Michigan Football Preview 2013

2013 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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midwest top 30 road grader whose participation in summer camps has helped him become a dominant pass blocker. Jones narrowed his list of choices to a final four of Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State in May, and plans to announce his decision this summer. Rivals.com rates him as a four-star prospect, the No. 13 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 97 overall player in the nation. 8. Dewayne Hendrix, DE O'Fallon H.S./O'Fallon, Ill. Hendrix has the build of a college defensive end before he even begins his senior year of high school. At 6-4 and 265 pounds, he's strong against the run, but has the ability to generate a bit of a pass rush as well. His forte is strength, though, and he even has the size to move inside in college. Hendrix, Rivals.com's No. 9 strongside defensive end and No. 103 overall player nationally, has nearly 20 scholarship offers entering the summer. 9. Dante Booker Jr., LB St. Vincent-St. Mary H.S./Akron, Ohio Booker's father was a standout defensive end for Auburn in the late 1990s, and the younger Booker is following right in dad's footsteps. Although the 6-3, 210-pounder is a high school linebacker, he has an athleticism that may translate better to defensive end at the next level if he continues to grow. He is at his best rushing the passer and could make the transition full-time. Booker, the No. 10 inside linebacker nationally according to Rivals.com, was long considered a lean to Ohio State during the recruiting process and surprised nobody when he followed teammate Parris Campbell in committing to become a Buckeye. 10. Jeff Jones, RB Washburn H.S./Minneapolis The 5-11, 200-pound Jones opened some eyes at the Chicago Rivals Camp Series event, displaying a quickness and vision that not many knew he possessed. He clearly has the size to run between the tackles as well, and will only continue getting bigger by the time he reaches college. He is a true feature back. Jones committed to Minnesota shortly before National Signing Day 2013, a major coup for the Gophers. Because he's been so impressive at events since that pledge, head coach Jerry Kill and his staff will have their work cut out for them in holding onto Rivals. com's No. 11 running back in the class of 2014. 11. Michael Ferns, LB St. Clairsville H.S./St. Clairsville, Ohio Ferns is a classic Big Ten middle linebacker, in seemingly every sense of the word. He's a 6-3, 235-pounder who only continues to hones his physique. He is a menacing prospect for opposing running backs in traffic or receivers coming over the middle on pass patterns. He's a run stuffer with the athleticism to cover tight ends — or even play tight end, which some schools offered him the opportunity to do. He was all-state in Division 4 as an offensive player after injuries saw him sit out some defensive series for St. Clairsville later in the year. Ferns was Michigan's first commit in the 2014 class, selecting the Wolverines prior to the beginning of the 2012 season. Rivals.com lists him as the No. 3 player in Ohio, the No. 11 inside linebacker in the land and the No. 128 overall prospect in the country. 12. Mikel Horton, RB Lakota West H.S./West Chester, Ohio Horton is a big tailback that could grow into a fullback at the next level. His 6-1, 230-pound frame seems to indicate that he's outgrown the opportunity to be a primary ball carrier, but he still has the fleetness of foot and the vision to make an impact in the ground game — and not as a blocker. As long as he pays strict attention to his conditioning, he should be able to do it all. Rivals.com's No. 12 running back in the country committed to Kentucky over offers from mid-level Big Ten schools and Mid- American Conference (MAC) programs in late April. 13. Mikale Wilbon, RB De La Salle Institute/Chicago On the other end of the running back size spectrum is Mikale Wilbon, the nation's No. 17 running back according to Rivals.com. Unlike Horton, he's a smaller ball carrier, standing just 5-8 and 190 pounds. What he lacks in size, Wilbon makes up for with playmaking ability. He is more likely to juke a defender than try to run him over, but with Jamarco Jones ahead of him, most of what Wilbon does is sprint past linebackers on his way to the end zone. Wilbon committed to Vanderbilt in April. Cincinnati, Illinois, Iowa and Georgia Tech were among the other programs he strongly considered. 14. Austin Roberts, WR Carmel H.S./Carmel, Ind. The 6-2, 210-pound Roberts has been recruited as both a wide receiver and a tight end/Hback by various colleges. He's a smooth route-runner and displays excellent hands. He doesn't quite have the physical edge to his game that you'd expect out of a player who is planning to switch positions at the next level. Roberts' junior season was his first in Indiana after transferring from Tampa (Fla.) Plant. Rivals.com's No. 24 receiver nationally has offers from programs based in the Southeast and Midwest, along with a few scattered programs across the country, such as USC. 15. Justin Brent, WR Speedway H.S./Indianapolis Brent is a 6-1, 195-pound wide receiver who looks the part of a college player already. He is not just a physical specimen, either, displaying excellent hands and a solid understanding of route running that helps him get open despite a lack of elite speed. His knowledge of the game and overall skill For regular reports on football recruiting, plus videos of all the top prospects in the nation and Michigan's commitments, visit TheWolverine.com. The Wolverine 2013 Football Preview  ■ 259

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