Michigan Football 2015 National Signing Day Recap: Offense
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Michigan Football 2015 National Signing Day Recap: Offense

National Signing Day

This was going to be a small class as it was, with a maximum of 17 spots available. Add in the fact that Michigan didn’t have a coach until late December and it’s impressive that they were able to get any recruits at all. What Jim Harbaugh and his staff accomplished is nothing short of amazing and the star rankings for these recruits shouldn’t matter to you one bit. Michigan’s staff was behind the 8-ball as soon as they were hired, and you should only be concerned about the “quality” of the recruiting class next year, when Harbaugh and co. have a full year to recruit. I personally don’t care about star rankings at all, but that’s a debate for a different time.

Harbaugh had 6 commitments when he took the job, thanks to Brady Hoke, and he managed to nab 8 commitments in 3 weeks. 6 players of that 8 were players that he flipped from other schools, which is pretty incredible.

The offensive recruits that Michigan was able to pull in are actually quite solid and if you want to see a recap on the defensive commitments, you can click here. Here are the offensive commits’ rankings across the four major recruiting services.

Position State Rivals Scout ESPN 24/7
Brian Cole WR MI 4 4 4 4
Alex Malzone QB MI 4 4 4 3
Andrew David K OH 2 3 3 2
Zach Gentry QB NM 4 4 4 3
Karan Higdon RB FL 3 3 3 4
Grant Newsome OT NJ 4 4 4 4
Grant Perry WR MI 3 3 3 3
Jon Runyan Jr OT PA 3 3 3 3
Nolan Ulizio OT OH 2 3 3 3
Tyrone Wheatley Jr TE/DE NY 4 4 3 4

National Signing Day

Brian Cole (Early Enrollee): Cole is a four-star athlete that weighs in at 6’2″ 190 lbs. He’s been discussed as the #1 player in the state of Michigan and was used mostly as an athlete in high school. He’s going to be a WR in college, and his ball skills will be a major help. He moves well for his size, but needs to perfect his route running. Enrolling early is going to be huge in his development and I think it’s plausible that he gets on the field next year.

Alex Malzone (Early Enrollee): Malzone is a four-star QB and weighs in around 6’2″ 205 lbs. He is just a pure winner. Not ideal when it comes to measurables but he does have one hell of an arm. He can work on his mechanics, and I don’t see him starting over Shane Morris or Wilton Speight next year, but it wouldn’t shock me if he saw the field next year. Being an Early Enrollee gives him the extra time necessary to try to get familiar with the playbook and go for the QB1 spot.

Andrew David: David is a two-star kicker that weighs in at 5’9″ 170 lbs. A machine when it comes to kicking the football, even played a little QB in high school. He’s made a 58-yard field goal before and he was all-county for all four years of high school. Should be the kicker next season as a true freshman.

Zach Gentry: Built like an absolute brick house. The four-star QB has been seen with his size listed anywhere from 6’6″-6’7″ and 230 lbs-250 lbs. He’s got an absolute gun for an arm and can also run down the field when he has to. He’ll likely be the starter in the future, but there is going to be plenty of competition for that QB1 spot. He appears to be a more polished version of Wilton Speight, which makes him a very nice flip from Texas.

Karan Higdon: The first surprising Signing Day flip, IMO. Sarasota Riverview has always had a pretty good team and Higdon had himself a fine year last year. The three-star running back is listed as 5’10” 190 lbs. He’s a good downhill, north-south runner and he runs hard. Thankfully he doesn’t dance in the backfield and attacks the hole, the type of running back that Michigan is in dire need of. He doesn’t have top end speed, but that’s okay, he just needs to be able to gain ground.

Grant Newsome: Newsome is a consensus four-star offensive tackle and he clocks in at 6’7″ 280 lbs. Newsome is a big bodied offensive lineman that will do a great job moving guys off the ball. He does well in pass protection but he can also get to the second level when run blocking. As a young guy he will have to work on his technique but all young guys usually do.

Grant Perry: Perry, a three-star WR, was just waiting for a Michigan offer so he could flip from Northwestern. As soon as he had the offer from the Michigan staff, he flipped 24 hours later. Perry is what people like to call a “technician” who has really great feet and seems to always be catching the football. If he wasn’t 5’11” 175 lbs, I would be willing to bet he would be a four-star WR. He can still improve after the catch, but he has a lot of Golden Tate in him.

Jon Runyan Jr: One of the first legacies that will play at Michigan. Runyan Jr is a three-star guard that weighs in at 6’4″ 275 lbs. He’ll translate to an offensive guard in college because of his size, but that shouldn’t be a problem. He’s a smart player with good technique and is quick off the ball. Three key traits that you want from an offensive guard.

Nolan Ulizio: The two-star offensive tackle Ulizio flipped from UConn and even though he isn’t highly ranked, he’s got some textbook size. At 6’5″ 293 lbs he has great power and strength and is good driving people off the ball. He’ll have to work on pass protection, but he’s got plenty of time for that given how many offensive linemen are in front of them.

Tyrone Wheatley Jr: Tyrone Wheatley Jr is listed as a TE/DE and even though his father thinks he will be a better DE, Junior will end up as a TE at Michigan. He’s listed as a four-star and is 6’6″ 260 lbs. Losing out on Chris Clark created a hole that Wheatley will be able to fill. He’s very athletic for his size and has some great strength. It will be interesting to see how he develops as a TE once he concentrates on playing only one position.

Check out what Jim Harbaugh had to say on Big Ten Network and CBS Sports Network:

Former Houston Cougars QB John O’Korn has also announced he is transferring to Michigan. He will have to sit out a year and the former 31st ranked pro-style QB from 2013 just finished his sophomore year last year. He was replaced by a converted wide receiver, so I don’t have high hopes for him starting or having an impact at Michigan, but you never know. Better to have competition/options for the QB spot than let Shane Morris just have the job for two years.


Scholarship Depth Chart

O’Korn isn’t on this list, but they have 83 Scholarships spoken for this year (including O’Korn). This would put them at a maximum of 15 scholarships for next year, unless someone leaves early or transfers. Needless to say, Harbaugh’s first two classes will pale in comparison size-wise to years 3 and 4.

[cross-post: TheDailyTraub]

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