Michigan Football: 5 Freshmen the Wolverines Can Build Upon

Joel GreerCorrespondent IFebruary 11, 2013

Michigan Football: 5 Freshmen the Wolverines Can Build Upon

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    Michigan head coach Brady Hoke has been successful is his first two seasons using many of former coach Rich Rodriguez' players.

    The transition to Hoke's own recruits will be especially evident as this year's squad evolves.   

    Thanks to a pair of outstanding recruiting classes, Hoke has plenty of talent to choose from. Michigan's 2012 class was rated No. 4 in the nation by Scout.com, while the current class finished No. 2.

    Let's check out five of the young Wolverines that Michigan will build its team around. 

Patrick Kugler

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    Despite being rated as the nation's No. 1 offensive guard by Scout.com, if he's recovered from offseason shoulder surgery Patrick Kugler could battle Jack Miller for the starting center position this fall.

    Kugler, who was an Under Armour All-American Game participant, is also a two-time Pennsylvania All-State player.

    "His brother starts at Purdue and his father was the offensive line coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers," Michigan coach Brady Hoke told mgoblue.com. "And now Sean is the head coach at Texas-El Paso. He's a guy that we really like how he plays, how he comes off the football and the physicalness he has to him."

Mike McCray II

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    The son of former Ohio State captain Mike McCray, Sr., McCray II was a two-way starter at Trotwood-Madison HS in southwest Ohio.

    Although he caught 19 passes for 369 yards as a senior, McCray is slated to play either the SAM or MIKE linebacker position for Michigan.

    Like Kugler, McCray is recovering from surgery (labrum) but should be ready to participate in drills this summer.

    He's a good kid and really likes Greg Mattison, who told him during his recruitment that he wants him to be his next Ray Lewis (I doubt McCray can imitate the dance moves),” said ESPN's Chantel Jennings. “But McCray should be a fun player to watch at Michigan over the next few years.”

Dymonte Thomas

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    As an early enrollee, Dymonte Thomas may compete for the safety spot vacated by Jordan Kovacs.

    Along with being a 5-star recruit and the nation's No. 4 rated safety (Scout.com), Thomas was also a top-notch running back as a high school senior. He gained 1,270 yards carrying the football during his final season, while notching 70 tackles, one interception and a fumble recovery.

    Thomas, who was also offered by Ohio State, was a standout performer at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

    A strong safety type, Thomas has good acceleration and balance,” said Scout.com's Scott Kennedy. “Coverage awareness and technique will come with experience...”

Derrick Green

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    Expected to be Michigan's best running back since Michael Hart, Derrick Green is perfectly suited for the Wolverines' new pro-style offense.

    Rated as the No. 1 running back in the nation by both Scout.com  and Rivals.com, Green was also a top performer in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

    An excellent between-the-tackles rusher, Green will eventually be running behind one of the nation's best offensive lines. Between the 2012 and 2013 classes, Michigan recruited 10 outstanding offensive-line prospects.

    At some point, Green could be performing in tandem with the state of Ohio's No. 1 back (via Scout.com), DeVeon Smith of Warren (Ohio) Howland.

Shane Morris

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    A leader on and off the field, Shane Morris is your prototypical quarterback who can also run (4.63 in the 40) if necessary.

    A 5-star recruit, Morris was also one of Michigan's best “unofficial recruiters.”

    Definitely, I'm just trying to get the best players in the country to come to Michigan,” Morris told freep.com. “In person, on Facebook or whatever I have to do to get a hold of them.”

    Having missed most of the 2012 season with mono, Morris will have plenty of catching up to do when he arrives in Ann Arbor this summer.