Aidan Hutchinson with swaggy G
The Roster. Michigan took a horde of defensive linemen a year ago—7 or 8 depending on where a couple of two-way guys end up. They're set to lose just Mo Hurst after the year; they'll probably take another two or three to prevent gap years like 2017 projects to be.
The Recruits. MI DE Aidan Hutchinson is a Michigan legacy and likely a slam dunk. FL DE Nik Bonitto told 24/7 that Michigan led for him in November; he also said that Florida was his proverbial dream school. They had not offered at that juncture. Lorenz recently reiterated that Michigan was in a good spot.
At DT, Michigan is chasing FL DT Taron Vincent, an IMG kid who transferred in from Biff Poggi's old school. He's got a public pecking order on which Michigan is 5th at best right now, so it'll be one of those recruitments where an unofficial either kicks things off in earnest (Nico Collins) or functionally ends it. New Jersey has a couple of touted kids in Tyler Friday and Dorian Hardy, plus Jayson Ademilola could shake free if ND has another crater of a season.
The Projection. Hutchinson, probably Bonitto, and we'll say Friday because Michigan's gotten the top kid in New Jersey the last four cycles.
Reese is a cornerstone
The Roster. Michigan took three or four linebackers in last year's class, depending on where Ben Mason ends up, and loses just Mike McCray after the season... probably. Jared Wangler and Noah Furbush are both potential fifth years who haven't contributed much. Depending on how the depth chart shakes out this year there could be just a couple spots or up to four.
The Recruits. GA LB Otis Reese is already in the boat and both Scout and 24/7 have asserted that Michigan is super-high on him at VIPER. Long way to Signing Day and all that; with Solomon already in Ann Arbor and Reese currently not expected to take visits he seems likely to stick.
MI LB Kolin Demens is the younger brother of Kenny. Michigan offered him way back in April but there hasn't been much talk about him since. He's a 3.5* type in early rankings, so Michigan might not be pushing for him all out just yet. Michigan also offered MI LB Ovie Oghoufo; he went off the board to ND a couple weeks later but with ND coming off a 4-8 season and Oghoufo wobbling a little bit publicly he's at least somewhat in play.
Outside the state, Michigan is going to try with VA LB Teradja Mitchell but is currently trailing. OH LB Dallas Gant, the cousin of former Wolverine Allen, is in nearby Toledo and will be heavily pursued.
The Projection. Reese and one ILB type. Demens is the most likely.
Taylor-Stewart has a hyphen, you know
The Roster. Michigan took four and maybe a fifth if they move Brad Hawkins to safety, but they lost that many guys so there has not been a major influx. Everyone's young—no seniors—so Michigan will go relatively light here.
The Recruits. MI CB Kalon Gervin is your annual Cass Tech cornerback prospect. At 5'11' he's a little bigger than they usually are. CA CB Isaac Taylor-Stuart has a hyphen in his name, recently moved up to the #15 prospect in the country on 24/7, and says Harbaugh is his favorite coach. He recently backed off naming Alabama his leader, FWIW. FL Brendan Radley-Hiles is at IMG, has a hyphen, and visited Michigan over the summer.
At safety, TX S BJ Foster is a top ten player in early rankings who Michigan will try to get in with. They haven't had much luck getting guys out of Texas—even Chuck Filiaga was more or less from California—but it's de riguer to mention the five star you've offered in these things. Same deal with FL S Tyreke Johnson, who the nation is after, and FL CB/S Al Blades (yes that Blades). Blades has already committed to and decommitted from his father's alma mater Miami.
GA S Myles Sims is a less highly touted name who Lorenz says Michigan is after as if he is one of those top top guys.
The Projection. Gervin seems likely what with the Cass Tech thing, and then let's flip a hyphen for the second corner spot. Sims seems like the most realistic shot at safety.
Wild-ass guess that should be taken seriously in no way whatsoever
FWIW, the version of this that was published a year ago got 10 of Michigan's eventual 30 signees correct. We're projecting 20 this year.
