Ellenwood (GA) Cedar Grove ILB Elysee Mbem-Bosse and Miami (FL) Columbus DE/OLB Joshua Uche both announced their commitments to Michigan this evening, becoming the 23rd and 24th members of the 2016 class. Tonight's commitment post features Mbem-Bosse; Uche's will go up tomorrow morning.
Mbem-Bosse is the third inside linebacker in the class, joining Devin Bush Jr. and Dytarious Johnson at a position of significant need. He chose Michigan over Auburn and Oklahoma, among others.
|3*, #26 ILB||4*, #15 ILB||4*, 80, #13 ILB||
3*, 86, #31 ILB,
3*, #17 ILB,
There's a split in Mbem-Bosse's rankings; Rivals and ESPN each list him as their second-to-last four-star among ILBs, while Scout and 247 place him well into three-star territory.
He brings plenty of size to the position. Scout and 247 list him at 6'3", 232 lbs., Rivals at 6'2", 228, and ESPN at 6'3", 230.
The consensus is Mbem-Bosse has the size, power, and tackling ability to potentially see the field early; the question is whether he's fluid enough in coverage. ESPN isn't so sure:
Will move laterally and keep his shoulders square to take on blocks and locate ball carrier but shows some tightness opening and turning in pursuit. Uses his hands to shock blockers and disengage to wrap up ball carrier. Shows good instincts and diagnosing skills versus full flow power-schemes with downhill action.
Has short area power to deliver a heavy hit when in proper position. Has the ability to jolt runner and use hands to dislodge the ball. Shows the ability to drag down runners with strong hands.
Shows good awareness in underneath zone coverage. Gets to the ball quickly with his ability to react to routes developing in front of him. We do not see the hips or fluid transitional skills to project high as a man coverage LB at the next level.. Shows good timing to blitz between the tackles.
Mbem-Bosse is a thumper ready to make the jump physically to the college level and has a lot of tools desired in an upper-tier middle linebacker. With continued flexibility through his hips he should climb our board.
In this film evaluation, Auburn legend Pat Dye's former offensive coordinator, Jack Crowe, calls Mbem-Bosse a "big, dominating player at the second level" over clips from his junior highlights, which mostly feature him stuffing the run but also show a deep zone drop and hit on a receiver:
UGASports.com surveyed the state of Georgia in March of 2015 and identified Mbem-Bosse as a promising prospect flying under the radar—though not for long:
Mbem-Bosse is starting to catch the attention of colleges all over the country. He is a physical, downhill linebacker that can run. Gets sideline to sideline quickly, and is not afraid to come up and strike. Has the length to play on the outside also and speed to play on the inside. Alabama and Georgia has been showing a lot of attention as of late.
The Tide eventually came through with an offer, though given they're the favorites for two five-star linebackers (Ben Davis and Lyndell Wilson), it's doubtful that offer is committable.
Son of a Coach's Jamie Uyeyama has a lengthy, free evaluation of Mbem-Bosse's junior tape that is a highly recommended read. It's detailed and critical, but there's still plenty of good in there:
There aren’t going to be as many players who can stuff the inside run quite like Mbem-Bosse. He does a great job of scraping through the trash to find the football and arrives at the ball violently when he gets to it. He is a very good tackler that [hits] through people.
He needs to use his hands better to not let blockers get to his chest, but he attacks them and is not afraid to take on a guard or fullback. He will absolutely blow up the iso. My main concern with him versus the inside run is that he sometimes will take false steps and does not recognize his keys in terms of pulling guards or down blocks on a consistent basis. He isn’t a good enough athlete to recover with false steps at the next level and must improve in this area.
He concludes that while Mbem-Bosse "has the tools to be a solid starting inside linebacker eventually," it could take him "a year or two" before he reaches that level. Like ESPN, he likes Mbem-Bosse as a blitzer but has questions about his ability in coverage.
Mbem-Bosse's profile reminds me a bit of Desmond Morgan's; he has a couple inches on Morgan with a similarly stout build, and based on his film I think he has a higher ceiling.
Mbem-Bosse holds offers from Alabama, Auburn, Duke, Florida, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Michigan, Minnesota, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Mizzou, Nebraska, NC State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Oregon State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wake Forest, and Wisconsin, among others.
Cedar Grove boasts another 2016 four-star in Auburn DT commit Antwuan Jackson. They've sent 16 other prospects to Power 5 programs since 2002, per the Rivals database, including former NFL tackle Marcus McNeill (Auburn).
High school stats weren't readily available.
FAKE 40 TIME
Mbem-Bosse's Hudl page lists an unverified 4.58, which gets three FAKEs out of five.
These highlights are dated from December 2014 but it appears there are clips from his senior season in there:
Single-game reels from his senior and junior years can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Mbem-Bosse will get an opportunity to crack the two-deep right away with Ben Gedeon as the only returner with significant experience at inside linebacker on the roster. He'll compete with Mike McCray, Chase Winovich, Noah Furbush, Reuben Jones, and Devin Bush Jr. for playing time. Ideally, he'd be able to take a redshirt year and work on his reads and coverage, but the roster may not afford that luxury, especially if Mbem-Bosse proves he can at least be a two-down run-stuffer from the outset.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Mbem-Bosse and Uche bring the total number of commits to 24 in a class that looks increasingly likely to reach 30. Mbem-Bosse's commitment should end Michigan's pursuit of linebackers Jonathan Jones, who's expected to wind up at Notre Dame, and Dontavious Jackson, for whom Michigan has seemed to be an afterthought even though they made his final five.
Top remaining targets include DT Rashan Gary, ATH Jordan Fuller, CB Lavert Hill, DT Boss Tagaloa, TE Devin Asiasi, WDE Connor Murphy, S Khaleke Hudson, TE Chase Allen, WR Eddie McDoom, WR Donald Stewart, NT Michael Dwumfour, WR/DB Pie Young, and K Quinn Nordin. It looks very likely DT commit Jordan Elliott ends up at Texas, and with other attrition still expected, Michigan could have as many as 10-11 spots to fill to wrap up the class.