Barry Jackson

UM adds two more highly-regarded players to loaded 2018 class

Champagnat's Gregory Rousseau (5) picks up a blocked punt as Champagnat plays Jacksonville University Christian for the state football title at Camping World Stadium in Orlando on Fri., Dec. 9, 2016
Champagnat's Gregory Rousseau (5) picks up a blocked punt as Champagnat plays Jacksonville University Christian for the state football title at Camping World Stadium in Orlando on Fri., Dec. 9, 2016

UM’s 2018 recruiting class, already regarded as the best in the country, added two more gems over the weekend.

After four-star tight end Will Mallory committed on Friday, four-star Hialeah Champagnat athlete Gregory Rousseau committed after UM’s spring game on Saturday.

The 6-foot-6 Rousseau, rated the 233rd best player in the 2018 class by Rivals, has played five positions in high school, but UM will use him on defense.

“I actually loved that they specified an exact position for me,” Rousseau (pictured above) told Rivals. “It’s this viper spot. It’s, like, an outside linebacker-slash-end spot. They say that it’s an easy way to make the NFL. You just have to rush the quarterback 70 percent of the time and drop back the other times. It gives you the opportunity to make a lot of plays.”

UM’s recruiting momentum has galvanized players in this 2018 class.

“Everyone is going there with me,” Rousseau told Rivals. “I play [7-on-7] with Mark Pope. I play with Diamante Howard the 2019 commit. I play with Elijah Moore, and he might commit soon. I play with Gurvan Hall from Palm Beach Lakes. I saw it all happening.”

Here is ESPN’s evaluation of Rousseau:

“Strengths: Rare size and wingspan. Offensively can be a huge redzone and jump ball mismatch on the outside. Can high point and will use his frame and wingspan to create separation. Can take the ball away from opponents. Long strider, that lulls you to sleep on deep routes and defensively can cover ground with good range and shows he can utilize good angles. Big, reliable hands to make a play when around the ball. Can be solid, reliable wrap-up tackler...

“Areas of Improvement: Used in multiple roles in HS and needs to settle into one and develop. Needs to add significant mass to frame especially as defensive prospect. Offensively not a nuanced or experienced route runner and is a bit one-dimensional. Defensively doesnt display explosive first-step. Needs to improve functional strength and learn to better use hands and length. Needs to work on talking on and defeating blockers.

“Bottom line: This young man may likely grow into an H-back or Jumbo-WR on the inside on offense and defensively a player who with added mass can develop in a hybrid OLB/DE role. Has Power Five upside, but developmental prospect that needs to find his fit and grow into it technically and physically.”

As for Mallory, his commitment was even more impressive because both his parents attended Michigan, which was recruiting him.

He wasn’t the least bit intimidated by the fact that Brevin Jordan, rated the nation’s No. 3 tight end, previously committed to UM. Mallory is rated by Rivals as the No. 13 tight end in the 2018 class.

“I really like the coaching staff,” Mallory said. “The school is really good, good academics. Coach Richt, he's a top coach of all time. I really like him as a person and what they're doing right now."

Mallory, last season, had 46 catches for more than 900 yards with 12 touchdowns.

Here is ESPN’s evaluation of Mallory:

“Strengths: Possesses ideal height and a gigantic frame. Long strider with deceptive speed and very good acceleration in transition. Flashes a twitchiness. Has soft hands and attacks the football. Strong with the ball in his hands and runs through arm tackles. ...

“Areas of improvement: Must add bulk and functional strength. Not quite the acrobat in the air. Needs to polish up his technique as a blocker in the run game. Must gain significant bulk and strength. ...

“Bottom line: Mallory [at 6-5] is very tall with sneaky speed and athleticism. With continued physical development and refined technique, we feel he can develop into a H-back/TE at the next level. His best football is ahead of him, but he must grow into the position.”

UM now has 14 oral commitments in its 2018 class. All are non-binding.

Here’s my position-by-position look at where UM stands after spring ball.