A confidence level of "high" means approximately a 50/50 shot they end up in the class. "Low" means this is more or less a placeholder. The composite currently has zero fullbacks ranked and they'll probably go get a guy. This is denoted in the chart appropriately.
|State||Position||Player||Approx. Stars||Confidence Level|
|FL||TE||Will Mallory||4||Very High|
|MI||DE||Aidan Hutchinson||4||Very High|
This might be less of a blockbuster class since Michigan is not, at first glance, in on a bunch of five star sorts. That should change in 2019 when the state has two guys who will contend for that status.
As you might imagine after back to back classes in the high 20s, the 2018 class projects to be small. There are only nine seniors on the roster going into 2017. There are a number of guys who might not be brought back for a fifth year and there will always be losses to injury, the NFL draft and playing time transfers. The rise of early enrollment also creates a class of Derrick Green sorts who can grad transfer after three or three and a half years; there are another few guys who will end up seeing no path to playing time and take that route.
It would still be a surprise to see Michigan crack 20 recruits. 16-20 is a reasonable range.
Thompson-Robinson would be the most dynamic QB Harbaugh has brought in
The Roster. Michigan has Dylan McCaffrey and Brandon Peters in the last two classes. Both are tall, lanky pocket passers ranked just outside the top 100 on the composite. Nonetheless, Michigan will take one because you always take one.
The Recruits. Top target and NV QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson says UCLA is his leader—Jedd Fisch moving to the Bruins doesn't help there—but mom is a Michigan grad and Jim Mora is on the hotseat after a 4-8 year. Various other early targets have fallen by the wayside. Seven of the top ten pro-style QBs in the country are already committed; Michigan isn't involved with any of the remaining unless they pick it back up with IMG QB Arthur Sitkowski.
Instater Theo Day hasn't gotten much attention from Michigan yet, but he could draw more interest if DTR continues to trend towards UCLA. 24/7 bumped him to high four star status recently.
The Projection. 40% Thompson-Robinson, 30% Day, 30% a three star sort nobody's talking about right now.
The Roster. Despite a couple of late misses in the 2017 cycle, Michigan enters this year with a loaded backfield. Karan Higdon and Chris Evans were rotation pieces last year, with Evans emerging into the clear #2, and both will still be around when the 2018 class matriculates. Michigan also has Kingston Davis and Kareem Walker coming off redshirts along with incoming freshmen Kurt Taylor and O'Maury Samuels.
In a class that looks to be small this is a spot where Michigan can skimp. They'll probably grab one. Anything more would be a surprise.
The Recruits. IMG RB TJ Pledger is an all-purpose sort who Michigan has been pursuing heavily. He's originally from California. The other guys 247 lists as targets in their top two categories are 1) a guy from Ohio everyone expects to pick OSU, 2) a guy from Mississippi, next, and 3) a guy from Atlanta who currently seems to favor the Gators.
The Projection. One guy we haven't heard of yet.
St Brown will probably end up at ND, but if they go 4-8 again...
The Roster. Michigan's coming off an epic five-man recruiting class and reportedly likes the three survivors from the 2016 class, so they can swing for the fences here. If they don't hit on a big timer or two they can settle for a couple lower-ranked types and nobody's going to panic.
The Recruits. Big timers on the radar:
- CA WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, who has an older brother at ND.
- TX WR Al'vonte Woodard. Woodard's father was a reserve WR for Gary Moeller in the early 90s.
- CA WR Jalen Hall. Hall is the #1 receiver in the country at this point in the cycle. He's from one of those LA high schools which virtually guarantee the player in question will end up at USC, but Donovan Warren and all that.
- NJ WR Jahan Dotson. From New Jersey.
That's not a long list and nobody on it seems particularly likely to end up at Michigan. There's a dearth of top receiving prospects in the Midwest this year. The composite currently has just two four-star WRs in the traditional Big Ten footprint: a kid out of Ohio who is committed to MSU (for now, anyway) and a low four star in PA. It's a good thing they loaded up this year.
