Makari Paige, Wolverine

Makari Paige, Wolverine

July 31, 2019
West Bloomfield (MI) West Bloomfield safety Makari Paige (image via 247 Sports)

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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)


  1. Comments: 295
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Aug 02, 2019 at 12:26 AM

    This will be interesting. Originally, I would have said Paige is a top 3 player in the state this year. After watching his highlights last year I was really hoping UM could reel him in. Then, OSU became the favorite and I was expecting him to commit there instead. Somehow, his hype has died down and he really hasn’t even played a down since November. What’s even more strange is that I kind of see his limitations now. Projectability is difficult. His size doesn’t match the position. He’s said to be too thin, too tall etc. I think he’s going to be a good player at UM and will make some big plays. I also like that the local athletes are staying close to home.

    Thunder’s rating is similar to what I would project, 77. I’m trying not to let his recent lack of buzz affect my rating. I’ll probably see a game or 2 of his because I don’t live far. I can always get a better read on players in person.

    • Comments: 6285
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Aug 02, 2019 at 12:58 PM

      Is the lack of offseason buzz really a relevant thing? I don’t see why not playing since November is a bad thing since that’s when his last game should have been. Is it based on not attending or struggling at camps?

      As for the size issue – could he project to CB instead, a la Jeremy Clark? I know Don Brown likes big corners but Perry (6’1) is the only guy who comes close in either this class or the last. [Which plays into my theory that Dax Hill will play there in 2019, and perhaps beyond.]

  2. Comments: 182
    Joined: 9/15/2015
    Aug 02, 2019 at 3:00 PM

    did paige play any O? he doesnt look like hed be incredibly dynamic with the rock (for what you might expect from a top 300 prospect) but still, hes bigger and faster than most opponents. he likely couldve done some damage at WR and helped his team if he didnt play O. i only noticed D on his tape.
    i know high school teams have different needs and some star players never end up going both ways but its something i like to see. similar to multi sport athletes, id prefer wolverine recruits to impact high school games on both sides of the ball as competitive, all around football players. just curious

    • Comments: 3845
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Aug 03, 2019 at 8:01 AM

      I’ve never seen any clips or heard of him playing offense, but I suppose it’s possible.

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