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January 6, 2014
Wolverines welcome seven early enrollees
Team 135 is officially underway.
The Wolverines announced seven early enrollees Monday, who will begin classes Wednesday and be available for team workouts and spring practice immediately.
Those early enrollees are Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy wide receiver Freddy Canteen, Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake offensive lineman Mason Cole, Saint Clairsville (Ohio) High School linebacker Michael Ferns, Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian wide receiver Drake Harris, Salt Lake City (Utah) Highland defensive tackle Bryan Mone, Richmond (Va.) Collegiate School quarterback Wilton Speight and Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy defensive back Brandon Watson.
Canteen is a four-star recruit ranked the No. 45 receiver in the 2014 class and the No. 10 player in the state of Maryland by Rivals.com.
Recruited by secondary coach Curt Mallory and wide receivers coach Jeff Hecklinski, Canteen committed to Michigan June 29.
"I saw Freddy at Michigan's camp," TheWolverine.com recruiting analyst Tim Sullivan said. "The biggest positive factor for him is that he's a great route runner. He's a little bit bigger than your average slot receiver at about 6-3. They're adding size and a good technician on the inside, and that will help the offense be more diverse."
Cole, a four-star prospect ranked the No. 129 overall player in the 2014 class, the No. 12 offensive tackle and the No. 21 player in the state of Florida by Rivals.com, was one of the most highly sought-after offensive linemen in the class, with offers from Arkansas, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC and more high-profile programs.
Recruited by Hecklinski and offensive line coach Darrell Funk, Cole committed to Michigan Feb. 25, 2013 as part of the Wolverines' early push in the 2014 class.
"I have seen Mason a couple times," Sullivan said. "I went down to Florida for one of his games. His biggest asset is that he's a huge, tough guy. He is going to have to learn to either focus on the guard position or become more fleet of foot at the tackle position, but he's definitely a mauler in the run game."
Ferns is a four-star prospect ranked the No. 202 overall player, the No. 12 inside linebacker and the No. 7 player in the state of Ohio in the 2014 class by Rivals.com.
He committed Aug. 8 and was recruited by linebackers coach Mark Smith.
"Ferns is a big linebacker," Sullivan said. "He's going to end up playing in the middle. He is more athletic than he gets credit for sometimes, but he is a classic, Big Ten run-stuffing linebacker and a really good one."
Unfortunately, Harris was on the bench for his senior season, dealing with a hamstring injury. But he made enough of a splash as an underclassman to move up the recruiting rankings.
He is a four-star prospect, ranked the No. 106 overall player, the No. 15 wide receiver and the No. 3 player in Michigan in the 2014 class by Rivals.com.
Originally committed to Michigan State, Harris switched his committed to Michigan April 15. He was recruited by offensive coordinator Al Borges and tight ends and special teams coach Dan Ferrigno.
"Harris missed his entire senior season, so it is going to be interesting to see how he can make up for that with early enrollment," Sullivan said. "He is a long, athletic wide receiver, who used his great speed to set the state receiving record as a junior."
Mone, who played at Highland High School with Michigan sophomore fullback Sione Houma, is a four-star prospect ranked the No. 185 overall player, the No. 11 defensive tackle and the No. 3 player in Utah in the 2014 class by Rivals.com.
Recruited by defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, Mone committed to Michigan Feb. 12, 2013.
"Bryan Mone is a big defensive tackle who will have to get in a little better shape, but that is what early enrollment is for," Sullivan said. "He is a run stuffer in the middle, who is working really hard to improve his pass-rushing ability."
Speight is a big quarterback who made a splash at last week's Under Armour All-American Bowl.
He is a three-star prospect ranked the No. 17 quarterback and the No. 16 player in Virginia in the 2014 class by Rivals.com.
Recruited by Borges and Hecklinski, Speight committed to Michigan Feb. 6, 2013.
"Speight is a big passer, but he is more mobile than you would expect," Sullivan said. "He doesn't have the strongest arm, but he definitely has the accuracy and knowledge of the game to push the ball down the field. He is pretty reminiscent of a guy like Phillip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers."
Watson is the high school teammate of Canteen.
Watson is a three-star prospect ranked the No. 59 cornerback and the No. 20 player in Maryland in the 2014 class by Rivals.com. He committed June 29, the same day as Canteen, after participating in the Michigan summer football camp.
"Watson is kind of the sleeper of the group," Sullivan said. "He has pretty good size. He could play either corner or safety. I expect him to end up at safety, because when Jabrill Peppers comes in, he is going to provide a lot at the corner position that Watson just won't be able to do, because Peppers is just that special of a player. He's a tough defender against the run, and he is decent but not elite in coverage."