USAAA Combine: Michigan Targets Shine

GoBlueWolverine was on hand for the U.S. Army All American combine Friday to observe numerous prospects being courted by the Maize & Blue. Prime targets Robert Foster, Dorian O'Daniel, Kendall Fuller, Marcell Ateman were among the top performers. Sam Webb and Gene Hankerson each analyze their Top Dozen for U-M fans to take note of ...

Gene Hankerson’s Scouting Notes

Kendall Fuller, DB/WR, Olney (MD) Good Counsel: Smooth, with great hips, showed the ability to run with anybody. Did a great job of staying low in his backpedal, and competed for every ball as if he was a receiver. I’m really impressed with Fuller.

Darian Hicks, DB, Solon (OH): A surprise because he looked to be one of the fastest defensive backs during the testing period, and that wasn’t expected coming in. Did a solid job, showed some physicality, and broke on the ball well. Hicks is one to watch, but will need to put together back to back performances like this to really grab attention.

Dajaun Drennon, DE, Sicklerville (NJ) Timber Creek: Long and athletic with a great wingspan. Explosive first step, will bend the corner in a hurry. Good looking frame, but knows time in the weight room is a must. Drennon has loads of potential and the early offers show for it. Michigan assistant Curt Mallory has been by the school and has maintained consistent contact since.

Greg Webb, DT, Sicklerville (NJ) Timber Creek: This “big fella” was dominant in the trenches, showing great natural body lean along with the ability to use his hands well. A kid with a high profile like Webb could of easily stood back and picked his match, instead, he was highly competitive stepping up to take rep after rep. Michigan has maintained consistent contact with Webb also.

Dorian O'Daniel LB, Olney (MD) Good Counsel: Has a great physique and ran really well. Now that he’s made fulltime move to linebacker, his potential is unlimited because of O’Daniel’s physical tools and newness to the position. People are beginning to make Jelani Jenkins comparisons. Did I say he really likes Michigan?

Tevin Horton, RB, River Ridge (LA) John Curtis: Thickly built running back had success in the 1 on 1’s , and was one of the overall top performers at his position. He didn’t flash the kind of speed I expected to see, Horton’s more of 4.6 guy in the 40. He does catch the ball well and can give you a little shake and bake. 

Robert Foster, WR, Monaca (PA) Central Valley: After talking him up to some of the scouts, Foster didn’t let me down. He showed the speed, quickness, and body control folks are used to seeing from him. What I didn’t know about Foster was how precise a route runner his is. I don’t think anyone caught the ball as naturally and accurately as Foster.

Marcell Ateman, WR, Wylie (TX) East: This kid was constantly streaking down field during the 1 on 1’s. He’s a well-built kid that will routinely compete for the ball while in the air. His speed is really impressive for a kid that size, most likely in the 4.5 neighborhood in 40. He’ll be a highly ranked player. 

Da'Shawn Hand, DE, Woodbridge (VA): The beast from VA is only a 2014 kid, but his handshake and play are of a grown man. Already 6’4” 245 pounds, Hand has five-star status in his future. He would either go through or around offensive linemen during the 1 on 1’s. Once he puts together a few more pass rushing moves, it’s over! He already has a whole host of BCS offers to his credit. He hasn’t heard much from Michigan yet, but he does have an interest.

Sam Webb’s Notes

Olney (MD) Good Counsel DB/WR Kendall Fuller wants it known that he is not a lock to head to Virginia Tech.  There is a prevalent assumption among many recruiting followers because of the matriculation of his brother’s to Blacksburg.  Fuller insists that his family is giving him the freedom to best the best choice from him.  By virtue of attention from Michigan defensive back’s coach Curt Mallory and the success of former teammate Blake Countess, the Wolverines’ have Fuller’s attention.  They’ll need to garner more though if they’re going to turn his attention away from the SEC and ACC.  The offer last month was a good first step.  Getting on campus for the visit is the next one.

