Wangler Switches to Michigan
Three-star linebacker prospect Jared Wangler was committed to Penn State just a few short days ago, but a Michigan offer changed that fairly quickly. Wangler, who is the son of Wolverine great John Wangler, can come in and play either of the WILL or SAM positions, but the coaching staff wants to start him on the outside.
Wangler isn't a physical specimen or freak athlete, but he brings awesome football instincts to the table. He has average size and above average length for a linebacker. He has solid coverage skills for a linebackers and is almost always where he needs to be.
Check out the New Blue post a little later in the morning for a much more thorough rundown of Wangler's skill set.
McDowell Far from a Lock
Long thought of as the top defensive lineman to come out of the Great Lakes State in quite some time, Malik McDowell still has a lot of thinking to do when it comes to recruiting. The five-star SDE/3T hybrid has been to both in-state powers a multitude of times, but he has still managed to stay out of the local media's limelight. Sam Webb of the Detroit News managed to catch up with the defensive terror, but he received the answers you'd expect to hear from a high-level recruit who's attempting to stay out of sight.
McDowell was asked about his barbecue experience, and it isn't surprising that Michigan's commitments were trying their best to get him on board:
A frequent visitor in Ann Arbor, McDowell had already been on the tours, taken in the academic presentation and met all of the coaches. The primary difference with the barbecue visit was the presence of a number of Michigan commitments intent on sending him a clear message.
"All of them were pretty much trying to get me to commit and all of that," he said, laughing.
Those attempts, while flattering, didn't compel McDowell to join the fold. He instead chose to stick with his plan to further vet his top suitors in the fall and winter months. In Michigan's case that means getting a better feel for the social aspects of life on campus.
His parents are both in favor of him going to Michigan. His mother is in love with what Michigan has to offer academically, and his father raised Malik to be a Michigan fan:
The Wolverines have already passed McDowell's stringent academic requirement with flying colors. It's a standard his parents have emphasized as the chief criterion.
"Basically my main thing is academics," McDowell's mother, Joya Crowe, said. "I want him to be comfortable with the football team and things like that, but my main concern is academics. If the football doesn't work out for him, what else do you have to offer? I want to make sure he gets an education and he can make it out here in the world outside of football."
After being blown away by Michigan's academic presentation during a prior visit, Crowe was more than happy to experience it again with Malik's father, Greg McDowell.
"I actually told his dad about it, so (the barbecue visit) was mainly for him," Crowe said. "I said, ‘You need to go through the academics at Michigan also because I was very, very, really, really, really impressed!' They have a program called M-PACT (Michigan Professional and Career Transition), and oh my God, I love it!"
"It's basically like they help the students determine what they want to do outside of football. So say if they do get to go to the NFL and they do ten or fifteen years - once that's all over with (the advisor) talks about how football players or just (athletes) in general - what are you going to do next? People don't think past that. They don't know what to do. It's just like they're kind of lost out there, so they teach the kids how to get a career outside of sports."
But, even with both parents wanting Malik to go blue, he's still looking to see the Southern powers of America:
That declaration shouldn't be taken to mean the four-star defensive end is locked up for the Maize & Blue, because he isn't. Far from it, actually. He plans on giving all of the schools on his list an equal shot the rest of the way, and he made it especially clear each of his Big Ten suitors still has his attention.
"Ohio State is still there," Malik said. "I talk to coach (Kerry) Coombs a lot from there and I talk to Coach (Mike) Vrabel.
"Michigan State - I like that school a lot. It's a real fun school. I like the academic side of it. I just like the school a lot.
"I like Michigan a lot. I like that it's close to home and I like the coaches. They're real good people from what I see. I just like the school. It's close to home and my people would be able to see play."
All three schools are slated to receive additional visits in the fall, but none of them are likely to be official visits.
"I figure if you're going to do the official visits, do it to the schools that (are far away)," McDowell's mother said. "I feel like why take an official visit to Michigan when we did unofficial visits? Michigan, Michigan State, places like Ohio State - we can always go visit them unofficially."
Malik will officially visit Florida and Florida State, with Alabama, LSU and USC all in the race for a trip as well.
How should Michigan fans digest all of this? First of all, it's very clear that the Wolverines are firmly entrenched in the heads of Malik and his parents; he'd definitely be going to Michigan if he absolutely had to pull the trigger right now. That doesn't mean that Hoke and Mattison are in the clear, rather that Malik will probably be comparing the Floridas and Alabamas of the world to Michigan. I still believe that Michigan is the team to beat here, especially with his parents quietly supporting the Wolverines from afar, but he could see one of the Southern schools as the place for him and leave Michigan hanging.
I wouldn't get my hopes up if I were a Florida State fan. Take that, Southern black hole!
General Notes and Multimedia Items
This is news that probably won't have an effect on Michigan at all, but five-star 2015 QB Ricky Town has chosen Alabama. It's interesting to note that Stanford offered Ricky Town before heavy Cardinal lean Josh Rosen. Rosen still doesn't hold an offer from Stanford, but it's only a matter of time. Michigan is hard after him, but don't expect him to end up anywhere but California.
Class of 2015 defensive tackle Tim Settle is the top prospect from the East, according to Scout. Settle is close with 2014 monster Da'Shawn Hand; Michigan could move up for Settle if it manages to pull Hand in. Scout gives us a short scouting report of Settle:
Settle is very explosive off the ball and plays with great leverage. He is a tremendous athlete with good instincts. When engaged with the offensive lineman, he uses his quick hands and great agility to completely overwhelm his opponent. The Stonewall Jackson star is also a very smart and does a nice job playing under control. He takes good angles when pursuing the football and has a great motor.
Overall, Settle is just scratching the surface on how good he can become and he is already one of the top players in the country - regardless of class.
Alabama, Ohio State, Virginia and the usual suspects are all hard after Settle, who should end up being a consensus five-star mauler.
This Monday's edition of the roundup is a bit thin, but fear not, as we've got plenty of other pieces coming your way in order to satisfy your appetite. Football is knocking on our doors; we're all salivating for more coverage.