Recruiting: Michigan & Michigan State

Contribution by: M. Pawlak

I will be touching on Michigan and Michigan State recruiting  for football and basketball. I plan on profiling new commitments to both of these great universities, as immediately as the news rolls in. I will entertain you with my thoughts on these athletes, and provide a small amount of metrics. I plan to explore as much data as time allows me to give you insight on what the future of these programs may (or may not) look like.

As many local college sports fans know, the recruiting the brand of Michigan sells football, and the brand of Michigan State sells basketball. However, whoever has the upper hand in recruiting doesn’t always translate to success in wins and losses. Several examples are Dantonio rolling through the Big 10, and securing a Rose Bowl championship in 2013 with a fraction of the star rankings of their in-state rival. Down in Ann Arbor, coach Beilein has resurrected the Michigan basketball program, while missing out on a lot of elite talent to the Izzo-led Spartans. I will almost always argue that  coaching, and ability to develop talent trumps the raw talent. Most of the time time. Of course there’s the Kentucky basketball and Alabama footballs’ of the world. These schools don’t really apply because they serve as a pro-prep course, rather than four year academic institutions.

I will begin my spotlight on recruiting by taking a look at both Michigan and Michigan State’s current football classes of 2014. With national signing day approaching (February 5th) it seems to be the appropriate time to introduce you to your future Wolverines and Spartans. I will be using information from Scout.com, Rivals100.com, and 247sports.com (websites dedicated to covering recruiting full-time). (Note that there will likely be addition and attrition to both classes between now and NSD).

Michigan       

                                                                       

1. Jabrill Peppers  S/CB  Paramus, NJ. 6’1 / 205

*****  Scout (!)

*****  Rivals (!)

*****   247 (!)

The only  5*  to go to either team. Looks to make immediate impact, possibly on offense, defense, and special teams. An up and coming rapper. I could use a list of adjectives here, but just believe me, this guy is great.

2. Bryan Mone  DT  Salt Lake City, UT.  6’4 / 338

**** Scout

**** Rivals

**** 247

A 338 lb. DT from Utah. Evenly regarded by all recruiting services as a top tier DT.

3. Drake Harris  WR  Grand Rapids, MI    6″4  / 180

**** Scout

**** Rivals

**** 247

The best offensive skill position player the state of Michigan has to offer in 2014.

4. Michael Ferns  OLB    Saint Clairsville, OH.     6’3″ / 238

**** Scout

**** Rivals

**** 247

The first commitment for the Wolverines. Regarded by all sources as a solid 4* linebacker.

5. Mason Cole  OT  Tarpon Springs, FL.  6’4″ / 285

**** Scout

**** Rivals

**** 247

Another consensus 4*, Cole adds depth to a youthful Michigan offensive line.

6. Freddy Canteen  WR  Elkton, MD.    6’2″ / 180

**** Scout

**** Rivals

**** 247

Viewed as a do-everything WR prospect, and received an even 4*’s from all services. Along with Harris, he could see early playing time.

7. Lawrence Marshall  DE  Southfield, MI.   6’3 / 225

**** Scout

***   Rivals

**** 247

Marshall is an instate DE likely to be used as a pass rush specialist.

8. Ian Bunting  TE  Hindsdale, IL.  6’6″ /  210

***   Scout

**** Rivals

**** 247

At 6’6, Bunting will add a big target in the red zone to an already huge TE unit (Funchess, Butt).

9. Chase Winovich  OLB  Clairton, PA.   6’4″ / 215

**** Scout

***   Rivals

**** 247

Chase was a highly sought after LB by all the Big 10, who decided to ally with the Wolverines. He is known to have elite instincts and finishes tackles with authority.

10. Juwann Bushell-Beaty  OT  Paramus, NJ.  6’7″ / 310

***   Scout

***   Rivals

**** 247

Teammate of J. Peppers. At 6’7, 310 JBB is a large but raw offensive line prospect.

11. Wilton Speight QB  Richmond, VA. 6’6″ / 220

***  Scout

***  Rivals

***  247

The 6’6″ field general was hand-picked by Hoke & Co. Other highly rated QB’s were not offered to accompany Speight. Will need polishing, but has size and skill.

12. Brandon Watson  CB  Elkton, MD.  6’0″ / 185

***  Scout

***  Rivals

***  247

A high school teammate of  Freddy Canteen. Watson is an athletic CB with good size.

