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December 28, 2012

Weekly Recruiting Wrap: An in-state top 25

Fans always want to know which college program locks down the home state better than any other. The only way to know for sure is by noting who gets most of the top talent in the state.

For the second year in a row, the Michigan Wolverines dominated the Great Lakes State by reeling in eight Michiganders, including three of the top five, and more than half of the top fifteen.

(All rankings are based upon live in-person evaluation unless otherwise noted. Projecting college success takes priority over high school production).

TheWolverine.com Top 25
1. Shane Morris - Michigan - Morris received slight downgrades in the eyes of some for missing much of his senior year with mononucleosis, and not putting up big stats when he was in the games. However, he has all the college-ready tools, and with a BCS-conference supporting cast, he'll be able to show that he's more than worthy of his five-star status.

2. Steve Elmer - Notre Dame - Elmer is a big, strong offensive lineman who is a beast in the running game. He is very close to Morris as the top prospect in the state, but lack of a killer mentality (important as an offensive lineman) and inexperience in pass protection bring him down slightly (no in-person evaluation).

3. David Dawson - Michigan - Dawson missed large swaths of the year due to injury, but when he was healthy, he showed the capability to dominate. He's big, quick-footed, and most importantly plays with a nasty streak. Though that nasty streak is sometimes taken a little too far (he was flagged on back-to-back plays in one game for unnecessary roughness), it's better to reign that in at the college level, than to instill toughness in a young lineman.

4. Jon Reschke - Michigan State - At the end of last season, Reschke would have been much lower on this list. However, he played like a completely new player this fall. He's as big and fast as ever, and is much more capable of being a playmaker, rather than letting plays come to him. Some of his techniques still need refining, but his improvement since last season demonstrates the work ethic that will be needed to get there.

5. Jourdan Lewis - Michigan - If this was a ranking of high school production and talent, rather than projecting to the next level, Lewis would probably be atop this list. Though he's undersized, he's an electric playmaker with the ball in his hands and a practically unbeatable defensive back. At the next level, that size will be a question mark, but he has shown he can produce despite it.

6. Cameron Dillard - Florida - Dillard isn't experienced in pass blocking playing in a run-heavy Canton offense, and is a little undersized for offensive line at just 6-3. However, he'll be a center at the next level (mitigating height issues), and is a tireless worker who will do what it takes to succeed at the next level.

7. Delano Hill - Michigan - Hill is an impressive physical specimen, standing 6-1, 190 pounds and running the fastest 40-yard dash of any player at Detroit Cass Tech. The question on him has been impact in games. He has the physical tools to be a great success in college, but isn't needed to be a big playmaker for the Technicians.

8. Desmond King - Ball State - Similar to Lewis, King would be even higher on this list if it were a ranking of high school players rather than college prospects. Though he'll play mostly defensive back in college, he was a prolific tailback for East English Village, and one of the toughest players on the field every time he set foot on it. He's the type of player that will have fans thinking, "how did that kid end up in the MAC?" a few years down the road.

9. Dennis Finley - Michigan State - Finley has a good frame for projecting to the next level, standing 6-6, 285. However, he has a lot of polish to add before he'll make a major impact on the next level. He's a hard worker, so his strength and flexibility should improve.

10. Wyatt Shallman - Michigan - Shallman is a mystery, given that he was limited almost the entire 2012 season due to injury. As a junior, he was a talented two-way player, but he was almost exclusively a defensive end (where he is not expected to play in college) this fall. Still, he's a very good athlete at 6-3, 245, and that potential alone is important.

11. Kenton Gibbs - uncommitted - Gibbs has interest around the Big Ten, and in fact was committed to Illinois early in the process. He's a big-bodied player who has the room to add much more good weight on his frame. He's a little on the shorter side, but is willing to do whatever his team needs of him, and was a playmaker for the Cass Tech defense, especially later in the season when he was also starting on offense.

