Michigan Football: 10 Top Recruits in the Wolverines' 2013 Class
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The Michigan Wolverines currently have the No. 2 ranked crop of 2013 recruits, according to Rivals.com, and secured all 23 verbal commitments before the 2012 college football season even kicked off in late August.
Head coach Brady Hoke and his staff have been relentless on the recruiting trail by securing verbals from a 5-star quarterback, 14 4-star prospects and eight other prospects who may not highly ranked, but could surprise several fans in the next four or five years.
The Wolverines are saving one or two spots for a couple of the nation's top uncommitted recruits, most notably 5-star running back Derrick Green (Richmond, Va.) and 4-star wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (Crete, Ill.).
With all that being said, let's take a look at the top 10 recruits that will be heading to Ann Arbor to continue their football careers.
Taco Charlton, Defensive End
Taco Charlton's 2011 highlight reel. Video courtesy of YouTube.com.
One of the main reasons the SEC has become the nation's most dominant conference is because of their defensive line play and Taco Charlton (Pickerington, Ohio) could help the Michigan Wolverines become one of the best pass rushing teams in the Big Ten Conference in a few seasons.
Prior to Charlton's game last Friday, the Pickerington Central standout had recorded 49 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and three sacks.
The 4-star defensive end already has a great frame at 6'6", 249 pounds, which will help him match up against some of the bigger left tackles in the Big Ten.
Charlton will need to hit the weight room early and often once he is on campus, but there are not too many true freshmen that come in truly ready to play on a defensive line in a BCS conference.
Another knock on Charlton is his technique, which is a work in progress. Charlton's stock slipped a bit after The Opening because he often came in too high on offensive linemen and struggled against elite competition as a result.
The nation's No. 9 defensive end and No. 233 overall prospect will be a bit of a project during his first year or two in Ann Arbor, but once defensive coordinator Greg Mattison and head coach Brady Hoke worked with Charlton for a couple of camps, he has the potential to be an All-Big Ten defensive end.
Jake Butt, Tight End
Jake Butt's sophomore season highlight film. Video courtesy of YouTube.com.
Another position of concern head coach Brady Hoke has addressed in the 2012 and 2013 recruiting classes is tight end, and Jake Butt (Pickerington, Ohio) could come in and play right away across from current Michigan Wolverines A.J. Williams and Devin Funchess.
Butt is the nation's No. 5 ranked tight end and No. 131 overall prospect, according to Rivals.com, has caught 25 passes for 338 yards and five touchdowns so far this season.
The 6'6", 235-pounder is set up to enroll early at Michigan, which will help him put on the additional muscle he will need to see the field as a true freshman.
Butt's high school football career will conclude this January at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Deveon Smith, Running Back
Deveon Smith's 2011 highlight reel. Video courtesy of YouTube.com.
Deveon Smith (Warren, Ohio) is making some noise early in his senior season at Howland High School and appears as though he could be one of the hidden gems in the Michigan Wolverines' 2013 recruiting class.
Through four games, the 3-star tailback racked up 732 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground, which was a pleasant surprise to several Wolverine fans.
Smith lacks breakaway speed and only stands 5'11'", but the nation's No. 31 ranked running back and No. 23 prospect in the state of Ohio weighs over 200 pounds and should serve as a solid runner between the tackles at the collegiate level.
Dymonte Thomas, Safety
Dymonte Thomas' junior season highlights. Video courtesy of YouTube.com.
The Ohio State Buckeyes coaching staff continued to recruit Dymonte Thomas (Alliance, Ohio) as hard as any other prospect on their board; however, the Marlington High School star turned them away and has remained firm on his commitment to the Michigan Wolverines.
The 6'2", 192-pounder has been a two-way stud so far this season by averaging well over 100 rushing yards per game and upwards of 19 tackles on the defensive side of the ball.
Thomas, who is a 4-star prospect and the nation's No. 102 overall recruit, has good size and speed to play safety for the Wolverines even though he has been shifting between linebacker and free safety for his current high school team.
Thomas will likely enroll early and should be able to compete for early playing time in Michigan's secondary next season.
David Dawson, Offensive Guard
David Dawson's junior season highlight reel. Video courtesy of YouTube.com.
Offensive guard commit David Dawson (Detroit, Mich.) has been a dominant force along the Cass Tech High School offensive line so far this season and has the build to fill out into an All-Big Ten performer down the road.
Dawson stands 6'4" and tips the scales at 282 pounds, which is a great frame for an offensive guard in the Big Ten.
Although Dawson is unlikely to compete for playing time as a true freshman due to a strong 2012 offensive line class, the nation's No. 7 ranked offensive guard and No. 165 overall prospect will give the Michigan Wolverines some much-needed depth along their front five.
