Eight future Wolverines competed this past week at the Army and Under Armour All-American Games.
The #Michigan crew yesterday at Under Armour All-American Game practice.— Aaron McMann (@AaronMcMann) January 3, 2019
Trente Jones (No. 74), Nolan Rumler (50), Mazi Smith (no uniform), Anthony Solomon (bottom-left) and Quinten Johnson (bottom-right). pic.twitter.com/E1PfuPZ7ua
Four-stars Mazi Smith and Quinten Johnson impressed the most physically during the week of practice. The former tipped the scales at 320 pounds with a 6-foot-3 frame, providing him the necessary power to push around opposing linemen.
His pants were also very festive.
The East Kentwood (Mich.) native was tossing around future Alabama interior linemen Darien Dalcourt there. Smith talked earlier in the week about improving technique, which is evident in the clip with him stepping out his stance a little high.
Meanwhile, Johnson already possesses a college-ready body.
This makes sense with his top-10 SPARQ score from last year’s The Opening Finals. The pictures match the numbers, people.
The Washington (D.C.) product acquitted himself well in space, notching a lone tackle and pass breakup for Team Ballaholics.
Don Brown will have to wait another year to see Michigan’s next best contributor from the week: 2020 cornerback Andre Seldon, Jr.
The Belleville (Mich.) four-star nabbed an interception in the Future 50 game on Thursday, which validated a strong week of practice.
The performance has already earned him a spot on next year’s roster.
Florida linebacker Anthony Solomon chipped in a single solo tackle.
Army Bowl Recap
The biggest revelation in Texas was four-star Connecticut receiver Cornelius Johnson, whose two catches both went for touchdowns in the East’s 48-14 victory over the West.
He demonstrated superior route running ability to get open in the end zone twice.
During practices, he apparently surprised many in attendance with his deep speed.
“Honestly that (feeling of surprise) never really came to me because I have that self-confidence,” he told The Michigan Insider. “If you don’t believe it you’re not going to be able to do it. That’s how I think. You’ve got to first envision it in your mind the night before, the week before, and while you’re training even… you have that vision in mind of what you’re going to accomplish.”
While Johnson impressed the most among the Wolverine commits, many fans anticipated watching five-star safety Daxton Hill and four-star defensive end Chris Hinton.
It ended up being an up-and-down day for Hill. The Tulsa (Okla.) import missed two open-field tackles, but also wrapped up five-star Jadon Haselwood in space.
He also demonstrated elite closing speed after getting beat on a corner route, breaking up a touchdown.
Most importantly for Brown and his press-man scheme, Hill frequently lined up against slot receivers. Encouragingly, he did not allow a reception.
Hinton, listed as a strong side end for much of the season, featured heavily as a tackle. He routinely penetrated the backfield, notching a tackle and recovering a fumble.
With the departure of Aubrey Solomon to Tennessee last month, the 6-foot-4, 280-pounder knows the coaches need him to prepare for playing time next fall.
First order: more time in the weight room.
“Definitely (need to) get college strong, get in college shape and just keep getting quicker,” Hinton told 247 Sports’ Josh Newkirk. “Getting quick, working my feet and learning the playbook. All the little things, cause it will help me separate myself from the rest.”
He will likely compete with Michael Dwumfour at the 3-tech spot, while Mazi Smith and rising sophomore Donovan Jeter will duke it out at nose tackle.
With 2019 almost in the books, we are shifting our focus to 2020. Stay tuned for positional previews, as well as interviews with the nation’s best rising high school seniors.