Ex-Wolverines: Class of 2014

Tag: 2014 recruiting

20Dec 2020
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Ex-Wolverines: Class of 2014

Wilton Speight (image via SB Nation)

I like to put a little bow on each recruiting class after those players finish their college careers, so here’s a step toward reflecting on the 2014 class. Michigan had six players transfer out of the program from the class, and four of them ended up starting at other FBS schools. Only one player decommitted, which is unlikely to happen again in the current recruiting climate (for example, Michigan suffered four decommitments in the 2021 class).

Hit the jump for a look back.

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17Feb 2020
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Class of 2014: By the Numbers

Jabrill Peppers

SITE NEWS UPDATE: Last week I asked for help paying the $1,250 Flywheel hosting fee (LINK), and you guys donated $1,066.77. Thanks to Luis and Mark for the most recent donations! This is the last time I’ll explicitly bring this up before moving on because I’m appreciative of all the generosity so far, but if you want to help cover the last $150 or so, it would also be appreciated.

I recently did a summary of the 2015 class that was an interesting look back at their five years on campus (LINK). The class of 2014 was Brady Hoke’s final complete class before he was fired, so here’s a look at how that group fared over five years. Michigan landed 17 players in the pack, which ranked 20th in the country according to the 247 Composite.

Hit the jump for the rundown.

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14Jun 2014
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2014 Michigan vs. Ohio Border Classic

Noah Furbush

The State of Michigan used to have an all-star football game. Ohio used to have the “Big 33” game that pitted Ohio all-stars against those from Pennsylvania. Now Pennsylvania has been booted out, and Michigan will play Ohio today in the inaugural Michigan vs. Ohio Border Classic. The game will be played at the University of Findlay in Ohio at 1:00 p.m. Some notable players on the rosters are:

Jason Alessi – S – Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice: Yale
Byron Bullough – LB – Traverse City (MI) St. Francis: Michigan State
Jalen Embry – CB – Detroit (MI) King: Iowa
Kenny Finley – DT – Muskegon (MI) Muskegon: Western Michigan
Corey Lacanaria – WR – Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice: Ball State
Avonte Maddox – CB – Detroit (MI) King: Pitt
Lawrence Marshall – DE – Southfield (MI) Southfield: Michigan
Chukwuma Okorafor – OT – Southfield (MI) Southfield: Western Michigan
Kyle Rachwal – LB – Lapeer (MI) East: Eastern Michigan
Giovanni Rescigno – QB – Warren (MI) De La Salle: Rutgers
Dylan Roney – LB – Novi (MI) Catholic Central: Navy
Travis Smith – QB – Ithaca (MI) Ithaca: Wake Forest
Jared Wangler – LB – Warren (MI) De La Salle: Michigan
Jalen Watts-Jackson – CB – Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary’s: Michigan State

Michael Barwick – DT – Cincinnati (OH) Country Day: Indiana
Noah Furbush – LB – Kenton (OH) Kenton: Michigan
Marshon Lattimore – WR – Cleveland (OH) Glenville: Ohio State
Erick Smith – S – Cleveland (OH) Glenville: Ohio State

2Apr 2014
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Final TTB Ratings for 2014

Michael Ferns, Wilton Speight, Jabrill Peppers, Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Bryan Mone, and Jared Wangler

Drum roll, please.

It’s that time of year, time for the final TTB Ratings of the 2014 recruiting cycle. Everyone signed his National Letter of Intent back in February, you say? Pshaw. Not Malik McDowell. Nope. McDowell is still holding out and likely to be attending Michigan State in the fall. I was waiting to see if he would compromise with his parents and sign a NLI to Michigan, but that window passed on April 1st.

So here they are. Check out the rating scale (LINK) if you’re unfamiliar or just want a refresher. Keep in mind that these ratings take into account the other players on the roster. So for example, the second-best middle linebacker on the roster might find himself sitting on the bench for several years not because he’s terrible but because the other guy is really good.

The 2015 TTB Ratings will be coming soon, now that the 2014 cycle is finished.

CB Jabrill Peppers – Paramus (NJ) Catholic: 100
I’m keeping Peppers right where I ranked him initially. He still looks like the best player at his position in the class, and his versatility (he could play safety, return punts and kicks, and perhaps play some offense) makes him an even more valuable commodity. (Commitment post.)

WR Drake Harris – Grand Rapids (MI) Christian: 93
I have no reason to downgrade Harris from where I ranked him after his junior year, except for the fact that he missed his entire senior season with a hamstring injury. The injury concerns me and is still nagging him this spring, but it’s impossible for me to say whether that will affect him going forward in his career. Considering injuries can derail anyone’s career, I’m going to leave Harris at this rating and hope that he recovers and develops fully. (Commitment post.)

