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Top RB/FB Brandon Minor Commits to Michigan

Rivals' #1 FB (but likely running back) Brandon Minor of Varina, VA has committed to Michigan. Read about it here.

Minor is Michigan's 17th member of the 2006 recruiting class, and as the number of available scholarships, like the number of days until Signing Day, dwindles, let's take a look at the class:

QB: David Cone
RB: Carlos Brown, Brandon Minor
FB: Obi Ezeh
WR: Greg Mathews
OT: Perry Dorrestein
OG: Justin Boren
DT: Marques Slocum
DE: Greg Banks, Quintin Woods
LB: Brandon Graham, Cobrani Mixon, Quintin Patilla
CB: Jai Eugene
S: Steve Brown
K: Bryan Wright
P: None
Ath: None

Beyond the needs/desires to continuously replenish depth and add the most talented players possible to the roster, OT, S, and LB were the priorities for UM during this recruiting season. I think one could argue that CB was a secondary priority given Michigan's recent problems landing a premier cornerback prospect.

From a numbers standpoint, Michigan has met its needs. From a player-quality standpoint, there is still work to do. Dorrestein wouldn't have been given an offer if he couldn't play, but he is not the elite OT prospect that UM has wanted and needed. The Michigan offensive line is a mediocre-at-best unit that needs more talent (and a strength program that doesn't prioritize pepperoni and super-sizing it). Sam Young is what the coaches had in mind, and UM's inability to land an elite OT leaves it with just one (unlikely) prospect on the board, Florida's Daron Rose. Washington OL prospect Steve Schilling is another guy still out there, but nearly everyone has said or written that he is destined for OG given his (limited) height.

LB and S are a little different. Brandon Graham is a consensus top-25 player in the country, and his performance in the Army All-American game left many Michigan fans hopeful that it is going to be getting the fast, aggressive LB that it has sorely missed in recent years. Some feel that Graham may grow into a speed-rushing DE given his size (already 250 lbs despite the notoriously insufficient PSAL training facilities in Detroit), but for now, I will leave him at LB and pray that he can gain muscle without sacrificing speed. Mixon is thought to be a pure LB and is highly regarded; Patilla is a supposed physical specimen who may be raw. I won't bet against a kid about whom I know nothing, but the LB coaching at Michigan of recent years makes me think Patilla is the kind of great athlete who will be slowed down by poor instruction, poor play recognition, and poor angle-taking. He is not necessarily a natural LB, and UM's player development on defense leaves a lot to be desired.

UM needs more talent at S. Period. It is not a position on the field from which the defense gets the proverbial "big plays" (you know, like momentum changing plays, unforced-turnover-producing plays), and yet it should. Safeties are often uniquely positioned to make a play on the ball or lend a hand in run support or pressuring the QB. Last season, it was a position that initially engendered great anxiety but also proved to be a pleasant surprise as Willis Barringer and Brandent Englemon were steady and usually in the right places at the right times when healthy. That said, one would hope that UM could expect more than mere competency given the athletic and aggressive defenses that championship-caliber programs around the country are able to consistently produce.

Steve Brown will help UM, but he is but one man. Michigan could really use another safety whose physical skills and experience at the position allowed him to develop into a difference maker. Venice, CA's Jonas Mouton is still out there and is rumored to be either a Michigan lean or considering Michigan as one of his two final destinations (though that may change this weekend as he visits Texas). Having already lost Taylor Mays and Antwine Perez to USC this year, Michigan really needs to win this battle.

So that seems to be where things stand now. I will re-assess this class after signing day, and will turn my attention to some other notable topics relating to this class during the coming week.