names to watch
Position: Linebacker/Tight End
Ht/Wt: 6'3" / 232 lbs.
Location: Jackson High School – Jackson, OH
Offers: Kent State, Ohio
Ranking: ★★★ .8599 (247 Composite)
Linebacker/Tight end prospect Reagan Williams was one of many recruits to attend The Game at The Big House a couple of weekends ago and I was able to chat with him about that a little bit. Williams is being recruited by most schools as a linebacker but the Michigan coaches appear to have a fondness for him at the tight end spot. Williams was a very nice kid to talk to and had some great things to say about his visit to Ann Arbor.
He was not shy at all about how much he enjoyed his visit to The Big House by saying, “It was awesome! One of my best visits yet.” He actually claimed it was a tie between Michigan and Michigan State. Not bad considering his other visits include trips to Ohio State, Penn State, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Cincinnati, and Louisville, among a few others.
The coaches in particular stuck out to Reagan while he was on his visit.
The coaching staff was very, very personable. I talked to every single position coach and they really made it feel like they have a family atmosphere with their players. The Big House was insane as well.
Reagan is an extremely intelligent kid, boasting a 4.0 GPA and a very respectable ACT score of 26, and that was easy to sense when I asked him if he had any type of affinity for his home-state Buckeyes. (Normally I wouldn’t post a test score like that but he’s proud of it and wants it to be public. It’s part of his profile on his HUDL link.)
I’m a big Buckeye fan. I have been since I was a little kid, but recruiting changes your outlook on a lot of things as far as seeing what every school has to offer. If Ohio State offered it would definitely be something that would be seriously considered. It hasn’t happened yet though so I can’t totally describe the emotions that would be involved.
I was surprised by how much he admitted to liking the Buckeyes, while at the same time ranking his Michigan visit above their rivals from Ohio.
Every visit has it’s pros and cons, but it seemed that the Michigan visit was VERY well organized.
As mentioned above the coaches have talked to Reagan about playing a fullback/h-back type of position because they really like how physical he is on both sides of the ball. Reagan says he doesn’t really have a preference he just wants to play wherever it helps his team the most.
When I asked him about his plans for his senior season, Williams said all of the right things about wanting to excel in the classroom, work toward a state championship, and develop a strong relationship with a coaching staff from a school that fits well for him. When it comes to fit, he said he must play for a coach and a team that has a strong tradition of defense and an emphasis on physicality. He doesn’t understand how the game can be played any other way. Pretty much the exact sentiment you’d expect from a fullback/linebacker.
With Michigan’s 2015 class being so limited on scholarships the staff has already informed Reagan that he is being evaluated but they have to be meticulous with who they offer. The coaches did say that they’d like to check Williams out in person sometime during the spring.
At the end of our conversation it came up that Williams is a die-hard Patriots and Tom Brady fan and that he was awestruck by Brady’s speech to Team 134 earlier this season. It’s pretty clear that the Michigan coaches have done well with Williams thus far, but if they and the Buckeyes get more involved in his recruitment, it sounds entirely realistic that the Wolverines could be on the outside looking in.
Position: Tight End
Ht/Wt: 6'4"/270 lbs.
Location: Cary High School – Cary, NC
Offers: NC State
He’s been tagged as a “jumbo-athlete” and at 6’4” and upwards of 270 lbs., Anthony Rush, is just that. Rush has been popping up lately as someone of interest among the coaching staff and he is starting to form a pretty good relationship with them. I talked with Rush very briefly just to see where he’s at in regards to his Michigan interest.
Rush was visited by Coach Manning toward the end of October after a few days of communication via Twitter. Rush spoke very highly of Michigan even before he was visited by the likeable coach. “I have a lot of interest in Michigan, of course! That place is always packed on Saturdays and they have great academics.”
He described his recently formed bond with the coaching staff as a pretty good relationship and insisted that the coaches have been clear in telling him that they really like his game. He also said that the staff has already mentioned an offer for him once he gets the chance to check out Ann Arbor.
Tryone Wheatley Jr. is the only offered 2015 tight end and Michigan figures to be in pretty good shape with him so Rush may be considered a bit of a back-up plan or a legitimate 2nd tight end in a small recruiting class.
Rush has recently uploaded new highlights that are definitely worth a watch. He’s the large person in the white #25 jersey to start the film.
Ht/Wt: 6'2" / 190 lbs.
Location: Hart High School – Newhall, CA
Offers: San Jose State
Rankings: 4*, #99 in 247 Composite.
Brady White. That name just sounds like a Michigan quarterback. Young Mr. White himself said that he loves how it sounds and digs the fact that Michigan fans think that about him.
White hails from California and tells me that he has drawn some comparisons to another California native, Tom Brady. Another player that he feels like his game mirrors is Tony Romo thanks to his mobility and unorthodox arm talent. White boasts a sub-4.7 40 and says that while he is listed as a pocket passer he feels more than confident in his ability to move the chains with his legs. He has a gunslinger mentality: “I love to air it out and I just love to make big plays.”