DT Bryan Mone – Salt Lake City (UT) Highland: 79 88
Watching Mone from his junior to his senior year, he looked to have added some weight and lost a step. When he played in the Under Armour All-America Game, I thought he looked slow and a little lethargic, but that was roughly two months after his season ended, so maybe he was just out of shape. Either way, I see a guy on film who can stay low and who uses a violent hand strike to disengage from blockers. While he can probably be whipped into shape a little bit, he’s not a nose tackle who will amaze people with his athleticism, but he should be an active clogger up the middle. (Commitment post.)

OG Mason Cole – Tarpon Springs (FL) East Lake: 87
Another guy who has already received some practice hype as an early enrollee, I like the way Cole bends and I like his lateral quickness. He has been playing some tackle this spring, but I’m not sure if that’s his long-term position because he’s not the longest guy around. Wherever he ends up, I think he’ll be a good player down the road. (Commitment post.)

LB Michael Ferns – St. Clairsville (OH) St. Clairsville: 83 85
Ferns can be slightly hesitant to diagnose plays, but otherwise, I think he has almost everything the coaches would want in a linebacker. He could be more physical when shedding blocks, but I think that’s something that can be taught for him. Otherwise, he runs well, does a good job in space, and is a forceful tackler. (Commitment post.)

WR Freddy Canteen – Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy: N/A 83
Film on Canteen is scarce, and what I saw of him early basically came from his quarterback’s (David Sills’) highlight tape. I can’t say whether spring practice hype has altered my viewpoint on him, but it has been positive. Regardless, I commented on his quickness and route-running ability when he committed, and that seems to be giving Michigan defensive backs problems so far, too. He reminds me of Wes Welker with his quick feet and could be effective in the slot like Roy Roundtree was back in 2010. (Commitment post.)

WR Maurice Ways – Detroit (MI) Country Day: 77 81
I might be a little higher on Ways than the recruiting services, but I really like all three wide receiver recruits in the 2014 class. Ways has reportedly had problems with his hands at certain points, but he didn’t concentrate solely on football until his junior year. His hands improved as a senior, and he reminds me of a Marquise Walker type who has good enough speed and size to threaten deep but won’t be a big-play machine. (Commitment post.)

LB Chase Winovich – Clairton (PA) Thomas Jefferson: 79
The more I’ve seen of Winovich, the more I’ve become convinced that he’ll be a solid player. I really see him as a SAM in an Under defense, so I’m not sure exactly how he fits if Michigan goes to an Over look semi-permanently. He definitely needs to get stronger, because he’s a willing hitter but ball carriers just don’t go down with the ease they should when he hits them. (Commitment post.)

QB Wilton Speight – Richmond (VA) Benedictine: 77
I feel comfortable with this rating. I still don’t see “star” written all over Speight, but he should have a couple years under offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier (who will probably be a head coach somewhere by the time Speight graduates), sit behind Devin Gardner and Shane Morris, and then have a couple years to compete for the starting position. He has good arm strength and has improved his mechanics over the past year, and he has already shown good leadership skills with the way he helped recruit in the 2014 class. (Commitment post.)

TE Ian Bunting – Hinsdale (IL) Central: 78 75
Bunting played more tight end as a senior than he did as a junior, when he was exclusively a wideout. He still has a lot to learn about blocking, so it would probably behoove him to redshirt, add some weight, and learn blocking techniques. He doesn’t have the physical mentality that I saw out of Butt, so I have some questions about whether he can break tackles and block like a Big Ten Y tight end would need to do. He doesn’t have the speed to split out like Devin Funchess has done. (Commitment post.)

DE Lawrence Marshall – Southfield (MI) Southfield: 72 74
Marshall’s highlights are a series of plays on which he is unblocked or has to fend off terrible attempts at chop blocks. He does have good speed and leaping ability, but disengaging from blockers is a question mark. For that reason, he reminds me a bit of Mario Ojemudia coming out of high school. I rated Ojemudia as a 78, and he’s still looking like he’ll be a backup to Frank Clark with two years of eligibility left. I liked Marshall’s senior film better than his junior year, but not by a ton. (Commitment post.)

