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Posted on Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Like his mentor LaMarr Woodley, Michigan football recruit Ondre Pipkins could play right away

By Kyle Meinke

Related story: Pipkins surpasses Kyle Kalis as Michigan's top football recruit, according to Rivals' latest ranking

The Michigan football team graduates three of its four starting defensive linemen, which means a lot could be put on the young shoulders of incoming freshman Ondre Pipkins.

Some already are penciling the defensive tackle into the lineup, with starters Mike Martin and Will Heininger departing. He's hearing the same thing.

Including from his future boss, Wolverines defensive coordinator Greg Mattison.

"Talked to Coach Mattison today, he said I could come in and start right away," Pipkins said in an interview last week. "He said I'm going to play right away. I’m hearing that a lot."



Michigan recruit Ondre Pipkins.

Courtesy U.S. Army All-American Bowl

When asked what he liked to do with his free time, Michigan recruit Ondre Pipkins (@PeeWee9456) first mentioned tweeting, and he's proven to be prolific on the social-media platform.

He recently answered fans' questions for nearly six hours, providing a snapshot of his personality off the field. Some highlights:

Planned arrival in Ann Arbor: June.

Planned major: Business administration.

Closest friends in 2012 class: James Ross, Royce Jenkins-Stone.

Favorite Michigan memory: LaMarr Woodley returning a fumble for a touchdown against Notre Dame in 2006.

Michigan number: 56 (in honor of Woodley).

Players he’s most excited to play with: Will Campbell and Kenny Demens.

Weirdest thing he heard from a recruiter: "I like big, angry black guys on my D-line."

Pregame playlist: Pop Evil’s “In The Big House,” Young Jeezy’s “The Real Is Back,” T.I.’s “Look What I Got,” Jadakiss’ We Gonna Make It,” LL Cool J’s “I’m Bad” and NWA’s “F*** The Police” and “Straight Outta Compton.”

Favorite NFL team: Pittsburgh Steelers.

The only returning starter on the defensive line is weak-side end Craig Roh. The top candidates to play tackle will be the inconsistent Will Campbell and inexperienced Quinton Washington. Coaches are high on both, but neither has yet proven he can be a full-time starter.

Coaches can't comment on recruits until they sign letters of intent, but it's clear Pipkins will challenge Campbell and Washington for snaps. At 6-foot-3 and 320 pounds, he's considered one of the most college-ready recruits in Michigan's 2012 recruiting class, and he plays a position that has been decimated by turnover.

Related: Get to know the members of the Michigan football team's 2012 recruiting class

It seems Pipkins will get a crack at matching his mentor, former Michigan great LaMarr Woodley, who played each game his freshman season and started two. He was named to the Big Ten's all-freshman team and went on to become one of the school's all-time best defensive lineman.

Pipkins preps in Kansas City, but, like Woodley, originally hails from Saginaw. His father, Al Pipkins, coached Woodley and former Michigan linebacker Roy Manning at Saginaw High.

"They’re like family to me," Pipkins said.

Woodley, whom Pipkins first met when he was 3, went on become an All-American at Michigan and is an all-pro defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pipkins hopes to have a similar career arc, but adds, with characteristic bravado, that he also won't settle for simply being as good as the second-leading tackler in team history.

"My goal is to be better," Pipkins said. "That’s what I’m aiming for."

Pipkins remains close to Woodley and Manning, who was an offensive graduate assistant coach for the Wolverines this season. They offered him guidance during the recruiting process.

"I can call (Woodley) and ask him questions on anything," Pipkins said. "He’s just an awesome guy, and I’m glad to have him in my circle.

"Same thing with Roy Manning. I can call him any hours of the night. If I have a problem, I can call him and we just talk for hours. He’s there for me."

It's no surprise, then, that Pipkins grew up a Michigan fan. Factor in his connections to the school and state (his father still lives in Saginaw), and it's little wonder the Wolverines were able to snag the burgeoning recruit, despite an impressive offer sheet that included schools such as Alabama, Florida, Ohio State and Oklahoma.

It's a good break for Michigan, as Pipkins is one of the fastest-rising prospects in the country. Ranked by Scout as the No. 188 overall recruit in April, Pipkins shot up to No. 65 in the latest player rankings released last week.

