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June 18, 2014

2015 Hot Board: The Defense

In our first updated defensive hotboard this month, there is some good news and some bad, with linebacker Asmar Bilal one to watch after announcing he will visit Michigan June 20.

No longer on the list: DE Clelin Farrell (committed to Clemson June 4) CB Shaun Crawford (committed to Notre Dame June 15), DE Dre'Mont Jones (committed to Ohio State June 18).

Additions: None.

Hot Board: Defense
Defensive Ends
Joshua Alabi
6-4/260, Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech
Rankings:
Three-star, No. 25 strongside defensive end, No. 6 player in Michigan
Why Michigan is interested:
Michigan has always had a strong relationship with Cass Tech and its D-I prospects, and Alabi, a big, athletic end, definitely fits the mold of what the coaches are looking for in defensive linemen.
The Latest On Alabi: Alabi visited Wisconsin recently, and on Tuesday, he left for a three-college stop at North Carolina, North Carolina State and Miami. Just yesterday he told an N.C. State recruiting site that Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Ohio State will likely receive official visits and that the Wolfpack, Hurricanes and Tennessee are three schools he is also considering for an official. However, the Cass Tech native could decide before that, and speculation is that he will choose between the Spartans, Badgers and Volunteers.
Jalen Bates
6-5/235, Kaplan (La.) High School
Rankings:
Three-star, No. 28 strongside defensive end, No. 18 player in Louisiana
Why Michigan is interested:
Bates is an under-the-radar prospect, but he is starting to pick up serious interest from some big-name schools, including the Wolverines. He has 14 total offers: Arizona State, Iowa State, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, Michigan, Memphis, Ole Miss, Miss. State, Oregon State, Southern Miss, TCU, Texas Tech and Tulane.
The Latest On Bates: Bates told Rivals.com's AggieYell.com just yesterday that he has been overwhelmed by the attention he has received lately: "The process has been a little frustrating because at first it would have been an easy decision for me, I would just go to [Louisiana-Lafayette] or wherever," said the three-star defender. "Now all of these big SEC, Big 12, Pac 12 schools are all offering and it got a lot harder." He told TheWolverine.com he had intentions to visit Michigan this summer, but a date has not been set.
Jashon Cornell
6-3/270, St. Paul (Minn.) Cretin-Derham Hall
Rankings:
Four-star, No. 76 overall prospect nationally, No. 6 weakside defensive end, No. 1 player in Minnesota
Why Michigan is interested:
Minnesota isn't a fertile recruiting pipeline for the Wolverines. They have had just four players from the state since 1975, including all-star tight end Bennie Joppru. But Cornell seemed to be too good of a Midwestern prospect to pass up. He really impressed Michigan coaches at last summer's Sound Mind Sound Body camp.
The Latest On Cornell: Though Cornell has not gone on record confirming reports that he and Michigan have parted ways, that is in fact the scuttlebutt on the internet. Cornell was expected to visit Penn State this weekend, but had to cancel due to family matters. The Nittany Lions are considered in the running along with Ohio State, Michigan State, Notre Dame and UCLA.
Jalen Dalton
6-6/220, Clemmons (N.C.) West Forsyth
Rankings:
Four-star, No. 47 overall prospect nationally, No. 4 weakside defensive end
Why Michigan is interested:
Dalton has relatively recently arrived on Michigan's radar, with DBs coach Roy Manning calling to offer a scholarship in mid-January. With his size, strength and athleticism, Dalton could potentially be either a rush end or a SAM linebacker in Michigan's package, which makes him very intriguing for the Wolverines.
The Latest On Dalton: It appears Tar Heel fans are on commit watch, expecting Dalton to drop any day now for North Carolina.
