Trieu: Harbaugh’s NFL experience appeals to Alabama DT Farrell

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
Neil Farrell

Going down to Alabama and signing one of the South’s top defensive tackles away from schools like Clemson and LSU may seem like a daunting task for Michigan, but given the Wolverines’ success in that state recently, there should be optimism about their chances with Mobile Murphy’s Neil Farrell.

The 6-foot-4, 295-pound junior told Scout’s Chad Simmons that Michigan, Clemson and LSU are the three in the lead. He has visited the two southern schools, but has not been to Ann Arbor yet. The Wolverines are a school that has made his top list, however, because of Jim Harbaugh’s resume and what he knows of Michigan Stadium.

“The NFL, that’s the next spot, and I know he has that experience and he can put me in that place,” Farrell said. “I know they’re a good team and they have one of the best crowds in the nation.”

Since he is looking to enroll in January, Farrell will have to make a commitment by that time. The only place he currently knows he will take an official visit to is Michigan, which will allow the Wolverine staff to get him on campus and let him see the school and facilities in an effort to see if they can land yet another front-seven presence for defensive coordinator Don Brown.

“Farrell is a powerful trench presence,” Simmons says. “Whether lined up inside or outside along a defensive line, he can beat blockers with power or quickness, but needs polish in his pass-rushing to take his game to the next level. He redirects well and shows good discipline against the run and he can finish plays with violence once reaching the ball carrier.”

When he does decide, Farrell says playing time and academics will be two of the primary factors. He plans to major in college sports administration.

Four-star safety looking at Michigan

The Wolverines already have one Canadian defensive back, Benjamin St. Juste, committed in their 2017 class and they would like to add another in four-star safety Jonathan Sutherland. Sutherland is now at Alexandria (Va.) Episcopal, but is originally from Canada, and the Wolverines have had a relationship with him since before he came stateside, but only recently offered him.

“They offered not too long ago,” he said, “so I got to talk to them and see where I would fit in their defensive scheme, and that’s strong safety, and that’s the position I want to play.”

The Wolverines are battling Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin and North Carolina, where friend and teammate Patrice Rene signed in the 2016 class, along with several others.

Sutherland visited campus two years back, but says he will make a return trip in the near future.

Wolverines offer familiar name in Michigan

Detroit Country Day linebacker Kolin Demens, the younger brother of former Wolverine linebacker Kenny Demens, was offered by Michigan on Tuesday.

Demens (6-3, 205 pounds) is only a sophomore, but now has offers from the Wolverines and Nebraska.

He reported that the Michigan staff stopped into Detroit Country Day last Friday, the first day of the spring evaluation period.

He plans to visit Michigan in June or July.

More information

Neil Farrell profile

Jonathan Sutherland profile 

Kolin Demens profile

Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. 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.