Alexandria (VA) Episcopal defensive end Luiji Vilain committed to Michigan on Sunday afternoon. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Miami, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC, and Virginia Tech, among others.
Vilain is 6’4″, 238 lbs. and claims a 4.8 forty. He also has a 30.5″ vertical and a 4.33 shuttle time. He will play in the 2017 Under Armour All-American Game in January.
ESPN: 4-star, 83 grade, #11 DE, #95 overall
Rivals: 4-star, #10 WDE, #180 overall
Scout: 4-star, #10 DE, #138 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, #5 WDE, #94 overall
Hit the jump for more on Vilain’s commitment.
I’ve had my eye on Vilain for a couple years, because he’s a Canada native who had some strong interest in Michigan early in his recruitment, along with 2016 cornerback Patrice Rene (North Carolina) and 2017 safety Jonathan Sutherland, also Canadian transplants who ended up at Episcopal. Michigan didn’t end up offering until early March of 2016, even though they have been well aware of him for a long time. He visited campus in May and named his commitment date shortly afterward, which is often indicative that someone has decided based on his most recent visit.
Vilain is a well rounded football player, in my opinion. As a pass rusher, you can see in the first three clips from his junior year that he uses a swim move, a push-pull, and a rip to successfully terrorize the opposing backfield. He’s explosive off the ball, and he has quick feet. He uses his hands well to disengage from blockers, and he’s able to bend and maintain leverage against offensive linemen.
I would like to see him make a couple minor tweaks to his stance, and he can occasionally be a little undisciplined with his keys. I also think he could take some better angles in pursuit, as well as get stronger to hold up a bit better at the point of attack.
Overall, I like Vilain a lot as a recruit, and I think he’s rated pretty fairly by the recruiting sites. He’s not a surefire star because he lacks outstanding measurables, but he has enough components to be a very good football player at the next level. He reminds me of former Michigan defensive end Tim Jamison in some ways. I didn’t think Jamison reached his potential at Michigan, but he was still a solid college player who made his way to the NFL.
Michigan now has 14 commits in the 2017 class and, along with Corey Malone-Hatcher, two defensive ends. Michigan will probably take three or four prospects at the position. The class is currently scheduled to be 19 players strong (LINK), but that number will go up. He’s the first Virginian – if he can be called that – to commit to the Wolverines since Wilton Speight in the 2014 class. If he counts as being Canadian, Quebec native Benjamin St-Juste committed last summer as part of the 2017 class, and the last actual signee was defensive tackle Renaldo Sagesse in the class of 2007.
TTB Rating: 84 (ratings explanation)
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