Early Enrollees Are Ready To Go

Submitted by Brandon Brown on December 20th, 2013 at 10:44 AM

In just about two weeks the Wolverine football family will grow by seven members. Bryan Mone, Michael Ferns, Mason Cole, Freddy Canteen, Brandon Watson, Wilton Speight, and Drake Harris will arrive in Ann Arbor on January 5th. As all seven young men prepare for the next chapter of their academic and athletic lives the winds of change have them anxious and excited.

Bryan Mone feels a little like the lost member of this recruiting class for the simple fact that he hasn’t been around as much as the others due to living in Utah. Mone also isn’t much for the spotlight and doesn’t do a lot of interviews or partake in social media like a lot of the other commits. Mone is set up to room with Scott Sypniewski a long-snapper already on the roster. At this point in time Mone is just ready to get on campus and do anything he needs to do to get on the field, even though he doesn’t know exactly what that is yet. Mone told me he’d like to wear #90, which should be possible as it’s currently not in use.

After flipping from Michigan State, Drake Harris has become one of the more popular commits in the 2014 class simply because of his seemingly unlimited potential at wide receiver. At 6’4” he has the kind of speed and size that can blow the top off of a defense, something that has been missing a bit in recent years. Harris missed most of his senior season with an injury so his level of anxiousness may be even more elevated than the rest. Harris will room with fellow incoming early enrollee Wilton Speight where to two hope to grow their chemistry. Harris says he hopes to do everything he can to earn the #1 jersey but believes he will start off in the #4.

Speaking of Wilton Speight, he told me he is coming to Ann Arbor with a chip on his shoulder. As a 3-star recruit he comes in a class behind Michigan native and golden boy, 5-star Shane Morris. That alone is enough to motivate him and he’s been working out non-stop and eating right trying to prepare anyway he can before starting a more regimented college workout and diet plan. He plans to hit the ground running with his offseason conditioning and lifting program as soon as he arrives. Look for Speight to rock the #19 in Ann Arbor just like he did in high school.

High school teammates Brandon Watson and Freddy Canteen were unsure of who their roommates would be, but both assumed it would be each other. Watson will arrive on campus at 6’1” and 190 lbs. which is bigger than I thought he was. He confirmed that he has definitely grown since any of his recruiting profiles were last updated. Watson plans to sport the #4 which will be available with the departure of Cam Gordon. Canteen didn’t have much to say but he did tell me that he was unsure of exactly what he will do as far as workouts, diet, and studying goes but he’s just ready to get to work.

Leaving the warmth and heading up north to the cold, Mason Cole can’t wait to get to Ann Arbor. The coaches haven’t told Cole what they want him to do as far as weight gain, working out, or what specific position he’ll play on the line, but he said simply, “It’s go time.” once he’s there. He just wants to get there and work out, get in shape, and study non-stop. Right now Cole is at 6’5” and 275 lbs. and he said he’d like to be at about 290 by the time fall camp rolls around.

Cole’s roommate, Michael Ferns was the only early enrollee I wasn’t able to talk to but I’d assume he’s very happy this day has almost arrived since he was the first commit of the class all the way back in August of 2012. If I do end up hearing from him I’ll add it in.



December 20th, 2013 at 10:53 AM ^

Pretty cool write up. It's great hearing how excited these kids are, and how much work they want to do to make this team better. I hope Harris gets that #1 by 2015. It would be awesome to see a stud rocking that number again.

Although #4 isn't too bad either!


December 20th, 2013 at 11:33 AM ^

Not that I disagree with you but I think the two that early enrolling really helps are Mone and Ferns. Just by looking at the last couple seasons, it is almost a certainty that Ferns gets on the field (McCray is the only LB that has redshirted, not counting Gant who switched positions). Mone has the size and strength to at least contribute in the rotation a bit as well as a freshman.


December 20th, 2013 at 12:32 PM ^

I agree that the trend seems to be that Michigan plays freshman linebackers, but at some point, that would seem like it has to stop. Cameron Gordon is the only linebacker that graduates, and unless there's attrition, you would think that McCray or Allen Gant can take some of his snaps and/or play special teams. Michigan has four good inside linebackers (Morgan, Ross, Gedeon, Bolden) plus Royce Jenkins-Stone, so if they burn Ferns's redshirt for special teams, that will be pretty frustrating.


December 20th, 2013 at 11:02 AM ^

plans to play, for those of us who are less assiduous in following them. Would also love to see some speculation about whether these guys contribute or how much next year. 

Mr. Yost

December 23rd, 2013 at 5:07 AM ^

Mone - NG - Could be expected to contribute

Harris - WR - 1 WR will likely play, all 3 have different "advantages" at the moment (Harris is enrolling early and has the potential, Ways has the frame and is a willing blocker, Canteen has the path of least resistence (slot WR and Dileo is gone...so is Jackson and Reynolds)

Speight - QB - Redshirt

Canteen - WR - see Harris

Watson - CB - Redshirt

Ferns - LB - Redshirt

Cole - OT/OG - Redshirt


,,,It's pretty cut at dry for the early enrollees...it's Mone and 1 or 2 WRs. Hopefully just 1 because we brought in 3 guys last year. That said, I could see Canteen benig rushed to PT because of the depth chart. Then again, that slot WR position may go away even with Norfleet and Hayes back. We'll go 3-4-5 wide, but that doesn't mean we'll have the Welker type slot anymore. We'll see!