Kengera Daniel
6-6/250, Raleigh (N.C.) Millbrook
Rankings:
Three-star, No. 18 weakside defensive end
Why Michigan is interested:
Daniel isn't a high-profile prospect, right now, but that could change in the near future, as he continues to get more exposure. He already has racked up an impressive offer list of 14, which includes Alabama, Boston College, Kentucky, Louisville, Miami, Tennessee, Virginia and, Michigan.
The Latest On Daniel: Daniel had initially said he hoped to have his commitment announced by his birthday, July 29. However, after a recent visit to Tennessee he told VolQuest.com he intends to visit Louisville, Kentucky, Alabama Clemson, Ohio State and Wake Forest this summer, and will likely wait until the fall to decide. Rivals.com's Adam Friedman caught up with Daniel today and Michigan will also make the cut. "It was pretty exciting when I got the Michigan offer. I talked to Coach Manning. I plan on going up there on July 27 for the cookout."

Keisean Lucier-South
6-6/215, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran
Rankings:
Four-star, No. 35 overall prospect nationally, No. 2 weakside defensive end, No. 9 player in California
Why Michigan is interested:
Not many non-West Coast schools have thrown their hats into the Lucier-South recruiting ring, but Michigan would clearly have use for a player like him. Although he's still very svelte, Lucier-South has the frame to pack on weight and be a prototypical rush end. Earlier this month he picked up his 32nd offer, from Oklahoma. Everyone wants him.
The Latest On Lucier-South: It's been really, really quiet on the Lucier-South front lately with no one catching up with him since May, so it's hard to say exactly what's going on with him. Most likely, he's trying to do his own thing this summer, but we will keep an eye on him in our hot board updates.
Joshua McMillon
6-2/227, Memphis (Tenn.) Whitehaven
Rankings:
Four-star, No. 69 overall prospect nationally, No. 4 outside linebacker, No. 2 player in Tennessee
Why Michigan is interested:
The Wolverines have never hit Tennessee particularly hard on the recruiting trail. Just five Tennesseans, including current offensive lineman Blake Bars, have played football at Michigan since 1970. But McMillon would be a nice addition to the linebacking corps.
The Latest On McMillon: McMillon was recently invited to take part in the Nike-sponsored "The Opening" in Oregon later this month. On June 1, McMillon tweeted out his top 10 (in alphabetical order) of Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Memphis, Michigan, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Ohio State, USC and Vanderbilt, and he most recently visited the Commodores.
Darian Roseboro
6-3/254, Lincolnton (N.C.) High School
Rankings:
Four-star, No. 79 overall prospect nationally, No. 7 strongside defensive end
Why Michigan is interested:
Roseboro is another player on Manning's radar, after the coach broke down his film and visited him in mid-January. The Wolverines are looking for size and athleticism along the front, and Roseboro clearly has those attributes.
The Latest On Roseboro: Roseboro told Rivals.com he has a top 10 of Alabama, Clemson, Duke, Florida, LSU, Michigan, North Carolina, N.C. State, Ohio State, and Tennessee, and is hoping to have a top five by the end of July. On Michigan, he said: "The coaching staff is great. They're down to earth. I like everything. I'm used to it. I've got a good feel for the people down there, the atmosphere. I think the only thing I'm going to have to do down there is make a game, just to see how that goes."
Josh Sweat
6-4/213, Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith
Rankings:
Five-star, No. 11 overall prospect nationally, No. 1 weakside defensive end, No. 1 player in Virginia
Why Michigan is interested:
One look at Sweat's impressively lengthy list of early offers, and it's clear why Michigan - or any school - would love to add him to the 2015 class. Sweat is going to be one of the most highly recruited players in the class.
The Latest On Sweat: Sweat is set to visit Ohio State July 25 Rivals.com's Adam Friedman reports, but he will see Tennessee this Thursday, and a number of Volunteer Web sites believe that Tennessee is OSU's biggest competition for the five-star.
Tyrone Wheatley, Jr.
