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Florence (AL) Florence safety J’Marick Woods committed to Michigan on Monday. He was the second commit of the day after running back A.J. Dillon (LINK). Woods chose the Wolverines over offers from Duke, Florida, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Penn State, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech, among others.
Woods is listed at 6’3″, 205 lbs. and claims a 4.62 forty. He also lists a 4.11 shuttle, a 35″ vertical, a 275 lb. bench press, and a 390 lb. squat.
ESPN: 3-star, 79 grade, #25 S, #286 overall
Rivals: 3-star, #31 S
Scout: 4-star, #22 S, #278 overall
247 Sports: 3-star, 88 grade, #30 S, #400 overall
Hit the jump for more on the new commitment.
Michigan was the first offer for Woods last spring, and he also attended the Summer Swarm tour stop at Prattville (AL) Prattville in June of 2015. The Wolverines were also recruiting his teammate, linebacker Erroll Thompson, in the 2016 class, but Thompson ended up choosing Mississippi State. Michigan has basically been the leader for Woods all along, except for a brief time when there was uncertainty after Michigan’s defensive coaching turnover. He took an official visit to Michigan last week and publicly made the announcement the day after Easter. He plans to enroll early.
Woods has been listed as tall as 6’4″ in some places, but his own Hudl page has him at 6’3″. Either way, he has good size for a safety, and he uses that size effectively to be a solid tackler. He does a good job of staying square to the ball carrier when he attacks the line of scrimmage in run support, and he tackles low while wrapping up well and driving his feet. Without being too aggressive, he reads plays well and comes up quickly against the run. He can also blitz off the edge. In the passing game, he shows good anticipation and understanding of route combinations, and he high-points the ball well.
On the negative side, Woods does not appear to have much experience in man coverage and is more of a zone safety, so that may be an adjustment to watch in college. He is also more of a straight-line player who’s not the most agile player on the field. These are minor concerns, however.
Woods is a good safety prospect. He may not be the most dynamic athlete on the field, but he understands the fundamentals of playing the position, has good athletic skills, and is an aggressive tackler and run supporter. I also like that he has played a variety of coverages from the safety position in high school, so he has an understanding of different defenses, his role in the scheme, playing in space, etc. For examples the other way, Dymonte Thomas is a better athlete but played linebacker in high school, so it took him 2.5 years to get a handle on playing safety in college; Josh Furman was almost the same exact size as Woods, but his high school experience as a rush linebacker left him unprepared for playing free safety in college.
Michigan should have a fair amount of playing time available when Woods shows up on campus, so it helps that he plans to enroll in January. That way he can get acclimated to the defense and get ready to step on the field. Michigan will lose two senior safeties (Delano Hill and the aforementioned Thomas) to graduation, and Jabrill Peppers is a safety-like player who could leave for the NFL Draft after 2016. Tyree Kinnel will be a junior in 2017, and the Wolverines have a few 2016 prospects who could play safety (including Brad Hawkins, Jr., Khaleke Hudson, Josh Metellus); however, those 2016 prospects could be headed for other positions or too limited to play free safety. Woods could play free safety or strong safety (a.k.a. Rover), but ideally, I think he would be headed for Rover. I think his game is somewhat reminiscent of graduating senior Jarrod Wilson, who was not a spectacular college player but had a very solid career after some struggles as a true freshman.
Michigan now has eight commits in the 2017 class. Woods is the first safety to commit, and he joins Canadian cornerback Benjamin St-Juste in the defensive backfield. The Wolverines have worked hard to recruit the south since Jim Harbaugh’s hiring, and Woods joins Georgian running back Kurt Taylor from south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Michigan also got commitments from two Alabama players in the 2016 class (Kingston Davis signed, Dytarious Johnson remains unsigned) and one in 2015 (Keith Washington).
TTB Rating: 78 (ratings explanation)
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