Academics, athletics both make Michigan appealing to 2022 four-star C Ernest Udeh Jr.

After an impressive performance over the weekend, 2022 four-star center Ernest Udeh Jr. not only was invited to the NBPA’s Top 100 Camp, but he also walked away with a few more scholarships in hand. One of them was from Juwan Howard and the Michigan Wolverines, who traveled all the way down to Alabama to see him and a slew of other high schoolers now that the NCAA in-person evaluation period is in full swing.

“It felt great (getting the offer from Howard),” Udeh Jr. told Maize n Brew. “Man, he’s super relatable, and he’s a very easy guy to talk to. That’s my guy, for real.”

The 6-foot-10, 230-pounder plays at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Florida, where he confirmed will also play his senior season. But this past weekend, Udeh Jr. performed at the Adidas 3SSB with the Southeast Elite Grassroots Academy travel squad. His coach for that team, Anthony Ricks, also had the opportunity to talk with Howard over the phone.

“(Howard) loves Ernest,” Ricks said. “(He) said he’s one of the most well-spoken kids he’s spoken to over the phone, as far as how engaged he is in conversation and the questions he asked.”

Another thing Howard mentioned to Ricks is “how well Ernest is put together body-wise” and how he could have an immediate impact on the team if he were to commit to Michigan.

“(Howard) could foresee him ready to impact as a freshman,” Ricks said. “Outside of that, (Howard) expressed how much he wants him to be a Wolverine and that he looks forward to building a relationship and recruiting him.”

As far as that recruitment goes, Udeh Jr. said he has not had the opportunity to sit down and properly evaluate his options. He plans on doing that in the fall, which means he is planning on taking his time with the process.

But when it comes to Michigan, the success the program has had over the years sticks out to Udeh Jr.

“They have a good reputation. It’s a program that’s well put together. Nine national championships. That’s not easy to do,” Udeh Jr. said.

Another feather in Michigan’s cap in this recruitment is the academic side of things.

“Michigan is one of the top schools in the country academically and athletically,” Ricks said. “So he’s very interested, as he’s a 4.0 GPA student. (His recruitment is) open currently, so he’s just educating himself on all schools that have offered him a scholarship.”

Even though it is very early on, the Wolverines appear to be doing well in this recruitment so far. There is a long way to go and a lot of competition — Baylor, UCLA, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas and other big-time schools have all offered — but the groundwork has been laid.

Udeh Jr. is the No. 10 center, No. 13 player from Florida and No. 58 overall player in the 2022 class on 247Sports’ composite. You can watch his junior year highlight reel below.

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