Josh Uche, Wolverine

Josh Uche, Wolverine

January 24, 2016

Miami (FL) Columbus OLB/DE Josh Uche

Miami (FL) Columbus defensive end Josh Uche committed to Michigan on Sunday. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, and Miami, among others.

Uche is a 6’2″, 212 lb. He claims a 4.59 forty. As a senior in 2015, he made 50 tackles, 14 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 3 pass breakups.

ESPN: 3-star, 76 grade, #44 OLB
Rivals: 3-star, #22 WDE
Scout: 3-star, #53 DE
247 Sports: 3-star, 85 grade, #59 WDE, #1008 overall

Hit the jump for more on Uche’s commitment.

Uche, a one-time Miami commit, was not on our radar until new defensive coordinator Don Brown was hired from Boston College. Brown was the one who extended the offer to Uche, and things progressed fairly quickly since then. He set a visit for this past weekend. Florida and Michigan were thought to be the two front-runners, and he did/does have a visit to Gainesville scheduled for next weekend. If Uche cancels the visit, then that would solidify the commitment. If he doesn’t, then . . . well . . . anything can happen.

Uche is a compact athlete who has a very good first step from a three-point stance. He has a short, powerful punch that helps him shock linemen and lead blockers. He is able to dip his inside shoulder and get around the corner as an edge rusher, and he’s able to change direction well. He has good closing speed and a knack for rushing the passer. He also has a bit of a nasty streak and can lay some big hits if given the chance.

At 6’2″ and 212 lbs., he’s a little bit undersized to be a full-time defensive end. Michigan’s weakside ends this past season were roughly 250 lbs, so he has some growing to do. He does not appear to have particularly long arms, so he needs to pay close attention to how he uses his hands. He could afford to learn some new pass rush moves, vary his technique, and improve his hand-fighting, but that’s what coaching is for. I also think he can be a little undisciplined when it comes to outside contain and gap responsibility, so he will have to pay closer attention to those fundamental aspects of the game in college.

Overall, I like Uche as a prospect. He offers a skill set that Michigan does not have much of – speed and athleticism as an edge rusher. He might not be a plug-and-play guy because of his lack of bulk, but I do think he could be someone who plays early because of that athleticism. If he can somehow get up to 225 lbs. or so by the fall, then he could be a spot player in passing situations. Michigan probably wants to use him as an outside linebacker/defensive end hybrid to get after the passer. The leading sack producer at Boston College (where Brown was last season) was 6’1″, 218 lb. outside linebacker Matt Milano. Holding up against the run is a bit more of a question for Uche, but that may come with time.

Michigan has not had a ton of success in Miami recently, but they have also offered 2017 defensive end Guy Thomas and cornerback Trajan Bandy. The last player from Uche’s high school to play at Michigan was none other than national championship quarterback Brian Griese.

TTB Rating: 80 (ratings explanation)


  1. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Jan 25, 2016 at 1:06 PM

    Intrigues me because he’s so clearly Brown’s guy. Doesn’t seem like he’ll be big enough for rush end so, barring a Frank Clark-like weight gain, he’ll have to be a pass rush specialist or OLB in the Jake Ryan mold (before Ryan was bulked up and moved inside). Hopefully he has great success in Brown’s system.

    Michigan’s need for edge players has been massive and the recruiting in the last two classes has gone after these type of players in numbers. Given the openings at the position(s), I would not consider any of this class’ freshman to be locks to red-shirt. But Uche would certainly have to gain weight to contribute as a freshman, even on special teams.

    • Comments: 3845
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jan 25, 2016 at 1:39 PM

      I think he has plenty of size to be a rush end. Could he start right now? No. But I think he can get there. Like I’ve said elsewhere, we used 6’2″, 240 lb. Royce Jenkins-Stone and 6’2″, 252 lb. Mario Ojemudia as rush ends this past season. Von Miller was 6’2″, 210 lbs. coming out of high school, and now he’s 250. It’s not necessary to have someone like Clark, who was 274 lbs. or so.

      • Comments: 6285
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Jan 25, 2016 at 2:30 PM

        I have a hard time reconciling how how a defense that will presumably use 275 pound Taco Charlton at rush end/buck/OLB this year will go to somebody like Uche/Milano.

        I like the Uche/Milano comp and I don’t think Charlton is anything like these guys.

        Certainly you don’t have to be 270 pounds to be a rush end. 240-250 is typical and that’s what Clark was at his soph and junior year. Senior year he got bigger – and they used him differently, putting him opposite Beyer on the line.

        You can obviously go up or down some from the normal 240-250, but when you starting talking about a 60-70 pound weight range…

        This leads me to speculate that either a) Charlton won’t be at rush end b) Uche won’t be at rush end or c) there will be a scheme change within the next 2-3 years. Perhaps c is most likely. 2016 could be a transition year of sorts and then when we lose all these seniors the scheme will be modified.

        • Comments: 3845
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Jan 25, 2016 at 2:34 PM

          Charlton isn’t anything like those guys, but it’s about getting your best eleven on the field. Regardless, the departure of Willie Henry means there’s an opening that could be filled by Charlton at SDE. If Henry were still here, then I think Charlton would need to play WDE and you would have seen a 4-3 look for sure. With the roster the way it is, more of a 3-4 look might make sense.

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

            Agreed that it’s about getting your best players out there. Will be interesting if (for the 3 pure DL) that means Hurst, Charlton or Gary lineup beside Wormley and Glasgow. The Henry departure opened up a spot. Of course with Mone and (presumably) Godin around there should be quality depth regardless.

            Michigan is already turning over both ILB spots. If you put Charlton inside you are now turning over half of your DL/LB group and inserting mostly first or second year guys (besides Gedeon).

            I don’t know that adding another linebacker (3-4) makes any sense at all given Peppers prominence and the lack of returning OL but I guess if you’re calling Charlton a LB (Buck), whatever.

            Best guess at the moment is that Charlton starts at WDE on standard downs and then you see more ‘Buck’ type hybrid OLB/DEs on passing situation so that Brown can unleash his blitz packages, but that’s a bit of a cop out on my part to essentially say it’ll be both.

            I think it’s time for an edge threat to emerge but anyone’s guess who that will be.

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