DT Brady Pallante – Naples (FL) Barron Collier: 70 69
I’ve said before that Pallante reminds me of a slower Mike Martin. He’s got the leverage, the hand violence, and the knack for shedding blocks. He won’t be the biggest guy, and his lack of explosiveness will prevent him from being the TFL machine that was Martin. I don’t see Pallante as a star, but I do see him as a solid rotation player down the road. I’m knocking him down just one peg because I don’t see him having much NFL draft potential with his size. (Commitment post.)

OT Juwann Bushell-Beatty – Paramus (NJ) Catholic: 68
After watching his senior highlights and seeing him in the Under Armour All-America Game, Bushell-Beatty looks like a guy who might be more suited to playing inside at guard. I would have concerns about him being quick enough to play on the edge, and he’s more of a waist bender than a knee bender. With the other talent surrounding him, I think he might get pushed to the back of the pack, although he could be one of those guys who emerges as an upperclassmen to fill a void. (Commitment post.)

LB Noah Furbush – Kenton (OH) Kenton: 64
Furbush reminds me an awful lot of Brennen Beyer, who has played linebacker and defensive end at Michigan. I was fairly high on Beyer coming out of high school, but his play in college has been somewhat forgettable. Furbush was recruited as MIKE, but he looks like a future defensive end or maybe a SAM linebacker if Michigan runs the Under front. (Commitment post.)

LB Jared Wangler – Warren (MI) De La Salle: 59
Wangler, who played defense mostly as a safety in high school, lacks the foot speed to be a safety in college. He will probably bulk up a little bit and play linebacker. Initially, I thought that he played like a SAM linebacker in a WILL’s body, but with Michigan’s supposed move to the Over front, I think Wangler fits well as a SAM, period. I think he is limited athletically and doesn’t have the biggest frame, but he has a chance because he’s a heady, aggressive player. Regardless, the Wolverines have brought in some good talent at linebacker over the past couple years, so it may be tough for Wangler to move past them. (Commitment post.)

S Brandon Watson – Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy: Incomplete
I still have not seen enough of Watson to offer an opinion here. He has been playing safety this spring and reports have been positive, but practice reports are to be taken with a grain of salt. (Commitment post.)

10Feb 2014
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Recruiting Update: February 10, 2014

McKinney (TX) North running back Ronald Jones II

Merrillville (IN) Andrean linebacker Josh Barajas was offered by Michigan. He’s a 6’3″, 210 lb. prospect with offers from Illinois and Purdue. He’s a 247 Composite 4-star, the #12 inside linebacker, and #366 overall. As a junior in 2013, he had 92 tackles, 5 sacks, and 2 interceptions. He’s a thick kid and would likely be a MIKE linebacker at the next level.

McKinney (TX) North running back Ronald Jones II was offered by Michigan. He’s a 6’0″, 185 lb. prospect with offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Clemson, Iowa, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State, among others. He claims a 4.45 forty and is a 247 Composite 4-star, the #14 running back, and #169 overall. As a junior in 2013, he had 244 carries for 2,406 yards and 39 touchdowns. Jones is an explosive runner and has some deceptive power in a fairly thin frame.

Allen (TX) Allen offensive tackle Gregory Little was offered by Michigan. He’s a 6’6″, 280 lb. prospect with offers from Baylor, Clemson, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech, among others. Early buzz suggests that he’ll be a 5-star prospect and one of the top few players in the country for 2016.

Norcross (GA) Norcross defensive end Lorenzo Carter committed to Georgia. The Bulldogs were the favorite with Florida and Florida State trailing behind.

New Orleans (LA) John Curtis wide receiver Malachi Dupre committed to LSU. Dupre was considered a heavy LSU lean throughout his recruitment, and he ended up with the Tigers despite UCLA making a hard run at him.

Norfolk (VA) Lake Taylor defensive tackle Nyquan Harris committed to Marshall. There was some question about whether Harris ever held a Michigan offer, but he was listed on one of the recruiting sites as having one, so here he is.

Gardena (CA) Junipero Serra cornerback Adoree’ Jackson committed to USC. This was somewhat of a surprise move because a lot of people thought he would head to Florida due to their track program. However, late-in-the-process visits to UCLA and USC seemed to give the Trojans an extra shot to impress (UCLA never seemed like an extremely serious option), and new head coach Steve Sarkisian took advantage.

Florissant (MO) Hazelwood Central offensive tackle Roderick Johnson committed to Florida State. This seemed to be a long time in the making. For what it’s worth, Johnson was high on my list of desired players in the 2014 class, so I expect him to turn into a very good player in Tallahassee.