13. Maurice Ways  WR  Franklin, MI. 6’4″ / 195

***  Scout

***  Rivals

***  247

A tall, lanky product (this is getting repetitive) of the Metro Detroit Catholic League. Ways adds MORE size to Michigan on the outside.

14. Noah Furbush  OLB  Kenton, OH   6’4″ / 240

***  Scout

***  Rivals

***  247

Furbush adds good size to a very deep LB class. He also has a great name.

15. Jared Wangler  OLB Warren, MI.    6’1″ / 218

***  Scout

***  Rivals

***  247

Wangler is the second prospect out of Warren De La Salle in as many years (2013 5* QB Shane Morris). Another LB and another Detroit-area find for the blue.

16. Brady Pallante DT  Naples, FL.  6’1 / 255

***  Scout

**    Rivals

***  247

Pallante is an undersized DT, and is the only commit who fails to garner at least 3* from all sites. Likely gray shirt (glorified walk-on) here.

20th ranked class Scout

25th ranked class Rivals

14th ranked class 247

Observations:

Michigan has 16 current commits counting towards 2014. They will likely add to this number over the upcoming weeks. Of those 16 they have signed right now, only 4 are from the state of Michigan. The state is relatively weak this year as far as amount of top tier talent goes, forcing Michigan anf Michigan State to go outside the state to recruit talent. They added (1) 6’6″ pro-style QB in Speight. (0) RB. (2) large-framed offensive linemen. (1) Super tall TE in Bunting. (3) Big wide outs with Ways, Canteen, and potential star Harris (was recruited and offered by Izzo to play basketball at MSU). On the defensive side of the ball they received commitments from (2) DT  Mone having potential to see early reps. (1) DE Lawrence Marshall out of Southfield. (4) LB’s Ferns and Winovich could see snaps over the next 2 calendar years, Wangler and Furbush(!) will look to add depth. In the defensive backfield Michigan brings aboard (0) safety’s, and (2) CB’s Watson and all-everything Jabrill Peppers.

MVP: Jabrill Peppers: Hands down. Peppers could be the best prospect to wear a winged helmet in a decade or more. I’m 100% serious. Still don’t believe me? See clip below:

…yeah, he’s a running back too.

 

Michigan State

1. Montae Nicholson    S   Monroeville, PA.   6’3″ / 200

****   Scout

****    Rivals

****   247

Nicholson has NCAA ready size, and instincts that match. Could contribute early for the Spartans. Once thought of as a Michigan lock, a Rose Bowl championship has him believing.

2. Enoch Smith Jr.    DT     Chicago, IL      6’2″ / 275

***   Scout

**** Rivals

***   247

Smith has a reputation as a mean player. He is just the type of space-eater Narduzzi likes in the middle of his front 7.

3. Vayente Copeland   RB   Dayton, OH.   6’1″ / 185

****  Scout

***   Rivals

***   247

Copeland is a tall RB prospect who also has ability as a defensive back. Has potential to contribute as a starter or depth at some time during his tenure.

4. Deon Drake   LB   Detroit, MI.   6’1″ / 220

***   Scout

***   Rivals

****  247

Deon Drake comes from Cass Tech High school in Detroit. Cass Tech is a known Michigan pipeline, but filled with LB’s, he received no offer. Hoke will regret this. Dantonio may dance to this to the tune of “some type of way”.

5. Byron Bullough   S   Traverse City, MI.     6’1″ / 190

****   Scout

***     Rivals

***     247

Does this name sound familiar? Byron is the next in what seems to be an endless line of Bullough’s to wreak havoc in the Big 10 while representing MSU.

 6. Chris Frey   LB   Columbus, OH.      6’3″ / 215

***   Scout

***   Rivals

****  247

Frey is a tall LB prospect who Michigan state will develop into a future starter in their linebacker unit.

7. Brian Allen     C     Hindsdale, IL.     6’1″ / 290

***   Scout

***   Rivals

**** 247

Allen is rated as no lower than the 5th best Center this class has to offer by all three  sites. Allen looks to develop into a multi-year starter in East Lansing.

8. Gerald Owens   FB   Westville, NJ   6’1″ / 250

***   Scout

***   Rivals

**** 247

Owens is the type of fullback that will open up holes in the running game for MSU. He is rated as a top 3 fullback by all sites, and 247 views him as the #1 (1) FB in the nation.

9. David Hedelin   OT   San Fransisco, CA   [JUCO]

***   Scout

***   Rivals

**** 247

Hedelin is a junior college transfer from the left coast. With only 2 years of eligibility, he could provide ready depth up front for this offensive line.

