May 8, 2009

Analyst: Receiver haul a positive for Wolverines

Michigan's Class of 2010 wide receiver haul takes many by surprise. The Wolverines have commitments from six prospects that could play in the slot or outside, but national recruiting analyst Jamie Newberg thinks that make sense …

"Every year, a team has to ask what its biggest needs are and for Michigan last year it was quarterback and they got two great athletes. This year, it's the receiver position," he said. "You look at that group right now and I know fans might think it's excessive but in the spread offense you better have an arsenal of receivers that add both talent and depth because you can go through guys real quickly."

Four-star Orlando, Fla., native Ricardo Miller (6-2, 208 pounds) is the highest ranked of U-M's six wideouts, pulling in at No. 139 nationally and No. 23 among receivers.

"He has huge upside," Newberg said. "He's probably the most polished of their six and has the best physical traits but a lot of those guys are obviously slot receivers and if they have the speed, the hands and the quickness, they can really be something special."

Four-star Jerald Robinson (6-2, 175 pounds), of Canton, Ohio, should also play on the outside while Warren, Ohio, native [sb]D.J. Williamson[/db] has the size to play outside at 6-1, 172 pounds, but the ideal skillset to play slot. Ann Arbor native Jeremy Jackson (6-3, 194 pounds) is also an outside receiver while Texan Tony Drake (5-9, 170 pounds) and Baton Rouge, La., native Drew Dileo (5-10, 175 pounds) are slots.

"The guys they have right now are unique in that they all bring something a little different so it's not like they have six guys all at 6-2, all that have to play outside," Newberg said. "Besides, you never know what will happen once they get on campus. Maybe one of them moves to safety, one moves to cornerback, one to running back. Just because you have six receivers right now doesn't mean you will a year from now."

Michigan might have room for one or two more receivers too, though not much room.

"I think, in this case, it just sort of snowballed because if you're a kid being courted by Michigan and you're interested and you see one receiver commit and now two and now three, all of a sudden you do it because you don't want to lose your spot," he said. "If they had gotten these six over the course of 12 months I don't think anyone makes that big of a deal about it, but because it happened so quickly it's the story. But I think the timing is just an anomaly."

Offensively, the jewel of the class might be Inkster, Mich., four-star quarterback Devin Gardner. The 6-4, 195-pound dual-threat signal-caller has immense potential.

"I think the comparisons to Terrelle Pryor are unfair because Pryor was a once-in-a-decade athlete, but Gardner has a chance to be pretty special," Newberg said. "He certainly fits the mold of the athlete they're looking for. He has some areas of development he needs to address but every high school quarterback does. From his film, the kid has everything you want in a quarterback that plays in the spread.

"I don't know that they're done at that position either. I think they have an outstanding chance at landing Jeffrey Godfrey from Miami. If he was two inches taller than his listed 5-11, I think he would be one of the top 100 players in the country. But you can't knock him as an athlete or as a quarterback. I keep hearing Michigan come up every time I talk about him."

Newberg also thinks U-M has a good shot at Saint Paul, Minn., five-star offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson - the nation's No. 1 recruit.

"They're definitely in the hunt along with Minnesota, Ohio State and Notre Dame. I think a few more big players will become a factor too."

Defensively, Newberg, like many of his colleagues, projects four-star Floridian Marvin Robinson (6-1, 190 pounds) at linebacker instead of safety.

"I don't think fans should get caught up in that or think we're knocking the kid - regardless of position he's a terrific player," Newberg said. "He's a bit of a tweener, which is why we think he can grow into a linebacker. But regardless of where he plays, you like his body, his length, the way he moves across the field and closes on the ball or a ball carrier. He's just a heck of a talent."

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