Class of 2014
Position: OLB, S
Legacy recruits are always an interesting story to follow. Will they follow in their parent’s footsteps and attend their alma mater? Or will they start their own legacy at a new school? The latter seemed to be the choice that Jared Wangler made as he was committed to Penn State. That is, up until Michigan came through with an offer, and at that point it was just too much to be able to pass up.
During his junior year he played mainly as a SAM backer and played up on the line, showing his capability to hold his ground and not get reached on the edge. His senior year brought a bit of change for Wangler, as he had to transition to the Safety position. At Michigan, I could see him playing either one of the outside linebacker spots. Speaks volumes about his potential and versatility in my opinion.
At 6’1, 218, Wangler doesn’t have bad size, but outside linebackers at the next level are typically bigger in both areas. While he can’t really do much about his height, putting in time in the weight room and following a college football weight program will help him put on the weight he needs to compete in the B1G.
Wangler is not going to blow anyone away with his athleticism, but he made huge improvements between his junior and senior year. In the film, he looked markedly quicker in his drops and closing speed to the ball carrier, and he also hit people a lot harder. He’s not the most athletic player in the 2014 class, but he makes up for it with his instinctive playmaking ability.
Again, Wangler isn’t going to blow anyone away with his athleticism and his speed is in the same category. According to Wangler, he runs a 4.6 40, which if true is pretty impressive, but at the same time high school 40 times can be quite different than they’re real times. On film, Wangler shows great closing speed to the ball carrier, but my only concern is I don’t know how many people he’ll be able to run down from behind.
This is what I was most impressed with while watching Wangler’s film. As I’ve said multiple times earlier, Wangler closes fast and hits hard. But what separates him from the pack is that he brings his arms with him when he hits. He is a technically sound tackler plain and simple, but he’ll let you know when he’s arrived too. I think it’ll be a pretty rare occurrence for players to bounce off of a Wangler hit.
Block Shedding: B-
Playing on the line part time in high school will definitely help Wangler learn how to get off of blocks at the next level. As of right now, he does a pretty good job of using his hands to fight off the block and on the film he did a great job of not giving up contain. Coming in, he needs to improve his strength in order to do that to D1 football players, but he has the technique so far to be able to be successful in that area.
Football IQ: A
When it comes down to it, Wangler is just an instinctive football player. He has a nose for the ball and knows where to be in order to make plays for his team. His athleticism may not be through the roof, but he more than makes up for it with his ability to find the football, either in the air or on the ground.
Pass Coverage: B-
Wangler is smart enough to know who to cover in zones, but man coverage could be a big issue. As an outside backer, he’ll need to cover tight ends or slot receivers, both of which could create big mismatches. Wangler doesn’t quite have the size to smother bigger tight ends or the quick feet and speed to stick with slot receivers. In zones, Wangler does a good job of reading the quarterback and sticking with his assignments. He makes great plays on the ball while it’s in the air and makes it very difficult for his receiver to catch the ball.
Pass Rushing: N/A
In his film, there wasn’t really enough evidence of him showing pass rush moves and getting off of pass protection for me to give a fair grade. A lot of times when he got sacks he came clean off of blitzes.
Right now, I believe that Wangler is an underrated prospect that can be a solid contributor for the Wolverines in a couple years. He has the potential to be a very dependable linebacker in Mattison’s defense, and as early as next year I think he can come in and start on special teams. Realistically, I think he’ll be a redshirt for the 2014 season so he can learn the system better and put on some weight before he officially begins his college career.