Princeton (NJ) The Hun School defensive tackle Owen Wafle committed to Michigan on Sunday. The former Notre Dame commitment picked the Wolverines over offers from Boston College, Iowa, Minnesota, Rutgers, and West Virginia, among others.
Wafle is listed at 6’2″ and 290 lbs. As a junior in 2022, he made 64 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, and 10 sacks.
ESPN: 4-star, 80 grade, #32 DE
On3: 3-star, 88 grade, #71 DL
Rivals: 4-star, 5.8 grade, #15 DT
247 Sports: 3-star, 89 grade, #30 DL
Hit the jump for more.
I’ll be honest and say that I was not very much aware of Wafle other than having seen his name in passing in regard to being committed to Notre Dame. Since Notre Dame is too chicken to play Michigan on a regular basis, I just don’t pay attention to the Fighting Irish like I used to do. He was offered by Notre Dame in March of 2022 and committed two months later. But when Michigan started to get involved this spring, he decommitted in late May, spurning the Golden Domers, who forbid their commits from taking visits elsewhere. Since he was ditching his Notre Dame commitment specifically to visit Michigan, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that he would commit to the Wolverines upon visiting in June, which is what happened.
Wafle has an odd build for a Big Ten defensive tackle at just 6’2″. Though he is listed anywhere from 270-290 pounds, he’s almost certainly headed for tackle – despite some recruiting sites labeling him as an “edge” early on – which makes his bulk a question. Some short-ish defensive tackles can get swallowed up by bigger offensive linemen. That’s the biggest question for Wafle, because if he can’t overcome the size deficiency, it’s going to be tough to get on the field.
On the plus side, Wafle has excellent quickness for his size. He gets off the ball very well, and with his low center of gravity, he changes direction well to chase after ball carriers. He also does a good job of keeping his pad level low, which means his leverage does not get squandered by giving linemen his chest.
A few players come to mind with Wafle, one being the super-awesome Maurice Hurst, Jr., a small-ish nose tackle who lived in opposing backfields because of his unmatched quickness. Another is Brady Pallante, a small-ish nose tackle during the Brady Hoke era who never really got on the field. A third is the versatile Dan Klecko (no connection to Michigan in this case), who played linebacker, defensive tackle, fullback, and special teams during the early 2000s, first at Boston College and then with the Patriots, Colts, and Eagles in the NFL.
Wafle is not as athletic as Hurst, more talented than Pallante, and perhaps as versatile as Klecko. I could see Jim Harbaugh wanting to line Wafle up in the backfield on goal line situations and letting him make a linebacker or two explode.
Wafle is the fourth defensive lineman in the class, joining Manuel Beigel, Ted Hammond, and Jerod Smith. He’s the first pledge from The Hun School since defensive end Anthony Lalota in the class of 2009.
TTB Rating: 73
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