NCF On The Trail: Michael Ferns

Early enrollees set to hit Ann Arbor 

January, 5, 2014
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Michigan has seven early enrollees set to hit campus from its 2014 class.

Drake Harris (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian), Wilton Speight (Richmond, Va./Collegiate School), Michael Ferns (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville), Mason Cole (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake), Bryan Mone (Salt Lake City/Highland), Freddy Canteen (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy) and teammate Brandon Watson are all headed up to Ann Arbor to begin their new journey.

Speight, Harris, Ferns and Canteen answered a few questions on enrolling early and what is next for them.

Q: What are you most nervous about?

Wilton Speight: "A lot of people say school, but I went to such a tough high school that I’m not too worried about that. More of the winter workouts and the conditioning is absurd."

Midyear signings: Michigan

December, 21, 2013
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According to ESPN's Tom VanHaaren, the following players have signed financial aid agreements with Michigan:

Bryan Mone DT Salt Lake City/Highland
HT: 6-4 WT: 315
Positional Rank: No. 5 DT
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (No. 75)
Under Armour All-American

Drake Harris WR Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian
HT: 6-3 WT: 172
Positional Rank: No. 10 WR
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (No. 85)
Under Armour All-American

Michael Ferns ILB St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville
HT: 6-3 WT: 228
Positional Rank: No. 7 ILB
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (No. 125)
Under Armour All-American

Wilton Speight QB-PP Richmond, Va./Collegiate
HT: 6-6 WT: 230
Positional Rank: No. 6 QB-PP
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (No. 133)
Under Armour All-American

Mason Cole OT Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake
HT: 6-5 WT: 266
Positional Rank: No. 15 OT
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (No. 153)

Brandon Watson CB Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian
HT: 5-11 WT: 179
Positional Rank: No. 51 CB
Stars: 3

Freddy Canteen WR Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian
HT: 6-0 WT: 170
Positional Rank: No. 159 WR
Stars: 3

Michigan hosts big visitor weekend 

December, 16, 2013
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Michigan held a big visitor weekend just before the end of the contact period. Hosting most of the 2014 commitments, there were some big questions coming into the weekend.

The biggest came with defensive back commit Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic) who caused an uproar when he tweeted that he would take official visits to other schools after his season.

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Under Armour game storylines: Big Ten 

December, 5, 2013
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The Under Armour All-America game is fast approaching and plenty of participants still have questions surrounding their recruitment.

The Big Ten has quite a few of those recruits in the game, so here is a look at five of the bigger storylines heading into the prestigious game.

Will Jabrill Peppers take visits?


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Recruits feel Michigan-Ohio State rivalry 

November, 27, 2013
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There is no bigger rivalry in the Big Ten than Michigan and Ohio State, two programs with a storied past. Tension and hatred between the schools can be seen and felt on the field, but those bitter feelings also carry over to the recruiting trail.

Both teams recruit similar prospects, so it’s only natural that recruiting battles between the rivals exist. The prospects get to experience what the rivalry is really like off the field during their process.


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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.

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Summer recruit wrap: Michigan 

July, 23, 2013
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The summer camp season proved to be exciting, as it always is. Here are 10 things we learned through this summer.

1. Camp will always be a proving ground

The 2014 class will only have about 18 members, so when Michigan headed into this summer’s camp with 10 commitments, it was unsure how many camp offers would really exist (especially considering how many highly-ranked guys had, and still have, interest in Michigan). But for guys like Brandon Watson (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy) and Freddy Canteen (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy), camp was all they needed. Their performances there were enough to garner offers. Sooner rather than later, those two turned those offers into commitments. And it wasn’t just true in the 2014 class. Offensive lineman Jon Runyan Jr. (Philadelphia/St. Joseph’s Prep) became the Wolverines' third commitment in the 2015 class after he proved himself at camp and picked up and offer.

