Onwenu Shines at Nike’s The Opening

Michigan 2016 OG commit Michael Onwenu discusses his The Opening performance and more.

BEAVERTON, Ore. – Due to state of Michigan high school rules, U-M 2016 OG commit Michael Onwenu could not compete in Nike’s The Opening in full pads in last weeks’ competition. And while it certainly was a disadvantage on the field, it didn’t stop the four-star standout from being named one of the top offensive linemen in attendance.

“My personal thing is I felt like I did good,” Onwenu said, who was named in the top group on Thursday and Friday. “I didn’t even have pads on. If I did, I would have been able to do more. I would have rather of had pads. But I still did good.”

Rivalry Started

Onwenu, who stars at Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech, had the opportunity to go against a future rival – Ohio State DE commit Johnathan Cooper – during the 1-on-1s. It wasn’t the first time they met on the field, and certainly won’t be the last.

That being said, Onwenu go the crowd buzzing when he pancaked Cooper on the ground during the final 1-on-1s, despite playing out of position at right tackle.

“I felt like it was a friendly rivalry,” Onwenu said of Cooper, who was able to beat Onwenu in his final two reps. “Even at The Opening (regional at Columbus) last year, (Coop[er) was there and I won MVP. We talked and everything. Even though we didn’t say anything, we knew it was a Michigan-Ohio State thing. He got a little serious. But I’m a friendly guy, I’m not going to try to fight him.”

Who won the most reps between the future rivals? Well, Onwenu went with himself, of course.

“I feel like I won the majority of them,” Onwenu said, who noted he went against Cooper at least 10-12 reps throughout the camp. “When I was at tackle all the way on the edge, if he flew past on the side of the bag, I let him go. They might call that a loss. But if I already have him long armed out -- I’m just going to keep on pushing him.”

Recruiting Gary

While Scout’s No. 1 player overall – DT Rashan Gary – was on the other side of the ball at The Opening, Onwenu says he was still able to build a friendship with the Parmaus (N.J.) Catholic star, but didn’t push Michigan too much, he admitted.

“We talked, but it wasn’t about college,” he said of Gary. “We are just friends. We are all having fun with the competition. That’s all - we just had fun.”

Adding: “I could say something (about Michigan). But if they are not going to talk about it, I’m not going to bring it up. If I was in the same position, I wouldn’t want to talk about all the time either.”

Soaking in Blue

Onwenu committed to U-M in June, which started a domino effect in Michigan’s commitments that month.

“After I committed, everybody committed,” Onwenu said. “It was good feeling. Not for the publicity. But because we are bringing in new guys and everything.”

However, even though he is still committed to Michigan, Onwenu admits schools are still coming after him.

“Schools are still coming after me,” he said. “Bu they aren’t coming after me hard. Even though I committed to Michigan, I am not saying I want to burn the road (to U-M). But I still want to look around. I still want to enjoy the process and use my opportunity for the best. I got God given talent, so I want to explore everything.”

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