He was one of six players to earn a fifth star in Rivals' final player rankings, which were released Monday.

Pipkins is pegged as the No. 7 defensive tackle in the country, and was named a captain of the West team for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl earlier this month.


Pipkins showed off his personality in this video with's Sam Webb at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

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



Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 8:17 p.m.

Good GOD....6-3 320..... Wait until Big blue starts training him....mercy me


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 4:44 a.m.

Ondre If LaMarr Woodley is your mentor, you have nothing to worry. Just keep listening to LaMarr he is the best....You will do just great, no you will be outstanding.. Mark my word. Go Blue..


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 9:09 p.m.

Mean, as soon as you wrote lead footed, I knew you were referring to JN. No need to drag his whole name through the mud, as he was and is great Michigan man. Just painfully slow. Of course he did beat Ohio his senior year!

Chad Williams

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 6:39 p.m.

He is still a freshman the stars don't matter any. He will be going up against D 1 level players. Added that he won't enroll til fall you wont really get to judge him til year two. The one thing that helped the defense last year was the jake ryans and the frank clarks redshirted so they had a full year devlopment and learning on a higher level. Its obvious mich is not all the way back if a freshman is depended on and not expected to make an impact. Give him a full year too bad he won't redshirt but the lack of death wont allow that. Again not saying he isnt going to be good but year 1 will be wasted if he doesnt provide an impact.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 6:18 p.m.

rivals .com has just given OP his 5TH star. . .move over MM your replacement has just arrived!! GO BLUE!!!!!

Terry Star21

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 6:01 p.m.

Great video - could see him becoming a team spokesperson one day. I am confident with our new recruits and our great coaching staff all the holes will be filled this fall. You just know this could be a great defense and who would be surprise if this coming defense is even a notch better that last year...........yep, because this is Michigan ! MgoBlueForTim........Pip is prepped, trimmed, buffed and ready to play.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 2:51 p.m.

This is MEECHEGAN FERGEDSAKE! Welcome aboard Ondre. Great Athlete, Great Character. Looking forward to seeing you on the field for the next three years - suspect you'll be heading to the NFL after your junior year.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 2:43 p.m.

Looking at his film he's unusually large but also slow. I don't see that first quick step great lineman have. Maybe he's big enough to clog a hole but I can't imagine any pass rush. But he's super confident and sells himself well. That's a big part of the recruiting game and culture these days.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 7:01 p.m.

Matt, He chased Pike out of bounds, but he didn't run down Diggs. I don't know what game you were watching. He is better than any tackle UM has right now.

Terry Star21

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 6:05 p.m.

Agree with everyone - and you can bet Mattison and staff will be working on his speed from the get-go. Michigan Football = no stone will be left unturned !


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 3:25 p.m.

No I didn't see the army all american game. I hope you are right and he is fast and starts next year. Then I'll take Gee Wiz's advise and line up against him. grrrrrrrrrrr

Matt Patercsak

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 3:09 p.m.

he's incredibly fast, and explosive. the army all american game sets limits on pass rushing and used him a lot in stunts. did you see him run down Pike and Diggs on the sideline?


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

I have no problem with him saying his goal is to be the best. If that means he has to work on that first quick step, I'm sure Mattison will let him know.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

Why don't you line up across from him to see how quick his first step is!


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

What a funny funny video. I keep watching and laughing and laughing. What an outstanding recruit and individual. Go Blue !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 12:15 p.m.

Nice imitation of COACH Hoke!! Question 4-Day 4- Which lead-footed former MEEEEEEANchigan quarterback holds the record for most passes batted-down in MEEEEEANchigan football history?


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 1:20 a.m.

Hint converted tight end. My 9 year old daughter could have batted down his passes and she's small for her age.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

I know the answer, Mean, but I'm not sayin'. Hopefully mission or EMG will provide it for you, 'cause it's their favorite QB of all time. With no spread, thy team is dead.

Robert Granville

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 11:06 a.m.

Pipkins will move up to the #1 or #2 DT in the nation as soon as Rivals updates their national rankings in the next few days. I can't wait to see him in a winged helmet. He's crazy fast for a 300-pound guy and he dominated top linemen at the Army game. I'm sure he'll do his best to pick up where Mike Martin left off. Go Blue!