Instate options are limited. The only WR currently on the composite is Southfield's Brandon Gray. At 6'5" he's intriguing. To date he's mostly fielded MSU interest.
The Projection. One or two guys nobody's talking about yet. If Michigan's lucky they'll be Oliver Martin types. If not they'll be three stars.
The Roster. Probably the only spot where need could be considered dire after a taking a pass on the position in 2016. Michigan will definitely take two and probably three. Holding onto Devin Asiasi, who transfer rumors are flying about, is obviously a key inflection point.
The Recruits. You can pencil in FL TE Will Mallory, who is one of those Mallorys. Other options:
- NV TE Brevin Jordan, a teammate of Thompson-Robinson's at Bishop Gorman.
- NY TE Jeremy Ruckert, who looks set to be a Michigan-OSU battle.
- FL TE JUDGE CULPEPPER, who is the law. Also from Tampa, where Frey does work.
- TX TE Mustapha Muhammad. Michigan was after him heavily but Lorenz recently reported that he was leaning towards schools closer to home.
Nobody other than Mallory seems like a slam dunk.
The Projection. Mallory, Ruckert, and an unknown name.
The Roster. Michigan got five in the previous class but wanted up to eight; OL will again be a priority. They have 14 OL now, will lose Mason Cole and Patrick Kugler after the season, and likely want to get up to 16 or 17. Expect another four or five guys.
The Recruits. One of those guys is already committed, IN OL Emil Ekiyor. At 6'3" Ekiyor is an interior OL only, but he's a highly regarded one: top 100 in the composite and the #4 guard in the country. Michigan has three OL recruits who are early four-stars on the composite: guard Marquan McCall, a teammate of JaRaymond Hall, center Tyrone Sampson Jr, and tackle Ryan Hayes. Michigan is the early crystal ball leader for McCall; MSU is the favorite for the other two. A fourth will arrive this fall, with FL OL Antwan Reed transferring back to Muskegon from IMG.
National names include Richard Gouraige and Nicholas Petit-Frere, who are both from the Tampa Bay area that has been a Greg Frey specialty. Oh and this guy:
Hell yes, 6'9" 390 pound Daniel Faalele is worth a flier.
The Projection. Ekiyor, Faalele, one of the Tampa kids, and McCall.
Hello. With the regular season over and basketball in full flower it's time for our annual handoff of recruiting content to some guy named Brian.
Let's play the feud! And by that I mean take a look at the current status of the recruiting class and where it might go. Some of this lives on the usually-pretty-accurate Recruiting Board.
Some months back Sam Webb reported that Michigan expected to take between 28 and 32 kids this cycle. They have 24 spots right now. 28 is easy to get to: we expect Peppers to enter the draft and potential fifth year seniors Wyatt Shallman, Shane Morris, and Scott Sypniewski to depart. Beyond that you're looking at transfers from underclassmen for playing time or other reasons, of which there are always a few.
We don't have definite word that anyone won't be back, but every year you see a handful of transfers from every program in America. Michigan got a number of players a degree in three years so they could have immediate eligibility elsewhere, and I'd bet you see a couple of those. 32 seems right given the number of guys on the roster who have dim prospects for meaningful PT and the way Michigan's recruiting.
Potential sixth years for Drake Johnson and Jeremy Clark are complicating factors; Michigan might need 34 spots for 32 kids. So too are available letters of intent. Michigan can backdate 6 early enrollees, which means they can only sign 31 players. Any extra will have to "blueshirt," which is arriving as a walk-on and immediately getting a scholarship. As always, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Inevitable Decommit Section
Michigan has 20 commits, leaving approximately 12 spots for additional recruits. In 2016 decommits are as inevitable as someone on twitter saying "lol u mad" ten seconds into a conversation; there will be some turnover. Currently wobbly gentlemen in the class include:
- NM RB O'Maury Samuels, who took an Arizona visit and has consistently expressed an interest in visiting various Big 12 and Pac 12 schools. Arizona probably isn't much of a threat after the year they had. Samuels might be prepping alternate plans in case Michigan does land CA RB Najee Harris, just like...
