Michigan Wolverines: Kyle Berger

Movers, shakers in updated ESPN 300

October, 29, 2013
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The Class of 2014 has had two months to show what it’s made of on the field. How are the nation’s elite prospects faring as we approach signing day? Here’s a look at the biggest names and notes from the most recent update of the ESPN 300:

The Big Movers

No. 37 Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South), ILB
Prior ranking: No. 59
The 6-foot-2, 224-pound Garrett jumped more than 20 spots in the rankings as he has added bulk to his frame, and at the same time retaining quickness and his fast-filling, downhill ability. Garrett has impact-type ability with a blend of lateral quickness, discipline and a nose for the ball.

Davion Hall
Max Olson/ESPNAthlete Davion Hall, who is committed to Baylor, jumped 30 spots in the latest update of the ESPN 300.
No. 45 Davion Hall (Texarkana, Texas/Liberty-Eylau), ATH
Prior ranking: No. 75
The 6-2, 194-pound Hall is one of the most impressive athletes in the class. He has a long, stoutly-built frame, is explosive, has physicality filling the alley at safety and very good ball skills at receiver. When he settles into one position at the next level, his upside is very high.

No. 64 Nick Chubb (Cedartown, Ga./Cedartown), RB
Prior ranking: No. 106
The Georgia commit is putting together a sensational senior campaign with more than 2,000 yards and 29 touchdowns through eight games. The 5-11, 217-pound tailback continues to add strength to his compact body structure while maintaining his speed, overall athleticism and ability to bend.

No. 70 Chad Thomas (Miami/Booker T. Washington), DE
Prior ranking: No. 125
The Miami commit has flashed his high-ceiling ability, even though he is playing inside more than half the snaps as a senior. His combination of first-step quickness, arm length and the ability to play with low pad level sets him apart from most ends in the class.

No. 84 Rashaan Evans (Auburn Ala./Auburn), OLB
Prior ranking: No. 150
The 6-3, 217-pound Evans has filled out physically, and displays the quick-twitch burst and speed combination to be a factor off the edge. Evans has been dominant off the edge as a senior with double-digit sacks.

No. 92 Markell Pack (Purvis, Miss./Purvis), WR
Prior ranking: No. 144
The Florida State commit continues to flash the initial quickness, ability to get to top-end speed quickly, ability to play the ball in the air and elusiveness that makes the 6-2, 180-pound wideout one of the top playmakers in the class.

No. 128 Brad Kaaya (Hollywood, Calif./Chaminade College Prep)
Prior ranking: No. 171
The 6-4, 213-pound Miami commit is one the fastest rising quarterbacks in the class. Has added bulk to his tall frame, and continues to show the foot quickness, foot work and quick release that will be demanded of him at the next level.

Other Big Movers

WR Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp): From No. 99 to 49.
Texas A&M ATH commit Nick Harvey (Richmond, Texas/William B. Travis): From No. 101 to 60.
RB Joe Mixon (Berkeley, Calif./Freedom): From No. 100 to 72.
Georgia QB-DT commit Jacob Park (Goose Creek, S.C./Stratford): From No. 157 to 94.
Oregon RB commit Royce Freeman (Imperial, Calif./Imperial): From No. 154 to 99.
RB Derrell Scott (Havelock, N.C./Havelock): From No. 176 to 108.
Ole Miss S commit C.J. Hampton (Meridian, Miss./Meridian): From No. 201 to 134.
Alabama C commit J.C. Hassenauer (Woodbury, Minn./East Ridge): From No. 246 to 188.
Georgia DT commit Dontavius Russell (Carrollton, Ga./Carrollton): From No. 266 to 201

ESPN 300 debuts
No. 89 Frank Iheanacho (Houston/Westbury), WR
The 6-6, 215-pound pass catcher returned to the football field as a senior after playing only basketball as a junior, and has quickly become one of the most coveted uncommitted prospects in the country featuring deceptive initial quickness, and the high-point timing and size to win 50-50 balls in the air.

