Michigan added their fifth commitment of the 2020 class on Tuesday in Cornell Wheeler, and they didn’t have to go far to find him. The West Bloomfield LB, no. 466 in the composite ranking, had his fair share of ink spilled upon committing. 247’s Allen Trieu has a pair of scouting reports, one from Tyrice Grice, Wheeler’s defensive coordinator, and one from his observations from 2017 through camp season. Grice:
“Cornell's going to make sure he's a sideline to sideline player. He works hard on his athleticism because he compares himself to Lance [Dixon] which is a tough one to compare yourself to. He will fit in Michigan's defense. His instincts help him get to the ball so fast and he makes good reads and that's something we teach is understanding reads and he is good at that. It took him a while to learn it, but he worked with me and he got it and he is having a dynamic year. The mental aspect, Cornell has done well at, and Michigan runs the same defense as us and gave us everything we needed to run their defense and Coach Brown loves that.”
Trieu issued his player comparison as part of his scouting report:
“I can see some Desmond Morgan there too where, Desmond was not a combine type guy, but was smart, instinctive and worked his way into being productive. That is what I see with Cornell. And the few times that I have seen him in 7-on-7, he made a good amount of plays just by being in the right places as well.”
The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown also wrote up a player comparison in which he likened Wheeler’s game to that of James Ross.
Both have been billed as a tad sawed off while being extremely instinctive and violent when they arrive at ball carriers. Neither of them are very long but both have decent range because they run well and dissect plays in a hurry. Both also show a knack for blitzing because of how they anticipate and understand schemes and tells from the offense.
Brown also checked in with Rivals analyst Josh Helmholdt, and a picture of a tenacious, slightly undersized heat-seeking missile is starting to emerge. Helmholdt:
"His size and stature scream gap-filling thumper, but then he went out and nearly won position MVP honors at the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp in Chicago, an event that highlights a linebacker's ability to play in space. Wheeler is effective going forward, backward or sideline-to-sideline. He hits with bad intentions, but also has the explosiveness to blitz or cut off the alley."
Helmholdt also notes that his offer list would have seen the addition of national powers if he had decided to take his recruitment into the spring, but that Michigan pounced on Wheeler’s willingness to finish the recruiting process early.
Brown also spoke with former Michigan WR and current West Bloomfield head coach Ron Bellamy, who called Wheeler “the best middle linebacker in the state of Michigan.”
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