- MA RB AJ Dillon, who visits BC this weekend. There's also been a moderate amount of Wisconsin chatter that has so far not resulted in a visit. Dillon is coming in for Michigan December 9th recruiting weekend; it would be a surprise if he ended up elsewhere without the Harris bomb dropping.
- AL S J'Marick Woods visited Mississippi State and Arkansas. His final-final decision is Friday. Both Arkansas and MissSt insiders are expressing optimism; guys like Lorenz and Webb don't think there's anything to fret about.
- FL OL Kai-Leon Herbert has visited both Miami and Florida. He plans to go out to Miami and maybe Florida again in January; with teammate FL OL Tedarrell Slaton trending away from M and possibly to one of those two schools this is a situation to keep an eye on.
Those are listed in approximate order of wobbliness.
On top of that, Michigan's been known to have second thoughts about particular recruits and may ship a couple dudes to Pitt. And on top of that, Michigan's clear desire to pack both OL and DL like cordwood may induce some current commits to look to less crowded depth charts.
Expect somewhere between 2 and 65 decommits by signing day. Trust no one!
[After THE JUMP: positional breakdown.]
Hello. This is an attempt to give you a 1,000 foot view of Michigan's current recruiting class. It lives as a wiki post under the "Useful Stuff" heading as well, and can be updated by anyone with 500+ points. Last updated 12/19.
Michigan can take a maximum of 31 LOIs in the class. Going past 31 requires Michigan to "blueshirt" kids. Blueshirting is recruiting a guy as a walk-on with the promise he will immediately get a scholarship upon arrival. This avoids the LOI cap but has other complications—kid can't take an official, for one. There are a few in-state guys who might sign up for that.
Per Sam Webb Michigan expects somewhere between 28-32. Right now we're projecting
28 29 30 31 31.
CURRENT CLASS SIZE
Michigan has 26 commits. We consider NJ WR Brad Hawkins a hard commit once again after prepping. FWIW, we project Ben Mason as a FB.
Some commits are soft. NM RB O'Maury Samuels has taken a visit or two and delayed his official, which can be a sign of an impending split. FL OL Kai-Leon Herbert visited Florida and Miami and plans to return to both.
At this juncture we aren't aware of anyone who definitely won't be in the class. Recruiting being what it is, there will be some additional turnover.
ROOM LEFT AND WHO MICHIGAN IS TARGETING
That leaves ~5 spots left. At this point Michigan's board is very narrow. They are done at QB, FB, and DE. Likely deployment of those spots:
- 1 WR
- 1 DT
- 1 DB
- 2 wild cards
Some guidelines to the below: players are put in columns based on the opinions of MGoStaffers and not necessarily because the recruit has announced Michigan is in X group or is a leader. To move out of “on the radar” you usually have to at least schedule a visit on a specific date.
Bolded players are projected commits. We have 31 on the list below.
MICHIGAN FOOTBALL 'CROOTIN OVERVIEW
|DECENT SHOT||TOP GROUP||LEADER||COMMITS|
|FB (1)||B. Mason*|
|WR (3+1)||N. Collins|
|Slot (0)||O. Martin|
|C (1)||C. Ruiz*|
|NT (0+2)||J. Tufele||A. Solomon|
|SLB (1)||W Gay||J. Anthony|
|ILB (2)||E Brooks|
projected class in bold
Please don't remove updates until there is a front page board update that notes the changes.
no reason [Eric Upchurch]
Sam Webb reports that Michigan is going to take another very large class this year, with numbers I'm not sure are in fact possible: 28 on the low end and 32(!) on the high end. Michigan took 28 last year*, backdating seven. That should mean that they can only backdate four from this year's class, giving a hard LOI cap of 29. Schools are figuring out ways around that LOI cap—that's what "blueshirting" is—but those are inconvenient.