12. Gerald Holmes - Michigan State - Holmes has the size to be an impact player in the Big Ten, and reasonably good athleticism. However, an injury his junior year slowed his development, and he needs play with the power you'd expect of a player his size. Still, good speed and vision will allow him to be a success in college (no in-person evaluation).

13. Khalid Hill - Michigan - Hill might not look the part of a classic Big Ten tight end, standing only 6-3. However, he has the strength to block like a sixth offensive lineman (he played extensively on the front five this season) and the speed to split out into the slot. Most importantly, the kid catches everything.

14. Da'Mario Jones - Michigan - Jones was a lesser-known name through much of the process, but he has good size and athleticism that should translate to the next level. His team used him in a variety of ways, so he's also versatile. Of course, that also means he's coming into college less polished than other wideouts, and will need to learn the techniques of the position.

15. Csont'e York - York has a good frame, good leaping ability, and very good hands. That combination alone will allow him to be a success in college. However, he didn't make as big an impact as expected this fall, and his speed - though good for the high school level - is not going to be game-breaking in college.

16. DeMarco Gulley - Uncommitted - Gulley plays at Cody, and is mostly an unknown commodity, but in a few instances of seeing him this fall, people are missing out. He's a quarterback for Cody - and actually has a good arm, too - but his college future is at running back, slot, or defensive back. He's a very good athlete with good knowledge of the game.

17. Berkley Edwards - Minnesota - Edwards is well known for his speed, and that alone earned him recruiting attention. It didn't hurt that he is a highly productive running back for Chelsea high school. His size (5-9, 190 is probably a slight overstatement) holds him back a bit. He needs to continue to develop the mental side of his game, and be more than just a speedster when he has the ball.

18. Demetrius Stinson - uncommitted - An in-state running back that doesn't have a lot of college attention, Stinson is known for being a load at 5-11, 220 pounds. He has pretty quick feet despite that size. A lack of overall speed has been the knock on him - along with a tendency to put the ball on the ground.

19. Joshua Jones - Illinois - A combo wide receiver/safety prospect, Jones has good size and athleticism to make an impact at the next level. He's a bit raw at safety (where he's expected to play in college), and isn't a "wow" athlete, but he's certainly Big Ten caliber.

20. Mycial Allen - Northern Illinois - Allen is a smooth 5-11, 185-pounder who would be playing in the Big Ten next year if he were just a bit bigger. His movements looks effortless, and he's plenty fast, though he's rarely going to be the fastest man on the field. He can play either side of the ball, and once he bulks up a bit, should be a good college player.

21. Luke MacLean - Pittsburgh - MacLean is about the size of a linebacker, but his skill set is more that of a defensive end. That tweener status is what has him ranking this low. He's thickly-built, and has the frame to add more weight, but he's never going to be the 280-pound defensive end that is a beast against both run and pass. Still, he has more than enough athleticism to make up for some of that and become a good college player.

22. Teo Redding - Bowling Green - Redding has impeccable skills, but his size (though he stands about 6-2, he's no more than 140 pounds as a high schooler) scared some schools away. He's as good a leaping, high-point receiver as there is. He doesn't have great speed, and he still has some polish to add to his game, but that leaping ability will make him a nice target in the red zone.

23. Pete Cender - Air Force - Cender has good size for the tight end position, and does a good job catching the football. As he continues to grow, he should develop into a nice tight end for Air Force. Though he's not an elite athlete, he's a hard worker and a good fit for the service academy.

24. Corey Willis - Central Michigan - Willis was one prospect I was excited to see this fall… then he missed the entire season due to injury. He's a small lightning-bug type of player. He played quarterback and defensive back for Holland, and is likely to end up a DB in college (no in-person evaluation).

25. Derek Edwards - Central Michigan - Detroit Catholic Central is known for producing tons of big-bodied linemen, such as Michigan freshman defensive end Matt Godin. Edwards is next in line, and he has the size and feet to be a productive lineman in college.


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