Berrien Springs (MI) Berrien Springs defensive tackle Phillip Paea committed to Michigan on Saturday. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Arizona, BYU, Michigan State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, USC, and Utah, among others.
Paea is listed at 6’4″, 285 lbs. He claims a 300 lb. bench press. He is the cousin of both Michigan defensive tackle Bryan Mone and NFL defensive end Stephen Paea.
Rivals: 3-star, #13 OG
Scout: 3-star, #26 DT
247 Sports: 3-star, 89 grade, #25 DT, #333 overall
Hit the jump for more on Paea’s commitment.
Paea was largely unknown until earlier this winter, hanging around with just a BYU offer from October until Oregon stepped forward with an offer in mid-February. Michigan followed shortly, and the race was on. He took some official visits, including to Michigan State and Notre Dame, but the spring game atmosphere at Michigan ended his recruitment.
I like Paea first and foremost as an offensive guard, but it sounds like Michigan wants him as a defensive tackle. On the offensive side of the ball, he does a good job of squaring up defenders, driving his feet through contact, and finishing blocks. He has good feet and moves well, and I think he would look pretty good pulling and leading up through the hole on power plays.
Defensively, he has good physical tools but is more of a project. He needs to work on his stance and be more consistent with his get-off. He also tends to sit back on his heels a bit, rather than playing downhill from his spot as a part-time defensive tackle, part-time defensive end. He just seems to be more aggressive on offense than defense in some ways.
Overall, Paea is a good pickup because of his athletic traits and because of his versatility. He could play a number of positions at the next level: center, guard, defensive tackle, or strongside end. He may be one of those guys who bounces back and forth between offense and defense before settling down.
Michigan has not successfully recruited anyone from Berrien Springs in a long time. In fact, the only player in Michigan’s database was James Betchek back in 1946. The Wolverines also pursued defensive end Jhonny Williams a few years ago, who ended up choosing Notre Dame and then transferring to Toledo. Michigan now has ten commits in the 2017 class. He’s the first defensive lineman, or he would be the second offensive linemen if he plays that side of the ball, joining Oak Park (MI) Oak Park offensive tackle Ja’Raymond Hall.
TTB Rating: 76 (ratings explanation)
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