Collins Acheampong, a 2023 four-star edge rusher from Santa Margarita Catholic in California, announced his commitment to the Michigan Wolverines on Friday.
Acheampong is the No. 298 ranked prospect in the class of 2023, the 17th-ranked athlete and No. 17 recruit in the nation, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. The 6-foot-7, 254-pound prospect hails from Ghana and originally moved to the United States to pursue a basketball dream before transitioning to football.
Let’s take a look at Acheampong’s traits as a player and how defensive line coach Mike Elston can take advantage of his skillset once he arrives to Ann Arbor.
Acheampong is a unique prospect in the sense that he hasn’t played a lot of football, so there isn’t a ton of film available on him to break down. In fact, the only season of football he has played was in 2019 before his high school shut down the football program.
Luckily, he is transferring to one of the toughest leagues in all of high school football — the Trinity League in Southern California. He will play against the best of the best and be able to refine his skills before getting to the college level.
It’s no secret he will have to be developed to become a force as a pass rusher, but his upside is tremendous. Where he could end up by the time his playing days are done at Michigan has to have the coaching staff excited.
Plus, Michigan has a recent track record of being able to develop players who took similar paths as Acheampong, with Kwity Paye and David Ojabo both being from outside the U.S. but being turned into NFL draft picks along the defensive line.
In his 2019 film, Acheampong’s pure strength, even as a freshman, was evident. He would often overpower offensive lineman to get into the backfield to create havoc. To go along with his strength, he has also shown a level of technical ability to use his hand placement to move his blocker where he wants, creating a pathway to get to the ball and make a play.
As a pass rusher, Acheampong possesses all the traits a defensive coordinator would want. He uses a very quick first step to beat offensive tackles around the edge, and has a closing speed to bring down quarterbacks in the backfield. His natural length also gives him an advantage to be able to knock passes down, whether it be at the line of scrimmage or getting his hands up on a quarterback while trying to close them down at full speed.
In the run game, he also shows the discipline to be able to set the edge and not bite too far on outside zone plays, while still having the reaction time to close on ball carriers to help with inside runs as well.
The development aspect and the speed of the college game will surely be the biggest adjustment for Acheampong, but there’s no reason to think he won’t be able to adapt considering his physical attributes and how quickly he seemed to pick up the game after only playing football for one season.
How Acheampong could fit in at Michigan
He should fit Michigan’s defensive scheme to a tee, especially if first-year defensive coordinator Jesse Minter is running a similar system to Mike Macdonald’s, which is the general expectation.
There’s reason to believe Acheampong could eventually reach a high level of success along the defensive line considering his attributes. There is also a possibility for him to expand his versatility. With his length, he could potentially be used in situations where he fans out to take away the flats to disrupt short passes to running backs and knock some of those passes down, as Michigan fans saw Jaylen Harrell do on multiple occasions last season.
The Wolverines have had several players come through recently who have fit the mold of being hybrids between an edge rusher and an outside linebacker. With Acheampong’s current traits, the coaching staff should be ecstatic he chose Michigan.