6-6/245, Buffalo (N.Y.) Canisius
Rankings:
Four-star, No. 239 overall prospect nationally, No. 16 strongside defensive end, No. 1 player in New York
Why Michigan is interested:
Michigan fans fondly remember the name Tyrone Wheatley, the former bruising Michigan running back. His kid is now a highly recruited prospect. And Michigan's interest isn't just about legacy: Wheatley is a massive, talented player who would fit perfectly within the Wolverines' front seven scheme.
The Latest On Wheatley: Another player that has been keeping quiet the last few weeks, but Wheatley remains a very legitimate option for the Maize and Blue. Some have speculated that Wheatley could be a standout tight end but if U-M wraps up four-star Chris Clark like expected next week, then Wheatley would definitely fit as a defensive end.
Defensive Tackles
Terry Beckner, Jr.
6-4/270, East St. Louis (Ill.) High School
Rankings:
Four-star, No. 32 overall prospect nationally, No. 5 defensive tackle, No. 1 player in Illinois
Why Michigan is interested:
With Beckner's size, he could continue adding weight and play on the interior. With his athleticism and versatility, the Wolverines could use him at practically any position on the defensive line. Michigan coaches have been in contact with him since July, 2013.
The Latest On Beckner: Beckner participated in the Rivals.com Five-Star Challenge in June, and even though he is earning respect and attention on the recruiting trail, he is playing things very slowly. He has only made one recruiting visit at this point, to Missouri, and hasn't really thought about trimming his list down.
Du'Vonta Lampkin
6-4/306, Houston (Texas) Cypress Falls
Rankings:
Three-star, No. 21 defensive tackle, No. 44 player in Texas
Why Michigan is interested:
Lampkin is a hulking prospect, who could fit in well at the nose tackle position in Michigan's defensive scheme. He is starting to pick up serious interest from big-name schools, including scholarship offers to Baylor, LSU, Missouri, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas and more.
The Latest On Lampkin: We're probably going to take him off our list after this one as he just yesterday released a top five of Texas (leader), LSU, Arizona State, Missouri and Oklahoma and said he plans to take official visits to those five.
Shy Tuttle
6-2/308, Lexington (N.C.) North Davidson
Rankings:
Four-star, No. 60 overall prospect nationally, No. 8 defensive tackle
Why Michigan is interested:
Michigan won't be in desperate need of defensive tackles in the '15 class - hence, just two on the hot board - but a commitment from either Tuttle or Settle would be huge, in terms of the future of the position.
The Latest On Tuttle: Tuttle recently visited Tennessee and he said he has plans to see Florida State and Notre Dame sometime this summer. Michigan has offered but is really not in the running.
Inside Linebackers
Justin Hilliard
6-2/225, Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier
Rankings:
Four-star, No. 49 overall prospect nationally, No. 1 inside linebacker, No. 2 player in Ohio
Why Michigan is interested:
The Wolverines have a lot of linebackers on the roster, but three players at MIKE and WILL (James Ross, Joe Bolden and Royce-Jenkins Stone) will be seniors in 2015. Building depth at that position with a player like Hilliard would be huge.
The Latest On Hilliard: Hilliard tweeted out late last night that he intends to make a decision by the end of the month and he has a top five of Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Alabama and Iowa. Hilliard visited Iowa over the weekend as his family dropped off older brother, C.J., in Iowa City. He is going to see Ohio State and Notre Dame before he commits also, and said it is possible he will visit Michigan one last time before announcing.
Outside Linebackers
Asmar Bilal
6-3/196, Indianapolis (Ind.) Ben Davis
Rankings:
Three-star, No. 30 outside linebacker, No. 3 player in Indiana
Why Michigan is interested:
Bilal is an extremely productive linebacker, racking up a team-high 106 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks as a junior at Ben Davis last season. And, with a 4.1 GPA, Bilal is the type of student who would be very interested in an offer from an academic institution like Michigan.
