Brentwood (TN) Ravenwood linebacker Junior Colson committed to Michigan on Sunday afternoon. He picked the Wolverines over offers from LSU, Oregon, Penn State, and Tennessee, among others.
Colson is listed at 6’2″ and 228 lbs. As a junior in 2019, he made a whopping 175 tackles, 30 tackles for loss, and 14 sacks. He claims a 4.77 forty, a 4.31 shuttle, and a 34″ vertical.
ESPN: 4-star, 83 grade, #18 OLB, #184 overall
Rivals: 4-star, 5.9 grade, #3 OLB, #83 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, 93 grade, #9 OLB, #158 overall
Hit the jump for more.
Colson grew up in Haiti and was a wide receiver at one point, but his lack of receiver speed – and a thick frame – led him to focus more on bulking up to play linebacker. Michigan offered him almost a year ago, in June of 2019. His mother is a big Michigan fan, but Sam Webb has reported over and over again that she has done her best not to push her son to commit to the Wolverines. Despite a push from the in-state Volunteers, Michigan won out anyway.
I have been saying for a while that I would be happy with a linebacker class of Junior Colson and Jaydon Hood, so this puts me 50% of the way down the path to happiness. There are reports that Michigan has talked to Colson about playing the Viper position, but I don’t see quite the athleticism necessary for him to do all the things that Jabrill Peppers and Khaleke Hudson have done from Viper in the past. Colson does a good job of tracking the ball from behind, and he’s physical at the point of attack. He does have some good short-area quickness that allows him to evade blockers and be a pass rush threat, so I see him as more of a Josh Uche than a Khaleke Hudson. I think Colson can drop back in coverage occasionally, but he’s more of an edge defender.
Colson does not have a lot of weaknesses unless Michigan plans to use him in situations where his skills do not fit. For example, I do not see Colson as an inside linebacker who can read and play sideline to sideline. And as mentioned above, he is not someone who should be filling the coverage roles that a Viper has traditionally had. If the coaching staff uses him as a force defender and edge rusher, I expect big things.
Overall, this is a great pickup for Michigan, and Colson is one of the top few outside linebacker types I’ve seen in the 2021 class. Classmate Tyler McLaurin also looks like a SAM linebacker to me, but McLaurin is more limited athletically. With all the linebacker types taken over the past two classes, Michigan should be fine with two to three guys (preferably McLaurin, Colson, and Hood) unless there are departures.
Michigan has not landed a Tennessee prospect since wide receiver Nate Johnson in the class of 2016; running back Eric Gray was committed to the Wolverines in 2019, but he flipped to Tennessee.
TTB Rating: I am not giving out TTB Ratings for 2021 yet.
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