Michigan picked up a commitment from Alexandria (VA) defensive end Luiji Vilain on Sunday. Vilain is the 102nd ranked player in the 2017 class according to the 247 Composite, and the 8th ranked weakside defensive end. He chose Michigan over Virginia Tech and USC, his other two finalists.
Originally from Ontario, Canada, Vilain has made quite a name for himself playing football here in the United States. His offer sheet reads as a who's who of college football: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin, among others.
His film shows why he is one of the most coveted rush ends in the class of 2017. The first thing that jumps out at you after watching his highlights is the pure speed that he has. His ability to get off the ball and be quicker than the tackle allows him to use his pass rush moves to beat his man. It is tough for tackles to get their hands on him, and they don't have a chance to get to him once he gets outside.
One of the more impressive things about Vilain is his frame. He is 6'4 and 240 pounds, and that is verified at a Nike SPARQ Combine. Combining his size and pure athleticism and speed, he is a terror coming off the edge. He does a great job of being fundamentally sound coming off the edge, as he does not let tackles get their hands into his pads. This allows him to get wide and beat the tackle with his speed, and it allows him to get to the quarterback more often than not.
Vilain also shows a lot of football IQ, making plays down the line by taking great angles to get to ball carriers. He makes a lot of sound plays in the run game because of this, and is someone who will be a three-down player in college. His ability to affect the quarterback in more ways than one is also a big attribute that he possesses. Vilain's long arms allow him to swat down a lot of passes at the line and obstruct the vision of the quarterback.
One thing that really stood out in his film was that he put in special team plays in his season highlights. One would have to think that college coaches would really appreciate that, showing that he is ready to contribute at any position in any phase of the game. Especially a coach like Jim Harbaugh, who is very team oriented and believes in everyone have a place on a team.
When he gets to Ann Arbor, Vilain will be one of the more versatile pass rushers on the team. He should be a guy who is able to come in and play a little bit as a freshman, and make a major jump from year one to two, especially once the strength and conditioning staff gets some time to refine his body, Vilain looks to be very able of having a great career at Michigan, and should be a guy who is on the All-Big Ten team at least once, maybe more.