In the weeks leading up to national signing day, we'll take a look at each one of Michigan's commits.
For previous editions of Recruiting Recap, follow the links: Wilton Speight, Drake Harris, Freddy Canteen., Maurice Ways, Ian Bunting, Juwan Bushell-Beatty, Mason Cole, Michael Ferns, Chase Winovich
Player: Noah Furbush, linebacker
Location: Kenton (Ohio) High School
Rankings: Three-star prospect, ranked the No. 42 player in the state of Ohio, according to Rivals.com.
Committed: July 1, 2013.
Other Notable Offers: Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Missouri, Northwestern, Pitt, Purdue, Tennessee, Vanderbilt.
The Latest News On Furbush:
"The first thing that jumps out about Furbush is his size. He stayed quiet on the camp and visit circuit throughout the summer, so this was the first chance we've had to evaluate in person. He's every bit of his listed 6-4, 230 pounds, if not a little bigger. The second thing that jumped out was his left arm injury. He broke a bone in his wrist during basketball season, and will get post-season surgery on it. For now, he is sporting a cast that extends from just below his left elbow all the way around his hand.
"Kenton used Furbush in much the same way that Michigan uses Jake Ryan at the SAM linebacker position. He was typically lined up on the end of the line of scrimmage outside the defensive end, in a two-point stance. From there, he could drop into coverage, rush the passer, or (most often) play the run, holding the edge.
"When it comes to his actual play, Furbush had a very physical, nasty streak to his play, despite the injury. Although he plays a totally different position, he reminded me of U-M freshman offensive lineman David Dawson, who wanted to not just block his man, but finish every play to (and through) the whistle."
"'He was the most highly recruited player we've had at Kenton in the 30 years I've been here,' Kenton coach Mike Mauk said. 'We had coaches from all over the country here that we'd never had here before. All were very high on him and interested in recruiting him.'
"The Wolverines won out not just because they pursued the 6-4, 230-pounder the hardest, but also because they came off as genuine to both player and coach. In what has become a familiar refrain from high school football coaches whose young prospects are headed off to become Wolverines, Brady Hoke and his assistants are some of the most genuine college coaches in the game.
"'I have tremendous respect for the entire Michigan football coaching staff, starting with Coach Hoke all the way down through,' Mauk said. 'I think they've done a tremendous job in establishing what Michigan football is all about again. It makes you proud that you have a player with the opportunity to play for them, but when I called and told them about Noah and what I had seen of him and wanted them to take a look at him, they were real quick to do so, and then they followed through with their evaluation and had him up and did their research.
"'They saw that everything we'd said was true, and the more they seemed to spend time with him and get to know him and all of those things, characteristics, qualities that I talked to them about became more and more prevalent. I think that first impression of going up and meeting coach Hoke and the Michigan staff, and that being his initial offer I think ended up a big factor in him deciding that was where he wanted to play football.'"
Analysis from TheWolverine.com's Tim Sullivan:
Strengths: "Furbush is a big, athletic linebacker. At 6-4 and over 230 pounds, he's the largest Michigan is bringing in this year, but his straight-line speed is exceptional. He can rush the passer or make plays in the backfield going forward."
Weaknesses: "It's when he's not going forward that Furbush is unproven. He plays mostly as a stand-up defensive end for Kenton, so he'll have to learn the intricacies of linebacker play in order to be effective at the position. Another option would be to move to defensive end, but he'd have to bulk up in a big way to pull that off.
What To Expect From Furbush In 2014: As mentioned in the incoming rookie Chase Winovich's edition of "Recruiting Recap," the Wolverines have built up quite an impressive amount of depth at both middle linebacker and weakside outside linebacker, which will make it hard for any freshman to see the field in 2014.
But, like Winovish, Furbush may very well be suited to play the strongside outside linebacker position, which has been such a huge part of the defense in the last three years, with the emergence of Jake Ryan and the resurgence of Cam Gordon.
Ryan will, of course, be back in 2014 for his fifth-year senior season. Gordon graduated after the 2013 season, and the third player who received time at SAM, Brennen Beyer, moved back to defensive end in the middle of the season when Ryan's ACL injury cleared up.
Beyer could very likely stay at defensive end this summer, which would open up some possible playing time for a guy like Furbush - just as depth concerns allowed freshman Ben Gedeon to see the field at weakside outside linebacker in 2013.
The current frontrunner for the backup SAM role is rising redshirt sophomore Allen Gant.
What To Expect From Furbush In His Career: There are quite a few ways Furbush's career could go. He's a big guy, and if he develops his lateral movements and pass coverage skills, he could become a very nice option for the SAM position.
Or, like Beyer, he could opt to bulk up and move down to defensive end, at which he could also be effective.