The 2022 Michigan football recruiting class has already begun to take shape with the early signing period beginning today. While recruiting has been a roller coaster ride for the Wolverines this season, winning seems to have improved their fortunes in the final few weeks.
Several big names remain and while this class is still taking shape, let’s take a look at a few of the most touted prospects in this recruiting class. With most starters poised to return on offense, it is no surprise that four of these five are defensive players.
Here are five Michigan player comparisons for some of the highest rated commits (per 247’s composite).
Will Johnson, Cornerback
Michigan Comp: Jeremy Clark body, Jourdan Lewis mentality
Will Johnson is one of the highest rated recruits in Michigan program history and for good reason. The 6’3, 190 pound corner is a disciplined, physical ballhawk with still room for additional size on his frame.
Johnson uses his size and physicality to disrupt receiving routes and uses his technique to track the ball and create turnovers. What truly separates Johnson from most corners is exceptional hands for the position. Rarely does he make contact with a ball and not come down with an interception.
Despite being the overwhelming best player on the field during most games, Johnson does a great job of playing assignment sound football and not playing hero ball. He is a great tackler and could work his way onto the field as a freshman.
Tyler Morris, Wide Receiver
Michigan Comp: Super-sized Jeremy Gallon
The Illinois native is a high point specialist with elite body control and ball-tracking abilities. Morris is listed at 6-foot, 175 pounds, but plays much bigger than that.
Morris is reminiscent of former Michigan wide receiver Jeremy Gallon who also played much bigger than his size. While Gallon was only 5-foot-8, both players were versatile weapons with great ball skills and deceptive speed.
The former teammate of current Wolverine quarterback J.J. McCarthy, Morris will blend in seamlessly with his athletic versatility and play-making abilities. While the receiving room is crowded, this combination of skills will increase his chances of contributing early.
Zeke Berry, Safety
Michigan Comp: Coke Zero Jabrill Peppers
Jabrill Peppers is the second-highest rated recruit in Michigan history and went on to become a Heisman finalist and a first round selection in the NFL Draft. While Zeke Berry does not project quite that high, he is not far off in terms of potential.
The dynamic, hard hitting safety excels at both safety positions and can cover man-to-man or maintain discipline in zone concepts. Berry is an excellent blitzer that understands blocking schemes and explodes on ball carriers in the open field.
Much like Will Johnson, Berry’s physicality and instincts jump off the screen immediately, as does his leadership and understanding of the defensive schemes as a whole.
Berry is entering a crowded safety room, but his cerebral football intelligence and scheme malleability within defensive coordinator Mike Macodnald’s defense will make it difficult to keep him off the field.
Jimmy Rolder, Linebacker
Michigan Comp: Jake Ryan with a jet pack
Jimmy Rolder explodes off the screen the moment the ball is snapped. The Chicago native quickly diagnoses plays and shoots to the ball like a missile.
With a high motor and a knack for the big hit, Rolder is hard to block and is relentless in his pursuits of ball carriers. Rolder runs much faster than linebackers his size (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) and will probably add 10-15 pounds when he reaches Ann Arbor.
There appears to be a concerted effort to find mid-size linebackers with elite speed inside the Michigan program. Couple Rolder with freshman All-American Junior Colson and this could become one of the best linebacker rooms in recent Michigan history by 2023.
Kody Jones, Athlete
Michigan Comp: More versatile Josh Metellus
Kody Jones has some of the most jaw-dropping highlights of anyone in this class. Whether that be as a ball carrier simultaneously running over three defenders or as a nickelback hitting receivers with the force of a sledgehammer.
Jones is poised to enter the secondary listed at 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, and could play anywhere from boundary corner to free safety. He has drawn comparisons to many explosive strong safeties due to his intensity and keen ability to force turnovers.
Jones is a versatile chess piece that can be moved around the Michigan secondary.