One of the Michigan Wolverines’ top remaining 2022 targets is now off the board, as five-star defensive tackle Walter Nolen eliminated them from consideration on Tuesday evening. His final three schools include the Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies and Georgia Bulldogs.
Florida, Michigan and Alabama were the teams cut out of his recruitment with Tuesday’s announcement, which was first reported by On3 Sports.
This is not a major surprise from a Michigan perspective. Nolen visited Ann Arbor over the summer after the dead period lifted, but his recruitment had been going the other direction. Florida being cut out of the mix is probably the biggest surprise here.
Nolen, a Tennessee native, is a five-star recruit and the top overall prospect in the 2022 class, according to the 247Sports Composite. Given Michigan’s need for defensive line help, this would have been a massive coup. Alas, he is headed for one of three SEC schools.
Gabe Brooks of 247Sports scouted him and had this to say:
Stoutly assembled defensive lineman with college-ready size. Owns the requisite height and possesses verified length to foster more bulk addition if desired. Powerful build manifests in point-of-attack disruption. Flashes consistent suddenness at the snap and closes fast in pursuit. Shows outstanding lateral range relative to size. Punchy and physical. Motor runs hot. Strong enough to make plays through blocks. Can also run plays down from back side. Has posted outstanding verified testing numbers. Violent hands will become even more dangerous as pass-rush move set expands. Could thrive inside in a four-man front but looks to have position and scheme versatility. Among the nation’s top defensive prospects in the 2022 class. Should become impact high-major defensive lineman with high-round NFL Draft ceiling.
The Wolverines currently have 15 prospects committed in the 2022 class, though none of them are defensive tackles. Four-star Deone Grant out of Cass Tech (MI) seems like a good bet to join eventually with eight Crystal Ball picks in Michigan’s favor. We will have to wait and see where they go from there.
The class ranks 15th in the country and third in the Big Ten behind Penn State and Ohio State.