|Jared Wangler (image via 247 Sports)|
Wangler is a 6'1", 215 lb. linebacker. As a junior in 2012, he had 76 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and 1 interception, which was returned for a touchdown. He also claims a 4.56 forty and a 34.5" vertical leap. He has accepted an invitation to play in the Under Armour All-America Game.
ESPN: 3-star, 77 grade, #63 OLB
Rivals: 2-star OLB
Scout: 3-star, #53 OLB
247 Sports: 3-star, 88 grade, #69 S, #846 overall
Wangler, the son of former Michigan quarterback John, was not offered by Michigan until last week. That offer came on the heels of a couple guys committing to other schools (Jimmie Swain IV to TCU, Richard Yeargin III to Notre Dame), and the coaches obviously wanted a fourth linebacker. He had to think about it for a few days, particularly because he was committed to the Nittany Lions; I imagine that time had more to do with respecting PSU's coaching staff than actually making the decision, which seemed to be a foregone conclusion once the offer came in. Along with being the son of John, he's the brother of freshman preferred walk-on wide receiver Jack and the former teammate of freshman quarterback Shane Morris.
I've said this before, but Jared seems to be a SAM linebacker in a WILL linebacker's body. He has said that the coaches have told him he could play either one, which is a little odd, since they're two very different positions. He seems to diagnose plays pretty quickly, and I would trust him to hold the edge. He does a good job of always moving his feet, so he's able to maintain outside leverage, avoid getting reached, and keep his feet running after contact. He also has some experience playing as a safety, and it's evident that he takes to coaching and fundamentals well; you can see it in his stance, backpedal, and gap responsibilities. He has decent speed for a linebacker.
One "weakness" in regard to the SAM linebacker position is that he is not particularly tall or long, and he does not have a huge frame to bulk up; I think his optimal weight might be around 230 lbs. or so before he gets too heavy for his frame. For reference's sake, Michigan's current starting SAM is 6'3", 240 lb. Jake Ryan. For him to fit at SAM, I think he would have to play in a 4-3 Over defense, where he could cover the tight end and play in the C gap. As for the WILL position, I think Wangler has the mental aptitude but not the speed; he diagnoses the plays quickly, but I think he'll be too slow to slice into the backfield or beat Big Ten running backs to the hole. He also has a tendency to shed blockers with his shoulder rather than using his hands, which will get him into trouble with bigger players.
Overall, I'm not sure where Wangler fits best. He plays like a SAM with the frame of a WILL. I think he could be a quality special teams player, and he is a good, fundamental football player, so I think he can play a role on the team. I'm not sure that he has the physical makeup to be a star at any point, however.
This is Michigan's fourth linebacker commit in the 2014 class and the sixteenth overall (including grayshirt defensive tackle Brady Pallante). Gardena (CA) Junipero Serra linebacker Dwight Williams seems not to be an option, since even these four linebackers seem to be a lot for this class. Williams has been pretty intent on taking an official to Michigan and is a better prospect than any of Michigan's linebacker commits, in my opinion, so it will be interesting to see how the staff handles him.
TTB Rating: 59 (ratings explanation)