The Latest On Bilal: Recently named to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl roster, Bilal visited Notre Dame June 12, and loved it, but he will be seeing Ann Arbor on June 20, and Michigan is the Fighting Irish's top challenger at this point. We will catch up with him after his visit. 
Jeffery Holland
6-2/226, Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian
Rankings:
Four-star, No. 64 overall prospect nationally, No. 4 outside linebacker, No. 15 player in Florida
Why Michigan is interested:
The Wolverines are always looking for game-changing SAMs. Even with two or three potential SAMs in the 2014 class, Holland could be the perfect fit in the system. Michigan would have to out recruit basically the entire country to get him, though.
The Latest On Holland: Holland will announce his decision on National Signing Day. He participated in the Rivals.com Five-Star Challenge in June and told Rivals.com at that time that he had visited Georgia, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame and Alabama before Friday's stop in Auburn. "I liked all of them," Holland said. "I liked Notre Dame a lot, and Michigan. I did a lot up there. I got to see the great facilities and all the great players that have been through there. I liked it a lot." Auburn, however, leads for him.
Malik Jefferson
6-3/208, Mesquite (Texas) Ralph H. Poteet
Rankings:
Five-star, No. 19 overall prospect nationally, No. 2 outside linebacker, No. 1 player in Texas
Why Michigan is interested:
It may be hard to Pull Jefferson out of Texas (he admitted that he has never been this far North, when talking about a potential visit to Michigan), but the Wolverines are going to try. He would bolster depth and competition at SAM immediately.
The Latest On Jefferson: Jefferson would not list his favorites in a June 13 interview with Rivals.com but did confirm that Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Alabama are up there, and that he will take a look at USC and UCLA if he can get out West. He said he has talked to his dad about taking official visits to UCLA, Ohio State and Stanford. This one does not look promising for Michigan.
Osa Masina
6-4/207, Salt Lake City (Utah) Brighton
Rankings:
Four-star, No. 58 overall prospect nationally, No. 3 outside linebacker, No. 1 player in Utah
Why Michigan is interested:
Masina would most likely be an outside linebacker for the Wolverines. He made the trip to Ann Arbor for the barbeque last summer, and he really enjoyed his time in Ann Arbor.
The Latest On Masina: UCLA will be in Masina's top five but after that? He doesn't know. "I'll make a top five before the season and those will be my five visits," Masina told Rivals.com. He intends to make his decision at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl next February.
Adonis Thomas
6-4/215, Lawrenceville (Ga.) Central Gwinnett
Rankings:
Four-star, No. 16 outside linebacker, No. 24 player in Georgia
Why Michigan is interested:
Thomas comes from another lightly recruited state in Michigan history. Just 13 Georgians have ever played football at Michigan. With big-time offers from SEC and other big-time Southern schools piling in, it may be difficult for Michigan to get him up North, but the coaches like what they've seen from him.
The Latest On Thomas: Thomas has a top five of Florida, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame and Alabama and will announce Aug. 1.
Tyriq Thompson
6-1/215, Detroit (Mich.) Martin Luther King
Rankings:
Three-star, No. 40 outside linebacker in the country, No. 10 player in Michigan
Why Michigan is interested:
Thompson, whose father Clarence played for the Wolverines from 1993-96, is one of the most promising '15 prospects in the state.
The Latest On Thompson: Thompson was in Ann Arbor on Tuesday for the Michigan Summer Football Camp, and he earned some individual coaching from U-M defensive coordinator Greg Mattison. Thompson has not identified a top five but Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Pittsburgh are believed to be on it. He denied a report this week that he silently committed to MSU. He will likely choose between the Spartans and Wolverines, but with a timetable of after his senior season, U-M may not wait for him.
Cameron Townsend
6-1/206, Missouri City (Texas) Ridge Point
Rankings:
Three-star, No. 31 outside linebacker, No. 56 player in Texas
Why Michigan is interested:
Townsend may be a little undersized, especially considering the other massive recruits Michigan is looking at in '15 and signed in '14, but he has the skill, speed and athleticism the coaches are interested in.
