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.”
[Hit THE JUMP for more]
2019 Updates: Mostly Good, But Also /Sad Trombone
TX S Lewis Cine cancelled his unofficial visit a couple days before the Nebraska game, citing transportation issues. He elaborated to WolverinesWire’s Evan Petzold, noting that the visit cancellation was “nothing bad,” but a result of an inability to find an affordable flight. That fits with last week’s cautiously optimistic take on the no-visit. Then Petzold drops this bomb:
Cine said he does not know if he will reschedule the visit to see the Wolverines. He might not return to Ann Arbor before making a college decision.
Not looking so good for the player ranked no. 59 overall in the composite.
Brian noted a dearth of actual scouting in CA ATH Giles Jackson’s Hello post. The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown watched Jackson’s film and wrote a player comparison article in which he likens Jackson’s size, position switching, return skills, and twitchiness to Desmond Howard.
Both Jackson and Howard are also extremely elusive and possess great vision. When watching their highlight tapes there are a lot of cutbacks against the grain to get to the open field and they seem to be thinking two or three moves ahead of everyone else. That's crucial when playing in space and are two skills that turn short passes into long ones and seemingly bottle up kicks and punts into house calls.
The Wolverine Lounge’s Mike Keenan interviewed Jackson, who said he sees himself as a WR in college due to “route running and [my] ability to catch the football.”
Jackson’s commitment was seen as possible insurance against TN RB Eric Gray decommitting, but 247’s Steve Lorenz reports that Michigan’s staff believes his commitment is still solid. Gray, who visited Tennessee last weekend, told 247’s Tennessee site that he’s likely going to visit two additional schools to make sure Michigan is right for him.
A likely fire-and-commit candidate (in-stater, favorite school since childhood, etc.) is MI CB Kortez Toles, whom I probably would have included in the roundup just because I also went to Grand Blanc but am now justified in including because of this nugget obtained by The Wolverine’s Adam Ghabour:
“The coaches kept calling me a “scholarship” player and said they know I’m a ‘Big 10’ corner,” he said. “They told me they have more scholarship spots and I talked to two coaches for about an hour and forty-five minutes. The coaches also told me they’ll be out to some of my games and they said I’m welcomed back anytime.”
The 2019 class sits at 23 right now. Gonna be interesting to see how many guys leave for the NFL after the season.
2020 Update: Putting 100,000 People in One Place Impresses
The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown spoke with Rivals analyst Woody Wommack about TX TE Nick Patterson. Wommack issued the ages-old caution about needing to add weight without losing speed to get ready for college ball, and he also provided a short scouting report:
We had a chance to see Patterson at the 2017 New Orleans stop of the Rivals 3-Stripe Camp Series and despite being just a freshman, he impressed, especially when lined up against linebackers in space. He's a good route-runner and has very consistent hands, probably from spending plenty of time with his older brother playing catch in the backyard.
247’s Steve Lorenz talked to WA OG Geirean Hatchett, who visited campus in July and reaffirmed his decision to not take a return visit to Michigan during his season. Michigan’s staff seems undeterred, with OL coach Ed Warinner and grad assistant Patrick Kugler contacting Hatchett every day, and Harbaugh checking in consistently as well. Hatchett, no. 182 overall in 247’s composite ranking, added that Michigan is recruiting him “very aggressively.”
One prospect who is expected to take a visit this fall is MI ATH Enzo Jennings, who grew up a Michigan fan and sees himself as a fit for Don Brown’s scheme. The Oak Park standout recently spoke with The Michigan Insider’s Brice Marich and provided a handy self-scout:
“A lot of coaches say I’m strong and long, so I can put my hands on receivers and got an advantage with that. I can disrupt their route and play man to man. That’s definitely a strength of mine and that’s what I love (about Michigan’s defense), so I could see myself as a fit.”
Jennings already has 21 offers, including ones from Georgia and Auburn, both of which are schools he plans to visit this fall. Between that, Jennings’ enthusiasm about building a relationship with Sherrone Moore, and his latent friendships with DPJ and Ambry Thomas, it would seem that getting the prospect ranked no. 83 in the composite on campus should be a high priority.
PA OT Michael Carmody took an unofficial visit last weekend and told The Michigan Insider’s Brice Marich that he came away impressed not only with the gameday experience but the offensive line’s development from the Notre Dame game, for which he visited, to the Nebraska game. The four-star told Marich he’s going to visit Penn State and Virginia Tech in the next two weeks, and he plans to come back to observe a Michigan practice. That points to serious consideration despite not having a top-x list. Michigan’s academic areas of strength are a plus for Carmody, who told The Wolverine’s Adam Ghabour that he hopes to study engineering.
Another four-star who came away impressed with the gameday atmosphere last weekend is OH ATH Michael Drennen. Ranked no. 180 overall, it seems his listing as an athlete is fair for now; Drennen told WolverinesWire’s Evan Petzold that he spoke with RB coach Jay Harbaugh, LB coach Al Washington, and CB coach Mike Zordich on his visit. Drennen is also being recruited by 2020 CB commit Andre Seldon:
“That’s my brother,” Drennen said of Seldon. “He just says I should join him, and we would do big things if I went to Michigan.”
MI WR Ian Stewart also visited for the Nebraska game, and though I haven’t come across articles detailing his thoughts on the visit, there is one piece with something less ephemeral: a crystal ball. 247’s Steve Lorenz CB’d Stewart to Michigan this week, pushing Michigan up to 80% of crystal ball predictions for the three-star.
An under-the-radar visitor for the Nebraska curbstomping was IN DE Deontae Craig. Craig told The Michigan Insider’s Brice Marich that he does not have a Michigan offer yet, but he does hold offers from Indiana, Michigan State, and Tennessee. Greg Mattison’s wife, Ann, was Craig’s “mini guide,” and Craig said the hospitality Michigan showed went above and beyond, that “you could just feel it was different.” Craig, who plans to visit Michigan again this year, is a three-star and ranked no. 479 by 247, but is unranked in the composite.
Video profile of 2019 RB Zach Charbonnet, whose Oaks Christian squad was on ESPNU last week (which means there will be a Future Blue Derivatives at some point in the future, unless there’s not enough to pull from an 83-0 win [not a typo]). 247’s Steve Lorenz updated their 2020 board now that coaches have had a few weeks to contact juniors. Sam Webb published a piece that’s partially about Dax Hill’s signing date, but has a scouting report of 2020 WR Javian Hester from his coach tucked in as well. Four-star 2020 LB Ethan West will take an unofficial for the Wisconsin game. 2021 Cass Tech CB Kalen King visited, says he would visit again for anything, doesn’t even have to be a game. 2021 MI OT Ramier Lewis, another prospect being recruited by current commit Andre Seldon, told The Wolverine’s Adam Ghabour his interest in Michigan on a scale of 1-10 is 10.5. Brandon Brown scouted 2021 MI ATH Donovan Edwards.