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West Bloomfield (MI) West Bloomfield safety Makari Paige committed to Michigan. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Kentucky, Ohio State, and Penn State, among others.
Paige is listed at 6’3″ and 182 lbs. He claims a 4.38 shuttle.
ESPN: 4-star, 81 grade, #12 safety, #232 overall
Rivals: 4-star, 5.8 grade, #18 safety
247 Sports: 4-star, 91 grade, #21 safety, #203 overall
Hit the jump for more.
Paige is a part of a cadre of players from West Bloomfield with Michigan offers. It was a mildly recruited program until former Michigan receiver Ronald Bellamy took over the head coaching job; since then the Lakers have sent player after player to FBS programs, including Michigan State and Penn State. I have mixed feelings about the way Paige ended up committed to Michigan. Despite a fairly early offer and a teammate (Cornell Wheeler) committed to the Wolverines, Paige looked like he wanted to go elsewhere until Michigan seemed like his final big-time option. How badly does he want to be a Wolverine? Things have been trending toward Michigan for a few weeks, and the BBQ at the Big House this past weekend – resulting in an announcement of an announcement – sealed the deal.
Paige has a long, lanky frame right now that should continue to fill out as he matures and works in the weight room. He does a good job of throttling down when coming up to support the run and matching shin angles with opposing ball carriers. He doesn’t lunge as a tackler, but stays balanced and puts his “eyes through the thighs.” You can tell that his coaches have adopted a more modern style of tackling rather than teaching guys to go for kill shots. He can make up a lot of ground in coverage and his size makes him a nice matchup guy against taller slot receivers and tight ends, if necessary. West Bloomfield runs Michigan’s defense, so the transition into the Wolverines’ system should be pretty smooth as long as Don Brown stays there. Paige takes good angles, has solid speed, and seems to understand how he fits into the run game.
Paige looks very skinny in his junior film and needs to add weight. While he has good tackling technique, he will be susceptible to getting run through as opposing running backs get stronger in college. While his speed is adequate, he has room to work on his coverage technique and can play a little high, which slows down his change of direction.
Overall, this is a good pickup for the Wolverines, who now have a wide array of body types and skill sets to choose from for their safety spots. Long-term I see Paige as a deep safety type. He will probably need a year to redshirt and add weight. Considering the athletes Michigan is bringing in with the 2019 and 2020 classes, I don’t think Paige will need to play early. In this 2020 class alone, Michigan has a deep safety (Paige), a box safety (Jordan Morant), and a Viper (R.J. Moten) to cover all the bases.
Just to reinforce how the West Bloomfield program has not traditionally been strong, there are just three football players in Michigan’s historical database to have come from West Bloomfield, the most recent one a walk-on lineman named Anthony Kay in 2016.
Michigan now has 24 commitments in the 2020 class and is ranked #7 in the 247 Composite rankings.
TTB Rating: 79 (ratings explanation)
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