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February 06, 2014 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-02-06

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, February 6, 2014 - 7A

Peppers, eight other
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By JAKE LOURIM pounds) already has the size
Daily Sports Writer for college football. The tough,
physical lineman can use his
:dnesday, the Wolverines strength for both run and pass
ed the rest of their protection. He also started the
ranked recruiting class. Under Armour All-American
s a rundown of each of them Game.
ow they fitinto the rotation: With the proper technique
improvement, Bushell-Beatty
brill Peppers (Paramus, has an outside shot at providing
- No.1 cornerback, No.2 immediate help to a unit that
all (ESPN): struggled mightily in 2013. With
ppers (6-foot-1, 205 pounds) fifth-year senior Taylor Lewan
star of the 2014 class for graduating, the line will lack a
Wolverines. He made an clear leader but the Wolverines
ct on both sides of the ball have several players with
gh school. In the Under experience who can step in.
ur All-American Game, he
ned two kicks for 65 yards, Ian Bunting (Hinsdale,
ed a field goal and even Ill.) - No. 6 tight end, No. 200
up at quarterback. overall (ESPN):
ile Peppers could see some Bunting (6-foot-6, 223
on the offensive side next pounds) has good hands and
he projects as a cornerback body control, making him a great
ie next level. Michigan pass-catching tight end. He
ns both of its current struggles with blocking, though,
rbacks, junior Raymon with a smaller frame.
r and redshirt sophomore The Wolverines already have
Countess, but Peppers has three established tight ends in
ze, athleticism and instincts Funchess - when he plays tight
mpete for a starting spot. end - sophomore A.J. Williams
and freshman Jake Butt. Bunting
ake Harris (Grand Rapids, won't see much game action early,
.) - No. 10 wide receiver, but he'll have an opportunity to
5 overall (ESPN): get stronger as a tight end.
rris (6-foot-3, 172 pounds)
f the radar a bit last season Maurice Ways (Beverly
a hamstring injury, but he Hills, Mich.) - No. 59 wide
ed early at Michigan and is receiver (ESPN):
ne of the top wide receivers Ways (6-foot-4, 193 pounds)
class. fits the mold of Michigan coach
dshirt freshman Jehu Brady Hoke's tall wide receivers.
on (221 yards) and His smooth stride and good
more Dennis Norfleet (46 hands make him a viable pass
) are the only returning catcher at the next level.
receivers who caught He isn't as heralded a prospect
ss last year. Sophomore as Harris, but he has the ability to
Funchess, who split time gain separation from the defense.
een tight end and wide Whether he can get onto the field
'er, will be in the mix at next year remains to be seen, but
iut along with sophomore he could compete.

Noah Furbush (Kenton,
Ohio)-No.21insidelinebacker
(ESPN):
Furbush (6-foot-4,235 pounds)
has good size for his position.
He's a hard-hitting linebacker
with good closing speed.
Early enrollee Michael
Ferns, a 6-foot-3, 228-
pound linebacker from Saint
Clairsville, Ohio, is the higher-
ranked prospect at his position.
With junior starter Desmond
Morgan and sophomore backup
Joe Bolden also returning at
middle linebacker, early playing
time for Furbush seems like a
bit of a stretch.
Jared Wangler (Royal
Oak, Mich.) - No. 71 outside
linebacker (ESPN):
Wangler (6-foot-1, 215 pounds)
has good athleticism, allowing
him to defend from sideline to
sideline. He's a solid tackler, but
he could add muscle early on to
become a contributor.
Like Furbush, Wangler isn't
as highly ranked at his position
as Chase Winovich. With
fifth-year senior Cam Gordon
leaving, Wangler and Winovich
could compete for backup reps
behind redshirt junior Jake
Ryan, and then for a starting
spot in 2015.
Brady Pallante (Naples,
Fla.) - No. 117 defensive tackle
(ESPN):
Pallante originally planned
to be a grayshirt, enrolling this
year but not participating in team
activities until 2015.In November,
he reclassified, meaning he'll be
on scholarship this fall.
No. 7 defensive tackle Bryan
Mone, an early enrollee, is the
more seasoned prospect, so
Pallante (6-foot-1, 278 pounds)
could take a year to develop.

Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison (left) and head coach Brady Hoke (right) have excelled on the recruiting trail.
A small, but eficient class

