The Wolverine

2018 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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THE WOLVERINE 2018 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ■ 171 MIDWEST TOP 25 9. Jowon Briggs, DT Cincinnati Walnut Hills Briggs is a very strong, bulky and athletic interior defensive lineman at 275 pounds. Though listed generously at 6-3, Briggs' lack of height seems to have scared some teams away. Even though some of the bigger programs have cooled on him, he's still considered a four-star talent, and the No. 3 defensive tackle and No. 107 overall player nationally. He was initially offered by Midwest pow- ers Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame, but none of those programs are recruiting the Ohio product anymore. As a Cincy native and someone who is very serious about studying music in college, he end up at Cincinnati as a very talented player with less-than-ideal size. 10. Marvin Grant, S Detroit Martin Luther King Grant has great length and range at 6-2, 190 pounds. He could play multiple safety positions at the next level and could even grow into a hybrid type of linebacker. For now, he's the No. 8 safety and No. 126 overall prospect nationally. He also is listed as a four-star prospect and is the No. 5 player in Michigan. On June 1, Grant decided to pull the trigger and picked Purdue over Kentucky, Iowa State, Missouri, Pittsburgh. Michigan and Notre Dame also had reportedly offered. 11. Cade Stover, DE Lexington (Ohio) High Stover is a solid, all-around athlete at defensive end and measures in at 6-3, 215 pounds. He has good speed, agility and a very good mo- tor. He's versatile enough to play standing up or with his hand in the dirt. He is rated as a four-star talent, the No. 4 player in Ohio, and the No. 6 weakside defensive end and No. 132 overall prospect in the country. Stover picked up an offer from the Buckeyes and pledged to OSU April 29. 12. Sampson James, RB Avon (Ind.) High Measuring in at 6-1, 205 pounds, James has excel- lent size for a running back and was a big-time target for Michigan before he committed to Ohio State March 19. The No. 7 run- ning back in the country re- ally looks comfortable doing it all out of the backfield. He can run between the tackles, has the speed to get to the edge and catches the ball pretty well for a big back. James committed to Ohio State despite having offers from Michigan along with Florida State, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Penn State and Tennessee, among others. 13. Trevor Keegan, OT Crystal Lake (Ill.) South At 6-6, 310 pounds, Keegan can block well in the running game, but also possesses the athleti- cism to be a great tackle on the edge. He has fairly long arms and legs, and moves around lightly on his feet. Keegan is rated as a four- star recruit, the No. 1 player in Illinois and the No. 177 overall prospect in the country. He lives just 40 miles from Evanston, making him a top priority for Northwestern. However, schools like Michi- gan, Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State and Wiscon- sin have also thrown their hats into the ring. 14. Mazi Smith, DT Kentwood (Mich.) East Kenwood Smith has great size at 6-3, 302 pounds. He's thickly built with de- cent length, making him a rarity on the interior. He can be a dominant force in the middle of a defense against the run game, but also has the quickness and agility to be a factor as a pass rusher. Smith — a four-star recruit, the No. 6 player in Michigan and the No. 150 overall prospect nationally — appears to be down to Michigan and Penn State. He has been to Ohio State as well but came away less than impressed by the Buckeyes. His mom is very involved in his recruit- ment so winning her over may be key. James Franklin might have the edge with mom heading into the summer, but on-field perfor- mances by the Nittany Lions and Wolverines could also factor in. 15. Rodas Johnson, OG Columbus (Ohio) St. Francis DeSales The 6-4, 270-pound John- son is listed as an offensive guard, but is actually being recruited by just about ev- eryone as a defensive tackle. Early on his career he was shorter and a bit squatty, making him look like a guard. As he prepares for his senior season, though, he's become more stretched out and makes a bigger impact as a defensive lineman. Although several of the nation's elite schools have offered the No. 5 player in Ohio and No. 161 overall prospect nation- ally — Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State, etc. — Ohio State isn't one of them. It remains to be seen whether or not Ohio State will get more involved, but until then Michigan is in great shape with Johnson, and he has gone on record saying that U-M is "at or near the top" of his list. 16. George Karlaftis, DE West Lafayette (Ind.) High The 6-5, 240-pound Kar- laftis does a good job rush- ing the quarterback, plays with a high energy and has enough strength to be ef- fective against the run. He's got good size, but might not be able to add a ton of weight to his frame. He is listed as a four- star recruit, the No. 3 player in Indiana and the No. 184 overall prospect nationally. Karlaftis is committed to Purdue, but big- ger programs, including Michigan, are still making their best pitches to the Indiana na- tive. He's the hometown kid, so his commit- ment to Purdue is special. However, he has other options to play for much better teams. 17. Jirehl Brock, RB Quincy (Ill.) Senior Brock has good size for a running back at 6-0, 200 pounds. He's considered a complete back who can run, catch passes out of the backfield and protect the quarterback. He is rated as a four-star prospect, the No. 2 player in Illinois and the No. 185 over- all talent in the nation. Entering June, Brock had a top seven con- sisting of Northwestern, Iowa State, Purdue, Il- linois, Iowa, Minnesota and Indiana. Relation- ships with his potential coaches are the biggest factor for him in his decision making process. 18. Anthony Bradford, OT Muskegon (Mich.) High School At 6-5, 320 pounds, Bradford is absolutely massive and yet moves like someone 60 pounds lighter than he is. Because of his size and athleticism, he's able to dispose of big, strong defensive ends and can also neutralize quicker rush ends with equal effectiveness. Bradford is rated as a four-star talent, the No. 7 player in Michigan and the No. 186 over-

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