No. 287 Darrion Owens (Orange Park, Fla./Oakleaf), OLB
The 6-3, 220-pound Owens has transitioned from safety to outside linebacker as a senior without skipping a beat. Long, rangy and with edge-rush ability, the Miami commit is a top senior riser.

No. 295 Shakenneth Williams (Macon, Ga./Rutland), WR
The 6-1, 196-pound Georgia commit was a standout at Mark Richt Camp in June. Williams is blessed with straight-line speed, change-of-direction ability, strong hands and the physicality and strength to play through contact.

[+] EnlargeJoe Mixon
Tom Hauck for Student SportsTailback Joe Mixon is ranked No. 72 in the latest update of the ESPN 300.
More Who Moved Into The ESPN 300

Ohio State ATH commit Curtis Samuel (Brooklyn, N.Y./Erasmus Hall): No. 148.
LSU DE commit Deondre Clark (Oklahoma City/Douglass): No. 298.
Baylor WR commit Ishmael Zamora (Alief, Texas/Elsik): No. 245
Alabama OLB commit Keith Holcombe (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Hillcrest): No. 284.
DT Derrick Nnadi (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes): No. 257.
DT Matt Elam (Elizabethtown, Ky./John Hardin): No. 292.
Minnesota RB commit Jeff Jones (Minneapolis/Washburn): No. 181.
Virginia Tech DT commit Ricky Walker (Hampton, Va./Bethel): No. 299.

Injured Reserve

David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./Norman North), QB
The Alabama commit suffered a season-ending knee injury. The 6-5, 241-pound Under Armour All-American is No. 44 after being 32nd previously.

Jalen Hurd (Hendersonville, Tenn./Beech), RB
The Tennessee commit suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the opener, requiring a second shoulder operation in less than a year. The 6-4, 222-pound Hurd is now No. 62 after being 39th.

Drake Harris (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian), WR
The 6-3, 172-pound Harris hasn't played this season due to a lingering hamstring issue. The Michigan commit checks in at No. 85 after previously being 72nd.

Elisha Shaw (Tucker, Ga./Tucker), DT
The 6-6, 295-pound Shaw has been sidelined with a neck injury this season. He checks in at No. 186 after a prior ranking of 82nd.

Sharieff Rhaheed (Fort Pierce, Fla./Fort Pierce Central), OLB
The 6-2, 202-pound Rhaheed missed the first six games of the season before returning to the field in late October. The former LSU commit is No. 260 after being ranked 133rd previously.

Kyle Berger (Cleveland/Saint Ignatius), OLB
The Ohio State commit was sidelined his senior season with an ACL tear. He dropped out of the ESPN 300 after being ranked No. 281.

Treyvon Paulk (Milton, Ga./Milton High), RB
The Tennessee running back commitment recently suffered a season-ending knee injury. He dropped out of the ESPN 300 after previously being ranked No. 294.

With any conference there will always be battles on the recruiting trail within the Big Ten. Coaching changes, different philosophies and geographic location all factor in to who battles who.

Here is a look at the top five Big Ten recruiting rivalries.

Best Big Ten classes by position 

September, 10, 2013
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Each class within the Big Ten has its strengths and weaknesses, but there is a lot of talent joining the conference. Here is a look at the top classes in the Big Ten by position.

Quarterback
Strongest class: Penn State


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B1G High school games of the week 

September, 5, 2013
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Each week Big Ten recruiting reporters Tom VanHaaren and Brad Bournival outline a few big high school games involving Big Ten recruits and commits. Here is this week’s list:


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

August, 26, 2013
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Ohio State and Michigan were at it again over the weekend in what has become commonplace in the recruiting world. The Wolverines nabbed an ESPN Junior 300 commit Friday and followed it up with another junior pledge on Saturday.

Big Ten ConferenceNot to be outdone, the Buckeyes grabbed an ESPN 300 standout of their own Sunday.

Here is a look at what happened over the past week.


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When Ohio State battles Michigan for players in the Buckeye state, it doesn’t lose too often. That said, it does happen.

Two of the biggest notables were Heisman Trophy winners Desmond Howard of Cleveland St. Joseph and Charles Woodson from Fremont Ross.


