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Thursday, February 21, 2013
The Weekly Update: Recruiting notes

By Tom VanHaaren

The Weekly Update at WolverineNation is a sneak peek inside Michigan recruiting. This week, a look at three 2014 prospects with interest from the Wolverines.

KYLE BERGER

Michigan has a few big 2014 visitors coming in for the Illinois basketball game, and they include linebacker Kyle Berger (Cleveland/St. Ignatius).

The talented linebacker is waiting until basketball season is over to really dive into his recruitment to figure out what school best fits him.

“Once April comes around I’m going to narrow it down and then make a decision by May,” he said. “I’d probably say I’ll narrow it to a top five, then as my decision gets closer maybe down to three or two.”

Berger has some ties to other linebackers associated with Michigan. He hails from the same high school as current Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan.

“It’s cool having them compare me to him. It definitely does help hearing that,” he said. “We come from the same coach, the same work ethic, and I see him succeeding there and I know I can succeed if I put in the same work.”

Berger also has a lot in common with 2014 linebacker commit Michael Ferns (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville). Both are from Ohio, and both plan on being pre-med in college. Naturally, Ferns has been recruiting Berger, and it seems to be helping Michigan’s case.

“It’s cool talking to Michael. I definitely think it does help knowing what kind of kids I’ll be around if I go to Michigan,” he said. “It is nice talking to him, and he helps with any questions I have about Michigan.”

Despite being from Ohio, Berger said going into the process he was really hoping he would land offers from Notre Dame and Michigan. He definitely has pressure from friends and schoolmates about going to Ohio State, but he wants to make the rounds to make the right choice for him.

“A lot of kids from my school go to Ohio State and a lot of them are pushing me there, but I don’t want to go there because of my friends and have it not be the right school,” he said. “I’m still trying to gather information.”

This upcoming visit to Michigan could be a big one in terms of Michigan positioning itself to land Berger in the future.

Elijah Hood
Running back Elijah Hood (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic) recently added Michigan to his top five.
ELIJAH HOOD

Another top 2014 prospect visiting is running back Elijah Hood (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic), who recently added Michigan to his top five. The list consists of six schools, with Michigan tied at No. 5 with Georgia Tech.

“I really didn’t know I was on [Michigan’s] map until January. As soon as they let me know they kind of came at me pretty hard,” he said. “Multiple coaches came by, constantly trying to get into communication with me. I felt the need to give them a look and the more I learn about them, the more I like.”

Hood will be visiting Notre Dame on Friday, Michigan on Saturday and Ohio State on Sunday so he won’t be in attendance for the basketball game. He will have plenty of time to see the campus and figure out where he’s at with the coaching staff.

“I think this visit is more to get to know the coaches. Comparing a school that you haven’t seen to a school that you have seen is two totally different things,” he said. “It’s better to see more places and more campuses because that gives you a better scope than just numbers, rankings and all the craziness.”

Much like Berger, Hood is looking forward to meeting some of the other Michigan targets and commits on the visit. It will provide him the opportunity to pick the brain of a peer who already has made a decision.

“That will be big time for me. I would love to hear what other kids have to say because we’re not going to lie about it,” he said. “We’re trying to do what’s best for us, and I would love to hear why they decided to commit early and what the process was.”

JOHN “JUJU” SMITH

John Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly) is a prospect who has been gaining attention from schools all over the country.

“My interest is really high on Michigan,” he said. “Playing on the offensive side of the ball, I like the players that are there. On defense what really caught my eye was that they play four or five defensive backs on the field.”

Michigan has talked to Smith about different positions, which is another reason he likes the Wolverines.

“They’re recruiting me as an athlete,” he said. “We even talked about playing both ways, but we’ll see how that goes if I do go there.”