Michigan Scores Commitment From 2021 LB Branden Jennings

Eric Rutter

While Jim Harbaugh has picked up his fair of big wins on the recruiting trail at Michigan, earning a commitment from Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood linebacker Branden Jennings is one of his higher ranking accomplishments.

Earlier in the process, Jennings had issued his pledge to Florida State, but the four-star prospect reopened his recruitment earlier in the week and quickly released a top group of Michigan, Miami and Clemson. Jennings also stressed that taking his visits was key, so it's important to note that he has made it to Ann Arbor in the past, so the No. 4 inside linebacker in the country's decision to pick U-M is not completely out of left field.

In fact, Michigan had stayed involved with Jennings even after he picked the Seminoles, so this addition to the Wolverines' 2021 staff can be chalked up to persistence, and it certainly is an addition that helps round out U-M's 2021 class.

With Jennings in the fold, Michigan now has four linebacker commits in Tyler McLaurin, Jaydon Hood and Junior Colson. Each of these players offers something a bit different as Colson is more of a pass rusher, Hood a run stuffer and McLaurin is a blend of the two who has developed into a tackling machine.

Check out this analysis from SI All-American's John Garcia Jr. to see what the latest Michigan commit brings to the table: 

With his old-school skill set, Jennings is a bit of a retro-player on tape. He’s big and rugged, relishes contact and can be uber-physical. The Florida State commit has a solid downhill trigger to quickly insert himself in alleys and play big at the point. Jennings, who’s at his best in the short-box, has ability to stack blocks head-on, shed and wrap runners. He can get build up speed to flow laterally when hunting in long pursuit and tracking runners to the edges. While there may be sub-packages Jennings isn’t featured on in Tallahassee, we still like his traits as a plugger in the run game for new Seminoles defensive coordinator Adam Fuller.

According to 247Sports.com, Michigan deployed linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary and cornerbacks coach Mike Zordich to recruit the high ceiling prospect. These assistant coaches worked to sell the Michigan program and were rewarded in their efforts with a commitment earlier today. 

Here is an additional breakdown of Jennings' game from the SI All-American team once again after evaluating Jennings in person multiple times: 

Frame: Intimidating presence in middle of field. Tall with broad shoulders, relatively wide waist and long, well-defined arms. Thick, sturdy legs and trunk. Additional muscle will come easy.

Athleticism: Exceptional play strength. Long-strider with impressive burst that often results in violent hits. Explodes through ball-carriers. Shows more agility than outright quickness. Somewhat heavy-footed while sprinting in open field.

Instincts: Relishes big hits. Unafraid to meet pulling linemen in the hole, often winning at point of attack. Chops feet while passing through traffic en route to ball, keeping head up. No hesitation pressing line of scrimmage after diagnosing run.

Polish: Consistently assignment sound. Patient on second level when necessary; rarely over-runs play. Frequently puts receiver on ground within first five yards when tasked with one-on-one coverage. Comfortable backpedaling.

Bottom Line: The son of former Seminoles linebacker Bradley Jennings, Branden boasts the physical tools and football IQ that helped his father earn All-Conference honors in 2002. Expect Jennings to see the field early for FSU, ultimately settling in as an impact starter at middle linebacker.

With Jennings in the class, Michigan moves ever closer to finishing with a top five recruiting class in the country now that the Wolverines have 21 players in the fold.

What do you think of Michigan pursuing another linebacker prospect? Do you think Michigan should keep recruiting players after they commit to other schools? Let us know!

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