- Tom VanHaaren, ESPN Staff Writer
The Weekly Update at WolverineNation is a sneak peak inside Michigan recruiting.
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Since Michigan has been known for great offensive linemen, fans are always curious about what linemen are being recruited. The not-so-glamorous position is appreciated by Wolverine fans, and there is quite literally a big prospect fans will be following for sure.
Denzel Ward (Chicago/Hales Franciscan) is only a junior but is listed at a 6-foot-9, 295 pounds. As one would imagine, Ward is starting to hear from some big-time schools.
"I have major interest from Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Oregon, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois and Vanderbilt," he said. "I really hope I get my two dream schools on board after I get my film out -- LSU and USC."
Ward's mother attended LSU, and he says the school and location of USC is what attracts him to the Trojans. He has quite a few connections to different programs outside of his mother's alma mater as well.
"I have a friend [at Michigan], who's like a big brother to me. Chris Bryant, he plays offensive guard," he said. "We grew up together and my cousin Robert Gregory goes to Purdue. My other cousin Jordan Diamond goes to Auburn."
That's quite the talented family. It also gives Ward a person at each program to confide in once he starts looking more into each program. He says he likes the tradition of the Michigan program and that he has seen a good amount of offensive linemen sent to the NFL from Michigan, which is a positive.
Ward will be visiting Ann Arbor on Oct. 13 when the Wolverines takes on Illinois, and he is planning a few other visits as well. The Wolverines haven't yet offered the massive lineman, but he is on the radar.
The Michigan coaching staff has been targeting the state of Texas quite a bit since its arrival in Ann Arbor. It's easy to see why with so much talent in the Lone Star State, and specifically in the 2014 class.
Michigan has offered six junior prospects from Texas, and that might not be the end of the list.
Junior defensive back Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) hasn't yet been offered by the Wolverines, but he has heard from the program up north. With offers from Baylor, Iowa, Kentucky, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M and West Virginia it's safe to say Adams will be a highly coveted prospect.
"I don't really know a lot about Michigan, I really just know it's a rich tradition," he said. "I'm also hearing from Alabama, USC, Florida, Georgia and Oregon."
While the ESPN Watch List prospect doesn't have a top list yet he said he is very interested in Michigan and would consider visiting if the Wolverines extended an offer.
Adams is being recruited as a defensive back and says that he can play either corner or safety, he's a ball hawk and that he loves to hit.
(From BuckeyeNation's Brad Bournival)
He wears the same No. 36 that used to adorn his best friend’s back when he played at Mentor (Ohio). That best friend is Tom Strobel and he’s now a defensive end for Michigan.
Michigan also happens to be the school where his father, Kevin, went.
So when the Wolverines started showing interest in Cardinals defensive end Kent Berger, it was a little overwhelming to say the least.
The junior has interest from Akron, Boston College, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State and Toledo. But when Michigan made the call it meant a little more.
“It’s very exciting,” Berger said. “My best friend Tom Strobel goes there and my dad actually went there, so it’s big. It’s a great school, I’ve always liked them. I was born watching them.”
After a sophomore season where he was part of a team that reached the Division I regional finals and went 11-2, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Berger has Mentor off to a 5-1 start. The Cardinals’ only loss came to reigning state champion St. Ignatius, which also knocked them out of the playoffs in 2011.
But Berger doesn’t just love Michigan for its past. He’s very in tune with the present and sees great things for the Wolverines in the future.
“It’s a big school,” Berger said. “I love watching Denard Robinson. They seem to be going through adversity, but are handling it well.”
Berger plans on waiting things out as he no doubt will continue to garner interest from other schools -- three weeks ago only Boston College, Ohio State and Cincinnati were showing love -- but says an offer from Michigan would go a long way
23hTom VanHaaren and Erik McKinney