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Michigan Football Recruiting: Future Offensive Stars to Watch This Weekend

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 17:  Head coach Brady Hoke looks on from the sideline while playing the Iowa Hawkeyes at Michigan Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan won the game 42-17. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2013

The Michigan Wolverines nearly salvaged a season gone awry this week, playing South Carolina down to the wire in the Outback Bowl, before eventually fizzling out at the very end.

They might have been upended by Jadeveon Clowney the Gamecocks, but it was a promising showing that left Wolverine fans looking forward to 2013.

Michigan has ESPN.com's sixth-ranked recruiting class, yet another step forward for the program under Brady Hoke. The new coach has done wonders for Michigan's defense, but he's yet to restore the offense to its former greatness.

Here are three guys, all of whom are playing in this weekend's All-American games, who could help him get there soon.


QB Shane Morris

Game: Under Armour All-American Game

The Denard Robinson Era ended mid-season this year, when the former Heisman candidate with the noodly arm was demoted to running back. Devin Gardner filled in admirably, and is slated to have a big season in 2013.

But after that, the narrative of the next great Michigan QB has yet to be written.

And Shane Morris could be the guy who writes it.

The strong-armed lefty from Warren, Michigan, is ranked No. 54 in ESPN.com's rankings—fourth among quarterbacks. He's still growing into his body, but is already capable of moving the pocket and making every throw on the field.

ESPN.com's fourth-ranked quarterback two years ago, Braxton Miller, might have won the Heisman in a normal season at Ohio State. If the Buckeye superstar stays four years, there's a very real chance Morris could line up against him one day.


G David Dawson

Game: Under Armour All-American Game

Brady Hoke believes in building through the offensive line, and the 2013 recruiting class is a testament to that creed. Dawson is joined by Logan Tuley-Tillman, Chris Fox, Patrick Kugler and Kyle Bosch on the ESPN 150.  

Of all those names, though, Dawson is the biggest get. The stocky, 6'4'' mauler from Detroit, is ESPN.com's top-ranked guard, possessing the potential to develop into a future All-American.

Even in the uber-physical Big Ten, Brady Hoke isn't content just winning at the line of scrimmage—he wants to dominate.

Dawson is a giant step in that direction.


TE Jake Butt

Game: U.S. Army All-American Game

Butt is one of those classic, two-sport tweeners that we've seen succeed so often at tight end. 6'6'', with effortless athleticism, his natural basketball ability has translated well to pass-catching.

He needs to fill out a bit more, as in his present form he'd be a major blocking liability. But his frame suggests that he'll be able to add weight, and if he does, watch out.

He's got all the raw measurables to become a productive offensive player. If he hits the weight room and works a bit on his hands, that's exactly what he'll become. 

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