a fifth year but even if he
leaves, Michigan would still have five safeties on its 2014 roster,
and could have more than that if one of this year's four rookie
cornerbacks moves over. There simply isn't a need to sign one or two
in this class, but like mentioned at cornerback, U-M is always
looking to add greater competition to each position, and the
Wolverines could go with a top-flight safety if one is high on the
Maize and Blue.


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Commitments: 1

Need on Feb. 7: 0

Need on April 24: 0

With Brennen Beyer's move to strongside linebacker (from weakside
end), Michigan is slated to carry 10 scholarship linebackers in 2014
and had already landed a commitment from four-star Michael Ferns.
Beyer could always return to the defensive line but that would be
asking the guy to play four different positions (though only WDE and
SAM) during his four seasons. The coaches probably wouldn't do that
to him. Besides, there isn't a need for him to return to defensive
end. With that in mind, we come back to linebacker, where U-M is
loaded with SAMs, MIKEs and WILLs.

At present day, there is no need to add another linebacker to this
class, but there are a few players that bear keeping an eye on.
Antonio Poole missed the 2012 season with an injury and did not
participate in the spring game. There is also such great depth there
that almost certainly someone will lose their patience and seek to
find a better opportunity elsewhere, so don't be surprised if spots
become available and Michigan does sign another LB.


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Commitments: 0

Need on Feb. 7: 2

Need on April 24: 1-2

Beyer has moved out but by no means is Michigan in dire need at
either defensive end position. The Wolverines have four strongside
ends that will have between two and three years of eligibility
remaining come 2014, including the triumvirate of Matt Godin, Chris
Wormley and Tom Strobel all in the same class. Wormley saw some time
in the spring game at the three-technique defensive tackle and while
there are many similarities between the three- and the
five-technique (strongside end), a more permanent move inside could
open the door for the Maize and Blue to add a strongside end in this
class.  Still, they don't have to.

At weakside end, U-M would probably like to add at least one elite
pass rusher, especially with Frank Clark entering his senior season
in 2014. Something to keep in mind too is that between four-star
in-state standout Malik McDowell and five-star DeShawn Hand, there
are two elite-level defensive ends high on Michigan. If both wanted
to play in Ann Arbor, Michigan would take them in a heartbeat, and
could afford to do so. Going for three or more ends, though, would
stretch this class beyond its limits.


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Commitments: 1

Need on Feb. 7: 2

Need on April 24: 2

Michigan is on the brink of enjoying a golden age of depth and skill
along the interior of the defensive line but while the Wolverines
can go three-deep at both the three-technique defensive tackle and
nose tackle spots this fall, those numbers diminish some in 2014. If
Richard Ash does not return for a fifth season of eligibility, U-M
would have just four veteran scholarship performers that year, and
that's not enough even with commitment Bryan Mone in the fold. Thus,
the Maize and Blue would probably like to add at least one more
tackle this year and might even look for two more to complement
Mone. Wormley, though, is 6-5, 290 pounds as a redshirt freshman and
might eventually move inside, especially if Michigan lands both Hand
and McDowell at end.


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2014 Scholarship Specialists: 2

Commitments: 0

Need on Feb. 7: 1

Need on April 24: 1

Matt Wile could probably handle both the punting and place-kicking
duties (and might to some degree this fall) but in an ideal world, a
team would feature a scholarship athlete at both posts. The
Wolverines are high on walk-on Kenneth Allen and if he continues to
play well, they could pass on grabbing a punter in this class and
save a scholarship (though they would have rookies at both spots in
2015). Will Hagerup will also be one to watch. Brady Hoke has yet to
announce what he plans to do with Hagerup, who is currently
suspended. It's possible the punter will get the Daryl Stonum
treatment and sit out a year (redshirting) before returning as a
fifth-year senior in 2014.

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