Michigan Football Preview 2016

2016 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 173 of 179

172 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2016 FOOTBALL PREVIEW MIDWEST TOP 25 BY BRANDON BROWN M ichigan's coaching staff is re‑ cruiting nationally, but the Mid‑ west has not been forgotten. Several top Midwest prospects have already made their choices — some for the Maize and Blue — while many remain in play. Here's a look at the best players in the Wolverines' home region. 1. Josh Myers, OT Miamisburg (Ohio) High School Myers has great size (6‑5, 280 pounds), is an ultra‑ath‑ letic tackle and moves his feet extremely well. He is very comfortable when run blocking but really shines as a pass protector. Myers — a five‑star talent, the No. 1 re‑ cruit in Ohio and the No. 14 overall player nationally according to Rivals.com — made an early commitment to Ohio State. 2. Hunter Johnson, QB Brownsburg (Ind.) High School Johnson is a very pol‑ ished, athletic and strong‑ armed pro‑style quarter‑ back. His combination of technique and raw ability is the total package for a field general. Rivals.com rates him as a five‑star prospect, the No. 1 player in Indiana and the No. 4 overall recruit in the country. Johnson originally committed to Ten‑ nessee in August 2015, but was flipped by Clemson four months later. 3. Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR Detroit Cass Technical High School Peoples‑Jones, a 6‑1, 188‑pound wide receiver, is one of the top athletes in the entire country. He can beat corners with his size, speed and leaping ability, all of which is enhanced by a strong competitive drive. He is listed by Rivals.com as a five‑star recruit, the No. 1 player in Michigan and the No. 11 overall prospect in the nation. He has offers from everywhere, but shad‑ owing medical professionals and observ‑ ing a surgery this spring at Michigan has the Maize and Blue in the mix, along with warm‑weather schools like USC and Florida. 4. A.J. Epenesa, DE Edwardsville (Ill.) High School Epenesa is a natural pass rusher, and his 6‑5, 255‑pound frame should allow him to grow into a more stout run stuffer at the next level. Epenesa — a four‑star talent, the No. 1 prospect in Illinois and the No. 34 overall player in the country according to Rivals.com — committed to Iowa, where his father played in the 1990s, spurning teams like Alabama, Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, UCLA and USC. 5. Jeff Thomas, WR East St. Louis (Ill.) High School Lewis is a slight (5‑10, 165 pounds) but dynamic wide receiver that is ca‑ pable of making plays in space and has the speed to take any catch to the house. He also has incred‑ ible strength and balance in his little frame. Rivals.com's No. 2 player in Illinois and No. 88 overall prospect in the land is also very dangerous in the return game. Thomas is a national recruit with offers from Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State and Michigan. 6. JaVonte Richardson, ATH Maple Heights (Ohio) High School Richardson is an ex‑ tremely long athlete at 6‑4, 205 pounds. He's likely a wide receiver at the next level, and uses his long arms and size to get posi‑ tion against any defensive back. If he hits the weight room hard, he could really turn into a monster in college. He is listed as a four‑star prospect, the No. 3 player in Ohio and the No. 97 over‑ all recruit in the nation by Rivals.com He surprised some by committing to Kentucky in March. 7. Danny Davis, WR Springfield (Ohio) High School Louisville, Michigan State, Nebraska, Penn State and West Virginia, among many others, have offered the 6‑2, 180‑pounder. Davis has very impressive film, showcasing his speed and open‑field ability. He can blow the top off of a secondary or make short passes into long gains. He is rated as a four‑star prospect, the No. 4 player in Ohio and the No. 117 overall recruit in the land by Rivals.com. Two of Davis' junior teammates, line‑ backer Antwuan Johnson and tight end Leonard Taylor, are committed to the Wol‑ verines, and the pair are lobbying to get Davis offered. 8. Kayden Lyles, OG Middleton (Wis.) High School Lyles can play both sides of the ball, but he's listed as a four‑star offensive guard. He's built low to the ground and has good feet for being 6‑3, 300 pounds. He's definitely more suited to play on the inside and be a force in the running game. Rivals.com's No. 138 overall prospect na‑ tionally is committed to Wisconsin, and his brother Kare' is a quarterback for the Bad‑ gers. The boys' father, Kevin Lyles, played for Wisconsin in the mid‑1990s. 9. Ambry Thomas, CB Detroit Martin Luther King Collegiate Thomas, who plays both cornerback and wide re‑ ceiver in high school, is a potential lock‑down corner at the next level. The 5‑11, 165‑pounder can run with any receiver, and while slim, he is long and uses that length to make plays on the ball. On offense, he's very dangerous once the ball is in his hands with a lot of wiggle in the open field and an abundance of top‑end speed. Thomas — a four‑star recruit, the No. 2 player in Michigan and the No. 174 overall prospect in the land according to Rivals.com — is uncommitted. He likes the Maize and Blue, his mother is extremely high on Notre Dame and Michigan State has built a solid rapport with King High School, giving the Spartans a shot as well. Midwest Top 25 The Region's Best In The Class Of 2017

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