Cornell Wheeler, Wolverine

Cornell Wheeler, Wolverine

September 26, 2018

West Bloomfield (MI) West Bloomfield LB Cornell Wheeler (image via 247 Sports)

West Bloomfield (MI) West Bloomfield linebacker Cornell Wheeler committed to Michigan on Tuesday afternoon. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Indiana, Kentucky, and Missouri, among others.

Wheeler is listed at 6’1″ and 220 lbs. He claims a 36″ vertical.

ESPN: Unranked
Rivals: 3-star, 5.7 grade, #9 ILB
247 Sports: 3-star, 85 grade, #15 ILB, #488 overall

Hit the jump for more on Wheeler’s commitment.

Michigan has been recruiting West Bloomfield pretty heavily over the last couple years, though they missed out on linebacker Lance Dixon (Penn State) in the 2019 class. Michigan offered a few underclassman prospects from there in Wheeler, safety Makari Paige (2020), and running back Donovan Edwards (2021). The head coach at West Bloomfield is former Michigan wide receiver Ronald Bellamy. After being offered over the winter, Wheeler took several visits to Ann Arbor and committed after visiting for the Nebraska game.

Wheeler is a little on the short side for a linebacker at the elite level, but Michigan likes inside linebackers who are around 6’0″ tall. He’s thickly built with a strong lower body. Wheeler is a downhill linebacker who doesn’t waste a lot of movement, and he chases well from sideline to sideline. He’s also a powerful hitter who plays with good leverage and knee bend, and he should be a plus tackler at the next level.

I would like to see Wheeler really work on his speed and explosiveness before he hits campus. There is little film of him dropping into coverage – either man or zone – so it might be assumed that he needs work in pass coverage. Either way, I would like to see a little more of him against the pass before deciding whether that’s a weakness or a strength.

Overall, I like Wheeler but I don’t see him right now becoming a superstar linebacker like Devin Bush, Jr. With his stance and playing style, he reminds me a little bit of former Michigan inside linebacker Desmond Morgan, who had a solid but unspectacular career in a Michigan uniform. Wheeler is probably limited to WILL or MIKE, one of the inside linebacker spots, because he lacks the athleticism to play the Viper spot.

Michigan now has four commitments in the 2020 class: Wheeler, WR Kalil Branham, TE Nick Patterson, CB Andre Seldon, and DT Denver Warren. By the time Wheeler would hit campus, starting inside linebackers Devin Bush, Jr. and Devin Gil will have exhausted their eligibility. There may be an opportunity for early playing time, depending on the development of Drew Singleton, Joshua Ross, Jordan Anthony, and 2019 commit Charles Thomas. Wheeler would be the first West Bloomfield product to play for Michigan since walk-on lineman Anthony Kay was on the roster in the 2016 season.

TTB Rating: I won’t be giving a TTB Rating until the 2019 class is completed


  1. Comments: 295
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Sep 26, 2018 at 10:16 AM

    Hard to tell from the video above. He looks instinctive but not that fast. I hope he improves his footwork and quickness because Devin Bush will be a huge loss in the future. In your opinion, who takes over Bush’s position next year if he leaves for the draft?

    I think Giles Jackson is at home in tears waiting for his TTB evaluation and rating. Just letting you know.

    • Comments: 3844
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Sep 26, 2018 at 11:02 AM

      If I were to guess, it would be Josh Ross taking over for Bush. I think Ross would slide over to MIKE, and Gil would stick at WILL.

      Giles Jackson’s post will be up later this morning. I was writing it at 4:30 in the morning since I was having a hard time sleeping.

      • Comments: 1863
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        Sep 26, 2018 at 2:04 PM

        Yep. After that we’ve got Singleton & Anthony, who are awfully talented to just sit & wait

  2. Comments: 24
    Joined: 12/28/2015
    Sep 26, 2018 at 9:41 PM

    I think Cam Mcgrone works his way into the starting lineup sooner rather than later, I am thinking next year.

  3. Comments: 24
    Joined: 12/28/2015
    Sep 26, 2018 at 9:42 PM

    I know you don’t give out ratings for the next years class but can you ballpark? This rating feels in the 60’s — does that sound about right maybe low 70s at best.

    • Comments: 3844
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Sep 27, 2018 at 6:18 AM

      I would say Desmond Morgan was a player in the 70s somewhere, so that’s probably where I would put him.

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