Super-Simple 1/7 Recruiting Board for Casual Recruiting Fans

Submitted by LSA Superstar on January 7th, 2017 at 4:43 PM

EDIT:  Updated for 1/9

EDIT:  Updated for 1/8

I'm proud to self-identify as a "mentally-ill" level recruiting observer.  But I know many Michigan fans aren't nearly as interested as I am in covering college football's silliest of its silly seasons.  Accordingly, I think it may be helpful to establish a recruiting board for more casual recruiting fans.

Just one note - anytime you see a numbered list below, it's ordered by the 247 Composite overall ranking.

Where Do We Stand in Terms of Numbers?

Currently, Michigan has 27 commitments and can expect to eventually sign a class with between 30 and 32 guys in it.  This means we're getting into the final stretch.

Where Do We Stand in Terms of Quality, as of Today?

This class is going to be really really good, even if things don't break well for us down the stretch.  We'll likely be ranked in the top five nationally with Alabama and OSU #s 1 and 2, and with Michigan alongside UGA and FSU in some order.  It has the potential to be epic if things do break our way, in which case we'd likely be ranked #3 after Alabama and OSU. 

If it's epic, that's good, because OSU's class is the thing legends are made of.  It's an unusual year for recruiting in that respect - the top four or five recruiting teams are light years better than the middle-tier P5 recruiting classes.  We're not catching Alabama or OSU under any circumstances, so let's hope to narrow the gap as much as we can.

How Many Early-Enrollees Are in This Class?

An unusually high number.  Guys who have actually enrolled as of today include:

  1. C Cesar Ruiz
  2. WR Tarik Black
  3. S Jaylen Kelly-Powell
  4. DE Donovan Jeter
  5. DE Corey Malone-Hatcher
  6. OT JaRaymond Hall
  7. CB Benjamin St-Juste
  8. S J'Marick Woods
  9. FB Ben Mason

In addition, the following Michigan commits will early enroll and hit campus soon:

  1. WR Donovan Peoples-Jones
  2. CB Ambry Thomas
  3. DT Phillip Paea, although his status as an EE is questionable

EDIT:  Both Peoples-Jones and Thomas have enrolled.  Paea seems unlikely to do so.  This means that we're all set with early enrollees.

The fact that we could have 12 11 early enrollees at the end of the day is pretty significant for two reasons.  First, an EE is more likely to play early (in statistical probability terms) than a player who arrives in the early summer and play in a college football game mere weeks later.  Second, once a player is locked on campus you don't have to work to recruit him anymore.  This frees up resources to focus on as-yet uncommitted targets and on keeping your non-EE commits in the fold.  Recruiting ain't over until the final bell.  Never forget this.

What Positions of Need Must Michigan Still Fill?

Depends on what you mean by "need."  Michigan absolutely must sign at least one DT, and probably needs two.  Michigan would very much like one more OT, and may reach to get one if space permits.  We also could probably use another WR, although we won't reach down to the mid-three star range to get one if we miss on any of our top guys.  We also seem interested in bringing in another CB for a reason that isn't clear to me but must be evident to the coaches.  Trust them over me.

So Who Is Left on the Board?

Our top targets include five guys:

  1. RB Najee Harris, whom you may have heard of once or twice
  2. DT Aubrey Solomon
  3. DT Jay Tufele
  4. WR Nico Collins
  5. LB Willie Gay

How likely are we to get each of these players?  Harris is... well, nobody knows.  Notably, he's also an EE, so we'll know with finality on Monday.  Solomon is unlikely, but possible.  Tufele is probably more likely than Solomon, but stil not very likely.  Collins and Gay are in the same boat - widely rumored to be "silent commits" and long-time counted as "locks" in the class, rumors have circulated that suggests each of them may end up elsewhere (UGA for Collins and LSU for Gay).

Make no mistake - it's extremely unlikely we get all five of these guys.  In fact, my read is that we have about a 50% chance to get one, and maybe have a 10% chance to get two.  Anything more than that is wishful thinking.  But all of these players are absolutely elite; Harris is the top-ranked player in the entire country, and Solomon is a five-star at an impact position.  And Tufele, Collins, and Gay are all fringe Top 100 guys.  Were we to somehow (and again, this won't happen) sign all five of these players, it would be the best Michigan recruiting class of all time by some distance.

After that, you have some backup options:

WR Oliver Martin has been an interesting recruitment.  He was a really under-the-radar guy who exploded at The Opening, which is a big-time fall camp.  Now he's a highly rated and regarded guy.  For a while he was believed to be a Michigan lock, but then we sort of ran out of room at WR and we cooled on him.  But with Nico Collins allegedly getting wobbly, there's a chance we'll reach back out to Martin.  And with how lukewarm Martin has seemed about the other schools in the mix for his commitment (ND, MSU, Iowa), I think it's very possible that he'd end up in the class if Collins is out.