December 20th, 2013 at 11:08 AM ^

Would love to see Peppers in this group, but I think this is actually a great group to get on campus early. I could see Canteen, Harris, Speight and possibly even Mone playing roles early because of this extra time.


Good writeup.


December 20th, 2013 at 11:32 AM ^

If memory serves, he had a hamstring injury, right?  What's the normal treatment / PT for something like that?  And would coming to Michigan earlier -- and having access to the Michigan trainers -- help with recovery? 

(My guess is the answer is "Yes," but I'm curious if any board members have insight into these kinds of injuries.)


December 20th, 2013 at 4:37 PM ^

upon reading this one on the EEs. Thanks Brandon! Always great to hear that the new guys are looking forward to hitting the ground running, and they even provided some insight for when we try to guess everyone's jersey number in a few months!

Love hearing that Harris and Moe Ways are both hoping for the #1, but my bet is still on a healthy Darboh snagging that honor in the next season or two.


December 20th, 2013 at 11:18 AM ^

Thanks for the update.  I hope they all feel welcome and excited to start classes at one of the greatest public educational institutes in the world!


December 20th, 2013 at 11:34 AM ^

This is a great write-up ... informative and upbeat.  I really like reading things like this because it provides a better perspective on what it's like to be a player in a program like Michigan.  Nice job, Brandon!


December 20th, 2013 at 11:42 AM ^

So, uh, who's the girl in the scrolling pictures? 

I'd love it if it is just the generic stand in used for that particular graphic and she was intentionally left in the mix.


Also, good write-up.


December 20th, 2013 at 2:10 PM ^

I might have missed some, but this is all I could find from MGOBlue's Bentley Historical Library.


Lawrence Cipa, #24  For his SO year

David Brandon, #24  Yes he was a QB before switching to DE

Steve Zacharias, #27 converted to TE after SO year

Colby Keefer, # 29 Converted to TE after JR year

One notable #19 that was a QB before he wasn't, Mike Gillette




December 20th, 2013 at 12:03 PM ^

can this dude watson turn and burn with WRs at 6'1" 190?  obviously havent seen him play yet but maybe some people have caught the kid somehwere and can offer input.  heres hoping hes a 6'1" corner with nice hips and solid pedal and break ability...closer to stribling than dawson or hill in terms of athletic ability and projected usage....those 2 freshmen appear to be safeties and dont currently possess the more natural corner skills like stribling...so hopefully this cat watson is a natural CB at that size since they have those 2 freshmen of similar build who project more to S.  also great group to have entering early....WR's should have better chance to compete in summer/fall for some of gallon/dileos snaps with a semester in the books and its always good to get QBs not only into playbook ASAP but also get early reps with more tape to critique....and of course OL and DL typically benefit from winter S&C programs as early enrollees as much as anyone since majority have huge gains to make transition.  and based on recent trends as well as his size it looks like ferns will have opportunity to push for snaps if deserving....however they finally have decent number of experienced bodies at LB so he does not need to play....thatll be interesting to watch  

The Pope

December 20th, 2013 at 12:08 PM ^

Really excited about the potential of this group.  However would coaches want both Watson and Harris to have #4?  I think  both players could be contributors on special teams, so it could limit them if they can't be on the field at the same time.


December 20th, 2013 at 12:38 PM ^

I think they'll cross that bridge if/when they come to it. I kind of doubt that both would be on the same special teams unit at the same time. And if/when they become starters down the road, there's a good chance they'll be off most special teams, anyway.


December 30th, 2013 at 10:27 PM ^

There are very few football players in sports management or any other major in kinesiology at Michigan. The 2013 media guide has 113 players listed. Of these, 6 are in kinesiology that aren't freshmen:

Kenny Allen

Blake Countess

Devin Funchess

Jareth Glanda

Joe Kerridge

Michael Schofield

There are 6 more true freshmen in kinesiology:

Chris Wormley (freshman)

Delano Hill (freshman)

Maurice Hurst (freshman)

Mike McCray (freshman)

Shane Morris (freshman)

Csont’e York (freshman)

but at least half of these freshmen will transfer to LSA before finishing their playing days if recent history repeats itself. General Studies is the number one major by popularity.


December 20th, 2013 at 12:36 PM ^

Hey Brandon, is there anything to this Moe Ways tweet on not enrolling early? My guess (and hope) is that he's just showing that he's going to be putting his work in at home, which is great, since he seems to have star potential. Just wanted to make sure there's not some other context I'm missing.


Not enrolling early. So, I'm gonna use these 6 months to get RIGHT! Cause come June imma be a different and better player