UM's National Targets Shine at Army Combine

Some of Michigan top out-region targets in the 2014 and 2015 classes were among the standouts at the 2013 Army combine in San Antonio Friday. After shining brightly 2015 RB Damien Harris confirmed that Michigan remains his leader over OSU. Can the Bucks catch UM? 2014 CB Jalen Tabor has a connection to a former UM standout; the son of a former UM All American was a participant; and much much more.

Notes below by Sam Webb

Damien Harris – Berea (KY) Madison Southern - Coaches generally don’t like to offer kids as early as Michigan did this talented sophomore, because youngsters sometimes plateau.  That is not an issue with Harris.  He has grown an inch or two since his Michigan summer camp appearance and has spent considerable time in the weight room.  Put that all together and you have the ingredients for one of the top performances at the combine.  Harris checked in a shade under 5-10, 197-lbs., did 14 reps of 185-lbs. had a 32-inch vertical, and 4.2 second shuttle, and ran the forty (unofficially… not electronic) in 4.35 seconds. Simply put… Harris is a load to deal with.  That’s more evident with the pads which can show his great vision and ability to run around or through tacklers. Even without them, though, one can see that receiving is a part of his game that he honing more and more.  On the recruiting front, this self-described die-hard Wolverine fan reiterated that Michigan is his leader. He also mentioned that he has gained an unexpected appreciation for the #2 team on his list, Ohio State.  The Buckeyes are giving fierce chase, but the Wolverines are showing no signs of faltering. “Michigan still has got the edge by a small margin,” Harris reported.  “I honestly don’t know what Ohio State would have to do to take the #1 spot.  It would be tough honestly.  Just growing up being a Michigan fan, not liking Ohio State… the odds are kind of against them.  It’ll hard for them.”

Josh Malone – Gallatin (TN) Station Camp - The four-star wideout was mildly disappointed with his junior campaign… his team started out slow thanks in part to the introduction of a young quarterback… so he showed up in San Antonio with a purpose.  The 6-2, 184-pounder proved he is among the nation’s best receiving talents, checking in with a self-reported 4.6 forty, 31.5-inch vertical, and an impressively quick 4.1 sec shuttle time.  The Volunteer State star runs precision routes, exhibits great burst out of his breaks, and has the type of sure hands that one expects from a prospect that has commanded 14 offers to date.  He declined to name a favorite at this point, but when listing his offers Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt were the first schools mentioned.  When it comes to the Wolverines, their recruiting persistence has been noticeable.  Frequent correspondence and visits to his school at every opportunity have helped keep Michigan in strong contention. “They came by during the last recruiting period,” said Malone.  “I’m probably going make visits in the spring, but right now we don’t have anything set up. I’ll probably get back up to Michigan.”  Malone previously visited Ann Arbor in the summer and came away with a very unique trip highlight.  “It was a nice place,” said Malone.  “That was some clean air up there to tell you the truth.  I got out the car and took (a deep breath).  It was a good experience up there.”

Joe Mixon – Oakley (CA) Freedom - Mixon was clearly one of the most physically impressive prospects in attendance.  He checked in at nearly 6-1, 201 lbs. and ran a 4.68 forty (electric).  On paper that combination appears difficult for most linebackers to handle, and on the field that proved to be true.  “I can catch out the backfield…  I can do everything on the field,” Mixon said confidently.  “Basically like an Adrian Peterson.”  That obviously doesn’t mean Mixon is the next “A-P”… it just means he exhibits some of the same traits on the high school football field.  If the Army combine was an indicator, he may be able to do the same in college as well.  “He had one of the best verticals on the day and looked great catching the ball out of the backfield -- linebackers had a tough time covering him," said Scout.com's Brandon Huffman. "He has filled out a ton since we saw him in the spring and even since we saw him in the fall, but doesn’t look like he lost any quickness.” Oregon State, Washington, Colorado, Cal, Michigan, and Arizona State make up an offer list that will likely grow exponentially in the coming months.  Michigan is clearly the most distant of those suitors, but that won’t be a deterrent according to Mixon. “Going away from home really doesn’t make a difference… long as I can come in as a freshman and do some work.”

