Michigan Football: Power Ranking Wolverines' Weekend Visitors
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
There are five highly-touted prospects expected to check out the Michigan football program this weekend, but of those recruits which one is the most important for the Wolverines to focus their attention on?
Pass rushing has been an area of concern for the Wolverines since the end of the Lloyd Carr era, so it would make sense for them to focus on defensive linemen. Two of Michigan's top targets along the defensive line will be in Ann Arbor on Saturday.
Michigan will also have a chance to get a jump start on one of the state's best athletes from the class of 2015.
5. Brian Cole, Wide Receiver
Brian Cole is one of the few 2015 prospects to hold a Michigan offer. Video courtesy of YouTube.com.
Given the Michigan Wolverines' lack of a dynamic play-maker at wide receiver, Brian Cole (Saginaw, Mich.) would be much higher on this power ranking if he were in the class of 2014. Since the Michigan Wolverines will have well over a year to recruit the junior, though, Cole checks in at No. 5.
Cole is a dynamic, and very versatile athlete. The 6'2", 190-pounder plays running back, quarterback and safety but he will likely go on to play wide receiver at the college level.
The Saginaw Heritage High School standout has great 40-yard dash speed (4.5 seconds) to go along with solid hands. Cole has outstanding leaping ability, which enables him to go up in traffic and snag jump balls.
Michigan has already offered Cole, and so has its in-state rival, the Michigan State Spartans.
With one visit to Ann Arbor already under his belt, Cole will get a chance to form relationships with the other recruits this time around rather than explore the campus.
Getting Cole to the university for a second time this early in his recruitment will only benefit the Wolverines in the long run.
4. Nic Weishar, Tight End
Nic Weishar could be a big target in Michigan's pro-style offense. Video courtesy of YouTube.com.
Unranked tight end prospect Nic Weishar (Midlothian, Ill.) is starting to rack up offers from several prominent programs across the country.
The Ohio State Buckeyes, Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Oklahoma Sooners are among the large group of programs to offer Weishar an athletic scholarship thus far.
Getting Weishar on campus once again will help the Michigan Wolverines stand out from the competition.
"I'm trying to get around to as many places as possible and just take a look at all my options," Weishar told Jake Brown of Irish Illustrated on Feb. 28. "We'll see how everything goes from there. I'm just staying in touch with all the coaches...I'm excited."
The Wolverines have already built up depth at tight end with their past two recruiting classes. Adding another big-boided pass-catcher is never a bad thing, though.
Weishar will need to add some bulk to his 6'5", 215-pound frame before he can be an every-down contributor at the college level. This should not be a problem for Weishar once he gets in a college weight room.
There will not be a decision coming from Weishar anytime soon, but making yet another strong impression will help Michigan climb to the top of his list.
3. Kyle Berger, Outside Linebacker
Kyle Berger and Michael Ferns would be a top notch tandem of linebackers. Photo courtesy of Scout.com.
There is no shortage of suitors for Berger's services, but the Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes appear to be standing out above the rest, thanks to a couple of outstanding unofficial visits.
"The visit really helped Michigan," Berger told Tim Sullivan of TheWolverine.com about his trip in late February. "Coaches (Brady) Hoke and (Greg) Mattison were awesome, which is huge, but I still want to wait for my other visits until I start to narrow my list down."
The nation's No. 205 overall prospect will likely get the full-court press from fellow Ohioan, and current Michigan linebacker commit Michael Ferns.
It is unclear at this time when Berger will take more visits, but the fact that the Wolverines are getting him on campus for a second time in the past month is an encouraging sign.
The Maize and Blue will be a safe bet to make Berger's list of schools this spring, and it would be a major plus to steal him away from arch-rival Ohio State.
2. Lawrence Marshall, Defensive End
Lawrence Marshall could be the speed pass rusher Michigan has been missing for quite some time. Video courtesy of YouTube.com.
Since de-committing from the Ohio State Buckeyes last month, defensive end Lawrence Marshall has been wide open when it comes to his recruitment. Marshall is open to anyone at this point, but the Michigan Wolverines have hosted him more than any other school.
The 6'4", 205-pounder has attended three Michigan basketball games, and plans to be in town this weekend to check out one of its springs practices.
Marshall has the ability to wreak havoc off of the edge with his top end speed. Pass rushing has been quite a struggle for the Wolverines over the past several seasons, so landing Marshall would be a step toward shoring up one of their greatest weaknesses.
There is no end in sight for Marshall's recruitment at the moment, though, the fact Michigan has been able to get him on campus frequently will help it ascend to the top of his list of schools.
1. Da'Shawn Hand, Defensive End
Da'Shawn Hand is the unanimous No. 1 high school football prospect. Video courtesy of YouTube.com.
There is no question about who the most important prospect visiting Ann Arbor this weekend will be. Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va.) is the No. 1 overall prospect in the country, and the Michigan Wolverines will get their chance to make a lasting impression on him.
Hand will be accompanied by his father, Woodbridge High School assistant coach John Harris and a few of Harris' friends.
One of Michigan's biggest selling points is the fact that defensive coordinator Greg Mattison will be coaching the defensive linemen for the 2013 season, and possibly beyond. Hand will be watching with intrigue.
"He's looking forward to seeing Mattison work with the D-ends in practice," Harris told Tim Sullivan of TheWolverine.com. "He watches those drill tapes like a coach. He's into that more than people think. That's why he cares about who coaches him because he's a kid who really wants to get better."
This will be the first, and potentially only opportunity for quite some time to host Hand. The Wolverines cannot afford for the trip to be anything other than outstanding for the nation's most coveted recruit.