Ellenwood (GA) Cedar Grove linebacker Elysee Mbem-Bosse committed to Michigan on Sunday night. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and Oregon, among others.
Mbem-Bosse is 6’3″, 232 lbs. He claims a 4.58 forty.
ESPN: 4-star, 80 grade, #13 ILB
Rivals: 4-star, #15 ILB
Scout: 3-star, #26 ILB
247 Sports: 3-star, 86 grade, #31 ILB, #837 overall
Hit the jump for more on Mbem-Bosse.
Early in his recruitment, the home-state Georgia Bulldogs appeared to be the leader, but they never came through with an offer. Auburn took a stab at him and also reeled in his teammate, defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson, whom the Tigers kept away from Ohio State. Meanwhile, Michigan recruited him for a while but seemed to back off a little bit during their pursuit of Dontavious Jackson, among others. In recent weeks, things have been falling off between Jackson and Michigan (to the point where Michigan doesn’t really have a shot anymore), and new defensive coordinator Don Brown rekindled things between the two parties. Mbem-Bosse came to Ann Arbor for an official visit this past weekend and committed along with fellow visitor Josh Uche.
Mbem-Bosse has a big frame for a high school linebacker, and he has some filling out to do yet. He has good length and a body that looks like he could be a 3-4 outside linebacker. He displays solid straight-line speed that’s maybe not in the 4.58 range, but not far off, either. Using that length and speed – plus a good understanding of pursuit angles – he can cover a lot of ground and wrap up ball carriers in space. When he arrives, he brings a punch and does a good job of wrapping up. In pass coverage (and on offense), he shows good hands and ball skills.
On the negative side, Mbem-Bosse is a little stiff in the hips and not a great space player. While he has the body of a 3-4 OLB, he has a hard time bending or changing direction at full speed. I also think he has a lot of mental improvement to do as far as his reads and footwork. He does a good job of attacking downhill when the play is coming to him, but he takes some false steps and can seem timid about his assignment if flow goes away. Pass coverage could be tricky to begin his career because of that hip stiffness and a lack of experience covering the middle. As mostly a high school outside linebacker, he does a decent job of covering the flat and some simple routes, but inside linebacker is more about awareness of things going on around you than pure athleticism.
Overall, the entire time I’ve been aware of Elysee Mbem-Bosse, I have been reminded of Obi Ezeh. Ezeh was a 6’2″, 244 lb. linebacker at Michigan who had 292 career tackles from 2006-2010. The majority of his playing years were spent under Rich Rodriguez – whose defensive coaching was questionable at best. Ezeh got a bad rap, because as his playing career went on, his play seemed to nose-dive after looking pretty solid as a young player. Eventually, his confidence seemed to be shaken and he struggled with the simplest of assignments. Of course, my point by comparing Ezeh and Mbem-Bosse is not that I predict a similar nose-dive or lack of confidence. How could I possibly know? My point is that with Mbem-Bosse, I think we have a chance to see what Obi Ezeh could have become. The two players have similar bodies and skill sets, but one was cursed by poor coaching, while the other will have one of the best head coaches and one of the best defensive coordinators in the country.
I expect Mbem-Bosse to eventually get in that 240-245 lb. range, and he looks like a 3-4 inside linebacker to me. He’s too stiff to play on the outside, but he could be a thumper in the middle, even in a 4-3. I can envision Don Brown using some elaborate blitzes to free up a 6’3″, 245 lb. Mbem-Bosse for a kill shot on a poor, unsuspecting Rutgers quarterback. He will have a chance to play as a freshman, although I think the learning curve might be a little too steep. If Michigan’s linebacker depth weren’t so thin, I would fully expect a redshirt. As things stand, though, I would think he’ll take a shot at backing up Ben Gedeon with a chance to take over that role in 2017.
Michigan now has 24 commits in the 2016 class. Viewing Uche, Ron Johnson, and Carlo Kemp as weakside end types, four commits are expected to play linebacker: Mbem-Bosse, Devin Bush Jr., Devin Gil, and Dytarious Johnson. There are rumors that Johnson may not end up in the class. Michigan will probably still continue to pursue Jonathan Jones, although that recruitment looks to be leaning toward Notre Dame. Michigan has not had a player from Cedar Grove High School since wide receiver Vincent Washington in the late 1980s, and he would represent the first signee from the Peach State since Carlos Brown and David Cone in the 2006 class (Michigan has two commits from Georgia for 2017 with Kurt Taylor and Jeremiah Holloman).
TTB Rating: 78
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