As was mentioned earlier in this report Michigan appears a bit stronger with Fuller’s teammate, LB, Dorian O'Daniel.  The explosive linebacker stood out as one of the day’s top performers.  He was among the few at his position to excel in pass coverage.  He did a good job of re-routing pass catcher’s with aggressive jams.  Meanwhile his quick feet and loose hips allowed him to turn and run with receivers. At 6-1 and roughly 205-lbs. O’Daniel will clearly need to add weight to play the position at the next level, but he has the time and the frame to do it.

Another Good Counsel name for Michigan fans to remember is that of c/o 2014 prospect, Sam Mustifer.  The 6-3, 280-lb. two-way lineman already has offers from a number of BCS schools and reported receiving strong interest from Michigan assistant Curt Mallory.  Mustifer has an open invitation to visit Ann Arbor and said he plans to do so as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

One week after seeing Wylie (TX) WR, Marcell Ateman earn praise as arguably the top wideout at the Under Armour Combine in Orlando, this 6-4, 190-pounder was once again extremely impressive Friday.  When it came to out-leaping defenders for balls, no one was better than Ateman.  On the first play of his that we witnessed he had beaten his man deep thanks to a double move, but the quarterback underthrew the pass.  Ateman calmly adjusted by slowing up, getting into box-out position, and “Mossing” the poor DB.  As we reported last week, the Wolverines had already been turning up their interest.  Now that Ateman’s star is rising, don’t be surprised if an offer comes from the Maize & Blue in the near future. 

Another big wideout to garner praise was Jacksonville (FL) Bishop Kenney’s Ahmad Fulwood.  The Sunshine State star showed outstanding body control on our first play observing him, contorting his body in air before making the reception.  Fulwood carries more muscle than Ateman currently and as a result isn’t as affected by contact.  He is not a blazer, but had no problem gaining separation on the day.  His offer list is already long, and while Michigan isn’t yet on it, his interaction with the Maize & Blue has increased in recent weeks.  There is mutual interest, but the question with Fulwood is how much of a factor will distance be.

Like Fulwood, St. Paul (MN) Cretin Durham WR James Onuwalu was one of the more physical pass-catchers in attendance.  He got off the jam well, is precise in his routes, and possesses very strong hands.  He wasn’t as successful getting deep as the other receivers mentioned in this report, but he still established himself as one of the top wideouts in the Midwest.  A number of Big Ten schools including Michigan State and Purdue have already offered.  Michigan is among those showing growing interest.  The Wolverines currently sit in his top five, but will an offer come before he reaches a decision.  Stay tuned.

There were a number of defensive linemen receiving Michigan attention that performed well.  Almost on par with the explosiveness shown off the edge by Dajaun Drennon and Da'Shawn Hand was Brookfield (WI) Central DE, Chikwe Obasih.  After taking too wide a path to the quarterback on his first rep, he came back later with an explosive first step into his man, followed by a swim move to get by. 

On the interior, Sicklerville (NJ) Timber Creek defensive tackle, Greg Webb demonstrated arguably the best get off of the bigger DLs.  Offensive linemen that were able to match his quickness were overcome by his power.  Detroit Cass Tech DT Kenton Gibbs was just as impressive with his blend of power and speed, and didn’t lose a single rep.  The difference between and Webb is size.  Simply put, Webb looks a tad bigger.  Another name of note was that of Hope Mills (NC) South View DT, Greg Gilmore.  At 6-4, 280, he was more the more impressive looking specimens on the D-line.  He too demonstrated nice get off, but he isn’t yet the technician that Webb and Gibbs are.  As a result, Gilmore was stoned on a few of his attempts.

One more note… Chelsea (MI) RB Berkley Edwards ran a 4.5 forty despite slipping… one again confirming what he showed at the Maximum Exposure Combine last month… he is one of the fastest tailbacks in the Midwest.

Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for more combine notes and interviews with many of these players in the coming days.

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