2. The barbecue in the Big House is still … big


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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan had several areas of need in the 2014 class, chief among them being quarterback and linebacker, largely due to injuries both position groups have suffered. Here’s a look at the top five areas of need and what Michigan has done to address them so far.


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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Even though late June and early July are often slow times for recruiting, the No. 1 recruiting class continues to add members. Michigan picked up three 2014 commits in the span of a few days and two 2015 commits last weekend.

Linebacker Noah Furbush (Kenton, Ohio/Kenton) gave his pledge to Michigan on Monday morning, his coach Mike Mauk confirmed to ESPN.com via phone.

“We’re excited for him,” Mauk said. “They were the first school to offer him. He’ll be an hour and a half away from home with Coach [Brady] Hoke and his staff and their great tradition. He’s excited about his commitment.”

Furbush chose the Wolverines over offers from Michigan State, Purdue, Tennessee, Kentucky and Nebraska, among others.

“Throughout my recruitment I just wanted to get around as see as many places as I could,” Furbush said. “I knew I wanted to commit before my [senior] season started. Michigan was one of the first to offer me and so right from the get-go it had me thinking a lot about Michigan and they were under high consideration.”

He liked how Michigan was close enough to his hometown but not too close. And he’ll have a bit of family close by as his older brother attends physical therapy school at the University of Michigan-Flint.

The 2014 prospect made up his mind this past weekend after having conversations with his parents and coaches, but it was his second visit to Ann Arbor in early June that really separated the Wolverines.

“My family believes in something called due diligence. We wanted to further evaluate Michigan and have them evaluate us,” Furbush said. “I think it was a good opportunity to engage with the coaches and form relationships with them.”

He’s the Wolverines’ 14th overall commitment and their third linebacker commit, joining Michael Ferns (Saint Clairsville, Ohio/Saint Clairsville) and Chase Winovich (Jefferson Hills, Pa./Thomas Jefferson). Michigan coaches have told the 6-foot-4, 235 pound-prospect that they’d like to use him as an inside linebacker, even though he plays outside linebacker for his high school.

“He runs like a defensive back,” Mauk said. “He moves and changes direction very well. He’s physical and very aggressive. He has a great nose for the football and a great burst, and he makes plays. I think his best years of football are still ahead of him.”

The rising senior hopes to study engineering at Michigan and holds at 4.0 GPA at Kenton High School in northwest Ohio. Mauk said he believes the Wolverines are picking up quite the commit with his four-star linebacker.

“He’s a tremendous leader and a great person,” Mauk said. “It’s just a great fit.”
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- On Monday, the ESPN 300 was released, as was an updated ESPN 150. The majority of Michigan’s class was largely unaffected, only experiencing minor moves throughout, though most of Michigan’s commits’ moves were down rather than up.

However, the Wolverines continue to have nine of their 11 commits in the ESPN 150, and many of their top targets remained in the top 100.


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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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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 1 recruiting class in the country just keeps getting bigger and better. On Sunday Michigan picked up its 11th commitment for the already impressive class.

Three-star outside linebacker Chase Winovich (Jefferson Hills, Pa./Jefferson Hills) chose the Wolverines over Ohio State and Pitt, which he confirmed to ESPN.com via text.


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Tales From the Road: Michigan 

May, 22, 2013
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Every Wednesday, WolverineNation will take a look at Michigan's week in recruiting in Tales From The Road.


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Tales From The Road: Michigan 

May, 15, 2013
5/15/13
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Every Wednesday, WolverineNation will take a look at Michigan's week in recruiting in Tales From The Road.


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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Several fans were hoping that this might be the visit that pushed Watch List offensive lineman Mason Cole (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) over the top, bringing a fourth 2014 commitment to Michigan.

But fans can rest easy. No, he didn’t commit, but he left Michigan very impressed. And following his visit he said that his pending commitment to any of his top schools could come at any time now. The 6-foot-5, 266-pound lineman has a top four of Michigan, Notre Dame, Clemson and Florida State, in no particular order.


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