10. Matt Sokul   TE     Rochester, MI.     6’5″/ 225

***   Scout

***   Rivals

***   247

A local product of Rochester Adams High School. Sokul chooses MSU over Illinois, Wisconsin and most MAC schools.

11. Robert Bowers   DE     Columbus, OH     6’6″ / 215

***   Scout

***   Rivals

***    247

Bowers is a tall defensive end prospect that will have to add weight to withstand the punishment of Big 10 offensive lines. He has high upside, and could be developed into a multi-year contributer off the edge.

12. David Beedle    DT    Clarkston, MI      6’6″ 285

***   Scout

***   Rivals

***   247

Beedle led Clarkston High School to a division 1 state championship in 2013. He has the size and athleticism to have a good career for the Spartans.

13. Madre London   RB   Fort Lauderdale, FL.  6’1″ / 205

***   Scout

***   Rivals

***   247

Madre London had a strong list of offers including national champion Florida State. He brings play-ready size and a 4.5  40-yard dash to the table.

14. Matt Morrissey    S   Lincolnshire, IL.    6’3″ / 180

***   Scout

***   Rivals

***   247

Morrissey is a lanky defensive back that could contribute on special teams early. He is a developmental prospect with an average ceiling.

15. Chase Gianacakos   OT   St. Charles, IL.   6’6″ 280

***   Scout

***   Rivals

***   247

Chase has good size and is most known for his toughness at the tackle position. Will likely redshirt to develop the strength needed in the Big 10.

16. Jalen Watts-Jackson   CB   Bloomfield, MI   6’0″ / 170

***   Scout

***   Rivals

***   247

Another Cathloc League standout from Orchard Lake St. Mary Prep. Watts-Jackson is a project cornerback who may see the field later in his career.

17. Nick Padla   OT   Berrian Springs, MI   6’6″ / 280

***   Scout

***   Rivals

***   247

Padla hails from the west side of the state. He has size to one day be crafted into a good depth player for the Spartans.

18. Montez Sweet   TE   Stone Mountain, GA.   6’6″/230

***   Scout

**     Rivals

***   247

Sweat is the definition of a sleeper. Could be a big time playmaker over the middle or on the outside at the next level. Holds offers from Florida, Florida State, Wisconson, South Carolina and a list that goes on.

19. Jake Hartbarger   K/P   Whitehouse, OH.   6’4″ / 195

***   Scout

**    Rivals

***   247

Hartbarger brings a strong leg to the Spartans. Can kick and punt.

32nd ranked class Scout

34th ranked class Rivals

33rd ranked class 247

Observations:

Michigan State adds a lot of versatile prospects to the 2014 football class. They acquire 6 of their 19 prospects from the state of Michigan. They added (0) QB’s. (2) RB’s in Copeland and London. (1) FB in Owens, who could get early reps. (0) WR. (4) OL prospects, including Center Brian Allen, who could be molded into an all Big 10 player.On the defensive side of the ball they add (2) DT Beedle and Smith, who will battle for playing time. (1) DE Bowers. (2) LB’s in Frey and Drake who should start multiple years. (1) project CB in Watts-Jackson. (3) Safety’s in Bullough, Morrissey, and star-to-be Nicholson.

MVP: Montae Nicholson. Nicholson was targeted by a number of Big 10, ACC, and SEC schools. He has the size at 6’3 / 200 to contribute early. His football instincts are high end. Expect to know who he is early in his career.

 

…yeah, he plays WR too.

Summary:

Michigan scores better star rankings so far, but Dantonio doesn’t seem to care. He has owned the Wolverines on the field for the better part of a decade despite being out recruited. Dantonio has a reputation of finding, developing, and turning 3-star recruits into all-conference players. In recent years, including 2014 Michigan has recruited well nationally, but have watered down significantly talented players. Whether it’s a changing system, or poor player development, they will look to get back on track moving forward.  I will be taking an deeper look at new commitments to both schools as national signing day approaches. I also will be doing several similar entries looking at basketball recruiting in the future. Thanks for reading!

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4 thoughts on “Recruiting: Michigan & Michigan State”

  1. Great article MP. Should be interesting to see if Dantonio can continue to out-develop UM. Also worth noting, although not INCREDIBLE (nor even close to UM’s class, but that will never happen), this is probably the most solid drafting class in MSU’s recent history.

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