Donovan Peoples-Jones (Allen Trieu / Scout)

Michigan Recruiting Q&A: Part One

Scout's Midwest analyst Allen Trieu answers questions from Michigan fans about the Wolverines' current class, next year's class and more.

When Brian Cole committed to UM a few years ago, he was a highly rated/coveted WR from the State of Michigan. How does Cole compare to [Donovan] Peoples-Jones as an in-state WR prospect?

Cole was less polished as a receiver prospect. He was considered an athlete by some, and as he has taken off in the JUCO ranks as a safety, that athlete designation has seemed more correct. Cole was fast and a good athlete. Peoples-Jones is fast and one of the best athletes in the country. Cole positioned himself to be able to be on the field as a true freshman for Michigan, but was more on the raw side. I think Peoples-Jones comes in, pushes for a starting job at Michigan right away and possibly gets drafted quite high one day. Cole, I believe, will be an impactful safety at Mississippi State though.

I think the real comparisons are how DPJ compares to the best prospects since 2000 in the State of Michigan - namely Charles Rogers and Braylon Edwards.

Rogers was a little bit before my time in terms of his high school career. In terms of physical skill set, and what I saw of Rogers in college, I think they are very similar. Braylon was a later bloomer, but I think he is a good physical comparison for Peoples -- big receivers who can jump and are fast enough to get deep and make plays after the catch. In terms of prospecting them out of high school, Rogers was very highly ranked, higher than Peoples-Jones is at this point, but not by much. Braylon was kind of an under the radar recruit who out-played his offer list and rankings in college.

Allen, I know it's not in your area, but are you hearing anything new regarding Willie Gay?

Last I heard, and I'm mostly hearing this from Michigan related sources, the feeling with Gay was still very good for Michigan.

Did we ever show any interest in Jordan Reid at Cass? Who are the King and Cass kids we will be going after next year? Thanks and Happy New Year!

Michigan offered him, but the recruitment between him and Michigan never really seemed to take off. At Cass, cornerback Kalon Gervin already has an offer as a junior. I could definitely see U-M offering linebacker/safety Deandre Square at some point. Cass has a really good sophomore running back Jaren Mangham who might be a linebacker recruit down the line. There are some other freshmen and sophomores at Cass that are going to be really good too, but it's too early to tell which of those guys will be Michigan level recruits. The one at King to watch for is sophomore cornerback Marvin Grant. He's a long 6-foot-2 kid who is going to be one of the state's top recruits in his class. Like Cass, King has some other talents, but too early to tell if any will be Big Ten type kids yet.

Of the current commits, in your opinion, who in 4 years do Michigan fans look back at and say "wow he was undervalued coming in".

James Hudson recently earned a fourth star, but I could see that kid really blossoming further in college and out-performing his ranking. We ranked Taco Charlton somewhat cautiously as a lower four-star based on his outstanding physical traits, but also his rawness. He has developed into a potential first-round pick. We are at the same point with Hudson where he really came on as a senior and has great size and ability, but still has some parts of his game to improve. Taco made those improvements and Hudson certainly could too.

Which current commits have a good chance to move up in the final rankings?

It's possible Ambry Thomas will depending on how he does at Army. The same goes for Peoples-Jones and his possible push for national No. 1 WR prospect. It will be interesting to see how the Under Armour guys do. A guy like Kwity Paye who has been under the radar could leap up on a stage like that.


Is there any kid we haven't mentioned that could end up in this class? Like a couple of guys last year?

Right now, Michigan's class holds less mystery than last year's at this time. Should they miss on some guys, there may be some surprises, but the Wolverines have landed a good amount of their top targets and some of the other top targets they're still in strong contention for, so barring unforeseen circumstances, I think the closing run will have less surprises and as a result, less overall excitement than last year maybe, but I think the goal in recruiting is to control your board and land top prospects on that board so that there isn't as much surprise leading up to Signing Day.


If we miss on Tufele and Solomon is there another DT that might be a surprise on signing day?

Right now, those are the main targets. If both go elsewhere, it's not impossible a new name could materialize, but at the moment, there is not an obvious "next guy."  

This year's class in the state of Michigan was considered a top class, was it a once in a five year, ten year class in terms of talent? Next is supposed to be a down year, will Michigan get who they want, or does state get who they want?

This 2017 class was really, really good. But the state has been producing more and more talent recently. I would still say that the 2017 group was as good as we have had in the last ten years though. Next year, I see less Michigan-Michigan State battles. Both schools have offered less kids to this point, so you won't see as much head to head. And you already have some guys like Ovie Oghoufo (Notre Dame) and Jason Whittaker (Northwestern) leaving the state, so a much different landscape in-state in 2018 than 2017.

2018 recruiting. Who does UM have a good shot at?

Starting in-state, Aidan Hutchinson being a legacy, Michigan certainly has a great shot with him. He has stayed open to other schools. I don't think it's a complete lay-up for Michigan, but they're certainly the team to beat in my opinion. Michigan has offered Kolin DemensAntwan ReedMarquan McCall and Kalon Gervin in-state as well and should be at or near the top for all three, but there is a long way to go still for all. I could see Michigan offering more kids in-state too. In the Midwest, there aren't many others right now. I think Ohio linebacker Brian Asamoah will give Michigan a good look. Nationally, little more outside my scope, but Dorian Thompson-RobinsonThomas Booker and Will Mallory are among the Scout 300 guys outside the Midwest who have Michigan very high on their respective lists.


I always say if you're a 5 star in the Midwest you've really earned it. You're a tough evaluator Allen which is a great thing. What did you see in DPJ's game that led to him gaining his 5th star? Also, how did Iowa snag A.J. Epenesa?

Peoples-Jones has always been a five-star physical talent. What I wanted to see him do was change some games and make some big plays in big spotlight games. That is what separates a good, very good or even great receiver from the elite ones in my opinion. If you're a five-star and you're a senior, you need to have a big effect on big games. So I wanted to wait until Donovan played through his senior season. In the city championship game, he beat Ambry clean for long touchdown. He made a spectacular clutch touchdown catch to win the semi-final game for Cass and then he had two touchdowns in the state title game. When you took those plays combined with his body of work as well as his physical gifts, he became a clear five-star.

Iowa got Epenesa from recruiting him for a long time. His dad played there, he grew up with Iowa and they were in on him very early.

Will UM for after another S prospect? Really curious given that Woods hasn't had exactly glowing reviews and JKP was told Viper position. Aside from DT, S is next biggest need IMO.

Another safety is not a given. I think Kelly-Powell gives you enough versatility too that he can play all over the place, but just at VIPER. I haven't seen Woods, so I can't speak for his abilities. But the reviews have been on Khaleke Hudson and Josh Metellus so far, then you bring in Woods and Kelly-Powell, so at this point, what we believe is that another safety in this class is fairly unlikely.

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