Phillip Paea, Wolverine

Phillip Paea, Wolverine

April 2, 2016
Phillip Paea 807x

Berrien Springs (MI) Berrien Springs offensive guard Phillip Paea (image via NDInsider)

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.

ESPN: Unranked
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)


  1. Comments: 77
    Joined: 1/22/2016
    Apr 02, 2016 at 9:18 PM

    Really love this pickup. Athletic and plays with a mean streak. Looks raw as a DT, but could be a serious player after a few years.

  2. Comments: 142
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Apr 02, 2016 at 9:30 PM

    i mainly like this guy because he has football in his blood, football family, good foundation to build on

  3. Comments: 1364
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Apr 03, 2016 at 7:55 AM

    Another low rated guy that we seem to be pulling the trigger on a little too soon. You’d have thought this staff would have learned their lesson last time.

    • Comments: 23
      Joined: 3/14/2016
      Apr 03, 2016 at 12:31 PM

      It is not uncommon for players from small schools, especially those not recognized as football powerhouses. You are aware our all-time leading rusher was considered an undersized RB, lacking sufficient speed that success in the Big X conference is questionable. His competition is not impressive. Mike Hart came to MI as a 3* RB and left as the most productive runnier in the history of the program. Our starting NT, along with his brother, the starting center, they were thought so highly or they weren’t even worthy of being ranked and as one is preparing for a career along with the benefits associated with millionaires, his brother is one year away from doing the same thing. Braylon Edwards what a three star. It upsets me to no end that we keep accepting players with rankings this low when we could clearly wait for a higher rated prospect, but based on his offer list -FYI, a much better indication of the talent and projected contribution he will make to the team. At some point, merely to provide you an opportunity at even a small level of satisfaction in regard to Michigan football, you will have to accept the inarguable fact that each and every member of that staff possesses a football I.Q. you will never come close to duplicating, and to further assuage your concerns as to the ability of this staff, you should make a note of the fact Jim Harbaugh is ultimately responsible for all personnel decisions made by the Michigan coaching staff.

      • Comments: 1356
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Apr 03, 2016 at 5:20 PM

        Or, you could just watch the kid’s film.

      • Comments: 77
        Joined: 1/22/2016
        Apr 03, 2016 at 6:46 PM

        You’re wasting your time. I’m pretty sure WindyCityBlue is the same guy that was talking smack about JH and co’s recruiting efforts during the 2016 recruiting class, which ended up ranked top 5 and with the #1 player in the country, a once a decade type talent.

        Yet, here he is, talking smack again. You’d have thought this guy would have learned his lesson last time.

    • Comments: 3844
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Apr 03, 2016 at 5:24 PM

      I don’t think Paea is the same situation as, say, Rashad Weaver. Paea has some solid offers (Michigan State, Oregon, USC, etc.) to back up Michigan’s pursuit. When Michigan went after Enis, Weaver, etc., they didn’t have the same kind of pursuit from other suitors.

      • Comments: 77
        Joined: 1/22/2016
        Apr 03, 2016 at 6:35 PM

        Agreed Thunder. There are some ignorant UM fans that look at a kid’s rankings, and if he’s a 3-star will just assume he’s in the same category as a Rashad Weaver et al.

    • Comments: 77
      Joined: 1/22/2016
      Apr 03, 2016 at 6:30 PM

      Paea has early offers from USC, Notre Dame, Oregon, Michigan State, etc. It’s a terrific pickup.

  4. Comments: 522
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Apr 03, 2016 at 5:27 PM

    A rating of 76 puts him squarely in the middle of “70-79 = Solid starter in Big Ten; some NFL draft potential.”

    There’s the issue of variability … what kind of upside ceiling he has if he takes to the coaching and fixes the technique issues Thunder cited? We can’t know for certain, of course … but do we have a hunch for the variability?

  5. Comments: 5
    Joined: 11/6/2015
    Apr 03, 2016 at 10:30 PM

    His film really makes him look better suited for O guard but as mentioned above the guys evaluating (Harbaugh etc) know more in a single brain cell than I. We’ve also seen the staff isn’t afraid to let a guy go if they later feel the kid won’t help the team. Harbaugh seems to look at verbal commitments the way I looked at girls I was dating in high school. As in yeah I’m with Kelly, unless someone hotter with bigger boobs shows an interest in me. Then it was “Who Kelly”? So nothing to worry about. Also about stars-don’t get too hung up about em. Years ago I was watching River Rouge play and I kept noticing this kid Chester Taylor. Back then I actually had to go to a book to see if he was rated. He was mentioned as a low 3 star. Well he went on to University of Toledo where he was a star and ended up having a solid NFL career. He was mostly a backup in Baltimore and later Minnesota and I think Chicago. I’m willing to bet there were 50 or more RB’s listed above him. I bet maybe only 3-5 ended up in the NFL as long as him. So stars can be important but by no means are they the be all and end all. So much time btw now and next NSD this list will see many names come and go. So don’t fret. Jim Harbaugh is a mad scientist who seldom gets outsmarted and refuses to be out worked. So the next class will have gems with stars and gems with less in Harbaugh and ye will find peace a wise man told me a looooong time ago. Well 2015 actually.

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