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2020-02-18 14:08:311 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Michigan safety Daxton Hill lines up in man coverage. (Image Source: MGoBlue.com)
With National Signing Day official behind us, we continue to look back at Jim Harbaugh’s first five signing classes. Here’s a breakdown of the 2019 recruiting class on the defensive side of the ball:
S Daxton Hill (247 Composite Ranking: 14): The second-highest rated recruit of the Harbaugh era was a monster win as they went head-to-head with Alabama. You can see he’s a different level of athlete and his playing time increased as his freshman season went on. Stardom is expected from Hill, sooner rather than later.
Next: Hill will start at safety in 2020
DT Chris Hinton (247 Composite Ranking: 31): A second five star in this class, Hinton wasn’t as impactful as Hill, but he also started seeing more of the field late in the season. Hinton was most active against Ohio State, which earned him a start in the bowl game. His father Chris Hinton was an eight-time NFL All-Pro O-lineman.
Next: Hinton will compete for a starting defensive tackle role in 2020
DT Mazi Smith (247 Composite Ranking: 105): The highest-rated in-state recruit in Michigan’s 2019 class, Smith got into just two games as a true freshman, including the bowl. He brings elite size and with the Wolverines thin at defensive tackle, Smith is an important player in the coming years. Has four years of eligibility left.
Next: Smith will compete for a starting defensive tackle role in 2020
CB Jalen Perry (247 Composite Ranking: 200): For the second-straight year, the Wolverines nabbed a four-star corner from the state of Georgia. Perry is a versatile athlete who has excellent length at an even six-feet. Among the corners on the roster, only Ambry Thomas was rated higher than Perry coming out of high school.
Next: Perry is expected to compete for a backup cornerback role in 2020
OLB Anthony Solomon (247 Composite Ranking: 223): The Wolverines continue to dip into the Sunshine State talent pool with the speedy linebacker, a hybrid defender who projects at Viper. One of the few members of this class to burn their redshirt, Solomon got into 10 games and was a special teams contributor.
Next: Solomon will compete for the starting Viper job in 2020
DE David Ojabo (247 Composite Ranking: 314): Born in Scotland, Ojabo gives Michigan a pair of defensive ends who hail from Europe. He’s a late comer who grew up playing basketball and soccer before finding football as a high school junior. Raw, but with a ton of upside who could potentially see the field as soon as this season.
Next: Ojabo is expected to compete for a backup defensive end role in 2020
S Quinten Johnson (247 Composite Ranking: 316): Another recruiting win for the Wolverines in the DMV area. Among UM’s returning safeties, only Hill was ranked higher than Johnson, but the 2020 class has three safeties rated higher coming out, so this is a big season for the DC native to establish himself.
Next: Johnson is expected to compete for a backup safety role in 2020
DE Mike Morris (247 Composite Ranking: 396): A Florida State flip, Morris was another recruiting victory that garnered attention, especially considering his father was a Seminole. He sat out the entire 2019 season, so he also has four years of eligibility remaining. Morris has bulked up and could be ready to contribute.
Next: Morris is expected to compete for a backup defensive end role in 2020
CB DJ Turner II (247 Composite Ranking: 400): Another IMG product and another 6’0” cornerback, Turner got into Michigan’s first three games as a true freshman but then sat out the remainder of the 2019 season until the bowl game in order to keep the year of eligibility. Is considered a legit candidate to play in 2020.
Next: Turner is expected to compete for a backup cornerback role in 2020
ILB Charles Thomas (247 Composite Ranking: 507): The linebacker hits many pieces that fits the pedigree of a Michigan recruit under Harbaugh. He’s the fifth-rated recruit from Connecticut, a state they have focused on, is a Georgia native (another key state), and played at IMG. Thomas played in two games special teams.
Next: Thomas has four seasons of eligibility remaining at Michigan
DE Gabe Newburg (247 Composite Ranking: 773): An Ohio native, Newburg is a weakside defensive end who brings excellent length at 6’5”. One of six players from Ohio in this class, which is high for the Harbaugh era. As a true freshman, Newburg did not participate in any games in 2019. Part of a deep group of unproven ends.
Next: Newburg is expected to compete for a backup defensive end role in 2020
S Joey Velazquez (247 Composite Ranking: NA): Another Ohio product, Velazquez got into one game at special teams in 2019. A high school linebacker, Velazquez projected as a safety as a recruit with his future at Michigan likely at Viper. Was considered to be a better baseball player by some coming out.
Next: Velazquez has four seasons of eligibility remaining at Michigan
Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe, Maxwell, Bednarik, and the Rotary Lombardi Awards, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: email@example.com.
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