Above: Ojabo, via 247. Previously: Offense
Now I'm just a couch. I turned into a couch. It's like "The Metamorphosis" except extremely comfortable. Let's play the feud!
STATUS: Michigan already had five-star GA DE Chris Hinton, four-star KY DE Stephen Herron, and three-star OH DE Gabe Newburg in the class; they added NJ DE David Ojabo [hello] during the blitz. Ojabo is Taco Charlton again, a huge bundle of potential that needs refining. 24/7 had an article about projecting high school defensive ends to the NFL that concluded you should go get the most absurd 220-230 pound athlete you can find that highlighted Ojabo as this year's best fit with that theory:
David Ojabo may be the most compelling candidate to prove out the 2018 draft trends. He’s late to football with 2017 being his first season ever putting on pads. ... diverse athletic background playing volleyball, basketball and soccer before finding football. He has tested extremely well in a combine setting with a 4.75 40 and a 33-inch vertical at 6-foot-4.5, 233 pounds and he has clocked a 10.93 in the 100 meters.
A sub-11 100 meter dash at 233 pounds. Yessir.
FWIW, Herron continues to insist that his Stanford flirtation is over and done:
“People think there was (wavering) because I’m really close with Stanford, but I’m not looking right now,” he said. “I chose Michigan for a reason and Michigan is very close and dear to my heart. Something is going to have to happen for me to go out there. Something has got to happen. It’s not like I’m the type of guy who de-commits because I don’t like that place anymore."
That's the third or fourth quote he's given to reporters about his status as a hard commit. Unless he schedules a visit it's probably time to take him at his word. (If he schedules a visit it's time for last rites for his commit.)
MORE? Apparently. Michigan's continued pursuit of DEs probably says something about where they expect Hinton to play—on the interior—and maaaybe signals that they're a bit uncertain about Herron even still. Michigan's best shot at adding another is NJ DE Aeneas DiCosmo, who's another one of those Michigan-Stanford battles. This is termed a "dogfight" by Wiltfong, which is an improvement from "foregone negative conclusion." DiCosmo is another super athletic three star sort.
Michigan is pursuing five-star OH DE Zach Harrison, who's been on campus multiple times and seems legitimately interested... but most discussions of his recruitment are framed to give Michigan fans a soft landing when he commits to OSU. IN DE George Karlaftis has seen his stock skyrocket over the past six months. He remains a commit to hometown Purdue but Michigan continues to poke. Maybe Brohm gets poached after the season? They're also vaguely in it for CA DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, the #1 overall player on the composite.
[After THE JUMP: the rest of this post!]
BEEFSMITH makes BEEF out of METAL
STATUS: Michigan added instate DT Mazi Smith [hello] during the blitz. He's currently the only guy listed at DT in the class, but as mentioned above Chris Hinton is already listed at 280 and is probably going to project to the interior. Smith is a penetrator who's like Mo Hurst in the same way that every viper-shaped person is a version of Jabrill Peppers.
MORE? You'd think so after airballing on DTs last year but there's only one even vaguely realistic prospect out there at the moment, and that's Kalil Branham's 2019 teammate Rodas Johnson. Wisconsin just got a flood of crystal balls and Evan Flood bluntly reports that's because neither PSU or Michigan has him as a take. 24/7 lists zero other DTs with Michigan as "warm."
I mean, if Hinton is a DT that's two touted guys and probably fine, but at a spot where you have 1.5 starters at each position I'd expect Michigan to be going harder.
2020 BONUS: Michigan added IL DT Denver Warren [hello], who I guarantee I will say is from Colorado at least three times. He's a 4-star-ish dude who's already around 315 and is probably headed for nose tackle.
STATUS: Michigan added two guys who say that Michigan's recruiting them as a viper(!!!) and—surprise—comparing them to Jabrill Peppers. DC S Quinten Johnson [hello], who I guarantee I will call "Quentin" at some point, is a near-copy of Khaleke Hudson physically who has a top ten SPARQ score nationally and just hit up the Opening. His current three-star status will either be repaired or ruthlessly exploited by this site for Sleeper of the Year purposes.
OH LB Joey Velazquez [hello] was an OSU baseball commit until Michigan offered him the chance to play both sports and has barely been ranked as a football player as a result. He's a bit bigger and a bit stiffer than Johnson and has fewer paths to the field, but Don Brown could take a cauliflower at viper and I'd probably be fine with it.
These guys join FL LB Charles Thomas, who projects to the interior in the same way many light and conventionally "undersized" guy do in Brown's defense.
MORE? Michigan is getting an official from GA LB Kalen Deloach, who says that Michigan and FSU are recruiting him hardest. This could also be the landing spot for NC ATH Quavaris Crouch, who Lorenz recently asserted Michigan leads for. There are as of yet no ballers bold enough to project that.
Another interior guy would be good after taking just Cam McGrone last year.
Apparently nobody watches football anymore to scout players—I opened over 100 tabs on Turner produced by the recruiting industry and every one of them was about him going on visits, or thinking about going on visits, or putting out a tweet about which visits he went on. Apparently nobody in this industry watches the gorram 7A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP IN THE STATE OF GORRAM GEORGIA these days.
Very same, other Barry. Turner had a boatload of offers and dropped from a low four-star into three star territory after playing safety in a loaded secondary last year.
MORE? There are currently no realistic targets at cornerback in 2019. FL CB Akeem Dent is Joe Milton's cousin and will apparently make it up for a visit at some point, but he's committed to FSU and will be a very tough pull.
Michigan did take three last year and has a 2020 so they could probably get away with just Turner. It would not be a surprise if this was a spot where Michigan went looking for a sleeper.
2020 BONUS: Michigan added Belleville CB Andre Seldon [hello], who aspires to be Jourdan Lewis 4.0, Lavert Hill 3.0, and Ambry Thomas 2.0.
Interception compliments of Quinten Johnson pic.twitter.com/6dAVRYohwF
— Sam Spiegelman (@samspiegs) July 3, 2018
STATUS: The aforementioned Quinten Johnson certainly has the athleticism to land at safety if the need is greater there. He's the only safety-shaped object in the class.
MORE? Michigan is after a couple of very highly touted folks. The most highly touted is five-star OK S Daxton Hill, who emerged from nowhere to become a guy Michigan is legitimately in on. The program seems to think he's theirs to lose, per Sam Webb, but without corroborating evidence from outside Schembechler that's still in "hopeful" territory. (Some croots have a hard time saying no and give everyone the impression they're going to land said croot.)
Lorenz has similar intel and reports that Hill is coming up for an official for SMU... maybe? Hill just tweeted out an upcoming commitment. That's probably not good.
Michigan's also in on TX S Lewis Cine, who seemed like a slam dunk when he was in Don Brown's New England stomping grounds. A move to Texas before his junior season complicated things. He was recently on campus but it's Texas and Penn State with the balls.
With one five-star in the fold, a couple of excellent lottery tickets at DE, and a couple of seemingly underrated guys this defensive class is also trending towards the B+/A- days of yore. There's a big bifurcation coming up, with Michigan a reasonable underdog for a handful of five-stars and very little else on the plate. Michigan's probably working behind the scenes to come up with a few more prospects; the most likely outcome is to whiff on the big timers and fill in a few late spots with prospects that are a bit meh. But if they grab a big timer or, I mean yeah, two, pretty good.