Jalen Tabor -- Washington, DC Edison Friendship – Tabor is a long fluid corner, similar physically to Nnamdi Asomugha.  We can’t say what his official height, weight, and testing stats were because he didn’t participate in the testing.  That said, he passed the proverbial look test.  He flips his hips exceptionally for a taller corner and has the speed to run stride for stride with most receivers he faces.  On the recruiting front, the talented youngster had long ago proclaimed Tennessee his leader.  Things are different now, though, in the aftermath of the coaching change in Knoxville. Alabama Florida, Notre Dame, North Carolina, and Clemson were the first of the laundry list of schools mentioned to be in prime contention.  Michigan remains in the mix as well.  “Coach Mallory… real cool guy. I like Michigan,” Tabor said.  The Wolverines weren’t top of mind with the four-star DB, but there is a bit of connection to the Maize & Blue that might help them get there.  DC native and former Michigan standout Cato June is a family acquaintance.  “My father works at the school he (June) coaches at,” said Tabor.  “He always keeps Michigan in my ear.” 

Other notes…

  • Michigan is showing increased interest in the Detroit King defenders Jalen Embry and Carl Fuller.  Embry worked at both WR and CB back on the day and checked in at a shade under 5-11 and 175 pounds.  Fuller wasn’t as big as his listed height, checking in at 6-2, 189 pounds.  Stay tuned for more combine evaluations and notes on these and other in-state prospects from Scout.com's Allen Trieu in the coming days.

  • Michigan camp participant Coleman Key was at one time a potential 2014 QB target for the Wolverines.  However, it now appears that the Broken Arrow, OK signal caller is no longer on their board.

  • Conversely, camp participant Daniel Cage continues to hear from Michigan.  The Cincinnati Winton Woods defensive lineman measured in at 6-1, 295 pounds, and ran the forty well.  Minnesota, Cincinnati, Illinois, and Tennessee.  The Wolverines may not be on his offer list, but his interest in the Maize & Blue remains high.  Scout.com’s Allen Trieu will have more on Cage and other combine participants from the Midwest from in the coming days.

Notes below by Josh Newkirk

David Cornwell--Jones (Okla.) junior quarterback David Cornwell is a strong accurate signal caller out of Oklahoma City. Cornwell showcased nice touch today and easily could’ve been voted the best QB in attendance. At 6-foot-5, 215-pounds, he is a player that Michigan has their eyes on. He already holds offers from Indiana and Auburn and says he would like Wolverine offer in the near future. While he won’t “wow” you with his athleticism, his poise as a thrower stands out. Michigan would move to the top of this strong-armed youngster’s list if they ever decide to jump in fully. His is definitely a name to keep an eye on.

D.J. Foster--Lincoln Southeast (Nebr.) junior offensive guard D.J. Foster is a mauler. At 6-foot-3, 314-pounds, Foster crunched his opponents and had a couple pancakes on the day. While he is ahead of the curve in run blocking, he admits he still needs to work on his pass protection. While he didn’t do a bad job in pass protection, it’s definitely something he will need to work on before he heads to the next level. Currently, he holds an offer from Nebraska, but said he is open to other schools in the Big Ten—especially Michigan.  The Wolverines are among those showing interest and he has family in the Great Lake State.

Jon Runyan Jr.--St. Joes Prep (N.J.) sophomore offensive lineman Jon Runyan Jr. is a familiar name to Michigan fans. After all, his father John Runyan Sr., played for the Wolverines from 1993-95. At 6-foot-3, 242-pounds, he will need to add some weight and strength to his frame in the next two years. He is player to keep an eye on and is already receiving interest from Penn State and Wisconsin to name a few. With added size, Runyan Jr. could be a guy on the rise in the 2015 class.


Fightin Gators Top Stories