OT Mekhi Becton is an absolutely enormous big body with exceptional athleticism.  He's also a hard worker.  But there are concerns about how "tough" or "nasty" he is, which is more than just a virtue-signalling buzzword for a brutal position like offensive line.  At this point I think Becton is a "next guy up" if literally any of our top five targets fall through and if OT Kai-Leon Herbert decommits as expected (people are "sour grapes-ing" this potential decommitment, by the way; I agree it looks like Herbert will decommit but we really, really don't want him to).  Consensus opinion is that he's likely to come if we roll out the red carpet.  The only other school likely in the mix for his commitment is UVa.

OT Toryque Bateman is another possibility.  He's a little lower-ranked than Becton, and doesn't have Becton's sky-high potential.  But his floor is a little higher too.  Bateman wanted, at one point, to go to Michigan very badly.  But we slow-played him back when we were in it for lots of higher-ranked guys.  Will he answer the call if we turn to him now?  I think he might.  But Becton is higher on our priority list right now.

LB Ellis Brooks is an interesting name.  He's a thick-legged kid without tons of sideline to sideline ability, but he's stout and a good run stuffer.  He also showed up in a big way recently, and demonstrated superior athleticism than most people thought him capable of.  I'm not sure where the optimism surrounding him is coming from, but most people now think that if Michigan actually pursues him he's possible to come on board.  I think we'll turn up the heat if Gay turns us away and we meet our DT/OT need and still have room.

CB Brandon Sebastian is another guy people are talking about.  He's currently a BC commit and teammates with Tarik Black, a current Michigan commit.  I don't mean to be negative, but I don't really like his film, his ranking, or his offer list, and I don't see how CB is a remaining position of need.  But Michigan feels differently supposedly and I'd trust the coaches more than me if I were you.

Finally, we have guys who people are talking about but who are extremely unlikely to be coming here:

  1. OT Isaiah Wilson - long time Michigan lean who was a suprise UGA flip; not happening
  2. OT/DT Tedarrell Slaton - seemed like a Michigan lean in the fall; may have grade concerns; definitely isn't coming here
  3. S Paris Ford - Reportedly wants Michigan badly but has mega off-the-field concerns; too bad because he's an elite recruit
  4. CB Elijah Hicks - Michigan would take him, but he's solid to ND after some initial waffling
  5. DT Rutger Reitmaier - same situation as Hicks, but with Oregon instead of ND

Who Else Do You Think We'll End Up With?

You're asking my personal opinion?  I think Harris goes blue (don't @ me), Collins stays with Michigan in the end, and then we get one of Becton or Bateman.  I then bet we pick up some mid-three star DT nobody sees coming who is currently committed to a Nebraska/TCU/VT level P5 school (I don't know of any name in particular, but the need there is just so overwhelming).  I would also guess we'll get one other "surprise commit" at OL, DT or CB.  I also guess that OT Kai-Leon Herbert and one RB will decomitt, and I hope that decommit isn't current RB commit O'Maury Samuels.  That would give us a class of 30 and we'd either end up ranked #3 or 4 in the final team rankings depending on how UGA finishes.

So, Harris isn't coming.  Now what?

This probably doesn't change anything about Michigan's board.  RB wasn't a position of need; Harris was merely such a great prospect that Michigan made him a priority until he boarded an airplane for Tuscaloosa.  At least we went down swinging and were publicly associated with being in a dogfight for a top prospect.

Pay attention to current Michigan RB commit O'Maury Samuels in the coming days.  His commitment is a little bit wobbly, reportedly, but retaining him in our class is now a critical need.  He'll be visiting in January and hopefully we can shore him up then.



January 7th, 2017 at 5:26 PM ^

Excellent review of M recruiting happenings LSA.

Next year I just wait for this and bypass all the bs of recruiting rumors and speculations. Hope to Keep Samuels, this kid is gonna be good.


January 7th, 2017 at 7:58 PM ^

Pretty much agree with this in general.  A lot less need for swim lanes this years there is going to be a lot less jumping in and out of the pool late this year.


January 7th, 2017 at 11:05 PM ^

Nice writeup, but Ben Mason is enrolled?  Really?  Last I heard from him he was announcing his decommit from UM and committing instead to BC.  I doubt he's come back to M since...


January 8th, 2017 at 9:10 AM ^

There are issues with Bateman and his academics, that is the reason Michigan has slow played him and even cancelled an official. He has Michigan in his top group if he can get his issues worked out.


January 8th, 2017 at 9:37 AM ^

I want to be excited for this class because it's going to be great.  Having guys like DPJ, McCaffrey, Ruiz, Fillaga, Thomas, Singleton, Vilian, etc. are gonna be awesome.  But I can't help but be somewhat frustrated at the same time that OSU's will be so much better and that we seemed to think for quite a while this was the #3 class only to be out-finished by teams like Georgia and possibly FSU.  It's seems like many of our great classes that start out in the 2-3 range end up finishing in the 6-7 range as other teams in the south and OSU finish stronger.  I can't understand how OSU gets so many great safeties and we can't one ugh anyways.


