Hello: Nolan Ulizio Comment Count

Ace January 25th, 2015 at 2:03 PM

With that, West Chester (OH) Lakota West OL Nolan Ulizio became Michigan's third commitment in the last day, joining DE Reuben Jones and QB Zach Gentry. Ulizio had been a UConn commit heading into his official visit this weekend, but as expected the lure of joining M's class overcame what the Huskies could offer. Ulizio is the ninth commit in the 2015 class and the third on the offensive line.


Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
3*, #42 OT 2*, NR OT NR OT 2*, 79, #187 OT 2*, #222 OT,
#2324 Ovr

Ulizio hasn't received much attention from the recruiting services; only Scout gives him three stars while Rivals and ESPN don't even bother to rank him. His height is listed at anywhere between 6'4" and 6'6" with his weight in the 280-293 range. If he's on the higher end of that height range, he could end up as a tackle; given Michigan's needs that would be preferable.


There's very little out there on Ulizio. Scout's profile features a free evaluation from Dave Berk:

One of the more improved prospects from junior to senior year. Ulizio is a strong drive blocker with above average feet and the strength to compete early. Must work on overall flexibility, but showed great improvement in past year. Plays tackle in high school but projects as a guard with the ability to pull or a power tackle. Must get lower to get more power out of his hips. Dave Berk - Ohio Recruiting Analyst

His strengths are listed as drive blocking, feet, and power/strength; body control/balance, flexibility, and pass protection are noted as his areas to improve.

247's Clint Brewster posted a quick scouting report just after Ulizio committed:

He shows fluid movement getting out of his stance and displays a natural lateral shuffle to stay in front of defenders. Ulizio has the tenacity and aggressiveness you like to see on the offensive line, driving defenders back and putting them on skates. He does a great job on his drive blocks, getting underneath opponents and pushing them back. Ulizio is good at blocking on the move when he gets out on pulls and screens, staying engaged with smaller and quicker defensive lineman.

Ulizio's ability to block in space should be a plus in Harbaugh's pull-heavy offense whether he ends up at tackle or guard.

That's about it as far as available scouting goes. Brian and I talked to 247's Steve Lorenz this morning for a podcast segment, and he mentioned that the coaches liked Ulizio's mean streak and feel for the game when breaking down his film. While Ulizio went largely unnoticed by both recruiting services and major college programs, M's coaches seem to be seeing something others aren't—they offered Ulizio over more heralded options Sam Madden and David Moorman, both of whom have displayed interest in Michigan.


Ulizio's offer sheet included UConn, Cincinnati, Kentucky, and Pitt.


Lakota West has a couple other solid 2015 prospects in four-star LB CJ Stalker (Virginia commit) and three-star OT George Asafo-Adjei (Kentucky). They've produced a few Ohio State commits, most notably four-star 2007 DE Soloman Thomas, a couple four-stars who ended up at Kentucky, and 2010 five-star LB Jordan Hicks, who ended up at Texas. Current Alabama starting center Ryan Kelly is another Lakota West product.


No stats for O-linemen. Ulizio was named second-team AP All-Southwest District as a senior.


None listed, FAKE or otherwise.


Senior highlights:

Junior highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.


The evidence here is certainly flimsy, though you can see on Ulizio's film how he'd be a fit in Harbaugh's offense—he does well pulling into space, ID'ing his target, and locking on, and he finishes his blocks with authority. He looks like he could find a home at guard or right tackle.

Whether he ends up at tackle or guard, Ulizio will certainly take a redshirt this fall before trying to work his way up the depth chart. Based on the current roster, the earliest it's realistic for Ulizio to compete for a starting role would be when he's a redshirt sophomore, after Ben Braden and Erik Magnuson have graduated.


Ulizio fills a major need along the offensive line. Steve indicated that Michigan is likely done with offensive line recruiting for the class, though with the relative lack of linemen in the last couple classes—exascerbated by Mason Cole not taking a redshirt year—it wouldn't be a bad idea to take one more.

Michigan now has nine members of a 2015 class that could reach 16 or 17 total. Current needs include wide receiver, tight end, defensive end, linebacker, and cornerback; if the numbers work out, M could also pursue running back and safety prospects, and they're pushing for a commitment from fullback/H-back Reagan Williams, a Stanford commit who took an official this weekend.


Space Coyote

January 25th, 2015 at 3:57 PM ^

Each of those prospects can help. Gentry is a high upside player that needs work in a class with another QB. Jones is very raw and doesn't really have a feel for using his hands, but he should look like a better prospect once coached. He's a 3 star high effort DE, a contributor as an upper class men this late in the cycle isn't a bad thing. Jones will take some time but that's not the end of the world.


January 25th, 2015 at 2:18 PM ^

I am liking how we are filling needs - most drastic was S, CB, DE, OG, FB 2 years out.  So we have our OG, one DE (need 1 more and recruiting a few), recruiting a ton of CB and moving Peppers to S to alleviate that concern a bit. 

TE is a bit of a luxury but in Harbaugh's offense you need moar.  FB basicaly all we have is Shallman after 2015.

So this stuff makes sense as opposed to for example dropping the recruitment of Montae Nicholson when all our Ss will be gone in 2 years.


January 25th, 2015 at 3:41 PM ^

And I'm not sure how many people really understand how important it is that this class be as large as possible (whatever the number is), to help even out the classes and ensure a steady supply of juniors and seniors on the roster in future years.

Actually, what am I saying?! This is Michigan -- of course everyone has read alum96's work and knows all about it.

Anyhow, it seems pretty clear to me that what they've done is look at the recruiting classes of programs they think are poachable. I mean, probably this is UConn's best OL recruit? So they take a good look and like what they see. Boom!

Nebraska poachable due to coaching change.

Texas not so much, but it seems like there's more to that story.


January 25th, 2015 at 3:50 PM ^

There isn't much more to the story. They hired a new OC that is going to be switching from a pro-style offense to a spread, and Gentry was no longer going to an ideal system. Not saying that Strong/Texas didn't want Gentry anymore, but they have been putting the full court press on Kyler Murray, a more spread friendly QB recruit. All in all it was probably enough to alienate Gentry and gave Harbaugh/Michigan an opening to exploit.


January 25th, 2015 at 4:09 PM ^

"While Ulizio went largely unnoticed by both recruiting services and major college programs, M's coaches seem to be seeing something others aren't—they offered Ulizio over more heralded options Sam Madden and David Moorman, both of whom have displayed interest in Michigan."

Sounds like the coaches just like Ulizio more than more-heralded lineman. Stars aren't everything, you know, and we have to give this coaching staff the benefit of the doubt for now. But if Ulizio can in no way contribute in three or four years, you may be on to something.



January 25th, 2015 at 2:32 PM ^

If you watch Ulizio's highlight you'll see several plays against a team in green, with an AVES logo on the field. That's my kid's HS. I remember watching Ulizio and thinking 'Wow, what a mauler. Likes putting dudes on the ground.' Looking forward to watching him pancake some Sparties and Buckeyes in 2 or 3 years. I think he'll be a stud.