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)
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