MI DE Mario Ojemudia, a teammate of current commit TE Devin Funchess, has joined Michigan's recruiting class with a verbal pledge.
|4*, #17 DT(!)||NR DE||NR WDE||3*, 89, NR WDE|
So, all three sites agree that Ojemudia is a defensive lineman (including Scout, which calls him a tackle(!)), but, uh, they don't list him with defensive lineman dimensions. Scout, which you may recall lists him at defensive tackle, says Mario is 6-2 and 220 pounds, and ESPN is in the same neighborhood, just four pounds lighter. Rivals and 24/7 Sports both say that Mario is 215 pounds, but Rivals is the most optimistic on his height, listing him at 6-3, while 24/7 Sports credits him at merely 6-1.
As you can see Mario is likely to be emblazoned with the "undersized" label throughout his career should he end up at defensive end. I assume that will indeed be his position, because seriously? Five linebackers?
He talks about his own game on his Scout profile:
“I have great speed. I’m very aggressive and I play hard and fast. I want to work on shedding blockers. I’m trying to get bigger and stronger too.”
That "great speed" should be his main asset, as it so often is among undersized linemen. Of course, it also raises a question of "if you're fast and little, why aren't you a linebacker?"
FHH Coach John Herrington on Mario's selection to the Free Press Dream Team:
"He is relentless on defense. He doesn't stay blocked, and he gets to the football. He has great potential. He will be a great college player someday."
Herrington and a couple of Mario's well-known teammates talk about his game in the Detroit News:
The 6-3, 215-pounder is undersized in the trenches, but his power and quickness mitigates that disadvantage. So, too, does his relentless aggression. "Mario is unstoppable," said Burbridge. "You never seen him blocked. Mario is a beast." Funchess agreed: "(Ojemudia) is just an animal. He just gets the job done."
"Mario just has a motor that is unbelievable," Herrington said. "Now, he is very quiet. We're hoping that he develops as a team leader, but he is so quiet that he really has not done that yet. As far as his game, he has got to get some size. He's about 215-218. If he gets up to college and he gets up to 245, he'll just be amazing. He could be a hybrid. We've never played him [standing] up, but he's fast and he could play an outside linebacker. I think he is better down, but he's always wanted to play up as a linebacker, so we'll see."
Allen Trieu also discussed his game:
"Mario Ojemudia is quick off the ball, aggressive, and disruptive. The main knock on him is that he's about 215 pounds and has been playing out of position as a tackle. I think he will be fine at end, though, because he's so athletic.
No mention of the height being a liability at the next level.
Central Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Missouri, Stanford and Syracuse were the non-Michigan schools in pursuit of Mario. Not exactly a murderer's row, but Iowa has consistently turned middling recruits into NFL Draft picks, and Stanford is riding a wave of success without recent precedent.
Mario's junior numbers:
Ojemudia made 127 tackles on the season from his defensive end spot, including 12 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. Ojemudia was a driving force behind Harrison winning their 13th championship in 2010. He was also one of only three underclassmen to be named to the Detroit Free Press Dream Team.
Those are some serious numbers, especially from the defensive tackle position, and on a team that has talent to share the tackles.
Other members of the defensive Dream Team are headed to Michigan (Brennen Beyer and Delonte Hollowell), Oregon (Jake Fisher), Florida (CB Valdez Showers), and Michigan State (Lawrence Thomas and Taiwan Jones), so to be one of two underclassmen on the team (along with fellow future Wolverine James Ross) is a big honor.
FAKE 40 TIME
Scout and Rivals both say 4.65. That's quite precise, and considering both sites say the exact same number down to the hundredth of a second, it seems much more believable. However for a guy who's going to play defensive end in college, and is not a 4- or 5-star prospect, it seems a little fake. I deem it three FAKEs out of five.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Take a look at a picture of Mario. At any position on the field, he'd be due for a redshirt year. He's like the reverse Brandon Graham (way too big as a high school linebacker, whereas Mario is way too small as a high school defensive tackle) Thanks to a few solid Michigan recruiting classes along the defensive line, he'll definitely have that luxury.
Following the redshirt, another year of mostly bench time to continue adding mass and learning the offense is probably advisable. By his redshirt sophomore season, he should start to work into a bigger role in the rotation, and pick up some time on special teams.
As an upperclassman, he should be able to challenge for a starting spot, becoming one of the key players by the time he graduates. His height might limit him in the NFL Draft, unless teams see him as a 3-4 OLB.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan has needs along the defensive line, but with a commitment from Matt Godin possible in the near future, spots could start filling up quickly, particularly at defensive end. The Wolverines can hold out for a top strongside end (Chris Wormley pls), and focus on defensive tackles.
Going forward the Wolverines also need more offensive linemen, a quarterback, and a wide receiver. Speaking of wideouts, Michigan has thus far completed two-thirds of the Harrison hat trick, with top in-state WR Aaron Burbridge the lone missing piece. Burbridge doesn't yet have an offer, reportedly because of grades.
Once Michigan starts filling in the needs listed above, they can truly narrow focus to only the top-top prospects, and try to reel in one hell of a recruiting class.