Michigan football receives commitment from 4-star Illinois linebacker

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Michigan football added to its 2022 recruiting class Tuesday with a verbal commitment from four-star inside linebacker Jimmy Rolder.

He announced the decision on social media.

A native of Chicago, Rolder plays at Marist High School on the city's south side. He is rated the No. 364 overall prospect and the 39th-best linebacker in the 247Sports composite rankings.

Rolder, who is listed at 6-2 and 220 pounds, chose the Wolverines over Florida, Cincinnati, Iowa, LSU, Ohio State and Wisconsin, among others. He went largely under-recruited as a junior due to the pandemic and received all 11 of his scholarship offers in the last two months. Michigan extended its offer Oct. 13.

He recorded 102 tackles, four sacks and three interceptions in 12 games for Marist this season, according to MaxPreps.

Michigan Wolverines players take the field for the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Michigan Stadium, Nov. 6, 2021.
Michigan Wolverines players take the field for the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Michigan Stadium, Nov. 6, 2021.

“We weren’t on Jimmy last year,” U-M linebackers coach George Helow said in a news conference Wednesday. “And we saw the senior tape and how he was running around, flying around making plays and, you know, it was awesome. You’ve always got to have your eyes open. You’re constantly evaluating and looking, taking the best player.”

The comment by Helow came in response to a general question about whether the Michigan coaching staff is dedicating more time to evaluating seniors whose junior campaigns might have been disrupted by the pandemic.

However, mentioning Rolder by name likely constituted a minor recruiting violation. The NCAA bylaw 13.10.2.1 prohibits athletic departments from discussing the recruitment of players — either directly or indirectly — who have yet to sign a national letter of intent or other financial paperwork.

Helow’s misstep, which he later called “an honest mistake” following the conclusion of his news conference, would qualify as a secondary or Level III violation. Michigan is unlikely to be punished if the school self-reports the incident.

Michigan basketball coach Juwan Howard ran into a similar issue during an appearance on "The Jim Rome Show" in July 2019. Howard made comments describing what many thought was an unsigned prospect in response to a question about Franz Wagner, though he did not mention the player by name.

“Our communication has been great,” Howard said on the radio show. “Right now, he's making decisions on if he's going to play with (the German) national team to represent his country in the World Cup championship tournament. I highly recommend he does because that's a chance of a lifetime.

“At the end of the day, we've been communicating about whenever that process is over with. We'd love to have him on campus, to wear a Michigan jersey just like his brother. (And at some point to) compete for the University of Michigan and help this team in many ways possible and become a student-athlete here.”

The quotes created headlines. Michigan later announced Wagner had signed financial aid papers prior to Howard’s appearance on the radio show and thus legitimized the remarks.

Rolder becomes the 18th member of coach Jim Harbaugh’s 2022 class and is the fourth-highest rated prospect behind CB Will Johnson, WR Tyler Morris and ATH Kody Jones.

The addition of Rolder gives Michigan the third-best recruiting class in the Big Ten behind Penn State and Ohio State, according to 247Sports.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan football adds commitment from 4-star linebacker