After taking a look at a couple of Wolverines that have been around Ann Arbor for a while now in Jordan Kovacs and Marvin Robinson, it's time to take a look at one of the members of the incoming 2012 recruiting class. Jarrod Wilson, the freshman safety from Ohio, will be donning the number 22, worn not too long ago by Jamar Adams (a rare beacon of competency at the safety position in the post-1997 era).
Wilson comes to us from Akron, Ohio, where he attended Akron Buchtel High School, coached by none other than former First Team All-Awesome Names Team awardee Ricky Powers (he was just a bit before my time, but he was obviously good at football in addition to having a spectacular name). At 6'2'' 190, Wilson has good size for the position; FWIW, Adams was 6'2'' as well, and once Wilson has a few more years in the weight room he'll probably get his weight up to where Adams was as a senior/NFL hopeful. Obvious, Adams was a strong safety, looking the part of an undersized linebacker most of the time, so the comparison probably has to end here.
As one of three early enrollees, Wilson has had the luxury of spending the winter semester in Ann Arbor, acclimating himself to the college life. Learning how to avoid hitting up the ice cream machine after every meal in West Quad, perfecting the art of sleeping in class, and [insert HA HA OH COLLEGE-ISM]...these are all important things. Along with fellow early enrollees Joe Bolden and Kaleb Ringer, Wilson should be ahead of the curve going into the 2012 season.
Recruiting Highlights, General Hype, and Rampant Extrapolation
Obviously, we don't have much of anything to go by, as Wilson hasn't had a chance to play a down that counts for Michigan. If you're the sort to extrapolate visions of greatness from carefully selected highlight reels, here's one of many if you are in need of some optical optimism. As an aside, Buchtel plays in Ohio's Division III, which also includes Cardinal Mooney (Ray Vinopal's alma mater). It's not the highest division of Ohio high school football, but plenty of good players have come out of that division.
You don't need to be an expert to discern from the vast hodgepodge of debatably meaningful highlight clips that Wilson has pretty good speed and pretty solid hands when a play on the ball needs to be made. As mentioned, at 6'2'' 190, he has ideal size for the position, especially once he puts on maybe 10-15 pounds.
However, the thing that has me most excited for Jarrod Wilson's career as a Wolverine follows from this notion:
Wilson looks like a safety, plays like a safety, and runs like a safety. Be still, my beating heart.
After a period in time during which the distinctions between positions and players' responsibilities were nebulous at best--in addition to flawed and/or amorphous schematic direction--it is nice to know that safeties are being recruited to play safety. This may seem like common sense, but common sense is often not so common.
Spring Practice Points of Interest
What film we do have of Wilson as a Wolverine comes almost exclusively from this past April's scintillating spring scrimmage. It wasn't a memorable day either way, but this play...
Michigan Spring Game Highlights 2012 (via mgovideo)
...is a reminder that there exists an enormous physical, mental, and technical gap between a player that has been in the program for at least a year and a newbie like Wilson. Rawls's hit-sticking of Wilson upon breaking through to the second level is a reminder that even a single year of college coaching and S&C yields significant improvement. Jarrod Wilson circa the 2013 Spring Game probably breaks down and makes that tackle like a safety, the last line of defense, should probably be able to do.
Also, spring ball yielded the following quote from Coach Mattison regarding Wilson's progress:
He’s young. I’ve seen that he’s a guy that’s got his books in his hand, and he just came from a class that he’s never seen before, and he saw some pretty girls probably, I hope. I do tell you this, I’m glad he’s here. I’m glad all those freshmen are here. I wish we could have our entire signee class come early. I can’t evaluate him yet. I can’t evaluate any of the freshmen yet, because they’ve had no pads. But I do like their attitudes. I’ll tell you that.
It seems pretty obvious that Wilson will not have the luxury of a redshirt season; early enrolling should go a long way toward mitigating those concerns. At this point, the two-deep at safety is prettyyyy, prettyyyy, pretttyyyy not good once you get past the starters. I'm not sure what Michigan will get from Josh Furman this year, if anything, and Marvin Robinson is a talented enigma.
At this point in time, Jarrod Wilson is a defibrillator: nice to have, but let's hope we don't have to actually use him. However, Wilson should be in prime position to compete for a starting spot next year. I imagine that he'll pick up some playing time early on in the season in the Air Force and UMass games, but won't be used all that much thereafter unless either Kovacs or Gordon get hit with the injury bug--goodness gracious KNOCK ON WOOD so many times--or Marvin Robinson is a complete and utter disaster in backup duty. The 2012 season will be a "watch and learn" type year for Wilson, but one thing I am fairly confident of: the future is bright for Jarrod Wilson.