Meanwhile I'm not sure about getting to the larger number without cutting certain spots on the roster to the bone. Michigan has 18 slots open right now and it's not too hard to get to 23 via a combination of early NFL draft entry, unrenewed fifth years, and the injury situation with Freddy Canteen. Five more departures to hit 28 is not unreasonable, but the roster will skew very young next season so there are going to be fewer players who are ready to move on in search of playing time.
It'll be interesting. The takeaway is yes, expect another large class.
*[I'm not counting Dytarious Johnson for purposes of this conversation. If he does enroll that obviously occupies another scholarship slot.]
Michigan is probably done with #1 QB Dylan McCaffrey in the fold but they could take a second, especially if that second had upside at another position. GA QB Jelani Woods, a 6'7" dual threat guy, is the only name on the board that fits this description at this instant. 90% they are done.
With Kurt Taylor, AJ Dillon, and O'Maury Samuels committed Michigan is done unless a nationally elite name wants to join up. In that case they'd have to make a hard decision. Taylor does fit the profile of the guys that they more or less forcibly decommitted in the previous class, but dude is so enthusiastic about Michigan and the PR would be so bad that even if they wanted to—and I'm not saying they do—they would probably have to keep him.
FWIW, a strapping athlete like Dillon could easily be a Don Brown linebacker. The other two guys are locked in at tailback.
[After THE JUMP: positions that are not full.]
Previously: the offense.
Joshua Kaindoh is a big-timer at DE
The Need. Defensive tackle is a major priority. Going into 2017 Michigan is down to Mone, Hurst, Dwumfour, and Pallante at a spot where four players are more or less starters these days. Gary can of course fold inside; even so Michigan should be hard after two or three DTs.
End is less of a numerical priority with four or five guys in the past two classes if Reuben Jones and Carlo Kemp have long term futures on the line. I expect that is the case; a couple ends should be expected.
The Prospects. Tackles:
- NJ DTs Fred Hansard and Corey Bolds are from New Jersey and thus obviously high on Michigan's target list. Despite being a Paramus guy, Bolds is reputed to heavily favor Clemson right now; Hansard is a realistic prospect but a guy who is getting a lot of attention from OSU and the like.
- UT DT Jay Tufele has an offer and is from an area of the country where Michigan has had some recent success. Oregon has a couple picks on the crystal ball that probably don't mean much.
- M is trying to get in with five-star TX DT Marvin Wilson but he's a major longshot.
Aaaand that's it right now. This is a bit of a worry, insofar as anything can be a worry in a recruiting class almost a year from signing. Michigan needs two or three guys and has limited priority options right now.
- Instate DE Corey Malone-Hatcher is ranked in the top 200 everywhere and generally expected to end up at M, though ND, OSU, and Alabama are also involved.
- Five-star FL DE Joshua Kaindoh is originally from Baltimore; he transferred IMG and maintains a top list with a distinctly Midwest flavor. Penn State was an early leader, and these days "Penn State leads" is a big red bullseye for Harbaugh.
- Five-star FL DE Jarez Parks is actually from Florida and will be a tough pull; Michigan is reruiting him hard all the same.
- MD DE Chase Young has the full suite of Midwest offers and a few Maryland predictions from the locals. Michigan will be after him; he has given no indication of a leader.
The Projection: Michigan should get Malone-Hatcher; Hansard is an increasingly good bet as OSU has already gotten two DT commits. Past that it's cloudy. Michigan should have a good shot at Kaindoh, especially if Michigan and PSU have the seasons it looks like they will. They'll take two DTs and two DEs.
Singleton seems familiar somehow
The Need. Michigan got plenty of numbers at linebacker a year ago and can take it easy in this class. They lack top-end prospects, however, so finding a couple potentially elite guys is an important goal for 2017.