The Latest On Townsend: Townsend has not one on the record since early May so it's difficult to say where he is right now in his recruitment.
Cornerbacks
Iman Marshall
6-0/175, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
Rankings:
Five-star, No. 5 overall prospect nationally, No. 1 cornerback, No. 3 player in California
Why Michigan is interested:
As mentioned above, with their numbers at cornerback, Michigan isn't in desperate need of another one in '15. That opens things up a bit, and gives Michigan the freedom to swing for the fences a bit with guys like Marshall and Fitzpatrick. If they miss out, it's not the end of the world. If they get a commitment from him, it's a home run.
The Latest On Marshall: Marshall has visited local powers UCLA and USC and said he is considering official visits to Notre Dame, Michigan and Ohio State.
Cameron Ordway
5-11/171, Pulaski (Tenn.) Giles County
Rankings:
Four-star, No. 30 cornerback, No. 16 player in California
Why Michigan is interested:
Michigan is looking to possibly add another cornerback in the class, and Ordway would be a solid addition. Ordway, who is a four-star just outside the Rivals250, already has offers from Alabama, Auburn, Cal, Clemson, Florida State, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Tennessee and many more.
The Latest On Ordway: On June 9, Ordway announced a top 10 via twitter that included Michigan, along with Florida State, Ole Miss, LSU, Tennessee, Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, Penn State and Notre Dame.
John Reid
5-10/175, Philadelphia (Penn.) St. Joseph's
Rankings:
Four-star, No. 101 overall prospect nationally, No. 10 cornerback, No. 2 player in Pennsylvania
Why Michigan is interested:
If you look at the guys Michigan has been offering, the coaches are clearly looking for bigger cornerbacks. Although Reid is a little smaller than most of those offered, he's clearly a talented prospect with great ball skills. And the Wolverines won't shy away from a smaller corner, if he's talented: Crawford is 5-9.
The Latest On Reid: Reid told Rivals.com on June 2 he was hopeful he would trim his list soon, but Michigan doesn't appear it'll be on that list after Reid said: "The coaches from Miami, Rutgers, Penn State, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Alabama and Florida State are pretty cool."
Kendall Sheffield
6-0/165, Missouri City (Texas) Fort Bend Marshall
Rankings:
Four-star, No. 33 overall prospect nationally, No. 5 cornerback, No. 3 player in Texas
Why Michigan is interested:
The 2015 class is deep with talented cornerbacks. Sheffield is rated the sixth-best corner in the class - and the 25th overall player. The Wolverines have offered three of the top six corners in the class. If they can land one of them, it would be a great pickup.
The Latest On Sheffield: Texas A&M is considered the leader but Sheffield told USCFootball.com: "I'm still open and talking to a few different schools. I'm going to take some visits and then maybe narrow it down before the season starts." Michigan would probably not be one of them.
Jordan Whitehead
5-10/165, Monaca (Penn.) Central Valley
Rankings:
Four-star, No. 241 overall prospect nationally, No. 27 cornerback, No. 6 player in Pennsylvania
Why Michigan is interested:
Whitehead is another one of the top cornerback prospects in the country. The Wolverines want to get one of the best if they use another scholarship for a corner in the 2015 class.
The Latest On Whitehead: Whitehead will announce on Oct. 3 (his school's homecoming) and it is believed Pittsburgh, Penn State and West Virginia are his three favorites.
Safeties
Kahlil Haughton
6-1/178, Waco (Texas) Midway
Rankings:
Three-star, No. 22 safety, No. 50 player in Texas
Why Michigan is interested:
Haughton is a big, athletic safety who could be a versatile player at the next level. He has the coverage skills to play free safety, and he could come up in the box and provide run support as a strong safety. If he added some weight to his 6-1 frame, he may even be able to play some outside linebacker at the next level.