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The state of Ohio, on the heels of exiting the annual Big 33 all-star game with Pennsylvania, has invited the state of Michigan to a new high school all-star game.

The Ohio–Michigan Border Classic will feature high school senior football players from Ohio and Michigan and will put the best 40 prospects from each state against the other. The inaugural game will take place on June 14, 2014, which will allow prospects from the 2014 class to participate in the event.

Larry Merx is the Executive director for the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association and says that they felt this was a great opportunity for their state.

[+] EnlargeMaurice Ways
Tom VanHaaren/ESPN.comBeverly Hills, Mich., wide receiver Maurice Ways is excited about the opportunity to play an all-star game against top Ohio prospects.
“We were invited by Ohio to participate in it, and the thought process was that it’s exciting. It’s a chance to get our best players involved with a game that we think there will be a lot of interest in,” Merx said. “When Pennsylvania withdrew (from the Big 33) it left Ohio high and dry. Ohio was looking around and said we have a natural rivalry and they invited us, so we thought it sounded pretty good.”

The game will also replace Michigan’s East-West all-star game that took place every year featuring some of the top high school talent in Michigan. That game featured 88 players that were nominated by the coaches to play in the game, something that will change with the Border Classic.

“We’re going to first select six coaches for the game. Our regional directors will nominate coaches, the all-star committee will meet and select the six coaches that will participate in early December,” he said. “Then the coaches will go about recruiting players. The all-star coaches will go out and get the best players in the state and get them in the game.”

From an Ohio standpoint, the Border Classic is one prospective players are looking forward to. Some standouts such as Kyle Berger (Cleveland/St. Ignatius) and Sam Hubbard (Cincinnati/Moeller) already play a few schools in Michigan, but the majority do not, and that has a wave of excitement running through the state.

ESPN 300 cornerback Darius West (Lima, Ohio/Central Catholic) lives 90 minutes from the Michigan border and was recruited by the Buckeyes and Wolverines.

The Kentucky commit sees it as much more than bragging rights at the next level, however, as Ohio and Michigan have always measured themselves up against the other.

“It would be pretty fun,” West said. “There are a lot of people that think Michigan football is better than Ohio and that Ohio is better than Michigan.

“This would prove which is better. It would be a real good game between two great states. We’re right by each other and Michigan and Ohio already have a rivalry.”

Hubbard, whose team won both games against schools from Michigan last season, sees the game as an extension of what is already a heated battle.

He also sees it as a way to play some of the best competition in the nation.

“We’re obviously already rivals,” Hubbard said. “There’s always talk on Twitter about who is better, so it should be fun.

“Obviously the game doesn’t mean anything, but it is bragging rights. It’s something people can get into. It will give you a leg up in confidence when the real games come around. We played Detroit Central Catholic and Grand Rapids Christian last season, so we played against Drake Harris. That was intense. I think it’s a great thing to switch over to Michigan. It’s one of the greatest rivalries in college football.”

That view is no different in the state of Michigan. The Michigan prospects are excited about the idea of being able to compete against some of the top prospects, but they know there is a bigger picture to this game.

Michigan wide receiver commit Maurice Ways (Beverly Hills, Mich./Country Day) says it would be an honor to represent his state, but this wouldn’t be an ordinary all-star game.

“Both states are going to select the best and top players from their state to make sure they win. This won’t be just a friendly all-star game, it will be serious and a big deal,” Ways said. “Neither states like each other and I’m sure you’ll have a guy going to Michigan and a guy going to Ohio (State) so the hate will already be in the air. It’s going to be taken seriously and I’m sure it would be an exciting game.”
The Opening, presented by Nike, will feature 162 of the best high school football players in the country. The event, which will include linemen, 7-on-7 and SPARQ testing competitions, is set to run from June 30 to July 3 at the Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.

