Signing Day Capsule: Marcus Witherspoon

This Garden State star is a heat seeking missile on defense. He made a habit of blowing up opposing backfields in high school and now hopes he will be able to do the same while donning the winged helmet. A combination of excellent speed, power, and good size make him one of the headliners in Michigan's 2008 class.

Marcus Witherspoon
Weakside Linebacker 6-2/210/4.55
Holy Spirit HS (Absecon, NJ)
NR: **** - Position Rank: 14 Player Video
Junior Highlights - LB #4 -

His Recruiting Story
Witherspoon was one of the first prospects in the 2008 class to receive a Michigan offer. Former linebackers Coach Steve Szabo flew to New Jersey to meet with Marcus and teleconferenced Head Coach Lloyd Carr from the school on signing day 2007. The Wolverines had been blown away by the youngsters explosive playmaking junior season in which he registered 90 tackles, 17 sacks and intercepted three passes on his way to earning both All-Cape and All-State honors. An April 2007 visit to Ann Arbor put the Maize & Blue clearly out front.

"It was really good,” Witherspoon said. “There was a lot of enthusiasm from the team and the coaches. I got a chance to sit in on a defense meeting and a linebacker meeting. It was good to see how things worked. (The campus) was perfect! Everything is within walking distance and it’s just so amazing. My coach went with me and was just wowed at everything. He was so surprised by how impressed we both were with Michigan. After this last trip it just feels so right ... it's only a matter of time before I make my decision."

At that point, there was little doubt in his mind that he would eventually be donning a winged helmet. But rather than making his pledge at that time, he opted instead to take a step back in order to assure he wasn’t making a hasty decision. In addition, he also wanted to get approval from those whose opinion he values most.

“I brought my dad up here (to Ann Arbor) to see if he was going to like it and see if he would feel the same way I felt,” Witherspoon said. “He likes it as much as I do. What really made me decide to commit was asking myself ‘What more do I really need? ‘‘What more do I want?’ ‘What more do I need to see? It just feels right there.”

Witherspoon chose Michigan over offers from Florida, Tennessee, Clemson, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, and a host of others.
When the coaching change took place, Witherspoon’s recruitment re-opened a bit and the Tennessee Volunteers made a strong push. Fortunately for the Maize & Blue, it wasn’t strong enough.

“(The decision) was all business,” he said. “Both schools had good people. They were both good teams. It was hard, but it was a business decision really. It came down to academics. If you have a Michigan degree, a Michigan degree can take you a lot of places. I’m not saying that a degree from Tennessee can’t, but when it comes down to it, Michigan has got a little bit more pull. I had to think about why I committed in the first place. Football isn't forever, man. You’re just one play away from injury.”

As a senior, Witherspoon registered 100 tackles and an awe-inspiring 23 sacks. He also returned a sole interception for a touchdown.

GoBlueWolverine Commentary
Witherspoon may be one of the more underrated players in Michigan’s 2008 class. The 6-2 210-pounder is a disruptive force that shows an excellent burst and a penchant for getting after the quarterback via the blitz. His combination of speed and power make him a candidate to see time on defense early in his career and his knack for laying the big hit makes him a virtual lock for special teams duty and the very least. He will need to hone his coverage skills since he spent most of his time in high school rushing the passer, but this youngster’s overall athleticism makes his becoming an adequate pass defender a sheer matter of time.

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