Behind the commitment: Denzel Ward

Michigan landed one of the tallest prospects in the 2014 class on Saturday in offensive lineman Denzel Ward (Chicago/Hales Franciscan), who is listed at 6-foot-9, 295 pounds.

Ward joins Michael Ferns (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville) as the lone 2014 commits, but both are outstanding prospects. Michigan will likely take around four offensive linemen in the 2014 class, and outside of Ward are already in on some top prospects along the offensive line.

Offensive line will be another focus in 2014 for the Wolverines, so landing Ward this early is a huge boost to the efforts of adding more depth. There is a need for big tackle prospects, and Ward fits the bill there.

Since he is from the Chicago area Ward might be able to help Michigan’s efforts with another 2014 Chicago offensive lineman, Jamarco Jones (Chicago/De La Salle). Michigan has had smashing success in Illinois the past two classes, now landing four offensive linemen from the state between the 2013 and 2014 classes.

While he is relatively new to football, Ward has seen his stock rise in a short period of time, and has started to hear from some of the top programs across the country. After back-to-back visits to Michigan, he felt as though he had seen enough and made his commitment.

The enormous lineman sat down with his parents and coach and discussed whether this was the right time for him to make a commitment before this last visit. The family and coach decided that the positives at Michigan outweighed the other schools showing interest from a football aspect, academics, distance from home and the overall opportunities that Ward would be afforded as a Wolverine.

He is a big addition to Michigan's 2014 class, and gets the ball rolling on bringing in depth and building competition at the tackle spot for the Wolverines. Ward's commitment means there are now five tackle commitments from the 2012 to 2014 classes, which is an excellent start to continuing Michigan's long standing tradition of outstanding offensive linemen.

As big as Ward is he wouldn't be the tallest ever in Ann Arbor, though. Offensive lineman Bryant Nowicki (2007-2009) was listed at 6-foot-9, 325 pounds. The difference is that Ward is still only a junior in high school and will assuredly add more weight to his frame.