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Deuce Spurlock’s path to Michigan, outlook for 2022

A late growth spurt changed the future for the Alabama freshman.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 25 Rutgers at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Linebacker Deuce Spurlock comes to Ann Arbor from one of the more unlikely recruiting grounds for the Michigan Wolverines: Alabama. In an area dominated by Alabama, Auburn and the SEC at-large, Jim Harbaugh and his staff were able to pluck the athletic three-star recruit from the bottom of the map and bring him to the north.

Spurlock was undersized in high school, primarily playing safety and wide receiver, until his senior season saw him expand in all directions. Listed in high school at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, Spurlock, who appeared every bit of 215 pounds on tape as a senior, began playing a hybrid linebacker position in his final prep season.

Despite his growth and development, Spurlock lost none of his speed or athleticism and would fly around between shooting run gaps and covering slot receivers. The only problem? He is RAW at the position and played primarily off instinct and aggression. However, that is to be expected from someone who has spent his entire life playing defensive back and is now a linebacker.

Spurlock was not an early enrollee, but that did not slow down the southerner from hitting the weights and protein shakes in anticipation of his first collegiate season. When the official 2022 Michigan football roster was released, Spurlock was listed at 6-foot-1, 231 pounds.

He lost an inch in height — or was finally measured more accurately — and put on a solid 15-30 pounds depending on whether you trust high school weight scales or the eye test from his tape. Either way, for a player who just turned 18 in April, Spurlock is vastly ahead in terms of his physical development.

This season, expect a player of Spurlock’s athleticism to be utilized across several different special teams units as he refines his technique at linebacker. He will have the opportunity to learn the intricacies of the position from experienced players like Nikhai Hill-Green, Michael Barrett, Junior Colson, and position coach George Helow.

Furthermore, Spurlock will be able to use scout team reps as an accelerated classroom as he learns different schemes and responsibilities while mimicking opponents for the starting offense.

He is seen in the eyes of many as a “project recruit,” but the connotation is misleading. Spurlock is simply rebranding and I expect Deuce to have then juice by year two.