The Recruits. This position seems pretty easy to peg. Paramus LB Drew Singleton has been on campus repeatedly; Michigan is a heavy favorite. MI LB Josh Ross is James's younger brother. Michigan is also a heavy favorite with him. Pioneer ATH Antjuan Simmons has offers from the world and is probably an OLB at the next level; he seemed a bit miffed that Michigan waited to offer and has been seeking the proverbial love. He released a top 11 without M in it; we'll see whether that holds up.
Michigan is also chasing a couple of big fish. One is five-star Baylor commit Baron Browning, whose brother played for Harbaugh at Stanford. 2017 #1 Dylan Moses, a linebacker out of Louisiana, has a top six that doesn't include M but…
The move to IMG could open a door to another top program, Michigan, which recently made headlines for announcing it would hold a portion of its spring practices at IMG Academy over the spring.
"That would be cool,” he said. "I’ve never really seen Michigan up close like that before and I’ve never visited the school either. It’s just a great opportunity and you know, hopefully I can get an offer from them, because I don’t have one yet.”
…will be around for Michigan's practices at IMG.
The Projection. Singleton and Ross and that's it.
The Need. You can never ever have enough corners; Michigan will pursue at least a couple. Safety is either a critical need or a modest one depending on where guys like Ahmir Mitchell and Brad Hawkins end up. In a large class they'll probably go with five or even six DBs. They are set to lose that many.
— Stanford Samuels III (@SSIII_) January 21, 2016
The Recruits. Three-star Canadian Benjamin St-Juste was a camp commit who got pushed back a year because of differences between the Canadian and American school systems.
- FL CB CJ Cotman was very excited about getting a Michigan offer; he immediately hit up every Michigan recruiting site for articles, fulfilling "who you talk to is important."
- FL CB Stanford Samuels III is another Florida State legacy out of Flanagan who Michigan will try to steal away from the Seminoles.
- FL CB Trajan Bandy, a high school teammate of Joshua Uche, has an offer and seemed pretty pumped about Michigan on twitter when Uche pulled the trigger. (He in fact jumped the gun with a celebratory tweet.)
- MI CB Ambry Thomas goes to King and has been hot and cold on Michigan depending on when you get him. Michigan has to repair some of the after-effect of the Swenson situation. After they do
- MI ATH Allen Stritzinger could be a corner or safety; we talked about him on offense.
- Michigan's trying to get involved with five-star TX S Jeffrey Okudah and did manage to slip into a top ten.
- Fantastically-named UT S Chaz Ah You picked up an offer in October.
- Instate safeties Jaylen Kelly-Powell and Scott Nelson are possibly the best bets to end up in the class; Kelly-Powell named Michigan his leader a while back and goes to Cass. Nelson is actually a MSU fan; we'll see if the Spartans get involved. Nelson is a Don Brown guy; he had a very early offer from BC.
The Projection. Nobody other than Kelly-Powell seems 50%+ to be in the class at this instant save St-Juste. They will take a pile of DBs, though.
Michigan is unlikely to spend a scholarship on a specialist this year. They picked up Quinn Nordin, the country's top kicker, and Camaron Cheeseman, the #2 long snapper, in the last class. They also added punter Will Hart. A Zoltan-level punter would be the only player Michigan goes after with a precious slot.
This instant's ridiculous class projection you should absolutely ignore
I mean do not pay attention to this at all. A confidence level of "high" means approximately a 50/50 shot they end up in the class. "Low" means this is more or less a placeholder.
|State||Position||Player||Approx. Stars||Confidence Level|
|CO||QB||Dylan McCaffrey||4.5||Very High|
|MI||RB||Allen Stritzinger||3.5||Very High|
|NJ||LB||Drew Singleton||4.5||Very High|
|CN||CB||Benjamin St Juste||3||Commit|
|MI||S||Jaylen Kelly-Powell||4||Very High|