For a while thought mainly that was the record and coaching, but now that we have Harbaugh, consecutive 10-win seasons, and Georgia is sitll finishing hotter than us with an 8-5 season, I think it's probably just more geography.  Maybe Smart will cool off in another year or two if his record doesn't improve, but my hunch is it will improve.  I guess if you win at OSU's level that mitigates the mid-west geography issue for the national-level recruits, but we aren't quite there yet.  Simply a 10 win season isn't quite enough, at least yet.


January 9th, 2017 at 6:52 AM ^

Georgia I believe got the #1 Qb last year in Eason and he wasn't all that. If the center Quit snapping the ball at Mccaferry's feet he would have shown a little more. Hunter Johnson looked solid. Tate Martell reminds me of a faster Tate Forcier. LOL. We have a lot of kids that may not be five stars, but man a lot of them have offers from the big hitters besides us. Always look to see who Bama offered.


January 8th, 2017 at 12:22 PM ^

Michigan is finishing just fine in December and January so far. Many of the highest rated players, and a bunch of them. Also as noted continued winning will take this to even another level, as will the upcoming NFL draft(s).

Recruiting is as good as it's been in about 20 years and getting better. I'm confident Michigan's class will beat their class on the field. If you're frustrated with this class I can't imagine how you felt for the previous decade.


January 8th, 2017 at 12:32 PM ^

hit rate on recruits (development) will determine the best class. Being top 5 merely puts us in position to claim it.

For example, look at Chris Evans. Is he already not outperforming his ranking?


January 8th, 2017 at 12:32 PM ^

hit rate on recruits (development) will determine the best class. Being top 5 merely puts us in position to claim it.

For example, look at Chris Evans. Is he already not outperforming his ranking?


January 8th, 2017 at 2:18 PM ^

Excellent framework. I think you are exactly right about DT. It is a critical need and at least one scholarship will probably be spent there even if we strike out on our top targets. (Ideally, and unrealistically, 3 would be accepted by Solomon, Tufele and Slaton). Here are some additional thoughts on the subject.

1. OL. I'm not excited about Becton. We already have 5 OTs committed, 3 are rated higher than Becton who is #41. Stueber and Honigford are right behind at 46 and 47. I expect Filiaga to start; unless we can get another guy who is ready to contribute immediately I think a scholarship is better used elsewhere. Who might be ready to help immediately? Austin Jackson is the #8 rated OT. At 6-6 and 280 he isn't college-sized yet, but might be able to provide some depth.

2. WR/RB/Athlete. At WR, even if we lose out on Nico Collins we have enough talent between the 3 commits and the current players on the roster to pass on anyone other than elite talent. I'd be surprised if they take anyone other than Collins or Martin.

I won't be surprised if Harbaugh takes another RB. There were 3 commits previously. It's notable that the guy who decommitted was listed by 247 as an athlete. Especially because H loves positional flexibility, it wouldn't surprise me to see an "athlete" added. Greg Jackson and Lynn Bowden are high rated athletes who have offers from M.

3. DBs. There are a couple of good safeties who aren't committed. Chaz Ah You (UT) and Isaiah Pola-Mao (AZ) have both been pursued by M earlier in the cycle.It would be nice to add one of them if the top targets don't use the 5 spaces left.

4. TE. If there is space left after the OL, DL, WR/RB/Athlete, DB options are exhausted, Harbaugh may turn to a TE. As many TEs as he uses it would be nice to have at least one in every class. Josh Falo is uncommitted but apparently not particularly interested in M. ND has the #2 and #3 TEs committed and MSU has  a commitment from a guy we offered, the #8 TE, 4* Matt Dotson.

Pepto Bismol

January 9th, 2017 at 11:50 AM ^

Nice work. 

As a supplement, below is a link to something I've been goofing around with for a couple of months.  A simple tracker of sorts to keep an eye on who is in play and a rough probability of their commitment to Michigan.  The key is at the bottom - you'll get the idea.  Dates across the top coincide with MGoBlog's recruiting posts for the most part.


Might be of minimal value to those like me who prefer colorful pictures to all those fancy words.


January 9th, 2017 at 3:54 PM ^

Nice work. I would probably mark Martin and Jackson a little higher. The liklihood of Martin increases as the liklihood of Nico Collins goes down. Jackson is the last guy on the board who might be able to contribute as a freshman.


January 10th, 2017 at 4:56 PM ^

I hope there is a surprise big time commit out there. Seems to be only a few top guys out there with Michigan close to the top. Collins and Solomon would be a great end to the class...A few Harbaugh/Brown sleepers would be ok with me too for a few more spots. 


January 15th, 2017 at 11:48 PM ^

Really appreciate the recruiting posts LSA. I hope we find a way to land Solomon, as well as Nico Collins, while retaining the services of current RB commit O'Maury Samuels. DT / NT are of enormous importance in this class. Im surprised every DT in the country isn't banging down the doors to schembeckler hall begging to play for Don Brown.