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FOOTBALL RECRUITING: In-state D1 ranks beef up, as UofM & WMU each snare commitments

By: Scott Burnstein, January 21, 2013, 10:00 am

The state’s Division I college commitment list got a little bit fatter over the weekend, with three area recruits committing to in-state schools.

First, Macomb Lutheran North placekicker J.J. McGrath committed to the University of Michigan on Saturday. Then, Dearborn Heights Robichaud wide receiver Darius Phillips and Utica Eisenhower defensive tackle David Curle both committed to Western Michigan University on Sunday.

Phillips (5-foot-11, 170 pounds) is quick in the slot and a standout in the special teams department, returning kickoffs and punts.

He helped lead Robichaud to back-to-back appearances in the playoffs the past two seasons.

In the fall, Phillips and the Bulldogs went 9-2, losing to Grosse Ile in the district finals.

Curle (6-foot-4, 275 pounds) is a great snag for Western Michigan. A punishing interior run-stuffer, Curle was a two-time first-team all-state selection. Anchoring both sides of Ike’s line the last three years, he helped take the Eagles into the final four last season as a junior.

Western Michigan finished 4-8 in 2012. Phillips and Curle are the Broncos twelfth and thirteenth recruits to commit to their 2013 recruiting class, respectively. Just a week prior to their commitments, Western Michigan got a pledge from Battle Creek Harper Creek offensive lineman Josh Bass, a two-year all-state pick.

McGrath is coming on board to Michigan as a preferred walk-on, however, he has been assured of a future scholarship by the Wolverines’ coaching staff when one opens up, which should be at the conclusion of the 2013-2014 campaign.

Sturdily built, standing 6-foot-2 and weighing 225 pounds, McGrath has a powerful leg, having kicked three of the longest field goals in MHSAA history during his high school career at Lutheran North – 57, 54 and 52 yards respectively. Connecting on 25-of-26 extra points, he made 7-of-11 of his field goal attempts as a senior.

His prowess kicking the pigskin first came to the attention of Michigan head coach Brady Hoke and his staff back in July up in Ann Arbor at a Wolverines summer camp.

If you add McGrath into the mix, Michigan has secured 27 commitments for its current recruiting class, nine of which hail from in-state high schools.

Hoke and the Wolverines concluded the 2012 season 8-5, falling to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl, 33-28.