Elysee Mbem-Bosse, Wolverine

Elysee Mbem-Bosse, Wolverine

January 25, 2016

Elysee Mbem-Bosse

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


  1. Comments: 522
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Jan 25, 2016 at 11:08 AM

    He had a pretty impressive offer sheet, so other schools see something of value in him.

    “On the negative side, Mbem-Bosse is a little stiff in the hips and not a great space player.”

    Can any of that be improved upon with time, proper weight and conditioning training, and coaching? Maybe not sideline-to-sideline, but better able to cover space in the middle?

  2. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Jan 25, 2016 at 12:51 PM

    With that strong frame and long arms combined with an impressive burst he reminds me a bit of this guy:


    I think that EMB looks more physically mature than Clark did coming out of HS. I know Clark gained a ton of weight from HS (210 to over 270! now) – I don’t expect EMB to do the same. I think EMB could play at around what Clark played at for most of his time at Michigan (235-250 range) and be very good edge player.

    I’m an offer guy and that offer list is stellar. Excited to see him suit up in AA.

    I think it’s interesting that Uche is listed as a DE and the bigger Mbem-Bosse is a LB. They both seem like good bets to fit best at the same position: WDE/Rush End/RLB/3-4 OLB. Maybe you get both of them in on some downs but assuming MIchigan is mostly running 3 true DL, 1 edge rusher, and 2 ILB alongside a nickelback on the majority of downs it’s hard to see a fit for 2 edge guys at the same time.

    • Comments: 3844
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jan 25, 2016 at 1:42 PM

      As I said, I don’t think they’ll play the same position. Mbem-Bosse is rated as an ILB most places and looks like a backup to Ben Gedeon. If he plays outside, he loses that size advantage he has and isn’t much of an edge rusher. Uche is an outside guy. I don’t see the value of putting him inside or in a place where he’ll have to read and flow to the ball. Two different body types, two different players, two separate positions.

      • Comments: 6285
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Jan 25, 2016 at 2:34 PM

        I get it and accept the consensus opinion for what it is. I’m just offering an alternative theory based on a brief look at the highlight tape. EMB plays as an LB in HS and Uche plays as a DE in HS, so they are ranked based on where they play. That’s often, but far from always, where a guy ends up playing.

        EMB’s size is closer to a typical WDE and to me he shows mediocre recognition skills but good closing speed and burst. The combo makes me think more OLB than ILB. We’ll see.

        Most guys gain significant weight in college and so if you’re up 10-15 pounds that puts you on the high end for ILB. I believe M will want more fast light short LBs a la Gill than Ezeh-types.

        • Comments: 3844
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Jan 25, 2016 at 2:37 PM

          I think you’ll see two different types of inside linebackers – one bigger player (like Gedeon, Mbem-Bosse, etc.) and one smaller player (Bush, Gil, etc.). I think playing a 3-4 or a 4-2-5 with two small linebackers (say, Bush and Gil) is asking for trouble.

          • Comments: 6285
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Jan 25, 2016 at 2:49 PM

            Interesting. Most of what I’ve seen at Michigan has made the ILBs pretty much interchangeable.

            It’ll be fun to see how this plays out.

            • Comments: 3844
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Jan 25, 2016 at 3:14 PM

              There have been a lot of times where there’s a decent size difference between the two inside linebackers. Larry Foote and Ian Gold were both about 10-15 lbs. lighter than their fellow inside linebackers. A few years ago, Michigan had Kenny Demens at MIKE and Brandin Hawthorne/Brandon Herron/freshman Desmond Morgan at WILL. James Ross started at WILL and was smaller than MIKE Desmond Morgan. Ben Gedeon is listed at 241 lbs., and Bush/Gil are both 225 lbs. It’s pretty reasonable to expect that they could be 230-ish by the fall, creating about a 10 lb. difference. So I don’t think it’s much different than what we’ve seen.

          • Comments: 6285
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Jan 25, 2016 at 3:46 PM

            I believe Foote, Morgan, Ross, Demons all came out of high school in the 220s and finished college 230-240. That’s not a huge range and more about age than anything else.

            Gold was definitely smaller. He was a RB in high school, and more importantly for his development as a player shared a middle school homeroom with Lanknows, but he’s a bit of an outlier.

            That said, you are probably right that the WILL in particular was a different role when Michigan ran more of traditional 4-3. Now that we are a 4-2 (or 3-3 depending on what you want to call the edge guy), I think the two ILBs have become more similar. Will Brown still use the WIL/MIKE distinction I wonder?

            Don’t mean to say you are wrong (or right). I don’t know what will happen under Brown and it’ll be interesting to watch how this plays out.

            I would not be shocked if EMB ended up as MIKE like you and others project. I just think positions can be quite fluid and I see some Clark in him. Lawrence Thomas and Brandon Graham were LB recruits as well.

        • Comments: 6285
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Jan 25, 2016 at 2:46 PM

          Bush I meant, not Gil.

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