By ZACH HELFAND
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan's recruiting season
featured the flirtations of a star,
the (literal) feasting of a defensive
tackle and some innovating with
hedge trimmers, but by 10:53 a.m.
Wednesday, the Wolverines had
their 2014 class.
National Signing Day was
a quiet one for the Michigan
football team, which will add just
16 recruits, the lowest total in
more than a decade. With limited
spots in this year's class, the
Wolverines addressed nearly all
of their needs and added one of
the nation's best talents in Jabrill
Peppers. But Michigan did whiff
on a few big-name targets that
would've pushed the class into
the elite level.
ESPN, which ranked
Michigan's class 16th nationally,
is highest on the class, followed
by 247Sports (20th) and Rivals
(31st). Peppers is the only five-star
recruit, and the three recruiting
services give Michigan between
six and 10 four-star-rated players.
Seven players have enrolled early
for the 2014 winter semester.
"Actually, I'm a huge fan of this
class," 247Sports's Steve Lorenz
said. "They really did a good job
of mixing guys that can come in
and play early with under-the-
radar sort of guys."
Peppers, the explosively
athletic athlete from Paramus
Catholic (N.J.), is the crown
jewel. Peppers hinted late last fall
that he would consider visiting
other schools, but he stuck with
Michigan and faxed in his letter
of intent at 8 a.m. Wednesday.
The question now is how to
use him. Peppers played on both
sides of the ball in high school,
and his athletic ability and what
Michigan outside linebackers
coach Roy Manning called
"Olympic speed" make him a
versatile weapon.
Manning told MGoBlue.com
that both Peppers and Michigan
would be open to playing
anywhere. At a press conference
later Wednesday, Michigan
coach Brady Hoke indicated he'd

be a defensive bac
"Let's get hin
let him be a corn
Hoke said. "Do I
talented? There'
Can he return ki
Yeah. I don't thi
doubt about it. A
be a plan some'
offensively? Ther
let's let the kid w
go to a class duri
and be a freshmai
Peppers has go
bulk of the atten
indicated five or
could
contribute
next season.
Lorenz said
the likely
candidates are
Peppers; tight
end Michael
Ferns; two
wide receivers,
most likely
early enrollees Dr
Freddy Canteen;
Bunting; and di
Bryan Mone.
For a smal
Wolverines recru
Michigan direct
personnel Chris
Michigan had ext
but opted to
potentially foro
class. And though
failed to add a f
targets, they ad
less-touted, recru
Mone, a de
who is listed at
pounds and w
rather large mea
December, topp
list, according to
"He was pret
No. 1 overall guy
recruiting boardI
said. "He was the
offered. They h
higher ontheir bo
tackle than anybo
And then there
Noah Furbush -,
pound linebackei
Ohio - who(
major contributo
seasons. Hoke pro

k first.
a in here and
er for a while,"
think he's very
s no question.
cks? Could he?
nk there's any
nd could there
where for him
e could be. But
alk on campus,
ng the summer
n.",
arnered a large
tion, but Hoke
six freshmen

attitude, citing the time last
season Furbush removed a cast
from his hand using some hedge
clippers.
"He thought he should do
that, but I wouldn't recommend
it," Hoke said.
Aftertheverbalcommitmentof
Peppers in May, some recruiting
services ranked Michigan's class
near the top of the country, and
several additional big names
loomed. Defensive end Da'Shawn
Hand, considered by some to
be the best player in the class,
appeared to be a Michigan lean,
and defensive

Amara Darboh, who had foot
surgery before last season. Still,
Harris has a chance to compete
for playing time immediately.
Lawrence Marshall
(Southfield, Mich.) - No. 13
defensive end, No. 121 overall
(ESPN):
Marshall (6-foot-3, 228
pounds) needs to get a bit
stronger at Michigan, but his
quickness off the edge makes him
a formidable defender. He's also a
strong tackler against the run.
The Wolverines return junior
starters Brennen Beyer and
Frank Clark at defensive end, as
well as backups Mario Ojemudia
and Chris Wormley. Early on,
Marshall might struggle to
earn playing time, but he could
develop into a strong defender.
Juwann Bushell-Beatty
(Paramus, N.J.) - No. 11
offensive tackle, No. 142
overall (ESPN):
Bushell-Beatty (6-foot-7, 330

end Malik
McDowell
"The only need was also
considering
they missed on was Michigan.
defensive end." Ultimately,
Hand
committed
to Alabama,
citing its
*ake Harris and engineering program, and, on
tight end Ian Wednesday, McDowell picked
efensive tackle Michigan State.
"I think the only need they
1 class, the missed on was defensive end,"
ited efficiently. Lorenz said. "Missing on
tor of player McDowell and Da'Shawn Hand
Singletary said was a huge blow."
ra scholarships The top two recruits in the
hold them, state of Michigan ended up at
a deeper 2015 the Wolverines' biggest rivals:
the Wolverines McDowell to the Spartans and
ew high-profile cornerback Damon Webb to
ded coveted, if Ohio State.
its. Webb committed early, but
fensive tackle Michigan's 7-6 campaign in
6-foot-4, 328 2013 could have impacted some
'ho shared a late decisions. Singletary said
d with Hoke in he didn't think the 2013 season
ed Michigan's became an issue. Lorenz agreed.
Lorenz. "I would say the effects
ty much their actually have already been worse
on their entire for the 2015 class," Lorenz said,
for '14," Lorenz adding it would cause recruits to
e first guy they wait longer before committing.
tad him rated "1 think with Hand it may have
ard at defensive played a role. The thing about
)dy." McDowell, I don't necessarily
are players like think that it was a success-on-the-
a 6-foot-4, 229- field type situation that maybe
r from Kenton, pushed McDowell to Michigan
could become State. it didn't hurt, but I don't
rs within a few that's really what necessarily his
aised Furbush's primary concernwas."

AUSTIN BIGONEY/The Crimson White
Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier could use Jabrill Peppers in his system.

CLASS OF
2014 E!!IA -

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