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Posted on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 12:03 p.m.

Experts project who will become top 5 players in Michigan football team's recruiting class

By Kyle Meinke

Five-star prospects grab the headlines in recruiting season, but, sometimes, they don't pan out.

Other times, they're just outplayed by a late bloomer.

It is difficult to project which players will pan out and which won't, but that won't stop us from trying. enlisted two of the better analysts in the state to project which of Michigan's 24 verbal commits eventually will become the biggest stars.

Their picks:

Allen Trieu, Scout
Joe Bolden, linebacker, Ohio: He has speed, toughness and a nose for the football, all things that could make him one of the team's top defenders.


Ondre Pipkins

Courtesy U.S. Army All-American Bowl

Ondre Pipkins, defensive tackle, Missouri: He's likely to play early and often, and there just aren't many 320-pound guys with his kind of ability to disrupt and change the game.

Kyle Kalis, offensive guard/tackle, Ohio: He's college ready and has done well against some of the best in the country. A future starter at guard or right tackle.

Ben Braden, offensive tackle, Michigan: 6-foot-6, 319 pounds speaks for itself, but he moves like a smaller guy. He's naturally strong and simply has a ton of upside. He's only played the position for two years.

James Ross, linebacker, Michigan: The guy makes plays. For his entire high school career, he found his way to the ball carrier, and there's no reason to think that won't continue in college.

Tim Sullivan, Rivals
Ondre Pipkins, defensive tackle, Missouri: Pipkins is a big body at 6-3, 320 pounds, but he still has the quickness and motor to tear into opposing backfields. He'll have to work to stay in shape at the next level, but can be a dominant defensive tackle down the road.


Kyle Kalis

Jehu Chesson, receiver, Missouri: Chesson isn't a highly rated guy, but he has the potential to excel down the road with size (6-3, 185) and speed (37.44 seconds in the 300-meter hurdles as a high school junior). All Chesson needs to do is learn the nuances of wide receiver to cash in on those skills.

Chris Wormley, defensive end/tackle, Ohio: Wormley is enormous, standing nearly 6-7 and 270 pounds as a high school senior. He can dominate lesser competition based on just his physical skills, and once he hones his technique, could do the same to college offensive linemen.

Joe Bolden, linebacker, Ohio: Bolden is one of the most college-ready players in the class. He's 6-3, 225 pounds, and his early enrollment for the winter semester will allow him to get on the field early in his career.

Kyle Kalis, offensive tackle/guard, Ohio: The son of a former NFL lineman, it's no surprise to see that Kalis has excellent technique as a high school player. His quick feet and overall strength give him the potential to play any position along the offensive line.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.


Squeek Eron

Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 12:16 p.m.

Thank goodness for Ohio, eh, Michigan?


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 12:26 p.m.

all this remains to be seen once the season starts.

Terry Star21

Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 5:42 a.m.

Nice to get on here and read all Michigan comments, great writing - good job folks. Looking forward to the live feed tomorrow @ 2:00 pm with coach Hoke....and hopefully another surprise Friday (a Diamond in disguise turns to gold @ Michigan) ! MgoBlueForTiM.......great to be a Wolverine, all day long.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 3:46 a.m.

Magnuson is a name no one has mentioned. From the sounds of things, he is going to be one of those guys who LOVES being at UM, will hit the weights and be a total team player, and has skills to spare. I look for him to be a leader, based on the recruiting stuff.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 1:28 a.m.

Rumor &quot;on the street&quot; is that UM might be picking up a surprise signing tomorrow. Ja'Quay Williams, 4* WR from Ga who is committed to Auburn. But, other reports are that he is waivering between Auburn and Ga, so not sure how UM came up, but from what I read...we'll take him. :) <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;p=8&amp;c=1&amp;nid=4184901</a>

Terry Star21

Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 5:43 a.m.

Heard this earlier Joe, wasn't sure on factual - thanks for the site listing.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 12:10 a.m.

i am not sure if this is the truth or not. but picked it up on a web site. knowing meyer i would not be surprised if it was not true. Meyer is reportedly telling some current players their services will no longer be needed at OSU. They were 3 over their limit a week ago.&quot; somebody posted on ESPN, if there's any truth to this, what a snake


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 10:58 p.m.

Go Blue! Lets do this tomorrow! All these guys will be pro prospects in a couple of years, because they will be coached by the best and will embrace and love Michigan tradition.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 10:55 p.m.

Pipkins is the most likely to see the field from the beginning. I also wouldn't be surprised if one of the freshman receivers gets early playing time. It will be interesting to see which of the two LB's (Ross or Bolden) sees the field first. Bolden may have the advantage as he's already enrolled in classes and will be part of spring football. I look for Kalis to start out the season at 2nd string, but may likely become a starter if there is an injury to one of the first stringers. Wormley has enormous potential. When he starts getting coaching by Mattison, Hoke, and Montgomery, watch out!


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 10:52 p.m.

#1. Ondre Pipkens #2. Kyle Kalis #3. Joe Bolden #4. Matthew Godin (The BEAST has come at last) #5. Sione Houma (A true sleeper candidate) - If he breaks loose, it sure will be fun watching! #6. Prediction - The last commitment we get will be the best of the group.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 7:57 p.m.

I saw Drake Johnson play against DeLaSalle and Shane Morris. I really went to checkout Morris because of all the hype surrounding him. I came away thinking, I don't know much about Pioneer but that running back sure hits the hole fast. Had no idea who he was or what would become of him. Wow! I'm really glad Michigan landed him because he has some serious speed. I read that he slipped through the cracks because he didn't attend all these camps. Good thing for us!! GO BLUE!!!


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:36 p.m.

A sleeper to add to this list is Drake Johnson! 4.35 speed at 205 lbs. is a great foundation. If you look at his statistics they are spectacular from his senior year. Over 2800 yds and 38 tds in one season! His 60 time at MITS was 8.02 ranking 6th in the nation. The guy is a SEC type track star with a big frame! Look for him to take over once Fitz is gone at RB and Return man. How this guy fell through the cracks and was only heavily recruited by Eastern Michigan until Mich. came in is just silly! Go Blue!!!


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

Don't overlook Rawls. I hope to see him have at least one big season as a fast, punishing starter. If Johnson is redshirted this year, that would give him two years of post-Rawls eligibility.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 10:52 p.m.

There's a very good chance Johnson is our kick returner of the future. With that straight ahead speed, size, and experience running the ball, I'm very hopeful he's the guy we've been looking for.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:57 p.m.

Yah! I'm looking forward to seeing him play.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:41 p.m.

sorry 60 hurdles.