Note: Part 1 of this two-part post, which focuses on Michigan's top three 2015 offensive targets, can be found here.
Sculpting a program-best secondary seems to be the intent of Michigan's staff.
During the past few years, the Wolverines have collected '97-team-like defensive backs. The next wave--not to mention the developing youngsters already in Ann Arbor--may not top Chuck Woodson's buddies, but it'll certainly make an impact while carving out a name for itself.
Already stuffed with a pair of 4-star corners and a 4-star safety, Team 136's defensive backfield serves as yet another example of recruiting dominance by Brady Hoke and his staff.
Garrett Taylor, the most recent commit, is the No. 6-ranked corner of 2015. Shaun Crawford is No. 9. Tyree Kinnel is the No. 11 safety.
Thus far, they're the top three--and only--defensive commits. But they're already "here." So let's take a look at the best of the best available targets. Need, skill and fit will be taken into account.
And, as always, feel free to debate the choices in the comments section and cast a vote below.
Recruit info via 247Sports.
View Michigan's roster, via MGoBlue.
More Depth at LB, Please
Say it again: "Justin Hilliard."
If you're not already familiar with him, get familiar. He's definitely an up-and-coming star, and he's the type of Ohio linebacker who'll fit perfectly within Mattison's scheme.
Along with others, Iowa has jumped in the picture. But the Wolverines remain among Hilliard's top choices. Hoke can sell the linebacker history and potential to make an immediate mark--young linebackers, such as Ben Gedeon, are getting chances.
Why not Hilliard in the fall of 2015?
There is plenty of room in the rotation--which isn't really a rotation, it's more like a pool. As we all know, the position highlights the defense. Sure, the D-Line looked sharp during the spring game, but until proven otherwise, Mattison's muscle is at linebacker.
Goods on Hilliard
Ht./Wt.: 6'2"/230 (No. 2 OLB, No. 1 overall in Ohio, No. 26 nationally)
High School: St. Xavier (Cincy)
Strength: Runs, hits, makes plays--he's another Jake Ryan-type. But maybe slightly more athletic.
Hilliard is fresh off a visit to Notre Dame. Needless to say, the Irish have a lot to offer as well. He's expected to cut his list to five within the near future.
MT @JHilliard47 (Justin Hilliard) TOP 10 (No Order) ND Alabama Iowa Kentucky Michigan Oklahoma Florida St Southern Cal Ohio St Florida— Irish Sports Daily (@ISDUpdate) March 31, 2014
Jashon Cornell remains in arm's reach for Mattison, who could certainly use more help at defensive end. By time 2015ers hit, Frank Clark will be gone and Mario Ojemudia will be a senior; and that'll widen the path to PT for youngsters such as Taco Charlton, Matt Godin and Henry Poggi, among others.
The defense is progressing, and stabilizing the ends of the line is always the key to run-containment and pass-rushing efficiency.
That being said, Cornell is just the type of guy made for the Big Ten. But maybe not. According to 247Sports, he has "warmer" interest in the Irish.
Goods on Cornell
Ht./Wt.: 6'4"/270 (No. 3 WDE, No. 1 in Minn., No. 30 nationally)
High School: Cretin Derham Hall (St. Paul)
Strength: Athletic enough to play outside and inside. Instinctual pass-rushing tactics.
2015 DE Jashon Cornell tells us he's down to 9. Michigan, Iowa, Notre Dame, Penn State, Florida State, UCLA, USC, Stanford, and Ohio State— PrepForce (@PrepForce1) March 31, 2014
Rosy for Michigan?
Darian Roseboro is a priority, especially from my perspective.
Battles are won in the trenches, and the Big Ten is one of the most physical leagues in the country. Mattison would be in DC Heaven if he lands the 6'4," 265-pound junior in 2015.
Lately, the Wolverines have been anything but intimidating up front. Given the recent signees, that's a head-scratcher that's difficult to comprehend.
Roseboro, a North Carolina kid, could stay down south and sign with Auburn, NC State, which seems like the favorite, or Duke.
Ohio State is after him, too.
Goods on Roseboro
Ht./Wt.:6'4"/265 (No. 7 SDE, No. 3 in NC, No. 109 nationally)
High School: Lincolnton
Strength: Disruptive, physically imposing, plays "bigger" than actual size.
Note: I searched YouTube for quality footage of Roseboro--couldn't find it. But check out his tape on Hudl.
Top #Michigan DE target Darian Roseboro will visit soon. Find out why the Wolverines are in it for him (VIP): http://t.co/brV1TW8Ssv— Steve Lorenz (@TremendousUM) March 1, 2014
There haven't been many rumblings about Roseboro and Michigan lately, but he recently said that he planned to visit. He hasn't yet. Kentucky just offered on March 26.
Follow Maize 'n Brew's Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81