White currently holds an offer from San Jose State and says he’s in regular contact with head coaches and offensive coordinators from Oregon, Washington, Cal, Florida, Oklahoma State, UCLA, and Colorado. He also receives regular mail from Michigan, Alabama, Auburn, Miami, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Mississippi State.
Michigan sent mail to him the day we chatted and while he described Michigan’s pursuit of him as “not that hard right now”, he followed that by saying he loves Michigan and they are definitely a top school for him. He named Michigan and Oregon as two schools he’d really like to get an offer from, but maintains that he is open to anyone at this point.
White’s father is a former UCLA Bruin so naturally Brady grew up rooting for them, but once he got into junior high and started getting attention as a quarterback recruit he has tried to remain neutral as a fan. I asked him if Michigan might be a place where he could do that and he said they fit into what he’s looking for. He has obviously done his homework:
“Michigan has got the largest stadium in the country and it was built in 1927. They have the most wins, 11 national titles, 42 Big Ten championships, and also the highest winning percentage. Obviously it has an amazing tradition with players like Desmond Howard and Tom Brady. I know a good bit about Michigan but I am still learning.”
Even if he Googled this knowledge, it sure sounds like he's interested.
White's plan for his recruitment remains open:
“I’d like to make a decision once I have found the right fit for me. Whether that is soon or later I don’t know but I am looking for a school that has a great football program and that is invested in me. I want the coaches to show their confidence in me in running their team. I want to find a system where I feel like I can succeed. I also want to have a very close and special feeling relationship with the coaches and the players. I really want a comfortable environment and to just feel wanted.”
White seems to be looking for the type of relationship that I hear every Michigan target gush about when it comes to the current coaches. Every parent, player, and high school coach that spends time with Hoke, Mattison, Borges, and their wives just absolutely lights up when they speak to me about the family feel. If Michigan chooses to pursue Brady White with any level of aggression I think they could become a serious contender for his services.
Ht/Wt: 6'2" / 180 lbs.
Location: Athens Drive High School – Raleigh, NC
Michigan has only offered two prospects from the 2016 class but many current high school sophomores are being evaluated by the coaches as the young high school football season gets ramped up. ATH Teryn Savage was a potential visitor for the Akron game, but luckily for the coaching staff he decided to visit Kentucky instead.
Savage is a long, lean athlete who is being looked at by several FBS schools at multiple positions including running back, wide receiver, and safety. Michigan has started building a relationship with Savage, specifically via running backs coach Fred Jackson, and while Savage doesn’t have the typical build the staff usually targets for a running back, Jackson is his main contact at this time.
I asked Savage to tell me how he saw himself as a player and he had this to say.
“I’m 6’2 and about 180 lbs. right now and the first 40 I ever ran was a barefoot 4.62. If I got timed tomorrow I’m sure I’d be in the 4.5’s. I think when coaches and fans watch me play the main thing they will see from me is my physicality. I will smack you in the mouth the whole entire game and talk smack to you while I’m doing it. (laughs) I go hard every single snap. I really think that’s what separates me from other wide receivers or safeties.”
Savage has been compared to Vernon Davis by his coaches because of his ability to stretch the field but also catch the ball in traffic. His body type is much different from Davis’s but he is utilized in many ways in the passing game for his high school team.
Savage has a top 5 that currently consists of Kentucky, Clemson, Miami, Florida and Florida State, but was quick to tell me that Michigan will be in there once he visits for a gameday experience. He also consistently hears from Nebraska, USF, Ole Miss and Georgia, along with some smaller division one schools. He specifically mentioned Michigan saying, “Man, I like Michigan a lot. Coach Jackson is a real cool dude. As soon as I met him we clicked and I also speak to Coach Hoke on certain occasions. Beside the coaching staff, the stadium is just unbelievable. I can’t believe fans pack it every weekend.”
When I asked Teryn if there were any offers he coveted more than others he mentioned Kentucky, Clemson and Michigan. He grew up a Florida fan but when he was about 10 years old he really started liking Michigan because of the legendary winged helmets. He plans to check the helmets out in person for the Minnesota game and was in Lexington this past weekend to scope out the Wildcats.
Being a North Carolina kid Savage doesn’t have a serious connection to Michigan necessarily but his step dad is childhood best friends with Jabrill Peppers’ father from where they grew up in East Orange, NJ. Savage said that he and Peppers weren’t all that close, but they do message on Twitter occasionally, although recruiting is never a topic of discussion. Savage and his family are planning on flying up to New Jersey to catch one of Jabrill’s games within the next few weeks.
Teryn and I finished our conversation with a discussion about his father who was tragically killed by a drunk driver almost a year ago. For such a young kid I was incredibly impressed with his attitude toward such an unfortunate event. This is how he spoke of the situation. “It motivated me more than it hurt. Every since it happened I’ve just busted my behind in the weight room and on the field. I’ve had to realize there’s nothing I can do about it now. He’s in a better place now and I’m just going to ball out like he always told me to and I know he will be pleased.”
