Recruiting Summary: Linebackers
CHRIS MCLAURIN - OLB - Orchard Lake St Mary's(MI)
Height: 6'3" Weight: 230
Rivals: ***, #27 DE, #7 MI
Scout.com: ***, NR
Projected Role: Situational pass rusher
McLaurin continues the parade of OLSM standouts heading to Michigan. Michigan had three on the roster last year: 5th year WR Jermaine Gonzalez, Stanford transfer CB Grant Mason, and redshirt WR Morgan Trent, and they'll have three next year with the arrival of McLaurin.
McLaurin's position at Michigan is probably yet to be determined. At 230 pounds and with explosive pass-rush ability, he fits the profile of an edge-rushing defensive end or blitzing OLB equally well. High school beat writers certainly couldn't figure it out, half the time referring to him as an OLB, half the time as a DE. His coach seems to think his future is at defensive end:
"He was just a tremendous off-the-ball player," Porritt said. "He just had great speed getting off the ball and getting to the quarterback at the defensive end position."
Whatever he was, McLaurin certainly filled up the stat sheet as senior with 109 tackles, 11 sacks, two picks, and four forced fumbles, plus 13 catches as TE for 207 yards and 3 touchdowns. It remains to be seen whether he can put on enough weight to be a college DE and maintain his speed or learn the intricacies of the LB position.
BRANDON LOGAN - OLB - Lexington Catholic(KY)
Height: 6'0" Weight: 200
Lemming: #15 OLB
Rivals: ***, #31 OLB, #5 KY (preseason)
Scout.com: ****, #34 LB
Projected Role: Smart, rangy weakside LB
The second piece in Lloyd Carr's diabolical plan to extend a giant middle finger to the entire state of Kentucky as payback for the Joe Crawford fiasco, Logan enters as the only true linebacker Michigan recruited this year.
There's a disparity between Logan's guru ratings and the schools that were after him, and this is probably why. That's the Army All-American game junior combine. Logan came in at 6'0", 189 pounds, and ran a 4.8. Now, that's not so bad... most guys didn't even do that well and the ones who did better are big-time recruits: Ryan Reynolds, Ray Maualugh, etc. But there's a distinct divide in people's opinion of Brandon Logan that appears to have popped up right after he ran those 40s: before, he was mentioned as a preliminary top-100 guy by Lemming. After, he's a three star.
So he didn't bring it at the combine, but he brought it on the field enough for Michigan, Florida and Tennessee to offer and pursue him. Logan's play on the field must put the lie to those statistics, because I can't remember the last 4.8 runnin', 6-foot, 190 pound linebacker at UF, UT, or UM. Logan does come from a long line of football players. Michigan recruited his older brother John, who plays WR for Kentucky.
So which is it? 190 pound guy running a 4.8 or LB worthy of UM, UF, and UT offers? Dunno. At least one Kentucky recruiting guru thinks the latter (lifted from the linkfest):
In my opinion, if Logan continues to hit the weight room hard, he could be in the NFL in four years. He's that good and that special of a player at linebacker, regardless of size.
So, he's undersized... and we'll call him fast despite the combine results. Sounds like Chris Graham, but Graham's just a year in front of him and has impressed everyone around the program with his hitting an tenacity. Can Michigan find room to have both on the field?
MGOBLOG editorial stance
C+. The inability to get a premiere recruit this year places a lot of pressure on someone from next year's class to step in as true freshman, since Michigan will graduate three starters next year.
Chris McLaurin is probably only a linebacker in the 3-4. He's a teeny defensive end in the 4-3, leaving Brandon Logan the only guy who is definitely going to be a linebacker. Michigan must be extremely confident in Logan, as he was Michigan's primary target for almost the entire year. Chris Jeske, Jerome Hayes, Ryan Reynolds, Rico McCoy and Brian Cushing all had at least some interest in Michigan but UM seemingly had little in them.
Reports vary on Logan's speed. One bad day at the combine in San Antonio seems to have soured the gurus on him, but I'm pretty sure he won at least one smokehouse award at Michigan camp. He's been camping at Michigan since he was a sophomore, so the staff knows what they're getting with him. Hopefully this means that Logan's underrated. He is definitely undersized.
Michigan is going to have to find a place for McLaurin to play; with the monster defensive line class coming in this year he might get shuffled to LB, which is where I'd like to see him anyway. There is a good chance he will lose his explosion off the line if he adds 30 or 40 pounds to play DE. At OLB the worst that ever happens is he is a good guy to bring in on passing downs to blitz or put his hand down as a DE.
The bottom line, though, is Michigan whiffed on an awful lot of high-profile targets and ended up with a man without a position and an undersized guy they probably can't afford to pair with Chris Graham. Each has a 50-50 shot of becoming a contributor. That would be disastrous if LB was a major need, but with only Roy Manning graduating this year, this pair of complementary players is acceptable.