The following events from The Opening will be televised on ESPNU:

July 1: SPARQ Rating National Championship, 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. ET

July 2: 7-on-7 Pool Play, 9 p.m.-11:30 p.m. ET

July 3: Linemen Challenge Finals and 7-on-7 semifinal and championship games, 9 p.m.-midnight ET

The players will be divided in to six teams -- Alpha Pro, Apocalypse, Field Generals, Land Sharks, Super Bad and Vapor Carbon. Here is a closer look at how the teams match up.

Team: Alpha Pro
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Jordan Palmer, defensive coordinator Hardy Nickerson

The Alpha Pro team will have plenty of targets to spread the ball around. Ermon Lane and Tyler Luatua, the No. 1-ranked receiver and tight end in the country respectively, bring size and playmaking ability to the passing game. ESPN 300 athletes Corey Holmes, Jalen Hurd, John "JuJu" Smith, Ja'Von Harrison, and Derrell Scott are all explosive offensive weapons.

Defensively Alpha Pro is led by Andrew Brown, the No. 1-ranked defensive tackle in the country, ESPN 150 cornerback Damon Webb, defensive end Andrew Williams, Ohio State linebacker commit Dante Booker and LSU cornerback commit Chris Hardeman.

Complete Alpha Pro roster.

Team: Apocalypse
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Adam Tafralis, defensive coordinator Donovin Darius

The first thing that jumps out about team Apocalypse is the talent in the defensive front seven. Team Apocalypse will be led by five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand and inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan. Hand, from Woodbridge, Va., is the No. 4-ranked player in the country, while McMillan was recently bumped up to a five-star linebacker. Joining Hand and McMillan along the front seven are ESPN 300 defensive linemen Anthony Moten and Ainuu Taua, and linebackers D.J. Calhoun and Rashaan Evans.

Offensively, team Apocalypse has no shortage of playmakers. ESPN 300 wide receivers Artavis Scott, K.D. Cannon and Michiah Quick will provide explosiveness in the passing game, while athletic running backs Joe Mixon and Royce Freeman will provide athletic and reliable targets out of the backfield.

Complete Apocalypse roster.

Team: Field Generals
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Charlie Frye, defensive coordinator Michael Fletcher

Seven-on-seven events are always geared towards the offense, but with five-star defensive back Adoree' Jackson, No. 3-ranked safety Jamal Adams, and ESPN 300 cornerback Adarius Pickett in the secondary, the Field Generals should more than hold their own. New Ohio State defensive end commit Jalyn Holmes and the No. 6-ranked defensive end in the country, Solomon Thomas, will be two to watch along the defensive line.

Offensively, the Field Generals are led by ESPN 300 offensive guard Damien Mama, ESPN 300 wide receivers Austin Roberts and Thaddeus Snodgrass and explosive Notre Dame running back commit Elijah Hood.

Complete Field Generals roster.

Team: Landsharks
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Craig Nall, defensive coordinator Keith Bulluck

The Landsharks have some big-time talent along each line of scrimmage. Led by five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson, the Landsharks also feature ESPN 300 offensive guard Corey Martinez. ESPN 300 defensive linemen Gerald Willis III and Thomas Holley, as well as ESPN 300 defensive end Chad Thomas, will form a very physical and athletic defensive line.

In the secondary, the Landsharks will have three defensive backs -- Arrion Springs, Chris Lammons and Tony Brown -- that are ranked among the top 85 players in the country. The defense also features ESPN 150 linebacker Nyles Morgan.

Offensively, explosive running backs Dalvin Cook, a Florida commit, and Racean Thomas form a dangerous tandem out of the backfield, and wide receivers Travis Rudolph and Jalen Harvey are solid receiving threats.

Complete Landsharks roster.

Team: Superbad
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Dennis Gile, defensive coordinator Harold Nash Jr.

The Superbad defense line is led by five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter and ESPN 150 defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson. The linebacking corp is stacked with three ESPN 300 members, including Clifton Garrett, Christian Miller and Edwin Freeman. Cornerback Jalen Tabor is the No. 19-ranked player in the country.

Offensively, Superbad has a huge advantage with the No. 1-ranked prospect in the country, running back Leonard Fournette. This team is loaded on offense, with wide receivers Drake Harris, Josh Malone and Speedy Noil all in the mix.

