One of the few consistent bright spots for the Michigan defense this past season was the play of the defensive line. However, with three of the four starters leaving due to graduation, replenishing depth is paramount. Rodriguez & company have already addressed the matter partially by securing verbal commitments from Craig Roh, Anthony Lalota, Pearlie Graves, and DeQuinta Jones. One more addition to the class' defensive line ranks would adequately address needs. One option might be Itawamba junior college DE Pernell McPhee.
"I've got everything you want," responded McPhee when asked to describe his game. "I'm like Julius Peppers. I had 13 sacks this year. My first year I had 19."
The 6-4, 230-pounder is a Mississippi State commitment, but has long mentioned openness to taking visits. One of those trips will be to Ann Arbor.
"Michigan jumped in the top three," McPhee said. "I'm looking at Michigan Mississippi State, and Kentucky. I'm going to make a visit to Michigan on December 6th."
McPhee, who holds offers from a number of schools including Michigan, Kentucky, Ole Miss, and West Virginia, said Wolverines recently stepped up the seriousness of their pursuit. They immediately moved into prime contention due in large part to the established relationships he'd already have in Ann Arbor should he decide to don the winged helmet next year.
"Actually it was last Wednesday," McPhee said regarding his recent contact with the Maize & Blue. "I was already interested in them a little bit because I've got a teammate up there. Then when they talked to me I got more interested."
That teammate is freshman receiver Martavious Odoms. Both he and McPhee hail from Pahokee high school in Pahokee, Florida. So too do incoming freshmen Brandin Hawthorne and Vincent Smith. The idea of reuniting with them in Ann Arbor has been on talented lineman's mind for the past few days, but the same probably can't be said for Odoms, Smith, and Hawthorne. Not yet anyway.
"I don't even think they know about that," McPhee said regarding his teammates' knowledge of Michigan's interest in him. I talked to Vincent (Monday), but I didn't talk to him about that. Martavious is supposed to come home sometime this week, so I'll tell him about it."
That should trigger an onslaught of recruiting attention from his would-be teammates. Now the question is does Michigan (or Kentucky for that matter) have a legitimate chance at luring him away from Mississippi State?
"Yeah they do, actually," he said. "It all depends on what they're talking about. I'm just going to leave it in the hands of God, to tell you the truth. Part of (the decision) is going to be from me and the other part is going to come from God."