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Trieu: Michigan could bolster growing defensive line group with 4-star George Rooks

By Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News

Michigan’s 19-member recruiting class of 2021 received additions this week from out West in California-based wideout Cristian Dixon and defensive end Quintin Somerville from Arizona.

Somerville furthers a defensive line class that now has four members.

The attention now turns to only a few additional targets at that position, including defensive lineman George Rooks from Jersey City (New Jersey) St. Peters Prep. Rooks is a 6-foot-4, 260-pound prospect whose father George Sr. played at Syracuse and was Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 1991.

George Rooks remains on Michigan's radar despite already having landed verbal commitments from a number of defensive linemen.

As a result, his decision may come down to the Wolverines and the Orange.

“He hasn’t been able to get out and visit a lot of places,” 247Sports analyst Brian Dohn said, “so that impacted his ability to make an early decision. He’s always had a soft spot for Syracuse because of the family connections. He also really likes Michigan. They don’t have Anthony Campanile and Chris Partridge there anymore, but there is still a strong Michigan alumni presence in New York City, which is just over the water from his school, about a mile as the crow flies. That has always intrigued him because he is a high academic kid who would enjoy the challenges Michigan offers him in the classroom and on the field.”

Defensive line coach Shaun Nua is recruiting Rooks. Nua’s prowess on the trail was evident with the 2020 class’ defensive line group, and is showing up again in 2021 with the variety of players and locations Nua is able to reach. Having just landed Somerville from the Southwest, he has successfully recruited several East Coast defensive linemen, and Rooks is next.

“Coach Nua is a great guy and we talk every week, and we go over film together,” Rooks said in May. “It is just great knowing he cares that much and he tells me a bunch of things I am going to apply for this season. I look at film differently. He’s a great guy, great coach.”

With 19 commitments now, several on the defensive front, the Wolverines are able to concentrate on a smaller pool of remaining recruits in the class. Rooks is one they hope to add to a position of strength.

“The defensive line board is Rooks, (Oak Park's) Rayshaun Benny and then I think they will continue to recruit Dallas Turner, an edge guy,” said The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb.

At present, Rooks does not have a decision date set.

He is rated a four-star prospect by the 247Sports composite.

In-state prospect lists UM among top 4

East Lansing wide receiver Andrel Anthony has placed Michigan in a top four which also includes Michigan State, Notre Dame and Penn State.

The 6-foot-2, 160-pound Anthony earned an offer from Michigan last summer after camping with the Wolverines.

The 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions currently favor Michigan State.

Four-star OL offered

Class of 2022 offensive tackle Jacob Sexton from Edmond (Oklahoma) Deer Creek was offered by Michigan recently.

Sexton is a 6-foot-5, 285-pound three-sport star (track and field, wrestling) who now has 15 scholarship offers.

In-state Oklahoma is believed to have the best chance at him early, but Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas A&M and others also have offered.

More information

George Rooks profile

Andrel Anthony profile

Jacob Sexton profile

Allen Trieu covers Midwest football recruiting for 247Sports. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.