Michigan Football Recruiting: Breaking Down Recent Visitors Speight, Ferns
At this point of the year, following the who's-who of Michigan Wolverines football prospects and commitments passes the time while eager fans wait for the spring game, and ultimately, the fall.
Wolverines coach Brady Hoke continues to host high-end potential in Ann Arbor, and he just completed one of the biggest visitor weekends for the 2014 class by entertaining a crop of young talent on Feb. 23 and 24, according to TheWolverine.com.
Prospects like Drake Harris and Mason Cole made the trip to Wolverines Country, and we'll break down the list of prospects this week (Feb. 25), analyzing where they'd fit in the program and what they'd add should they choose Michigan.
However, we'll first start with 2014 commits Wilton Speight and Michael Ferns, who were among the visitors and have a strong likelihood of attending Michigan.
After all, they're committed.
The 6'6", 217-pound, pro-style quarterback from The Collegiate School in Richmond (Va.) was in attendance this past weekend, according to TheWolverine.com.
Speight is a throwback to former recent commits like Ryan Mallet; he's a big-bodied pocket passer with prototypical size for the brand of offense that Al Borges is constructing.
Speight gave the Wolverines a solid verbal on national signing day.
Will Speight challenge Morris for No. 1 job?
He could very well compete with 2013 commit Shane Morris for the starting quarterback job once Devin Gardner's run is through in Ann Arbor. If Gardner is granted a medical redshirt, the junior will be at Michigan until 2014 as a fifth-year senior.
Despite Morris' talent and 4-star ranking, it's too early to suggest that he's the heir-apparent to Gardner. Speight has college-ready size, and he's only a junior.
Needless to say, having too much talent at quarterback isn't exactly a problem; it's a welcome dilemma. Having options never hurts, and Speight brings another competitive spirit to the fold that should challenge Morris.
Steve Clarkson, Speight's coach at The Collegiate School, recently raved about his youngster's arm strength (via TheWolverine.com):
His arm is every bit as strong as [Pittsburgh Steelers Pro-Bowler] Ben Roethlisberger, and I've worked with Ben. He's not Cam Newton-strong, but he's plenty strong. There's not a throw he can't make, his deep ball can probably go 75-80 yards with just the snap of his wrist. He spins the ball very well.
[When he worked out recently], We did this bench route, we call it pro bench route. We stand on one hash and across to the sideline. He was throwing 38-40 yards on a line from one hash all the way to the far sideline. Arm strength is not an issue for him.
Speight hasn't yet received a ranking from Rivals.com, but he carries a 3-star ranking from 247Sports (86 overall rating). Jumping to a 5-star ranking wouldn't be impossible, depending on his senior season, but it's a safe bet to project Speight as a high-end 4-star once he graduates high school.
The 6'3", 235-pound inside linebacker out of St. Clairsville High (Ohio) would add an incredible amount of size and speed to the Wolverines' linebacking corps.
Ferns carries a 4-star ranking from 247Sports (92 overall rating) and has been praised by media outlets and pundits since he committed to Michigan in August of 2012. He was named to Ohio's esteemed list of blue chip underclassmen, giving plenty of reason to highly anticipate his arrival to Ann Arbor.
Is Ferns the real deal?
Haven't heard much about Ferns? Check out his Twitter mentions for proof of the social-media buzz generated by this future Wolverines standout in the making.
Ferns was recruited by Jerry Montgomery, who recently left Michigan to take an assistant coaching position at Oklahoma. That's not to suggest that Ferns could decommit, but players often cite close relationships with position coaches as the main reason why they chose a particular program over another.
Montgomery recruited Ferns, so the move is worth following.
Be sure to check Adam Biggers' Bleacher Report profile this week for more analysis of the Wolverines' recent visitors.
Follow Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81
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