It’s hard to say if Savage will ever receive a scholarship offer from the Wolverines but a relationship is being built and Michigan has been a presence in North Carolina in recent years. His interest in Michigan seems legitimate and he had good knowledge of the school, program, and history for an out of region prospect. He will be one to watch moving in to the next two recruiting cycles.
Position: Defensive End
Ht/Wt: 6'6" / 215 lbs.
Location: Lutheran High School – Orange, CA
Offers: Arizona, Boise State, California, Colorado, Miami (FL), Oregon, Oregon State, TCU, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA, USC, Vanderbilt, Washington
It’s pretty clear that Plan A for the coaches at defensive end in the 2015 class is Jashon Cornell out of Cretin-Derham Hall, unfortunately CDH has traditionally been a Notre Dame pipeline and many believe that’s where Cornell will end up. Michigan has offered two other defensive ends in the 2015 class, Anthony Wheeler out of Texas and Terry Beckner Jr. from Illinois. Neither of them are being recruited as hard as Cornell is by the Wolverine coaching staff and it’s safe to say they are far from being Michigan leans. In fact, I exchanged a few texts with Wheeler and he informed me that he hasn’t been in contact with the coaches in a long time and has virtually no interest in Michigan at this point in time. That being said Keisean Lucier-South is a young man that if offered could be considered a Michigan lean.
Lucier-South hails from California and as evidenced by his offer list is quite a talent. He has that long, athletic body type that scouts drool over at defensive end in terms of potential. Lucier-South has been compared to long-time NFL star Jason Taylor because of his length and athleticism. He stars on the gridiron and the basketball court, yet another testament to his versatility and coordination.
He told me that his recruitment is really starting to pick up lately in terms of mail and flyers being constantly sent to his house with Arizona and Texas sending him the most. He ranked Michigan at about 4th when it came to pieces of mail being sent to him but he puts Michigan atop his list of who he wants an offer from. I congratulated him on his USC offer at the end of August and he said that while it was an honor to receive the offer from the Trojans, one from Michigan would “just be more insane” with a laugh. In fact, when I asked him which schools he’d like to receive an offer from he answered, “Just Michigan.”
For a California kid his interest and knowledge in Michigan was quite impressive as well. He rattled this off like he grew up somewhere in the middle of the mitten. “Michigan is just amazing and some of the best talent goes there to play football. I know that Michigan has the most wins in college football, their main rival is Ohio State, and a lot of great players have played there like Tom Brady, Braylon Edwards, and Charles Woodson. They also have the largest stadium in the country. Honestly I don’t really have a favorite, but Michigan would be high high if they offered.”
Keisean doesn’t plan on committing until sometime during his senior season so there is still plenty of time for the Wolverines to evaluate him to see if he is worthy of an offer. When you watch his highlight tape his athleticism is undeniable and his frame could easily add 50 lbs. in college, but with the 2015 class more than likely being on the small side, and already containing several members, the coaches will have to be picky moving forward with offers.
Ht/Wt: 6'6" / 230 lbs.
Location: Downers Grove North High School – Downers Grove, IL
Offers: Illinois, Indiana, Vanderbilt
Michigan has only offered one quarterback in the 2015 class in Josh Rosen out of California and he told me that he has a fairly clear idea of where he wants to go and it’s definitely not Michigan. With Rosen probably Stanford or Cal bound there are several signal callers on the coaches radar and David Edwards is one of them. Edwards is a big, strong-armed kid out of Illinois with high interest in Michigan already.
He was in The Big House this weekend for the Notre Dame game and came away more than impressed. “It was awesome,” Edwards exclaimed to me. He, his father, and his offensive line coach arrived in Ann Arbor around 6 pm, in time to attend a recruiting presentation put on by the coaches at 6:30. Edwards told me that the presentation consisted of a dinner, a video from the Big House BBQ, and was capped off by some on-field chauffeuring for the pre-game festivities by Team 134.
Edwards admitted to the recruiting portion of the trip to being a bit short-lived, but did say it was an “unbelievable atmosphere”. Edwards was able to spend some time talking with coaches Mallory, Funk, and Ferrigno, which speaks volumes to their interest in him considering the magnitude of the game and the fact that Edwards doesn’t even have an offer yet.
Edwards told me that his chat with the coaches was great but they didn’t really mention the possibility of an offer, saying only that they really want to watch him play in person first. So far, two games into his junior season, Edwards has compiled 133 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns while completing 16 passes for 147 yards and three more scores running an option attack. His Downers Grove North squad is 2-0 with two shutout wins scoring 45 and 28 points in the two contests. He hopes performances like that will earn a Michigan offer, saying it would be awesome to be considered by the staff. I think Edwards is a definite possibility to receive an offer down the line and may be near the top of the list behind the aforementioned Rosen.