Mike McCray, Outside Linebacker
Mike McCray's junior year highlights. Video courtesy of YouTube.com.
One of the reasons why the Michigan Wolverines struggled defensively during the Rich Rodriguez era was because of poor linebacker play, and Mike McCray (Trotwood, Ohio) will be looking to continue the influx of youth at the position next season.
The 4-star linebacker has racked up over 30 tackles this season despite being limited by illness in late August and has looked better than expected dropping back into coverage.
McCray stands 6'4" and weighs 230 pounds, but is still able to fly around the field and make plays with his 4.61 40-yard dash speed.
The Trotwood High School standout has also done a good job of getting to the quarterback when being called upon to blitz.
McCray appears to have enough raw talent and size to compete right away with current freshman linebackers Joe Bolden and James Ross III for playing time next season in Ann Arbor.
Channing Stribling, Defensive Back
Channing Stribling's 2011 highlight reel. Video courtesy of YouTube.com.
One of the most surprising prospects to pop up on the Michigan Wolverines radar this summer was Channing Stribling (Matthews, N.C.), whose only Football Bowl Subdivision offer was from Ball State before he attended Michigan's camp over the summer.
The Michigan coaches were blown away by Stribling's performance and immediately offered the Butler High School unknown a full scholarship.
Stribling helped shut down 4-star wide receiver Marquez North (Charlotte, N.C.) in Butler's season opener against Mallard Creek High School. North, who is the No. 2 ranked receiver in the country and No. 28 overall prospect, finished the game without a single catch.
Although Stribling is projected as a safety, he will play cornerback for the Wolverines and has the size at 6'2" to become a shutdown defensive back after a couple of seasons in defensive coordinator Greg Mattison's system.
In Butler's first four games, Stribling made 13 tackles, broke up four passes, hauled in two interceptions, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble.
Henry Poggi, Defensive Tackle
Henry Poggi's junior season highlights. Video courtesy of YouTube.com.
Just about every college in the country wanted Gilman High School defensive tackle Henry Poggi (Baltimore, Md.), but he chose the Michigan Wolverines over the Alabama Crimson Tide, which is something that should not be overlooked considering Nick Saban's prowess on the recruiting trail.
Even though Poggi will need to bulk up to play defensive tackle at the collegiate level—he currently tips the scales at 260 pounds—his quickness off the line will create problems for interior linemen.
Poggi flashed his skills earlier this season against New Jersey powerhouse Don Bosco Prep and finished the game with 11 tackles to go along with three-plus sacks.
Poggi also shined in Gilman's loss to Moeller (Ohio) High School back in early September. Poggi racked up eight total tackles, three of which were for a loss.
The 4-star defensive tackle will likely need a year to get his weight up before he can compete for playing time, but the future definitely looks bright for Poggi and the Michigan defensive line.
Ben Gedeon, Inside Linebacker
Ben Gedeon's 2011 highlights. Video courtesy of YouTube.com.
The Michigan Wolverines won a critical recruiting battle with the Ohio State Buckeyes for inside linebacker Ben Gedeon (Hudson, Ohio), and so far, the Hudson High School standout has shown why he became such a hot commodity for the hated rivals.
Gedeon checks in at 6'3", 215 pounds and has looked good in coverage and as a run stopper for his current team.
Through five games, Gedeon made 41 tackles, one sack, four tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.
Gedeon's best overall performance came in late August when he spied Kenston High School's quarterback for much of the evening, but still managed to finish the game with 10 tackles. The game may not have reflected Gedeon's best skill, which is stopping the run; however, it did display the future Wolverine is more than just a one-trick pony.
Shane Morris, Quarterback
Shane Morris' junior year highlights. Video courtesy of YouTube.com.
This list would not be complete with the ringleader of the Michigan Wolverines' 2013 recruiting class, 5-star quarterback Shane Morris (Warren, Mich.).
Although the De La Salle High School signal-caller did not put up impressive numbers through the Pilots' first four games, not all of that falls on the shoulders of Morris.
Much of the fault lies with the De La Salle wide receivers and offensive line just like a year ago. Morris only managed to complete 40-of-83 pass attempts for 464 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions before being sidelined by mononucleosis in mid-September.
Morris is expected to miss the remainder of the season in order to fully recover. Michigan fans should not be concerned about Morris, who will use the offseason to round back into form and prepare for his true freshman season in Ann Arbor.
It is unlikely that Morris will be ready to start over either current backup quarterback Russell Bellomy or Devin Gardner, but Morris could be calling the shots in his second season if the former fails to impress.