Jourdan Lewis, listed as 5'11, 170ish, committed to Michigan yesterday on an unofficial visit with two of his teammates, one of whom (Dawson) also committed. Like most other Technicians, he was considered a Michigan lean ever since receiving his offer, about a month ago. His only other offer came from Toledo, which dates back to June of 2011.
His lack of other offers is a bit surprising, considering his ability, but the Cass Tech pipeline could have scared off some other schools. By about this time last year, Terry Richardson had offers from OSU, Notre Dame, Alabama, LSU, USC, Michigan, and others. Take out the LSU and Bama offers (which he earned from camping, over the summer, at each school), and you still have a somewhat surprising gap between the two. I can only think of two feasible explanations for this, as I don't think the two are that different in their ability or upside. (1) Richardson was able to get more PT early on in his career, as opposed to Lewis, who just burst onto the scene this year, or (2) Richardson did a better job of dispersing his film. As the coaches probably take care of that more than the players, I'd assume that (1) is more likely. In any case, his recruitment story isn't that intricate. He camped at Toledo in the summer and earned an offer. He was pretty quiet over during the fall, as he focused on getting Cass Tech its State Championship. He subsequently sent out his junior film, and received a Michigan offer. A matter of weeks later, he became a Wolverine.
Over the course of a year and a half, perhaps less, CB has gone from a position of severe despair to one of the promising strong-holds of young potential, for this team. Freshman Blake Countess started this year, and Raymon Taylor and Delonte Hollowell both saw time, as well. Lewis' teammate, Terry Richardson, was one of the most highly touted DBs in the country before signing with Michigan earlier this month. The common thread between all of these players? Great hips, burst, and speed, but not a lot of size. Missing out on Yuri Wright and Anthony Standifer (missing out, passing on, whatever) has necessitated landing a big, physical corner in this class. It's not to imply that the staff will stop recruiting the likes of Ryan White (5'9, 170), but a majority of the corners left on the board are much larger and longer than the corners we've most recently landed. Guys like Gareon Conley (6'2, 175), Kendall Fuller (6', 185), Tim Harris (6'2, 175), and Priest Willis (6'2, 200) may find themselves on the top of the staff's wish list.
Anyway, Lewis will find early playing time a challenge to come by. In his freshman year, the starting CB tandem will likely be Blake Countess, and whoever replaces JT Floyd next year (Taylor/Richardson/Hollowell/maybe Carter?). If he works hard to get his weight up, he could find his way into the two deep, which could get him PT as the nickel corner. Unfortunately, CB isn't a position like defensive line that cycles players often. He may have to wait a year or two to even get a shot at a starting gig. But hey, people, that's depth. If Michigan can retain the numbers we currently have at CB, then the idealized model may finally be achieved.
All in all, Lewis seems like a very well rounded player. He's quick, has just as fluid hips as some of the best at his position, and has the same recovery speed that set Terry Richardson away from the pack on most recruiting sites this past year. That little bit of extra size seems to afford him a bit more pop in his run support than Richardson, but as I said, he'll still need to add some weight. I do believe that, more so than any other CB we've gotten in the past few years, Lewis could be a real difference maker on Special Teams, especially in the return game. His cutting and repertoire of elusive moves make him a nightmare for coverage units. MnB's Jeff Contizano adds his thoughts:
Another day, another Cass Tech commit. Seriously though, Michigan's continually growing pipeline to the school is really paying off. With all the players UM has taken in recent years, Lewis is very similar with that toughness and love for the game, but as mentioned many places he's taller than his predecessors (Mathis, Cissoko, Hollowell). I didn't expect Lewis to drop this early, but this is still a big pickup for Michigan. The coaches have been looking to get a little taller at corner, and Lewis definitely fits that mold with a great blend of size and speed.
So there you have it, folks. Lewis is yet another elite prospect from Cass Tech to pledge to Michigan. As Jeff posted on twitter yesterday, I'd guess about 1/8th of our roster is guys from Wilcher's elite squad. Lewis, as a prospect, has elite quickness and athleticism, but needs to add some weight, like most HS DBs. It'll be exciting to see him work his way into the lineup, in the future.