- Chantel Jennings, ESPN Staff Writer
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan added another member to its 2014 class when offensive tackle Denzel Ward (Chicago/Hales Franciscan) committed on Saturday before the Wolverines' game against Michigan State.
The 6-foot-9, 295-pound tackle who's in his first season of organized football was offered by Michigan last weekend while on a visit to the Michigan-Illinois game and called the offer a "dream."
But according to Hales Franciscan coach Randall Townsel, the match couldn't be better.
"It's one of the nation's top schools, it's close to home,” Townsel said. "The type of football that they plan on playing there over the next five or six years will fit Denzel really well -- that pro style offense and having him being there run-blocking and pass-blocking."
Ward's only other offer was Purdue, but he'd seen interest from top programs throughout the SEC and Big Ten. But Townsel wasn't surprised by the fast turnaround between offer and commitment for Ward and the Wolverines.
"My entire staff played college football and we have a ton of experience, so we try to help everyone out with their process, taking a look at the pros and the cons," Townsel said. "But Michigan's pros outweighed everything."
Townsel said he believes the Wolverines will redshirt his player, especially because he's so new to the game and he's still getting accustomed to everything. But with his already impressive learning curve, Townsel believes the Wolverines were the right fit to develop Ward.
"When you're getting recruited by Big Ten schools, all of them have great programs and wonderful academics," Townsel said. "All of them have support, and so it becomes about what brand you want to be a part of, the one that’s the best fit for you, the one where you can see yourself playing. Looking at the tradition of Michigan and the opportunity to be a part of that and become a good football player, I think that’s what sold him on Michigan over the other possibilities."
The Wolverines' only other commit in the 2014 class is top linebacker and ESPN Watch List member Michael Ferns (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville).