Chase Winovich, listed at 6'3, 215ish, committed to Michigan yesterday after narrowing his list down to the Wolverines, Ohio State, and Pitt, and taking a few weeks to deliberate. He becomes the 12th commitment in the class and the 2nd linebacker, joining first commit Michael Ferns, who will apparently also be his roommate. With Winovich in the class, the coaches are likely done recruiting the linebacker positions (SAM and ILB) unless they fill the rest of their needs and can afford to fill a luxury spot. The staff is still chasing after Dwight Williams and Dorrion Owens, so the possibility of adding another SAM prospect remains.
Winovich's recruitment wasn't a very flashy one, and was actually quite short (although when three quarters of your class always commits by June, every recruitment seems short). Although he got offered by a few southern schools in Miami, Florida State, and Arkansas, his focus seemed mainly on the Midwest. His final three consisted of the hometown school (Pitt), his childhood favorite (Ohio State), and Michigan. Yup, Michigan made him feel comfortable enough to outweigh both of the positives the other schools had in their favor.
In a couple of years, the battle for the SAM linebacker position is likely going to be very clear-cut; Winovich and McCray. And based off of high school tape, I'd be surprised if Winovich didn't win that battle. Not only does he look like the better all around athlete, I also think he's a better positional fit for the SAM. First, and most obviously, he does a great job coming off the edge and attacking the backfield. He knows how to take on a blocker, and he's surprisingly disciplined for a HS kid (read: NOT JAKE RYAN). I also really like how quick he moves his feet, and how his footwork rarely showcases any wasted motion. His steps are very controlled, concise, and targeted. Sure, he'll need to add bulk, but I think Winovich could be the reason McCray spends his years as a career backup.
Winovich's ceiling is relatively high, and his offer sheet isn't indicative of a three-star player: he holds offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Florida State, Arkansas, Oregon, Virginia Tech and many others. He has the potential to grow into a multi-year starter who gives Michigan the length it needs to contain the edge. Winovich was being chased by some of the strongest defensive minds in the game, so it wouldn't surprise me to see him go on and make a major impact at Michigan.