Finally! Michigan has some good news on the recruiting front. After what had seemed like the longest "dry" stretch for recruiting in recent Wolverines' history, they finally have a new commitment. Although he is new to the scene and was only offered a scholarship recently, he should be a solid addition to this year's class. Willie Henry, a defensive tackle from Cleveland, is rated as a 3* recruit and has been praised by many in the recruiting world.
Last week, I talked about how I believed Caleb Stacey's de-commitment made Jordan Diamond the most important recruit for the 2012 recruiting class. Although I still believe that, it does nothing to decrease the significance of Henry's decision. Obviously, Ondre Pipkins is the recruit on the defensive line that will get the most attention, but bringing in a player like Henry is crucial for building a strong program.
Why is Henry a great addition? Right now, there are several places on the team that lack significant depth. The biggest areas are offensive and defensive line. Although there are some great players and some solid incoming recruits for these areas, they still don't have great depth. The cause of these problems is debatable, but they do exist and recruits like Henry will help to fill that void and ensure success for Michigan in the long term.
Another important factor is that Greg Mattison and Brady Hoke both seem awfully high on what is a standard 3* defensive lineman. Nothing against Henry or any other 3*, but he didn't receive a lot of attention until late in the recruiting process. One can debate the reason for this, but, to me, it shows that Hoke and Mattison really believe this kid can play and after what they've done with last year's defense, I have pretty high confidence that they can turn almost any defensive recruit into a great player (not saying Henry isn't good).
Henry is rated as 6'2" and weighing 270 lbs. He will probably have to bulk up a little more if he really wants to compete against the big offensive lines, but there's no reason to believe he won't. This is even supported by Scout's online rankings of Henry, which cite his only area for improvement as "size." Frankly, if a player is an incoming freshman and their only problem is size, a fan or coach can't complain. Along with this, he will probably red-shirt during his freshman year, which means he'll be a lot bigger when he actually sees the field in 2013.
There's certainly going to be a lot of drama and action over the next few days, but I'm very excited at what Henry brings to this class. Sure, I would have loved to get guys like Joshua Garnett or Armani Reeves, but that doesn't take anything away from what Henry will bring to the field. This class is sure to finish great and among the elite in the nation.
Photo Credit: Bill