February 23, 2011

Texas linebacker earns a Michigan offer

Richland head coach Gene Wier considers linebacker Jeremiah Tshimanga a little bit of a late bloomer, which is scary good news for the school that lands the Rivals250 to Watch prospect. U-M is hoping its ties in Texas might give the Wolverines a fighting chance, extending an offer to the 6-3, 210-pounder …

"When [defensive coordinator] Greg Mattison was at Florida he recruited one of our linemen and I'm not surprised Michigan is looking to make a presence in Texas," Wier said.

"Jeremiah was pretty pleased to get that offer. Michigan has been down a little lately but they still have a very well-known program with great tradition and it's quite an honor for their coaches to come all the way down here, into a hostile state to recruit in, to offer a kid, and I think Jeremiah understands that."

U-M is the lone school from outside the region that has offered Tshimanga, adding to a list that includes Baylor, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech, however, he's interested in Oregon and Notre Dame and would not rule out leaving the area for the right opportunity.

Considered one of the top 50 prospects in the Dallas area according to HSGameTime.com's early 2012 ranking, Tshimanga is one of two Lone Star State linebackers the Wolverines have offered - Dallas' Peter Jinkens is the other - and one of four total Texans that have already earned a Michigan offer.

In 2010, he starred at outside linebacker for Richland High School but his future might be inside.

"What stands out on film is he's physical and runs through blockers to make plays," Wier said. "He's not somebody you look to run to his side. But he's versatile and I project him to be an inside guy because he can put on a lot of weight and anchor the middle of a defense. I'm not sure he won't grow later and play with his hand down too.

"He's a good recruit in that you could project him at a few difference places depending on your need."

Tshimanga is improving exponentially also. He only began playing football as a freshman, which is why Wier pegs him a late bloomer. His limited experience couldn't keep him off the Rivals250 to Watch for 2012 list, though.

"If you saw him, if you never knew he'd played football, if you just took one look at him you'd put him on that list because there aren't 250 kids in the country that look like he does," Wier said.

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