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Trieu: Similar defense draws versatile Makari Paige to Michigan

By Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
West Bloomfield's Makari Paige is the fourth in-state recruit to commit to Michigan's 2020 recruiting class.

Michigan now has 24 commitments in its 2020 recruiting class as West Bloomfield safety Makari Paige announced his verbal to the Wolverines on Tuesday.

Paige is an important addition in many aspects. He is an in-state recruit who is ranked as a four-star prospect by recruiting sites. He comes from a program the Wolverines have ties with as head coach Ron Bellamy is a former Wolverine and they already hold a commitment from linebacker Cornell Wheeler. He is a player who brings versatility and size (6-3, 190 pounds) to the secondary. He was also considering Big Ten foes like Ohio State and Penn State, and this one appeared to be trending away from Michigan at various points in the recruitment.

However, Paige grew up a Michigan fan, and the Wolverines' staff showed him he was a priority down the stretch of his recruitment and how he fit into their defense. 

“We run the same defense basically at our school,” Paige said. “(My high school coach) basically copied their whole playbook, so it’s the same thing really. And (defensive coordinator Don Brown) is a smart man.”

Michigan had one safety commitment already in Jordan Morant, then added another in RJ Moten on Saturday. Moten and Paige were both on campus over the weekend for the BBQ at the Big House event and comfort with how they would all co-exist was important in Paige’s decision.

“The majority of the time was spent with (safeties coach) Chris Partridge, RJ Moten, and his family,” Bellamy said. “I think it was a very strategic move by the coaching staff to say, ‘Hey listen, this kid (Moten) just committed today. However, we would love for you guys to play together with Jordan Morant.’ You could tell that Makari was at ease with that. It was one of those things where it’s like, ‘All right… these guys really push the value of family and togetherness.’”

More: Shea Patterson 'in control' as leader of Michigan's revamped offense

Paige has been a key part of West Bloomfield’s success the last two seasons. As he has grown and developed, more has been asked of him and his versatility will also allow Michigan to find different ways to use him.

“He’s a really good athlete,” Bellamy said. “He’s a 6-foot-3, 190-pound safety that can run. And Makari is a kid that can come in the box. He’s a thumper, too. He’ll come in there and he’s not afraid to put his shoulder on you.

"We run a variation of Michigan’s defense. He has had a bunch of success playing the free safety position, the rover, (and) the viper. It would be an easy transition for him with the terminology being the same and him having a pre-existing relationship with the defensive coaches.”

In the classroom, Paige has over a 3.0 grade point average.

He is Michigan’s fourth 2020 commitment from inside the state joining Wheeler, Port Huron Northern defensive end Braiden McGregor and Belleville cornerback Andre Seldon.

New BBQ offer extended

Needham (Mass.) St. Sebastian tight end Louis Hansen, a class of 2021 recruit, was offered a scholarship by Michigan on Saturday when he attended the Wolverines’ BBQ.

Michigan has had great success in Massachusetts and the northeastern part of the country.

The 6-foot-4, 222-pound Hansen is ranked as the No. 9 tight end in the country by 247Sports and holds offers from Georgia, LSU, Boston College and Colorado, among others.

Young Texas back offered

Michigan has offered a scholarship to Fort Worth (Texas) Nolan Catholic class of 2022 running back Emeka Megwa.

Megwa (6-foot, 200 pounds) rushed for 576 yards and four touchdowns in nine games as a freshman last fall.

He already holds 24 scholarship offers including Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Ohio State, Penn State, Texas and Texas A&M.

More information

Makari Paige profile

Louis Hansen profile

Emeka Megwa 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.

The Detroit News preseason top 25 high school football players

1. Justin Rogers, 6-3, 290, Sr., OT/DT, Oak Park (Kentucky)

2. Braiden McGregor, 6-5, 250, Sr., DE, Port Huron Northern (Michigan)

3. Enzo Jennings, 6-1, 190, Sr., Athlete, Oak Park (Penn State)

4. Garrett Dellinger, 6-6, 265, Jr., OT/DT, Clarkston (10, Notre Dame, Alabama, UM, MSU)

5. Makari Paige, 6-3, 190, Sr., S, West Bloomfield (Michigan)

6. Rocco Spindler, 6-5, 255, Jr., OT/DT, Clarkston (13, Notre Dame, UM, Alabama, MSU)

7. Damon Payne, 6-3, 290, Jr., OT/DT, Belleville (22 offers)

8. Cameron Martinez, 5-11, 180, Sr., QB, Muskegon (Ohio State)

9. Rayshawn Williams, 6-1, 185, Sr., Detroit King (Indiana)

10. Maliq Carr, 6-4, 230, Sr., WR/TE, Oak Park (U-M, Georgia, Auburn, LSU, Purdue)

11. Andre Seldon, 5-9, 160, Sr., CB, Belleville (Michigan)

12. Peny Boone, 6-2, 225, Sr., RB, Detroit King (Maryland)

13. Grant Toutant, 6-6, 315, Sr., OT, Warren De La Salle (Ohio State)

14. Bryce Mostella, 6-6, 235, Sr., DE, East Kentwood (Penn State)

15. Cornell Wheeler, 6-1, 220, Sr., LB, West Bloomfield (Michigan)

16. Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen, 6-1, 180, Sr., WR, Walled Lake Western (Northwestern)

17. Deondre Buford, 6-5, 265, Sr., OT, Detroit King (30 offers)

18. Earnest Sanders, 6-2, 195, Sr., WR, Flint Beecher (Kentucky)

19. Ian Stewart, 6-3, 200, Sr., WR, Gibraltar Carlson (Michigan State)

20. Jordan Turner, 6-3, 220, Sr., LB, Farmington (Wisconsin)

21. Anthony Romphf, 6-0, 180, Sr., QB, Southfield A&T (Florida Atlantic)

22. Dallas Fincher, 6-4, 280, Sr., G/T, East Kentwood (Michigan State)

23. Devell Washington, 6-4, 215, Sr., WR, Bay City Central (West Virginia)

24. Josh Priebe, 6-5, 280, Sr., G/T, Edwardsburg (Northwestern)

25. Donovan Edwards, 5-11, 190, Jr., RB, West Bloomfield (30 offers)