Minneapolis (MN) Washburn running back Jeff Jones solidified his commitment to Minnesota and signed his NLI. Jones blew up a little bit after the Under Armour All-American Game, of which he was MVP, and earned offers from Florida and Michigan. However, there were some reported issues with Jones’s academics and some uncertainty of whether he would qualify this year or not, so Michigan stopped recruiting him. He was also considering Iowa State up until the end.

Sarasota (FL) Booker running back Marlon Mack committed to South Florida. Mack earned an offer late in the process when Michigan was looking for a runner. He promptly decommitted from UCLA after earning an offer from the Wolverines, then Michigan stopped recruiting him, he was rumored to have committed to Louisville, and finally settled on USF.

Southfield (MI) Southfield defensive end Malik McDowell committed to Michigan State . . . kind of. The long and difficult story has been well documented, but the gist of it is that he likes MSU, in part because they really know how to party in East Lansing. Dad isn’t a fan of Michigan State and said he wants Malik to get out of the state to remove himself from some friendly influences. That’s nothing compared to Mom, who didn’t attend the signing day press conference and won’t sign Malik’s National Letter of Intent. Without her signature as the guardian (the parents are separated), McDowell can’t fax a binding NLI. So he’s verbally committed to MSU right now, but Florida State, Michigan, and Ohio State are all technically options right now. Usually kids get their way in these situations, so he’s very likely to end up a Spartan.

New Orleans (LA) John Curtis safety Mattrell McGraw committed to Oregon. He’s the teammate of Dupre and linebacker Kenny Young, both of whom had offers from the Wolverines.

Plantation (FL) American Heritage wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie committed to Georgia. McKenzie’s recruitment was a roller coaster ride as he was rumored to have committed to Notre Dame a few months ago, then planned to sign with Ole Miss, and finally committed to Georgia after receiving an offer from them just before National Signing Day. Running back teammate Sony Michel – who visited in 2012 when his brother’s UMass team played in the Big House – signed with Georgia, too, so they end up being a package deal.

Jenks (OK) Jenks safety Steven Parker committed to Oklahoma. This was long expected, although he flirted with the idea of visiting Ann Arbor even when the coaches had stopped recruiting Monroeville (PA) Gateway’s Montae Nicholson, who proceeded to commit to Michigan State.

Forestville (MD) Bishop McNamara offensive tackle Damian Prince committed to Maryland. It was quite a coup for the Terrapins to keep the 5-star player in his home state, but they have done a good job in recent years of keeping guys home (Stefon Diggs, Wes Brown, etc.). Florida State was the other major player near the end.

Jacksonville (FL) Raines cornerback Lamont Simmons committed to USC. Simmons was one of numerous guys to decommit from Rutgers throughout the process. He’s a big corner who could also play safety for the Trojans.

Olathe (KS) South offensive guard Braden Smith committed to Auburn. A lot of people thought he would end up at TCU due to the fact that his sister runs track there, and still others thought he would end up at Texas A&M.

Long Beach (CA) Poly safety John Smith committed to USC. Early in the process, I thought Smith might end up at Michigan or Notre Dame. He was not fond of Lane Kiffin as the head coach at USC, and he spoke highly of the Wolverines and the Irish. However, as soon as Kiffin was axed, it seemed like USC jumped to the forefront once again.

Coppell (TX) Coppell defensive end Solomon Thomas committed to Stanford. He had people guessing up until the end with some people guessing Arkansas and others picking UCLA. At one time he was thought to be high on Ohio State, so Michigan dodged a bit of a bullet with a good player staying out west.

Chicago (IL) Simeon offensive tackle Denzel Ward committed to Syracuse. Ward was once committed to Michigan, moved from Chicago to Florida without informing Michigan’s coaches, decommitted, committed to Purdue, moved back to Chicago but attended a different school, decommitted from Purdue, and ended up signing with the Orangemen.

McDonough (GA) Eagle’s Landing Christian defensive end Andrew Williams committed to Auburn. The only other serious contender seemed to be Clemson.

Memphis (TN) White Station linebacker Petera Wilson committed to Tulsa. I have been to Tulsa, and it’s beyond me why someone would choose that school when he has offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State, LSU, UCLA, and USC, among others. Luckily for Tulsa, it’s not my decision.

Fort Lauderdale (FL) University School defensive end Richard Yeargin III committed to Clemson. He had previously been committed to Notre Dame, where I think he would have been an outside linebacker. But in Clemson’s scheme, I believe he will end up as a weakside end.

New Orleans (LA) John Curtis linebacker Kenny Young committed to UCLA. Six players from John Curtis signed National Letters of Intent, and they’re headed to six different schools in five different states.