Enrolling early is a major advantage for recruits who are mentally ready to skip their final semester of high school and begin a college curriculum and weight training program. Additionally, enrolling early allows the recruit to become acclimated with the program and participate in spring practice -- a major leg up on the other incoming players who must wait until the summer to start school.
Michigan is welcoming seven early enrollees for the 2014 recruiting class, which consists of 16 members, including nine four- and five-stars.
Drake Harris, a four-star wide receiver recruit out of Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian, is one of seven players who will have a step up on the rest of the 2014 class once next season rolls around. His early enrollment could go a long way in landing him playing time as a true freshman. Harris chose Michigan over offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Ohio State and others. He should provide immediate help on the outside for the Wolverines. Harris was rated as the No. 6 wide receiver and the No. 63 player nationally in the 247Sports Composite -- a combination of the four major recruit rating services.
Harris will be joined in Ann Arbor by Bryan Mone. Mone is an impressive defensive tackle recruit out of Highland High School in Salt Lake City. Mone is rated a four-star by the 247Sports Composite, and is rated the No. 4 DT recruit nationally. He also held offers from BYU, Ole Miss, UCLA and Stanford. Here is SB Nation's scouting report on Mone:
The first thing I look at when evaluating defensive tackle recruits is size. Does the player have the bulk to hold the point of attack? Mone certainly does at 325 pounds. When he plays low, he is able to overwhelm blockers with his power.
I also like that Mone is able to move laterally pretty well, using his powerful hands to shed blockers and work his way down the line in pursuit. I'm not sure how much he will offer as a pass rusher, but he may be able to push the pocket.
Still to come
Michigan also holds non-binding verbal commitments from several star recruits it hopes to sign on Feb. 5, National Signing Day.
The best of the unsigned commitments for Michigan is Jabrill Peppers, a five-star cornerback recruit out of Paramus Catholic (N.J.). Peppers chose the Wolverines over offers from just about every prominent school in the country. He is the top-ranked cornerback in the 2014 class and is also No. 2 nationally. SB Nation scouted Peppers last summer. He's pretty good:
Peppers already looks like an NFL player and is one of the best players I'll scout this year. Peppers is a physical man-to-man cover cornerback. He's bigger than most of his competition, and he knows how to use his power to dominate them.
A man of Peppers' size should not be able to turn and run like he can with the smoothness that he shows. His ability to accelerate at 200-plus pounds is excellent. His top-end speed is also quite good. Peppers has explosive vertical skills, which paired with his height and length, make him a big asset in the red zone.
Lawrence Marshall is another one of the top players committed to Brady Hoke. A four-star defensive end out of Southfield High School in Michigan, Marshall could see early playing time in Ann Arbor. He is rated as the ninth-best weak-side defensive end in the 2014 class, as well as a top-200 prospect nationally. At 6'3 and 225 pounds, Marshall will need to continue bulking up once he arrives on campus if he wants to be an every-down player down the road.
On target -- Bud Elliott, National Recruiting Analyst
An interesting area to check out in Michigan recruiting is running back. With Florida taking a commitment from Brandon Powell, the Gators could be out of the race for Jeff Jones, a four-star Minnesota running back who is one of the best I have seen in the 2014 class. SB Nation's Maize n Brew has more on Michigan's chances of landing Jones.