At this time a year ago, Ruke Orhorhoro was finishing basketball season and considering something new. His River Rouge basketball team had just lost in the semifinals, and the sophomore approached the Panther football staff about playing football in the fall.
One year later, Orhorhoro is coming off a weekend where he visited Michigan and was offered a scholarship by the Wolverines. That did not happen by accident, though, as the previous year has been filled with hard work and a junior football season where Orhorhoro recorded double-digit sacks in his debut.
“Around that time, he was 6-foot-4, 215 pounds,” River Rouge head coach Corey Parker said. “That was at the end of March, and so he started lifting with us, and through April and May, gained about 15 pounds of muscle. We have a great defensive line coach in Lonnie Burks who was at Detroit Southeastern — he was Johnathan Hankins’ and Will Gholston’s coach, and he’s been able to develop this monster of a dude.”
Orhorhoro is now 250 pounds.
He also has an offer from Michigan, which joined Iowa, Northwestern, Kentucky, Indiana, and more on his offer list. He said the Wolverines were “high up there” on his list of choices after the visit.
“Man, I was shocked (when I got the offer),” he said. “My heart started beating fast, I was smiling really hard. It was great.”
Orhorhoro’s cousin Mario Ojemudia played defensive end for the Wolverines. He has two other cousins who play college football. Ojemudia’s younger brother Michael, a defensive back at Iowa, and Ovie Oghoufo, a linebacker who will be a true freshman at Notre Dame this fall.
Despite being a basketball player, Parker said Orhorhoro grew up watching football and is familiar with these programs, including Michigan.
“We did talk about Michigan, and he is definitely excited about it,” Parker said. “And he knows, as big a situation this is, he knows he has to work even harder. This is a nationwide brand.”
Parker added that the plan is to not elongate the recruiting process. A clear decision date has not been set, but Orhorhoro will take more unofficial visits soon and look to continue moving his recruitment forward.
Academics will be an important piece of the decision for Orhorhoro, who may major in business law.
“The other piece of it is, his parents developed such a great, well-rounded young man in reference to how he is academically,” Parker said. “He cares about his grades, well above a 3.0 (grade-point average) since he’s been here with us, and doesn’t let up with academics. Sometimes, as offers roll in, guys will say I don’t have to work as hard anymore, but he works harder than before.”
Parker added Orhorhoro expressed an interest in visiting Michigan again in the near future, but a date has not been set.
Wisconsin and Michigan State likely will be his next two visits.
Orhorhoro ranks as the No. 23 prospect in the state by the 247Sports Composite, and the No. 12 prospect in the state by 247Sports.
4-star DE on longer visit
Wichita (Kan.) Northwest defensive end Marcus Hicks is visited Michigan on Monday and Tuesday this week and will stay on campus until Wednesday, according to his father.
Hicks, a four-star prospect ranked as the nation’s No. 15 weak-side defensive end by the 247Sports Composite, has had a Michigan offer since January.
He attended a satellite camp with the Wolverines early in his high school career.
Michigan is battling Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ohio State and many more for the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Hicks.
Florida State commit set to visit
Delray Beach (Fla.) American Heritage defensive end Mike Morris will visit Michigan on Thursday, according to 247Sports’ John Garcia.
Morris is a 6-foot-5, 230-pound prospect who has been committed to Florida State for nearly two years, but is entertaining interest from other programs.
He said Michigan and Miami (Fla.) are among the programs who are in heaviest contact, other than the Seminoles.
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.