The Latest On Haughton: Haughton would like to announce before his senior season and Oklahoma is the clear favorite, though he has visited Baylor, Texas Tech and Arkansas.
Rashad Roundtree
6-0/195, Evans (Ga.) Lakeside
Rankings:
Five-star, No. 20 overall prospect, No. 2 safety
Why Michigan is interested:
Roundtree, who is one of the most recent Michigan offers, is one of the most highly recruited - and highly touted - defensive back recruits in the class. The Wolverines don't necessarily need a safety in this class, but Roundtree would be an excellent addition to the fold, if they were able to nab him.
The Latest On Roundtree: Roundtree was in Columbus for the Ohio State football camp on Tuesday and was said to have loved his experience. At the moment, the Buckeyes have a better chance of pulling him out of Georgia than Michigan does. 
Athletes
Jerome Baker
6-1/202, Cleveland (Ohio) Benedictine
Rankings:
Four-star, No. 36 overall prospect nationally, No. 3 athlete, No. 1 player in Ohio
Why Michigan is interested:
Most schools interested in Baker are taking a wait-and-see approach to what side of the ball he will end up playing in high school. Either way, he has been impressive on offense, as a running back, and defense, as a linebacker. Michigan has had plenty of success with native Ohioans in the past, and getting Baker out of the state would be a big coup.
The Latest On Baker: Baker has a top five of Notre Dame, Ohio State, Florida State, Florida and Tennessee, with OSU the expected leader.
Brian Cole
6-2/190, Saginaw (Mich.) Heritage
Rankings:
Four-star, No. 106 overall prospect nationally, No. 7 athlete, No. 2 player in Michigan
Why Michigan is interested:
Wherever Cole ends up playing, he will have a ton of options. Defensively, he could play corner or, more likely, safety. He plays running back currently, but with his size and athleticism, he could be an excellent receiver. And he's a native Michigander. There are plenty of reasons for the Wolverines to love him.
The Latest On Cole: Cole wants to be an early enrollee, so he wants to make a decision by December, but he has been very quiet on the recruiting trail. Michigan is expected to be among his finalists.
Jaason Lewis
6-4/246, Virginia Beach (Va.) Ocean Lakes
Rankings:
Four-star, No. 13 athlete, No. 12 player in Virginia
Why Michigan is interested:
Lewis is one of the four stars who is just outside the Rivals250. He already has offers from Arizona State, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Miami, Ohio State, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and a ton of other big-name schools.
The Latest On Lewis: Lewis tweeted out his top 15 on June 10: Arizona State, Louisville, LSU, Miami, Oregon, UCLA, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Michigan, Tennessee, Ole Miss and North Carolina.
Ray-Ray McCloud III
5-10/180, Tampa (Fla.) Sickles
Rankings:
Four-star, No, 26 overall prospect nationally, No. 2 athlete, No. 8 player in Florida
Why Michigan is interested:
McCloud is a playmaker. After rushing 162 times for 1,319 yards (8.1 yards per carry) and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore, McCloud cemented himself as a player who can take it to the house any time he touches the ball last season, rushing 300 times for 2,316 yards (7.7 yards per carry) and 26 touchdowns.
The Latest On McCloud: Clemson and Florida State are considered McCloud's favorites, but he denied that in an interview last week with Rivals.com. "I wouldn't say they are my favorites, but they're two schools I'm really looking at," McCloud said. According to the four-star, Clemson, North Carolina, N.C. State, Nebraska, Ole Miss and Miami are also threats to land his signature.
Darrell Taylor
6-4/220, Hopewell (Va.) High School
Rankings:
Four-star, No. 18 athlete, No. 13 player in Virginia
Why Michigan is interested:
Taylor is a defensive end for Hopewell, and he can either stay there or possibly transition to outside linebacker at the next level.
The Latest On Taylor: In early June, Taylor announced a top five of Florida, Miami, Tennessee, Ohio State and Virginia Tech.