Complete Superbad roster.

Team: Vapor Carbon
Coaches: Offensive coordinator George Whitfield, defensive coordinator Chris Gizzi.

Vapor Carbon will be tough to throw against with defensive backs Quin Blanding, Naijiel Hale and Ed Paris roaming the field. The linebacker group is just as impressive, with Ohio State commit Kyle Berger, Kain Daub and Dillon Bates all leading the way.

The offense for Vapor Carbon could be lethal with running back Joseph Yearby and Nick Chubb in the backfield. Spreading out wide receivers T.V. Williams, Justin Brent and tight end Ian Bunting on the outside could prove to be an awesome combination for this squad.

Team Vapor Carbon has a lot of pieces to make a long run in the 7-on-7 tournament, but then again, every team is stacked in this competition.

Complete Vapor Carbon roster.

RN Top 10: Columbus NFTC 

June, 3, 2013
6/03/13
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video The RN Top 10 will appear throughout the camp and combine season and rank prospects based strictly on their on-field performance at that particular event. It does not reflect what their overall prospect ranking is.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Although the Ohio State coaches could not be at the camp, Sunday’s Nike Football Training Camp at Ohio State’s football complex looked more like a Buckeyes practice with all the talent strewn across two practice fields. Recruiting Nation had to make some tough decisions in picking out the top performances of the day, but these 10 prospects made the strongest case to make the list.

10. Martesse Patterson
Columbus (Ohio) Marion-Franklin | OT | 6-5, 280

Coming into the event, Patterson was a name that was not in the directory of a lot of those in recruiting circles. He changed that with his performance Sunday, which landed him the offensive line MVP honor. Line coach Todd Huber saw a raw Patterson on film -- it’s only Patterson’s second year playing football -- but was thoroughly impressed and believes he will be a very good guard in college.

“I was coming to show I’m just as good as some of the top guys in the country even though I’m new to football,” said Patterson, who has four Big Ten offers. “… I think I did good and that I can either be a guard or tackle.”


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Lessons Learned: Columbus NFTC 

June, 2, 2013
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The 2013 Nike Football Training Camp tour continued Sunday as several top players from the Midwest showcased their skills on Ohio State’s practice fields. The competitors didn’t disappoint, either, as some hard hits, great runs and incredible one-on-one drills showed just how strong this group was.

Here is what we learned:


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WolverineNation recruiting mailbag 

April, 22, 2013
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WolverineNation runs a recruiting mailbag feature every week and conducts a live chat in the weeks when the mailbag doesn't run.

Here's a look at this week's questions from the readers:

Q: Subscriber MiGoBlue29: How much would it help the rest of the recruiting year if Jabrill Peppers and Da'Shawn Hand were to commit to Michigan in the near future?


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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Linebacker Jake Ryan was supposed to be the brightest spot of the Wolverines defense next year. A season removed from being Michigan’s leading tackler, the expectations were high -- Michigan’s MVP? Big Ten defensive player of the year? All-American?

But those hopes were dashed when he tore his ACL just a few games into spring practice.

Now, the Wolverines have to look to rotate in other players with less experience or playmaking abilities, and by the sounds of it, two names have jumped to the forefront of the conversation -- Cam Gordon and Brennen Beyer.

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The Weekly Update: Recruiting notes 

March, 28, 2013
3/28/13
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The Weekly Update at WolverineNation is a sneak peek inside Michigan recruiting.


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With his ties to the Buckeye State, first-year Tennessee coach Butch Jones is making a concerted effort in Ohio. The Volunteers hosted a target from the state earlier this week.

Outside linebacker Kyle Berger (Cleveland/Saint Ignatius) made a two-day visit to Knoxville beginning Monday after Volunteers assistant coach Mark Elder offered the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Berger in January.


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The past two recruiting classes have yielded 52 commitments for the Michigan coaching staff. With 85 total scholarships allowed, that means that 61 percent of Michigan's team will consist of players from the 2012 and 2013 classes. It also means that there will be limited numbers going forward for the next few recruiting classes, including 2014.


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