Michigan Football: 5 Junior Prospects Who Could Commit to the Wolverines Soon
The Michigan Wolverines have been known for getting off to strong starts on the recruiting trail with second-year under head coach Brady Hoke, and the battle for several of the nation's top junior prospects is going to heat up quickly after the bowl season concludes in early January.
Offensive tackle Denzel Ward (Chicago, Ill.) and 4-star linebacker Michael Ferns (Saint Clairsville, Ohio) are the only two commits for Michigan's class of 2014 haul at the moment, but things could change in a hurry as more offers go out and more contact is made.
Who is Michigan's next commitment most likely going to be? Click ahead to find out which five prospects the Wolverines could be receiving a verbal pledge from in the near future!
Tommy Doles, Offensive Tackle
Head coach Brady Hoke has made the offensive line a priority on the recruiting trail in his first two years with the Michigan Wolverines, and in-state prospect Tommy Doles (Grand Rapids, Mich.) is getting a lot of attention from the Maize and Blue early on in the recruiting process.
Doles only has offers from the Wolverines and the Iowa State Cyclones, but he is also considering the various service academies.
The 6'5", 240-pounder loves the atmosphere at Michigan, has attended two home games and does not have a timeline for his recruitment, which means Doles could pull the trigger and end the process at any time.
There have been no signs that Doles is ready to commit up to this point. However, it would not be a big surprise if Doles attends one of the Wolverines bowl practices and decides Ann Arbor is where he wants to continue his football career.
Lawrence Marshall, Defensive End
Another talented junior prospect in the Great Lakes State that is flying below the national recruiting radar is defensive end Lawrence Marshall (Southfield, Mich.).
At the moment, the only BCS programs to extend Marshall a scholarship offer are the Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans, Indiana Hoosiers and Pittsburgh Panthers, though the Southfield High School star should accrue several other suitors in the coming months.
Marshall visited Ann Arbor in October and came away impressed with what the Wolverines have to offer him for the next four or five years of his football career.
The 6'4", 205-pounder plans on making another trip to watch one of Michigan's bowl practices, and according to a report from The Fort, Marshall is closer to making a verbal commitment than any of the other in-state recruits.
If Marshall does indeed make it to campus within the next week to see the Wolverines in action, there will likely be some thoughts about a verbal pledge.
Bryan Mone, Defensive Tackle
The first offer the Michigan Wolverines doled out for the class of 2014 was to 4-star defensive tackle Bryan Mone (Salt Lake City, Utah), and for good reason, considering the junior is a rare combination of quickness and size.
The 6'4", 315-pounder is a former teammate of current Michigan freshman Sione Huma, which could help the Wolverines sway Mone before several other schools work their way into the mix.
Mone currently has offers from Michigan, the UCLA Bruins, Utah Utes, BYU Cougars and Utah State Aggies.
The Highland High School star described his trip to Ann Arbor in November as "amazing," and the unofficial visit has firmly positioned the Wolverines atop what will likely become a long list of schools.
It is unlikely Mone makes it back to the Great Lakes State to see one of Michigan's bowl practices, but if the Wolverines are able to get him on campus for a second visit, it could result in a verbal commitment from the space-eating defensive lineman.
Maurice Ways, Wide Receiver
The only prospect in this slide show without an offer from the Michigan Wolverines, or anyone else for that matter, is unranked wide receiver Maurice Ways (Beverly Hills, Mich.).
Michigan has three receivers in its 2013 recruiting class, but none of them are highly touted, which means the Wolverines are still going to be searching for a big-play threat in the 2014 haul.
Ways hauled in 51 receptions for 956 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior for Detroit Country Day, and is a standout for the Yellow Jackets on the hardwood as well.
The 6'3", 185-pounder told Josh Helmholdt of Rivals.com in mid-December that Michigan "is where my heart is", which indicates the Wolverines might not have to wait long for a commitment once they choose to extend an offer to Ways.
It is unclear when, if at all, the Wolverines will tell Ways there is a scholarship available for him, but the fact that the two-sport star could come to a quick decision with an offer in hand is why he makes this list.
Mason Cole, Offensive Tackle
By far the most coveted prospect out of all five of the juniors in this slideshow is 4-star offensive tackle Mason Cole (Tarpon Springs, Fla.), who has already been offered by 15 schools.
The hopeful group of suitors includes the Michigan Wolverines, Florida Gators, USC Trojans, Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Ohio State Buckeyes.
Cole does not have an official top five, but did indicate that Michigan, USC, Ohio State, Notre Dame and the Clemson Tigers are all standing out right now, which means the Wolverines are in great position to land the East Lake High School star if he opts for an early decision.
The 6'5", 275-pounder told Blake Alderman of InsidetheGators.com he would like to have his decision out of the way before his senior season gets underway.
Cole has already visited Ann Arbor multiple times and would not surprise anyone if he decided to bring his talents to Michigan, though the Floridian will likely be one of the last players on this list to commit given how quickly his recruitment could change if other perennial programs become involved with him.
Additionally, Cole tweeted that he will be attending one of Michigan's bowl practices, which will bolster the Wolverines standing in the race for the coveted offensive lineman.