Since his arrival as Michigan’s head coach, Jim Harbaugh hasn’t been shy about offering scholarships, and in combination with the offers that were already made before his arrival, the Wolverines have reached out to a very large pool of recruits. We take a look at who has been offered and give our quick take on the recruitment of each position.
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Huber Heights, OH
Dwayne Haskins Jr.
Lake Stevens, WA
Commitments: Brandon Peters
Committed Elsewhere: Jacob Eason to Georgia; Shea Patterson to Mississippi; Malik Henry to Florida State; K.J. Costello to Stanford
Quick Take: The Wolverines snagged an early commit from quarterback Messiah DeWeaver, but after the coaching change, he elected to look around. That change may have ended up being fortuitous for the Maize and Blue, as his departure opened the door for Michigan to snag the slightly higher rated Brandon Peters.
While getting a lot of options at quarterback has been a priority for Jim Harbaugh up to this point, it appears likely that Peters will be the only signal caller in the class. In 2016, the Wolverines will have a senior Shane Morris and junior John O’Korn, with Wilton Speight, Zach Gentry, Alex Malzone and Peters making up the next wave of talent.
If Iowa transfer Jake Rudock wins the job this fall as many anticipate, then the starting position in 2016 could be wide open, even to freshmen.
College Park, GA
New London, NC
Commitments: Kingston Davis, Matt Falcon, David Reese
Committed Elsewhere: Kareem Walker to Ohio State; Miles Sanders to Penn State; Antonio Williams to Wisconsin; Kentrail Moran to Illinois
Quick Take: While no player has definitively stepped up at the position, Michigan has a strong set of options at running back for the next two years with Derrick Green, Ty Isaac, DeVeon Smith and Drake Johnson. After that though, it becomes pretty thin. The Wolverines didn’t sign a running back in the 2014 class, then struck out on their top choices the next year, only pulling three-star Karan Higdon away from Iowa at the 11th hour. While the depth chart might look a little crowded in year No. 1 for a 2016 running back’s career at Michigan, there is a great opportunity down the road and the position will likely be a major focus in the class.
The Wolverines grabbed two commitments within a few days of each other from Alabama back Kingston Davis and local star Matt Falcon. Davis is the former teammate of incoming freshman Keith Washington, and is a big bruising runner, listed as high as 240 pounds. Falcon likewise has a familiar face already in the program, coming from the same school as Lawrence Marshall. He’s a sensational athlete with an excellent combination of size and speed, but he has struggled to stay health during his playing career.
We also included commitment David Reese at the position for his skill as a fullback, rather than listing him as a linebacker. It makes sense. Joe Kerridge and Sione Houma are both entering their senior years, while Wyatt Shallman moved out from the position to tailback this spring. So there is a need at that spot.
Fort Wayne, IN
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Egg Harbor City, NJ
Coconut Creek, FL
San Diego, CA
Salt Lake City, UT
Long Beach, Calif
Eden Prairie, MN
Westlake Village, CA
San Jose, CA
Committed Elsewhere: Nate Craig-Myers to Auburn; Scott Bracey to Duke; Collin Johnson to Texas; T.J. Chase to Clemson; Cameron Chambers to Michigan State; Demetris Robertson to Alabama; Theo Howard to Oregon; Demetric Felton to UCLA; Desmond Fitzpatrick to Louisville
Quick Take: Michigan has some promising young players at the wide receiver position in Maurice Ways and Brian Cole, but that hasn’t stopped a very heavy pursuit of the position for the next class. The Wolverines need a couple receivers in the group, with hopes that the younger players will be able to push or even step ahead of the veterans. With that said, the shear number of wide receivers offered so far is a little surprising. It’s unusual to offer 29 prospects in the hope of getting two or three. Then again, the receivers do appear to be deciding quickly, so maybe it's a good idea.
The Wolverines have a little bit of ground to make up with the two in-staters offered, getting in a bit late on Donnie Corley and offering Desmond Fitzpatrick a few months after he committed to Louisville. With that said, Michigan should not be counted out for either. Both have made several visits and are showing legitimate interest.
Austin Mack, Justin Layne and Dylan Crawford each visited Michigan under the previous coaching staff, so the Wolverines could have a stronger footing there than many other outside the state prospects. It will be interesting to see who from among the offered also stops by Ann Arbor over the next few months. The recent offer to Donald Stewart is also very interesting, as his former head coach Chris Partridge is now on staff at Michigan.
Flower Mound, TX
Powder Springs, GA
Committed Elsewhere: Isaac Nauta to Florida State; Jake Hausmann to Ohio State; Landon Rice to Auburn; Devante Brooks to Tennessee; Kaden Smith to Stanford
Quick Take: Michigan might have missed out on Chris Clark, but still managed to pull in Tyrone Wheatley Jr. at the tight end position for the recent signing class. It’s still a significant need for 2016 though. Wheatley may be better suited for defensive end though, which is something only time will tell. The bigger matter of concern is just the fact that the Wolverines don’t have great numbers there. When a player in the 2016 class arrives, Jake Butt will be a senior and Khalid Hill a junior. The only other players at the position are Ian Bunting and Wheatley.
It’s not an area of desperate need, but signing two in the class would be a very good idea if there are to be multiple-tight end formations in use down the road.
Michigan was a strong player for Naseir Upshur early and played host to him on more than one occasion. That interest dropped a bit as the Hoke era limped to an end, but he is once again strongly considering the Maize and Blue. Luke Farrell is another to watch, having attended the Michigan summer camp last year, then returning for the BBQ in the Big House. This remains an expanding list of options and the Wolverines will need to get more prospects in for unofficial visits to strengthen their position.
Downers Grove, IL
Traverse City, MI
River Ridge, LA
Santa Ana, CA
Copperas Cove, TX
Woodberry Forest, VA
Harbor City, CA
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Cole Van Lanen
Green Bay, WI
Orchard Lake, MI
Commitments: Erik Swenson
Committed Elsewhere: Tommy Kraemer to Notre Dame; Gregory Little to Texas A&M; E.J. Price to Georgia; Jonah Williams to Alabama; J.P. Urquidez to Baylor; Austin Myer to TCU; Ben Cleveland to Georgia
Quick Take: Michigan signed only two offensive linemen in the 2014 class, but with Mason Cole playing as a freshman, that effectively reduces the group to one player in Juwann Bushell-Beatty. He will be followed by the trio of 2015 signees. It’s important to focus on the numbers, because there are five players at that spot on the field at a given time, and typically, they take a while to develop. Struggles on the line can often be traced back to small line classes, so it will be important that the Wolverines make up the difference from the last couple classes by signing a big group.
Michigan already have a pledge from a good one in Erik Swenson and look to be in the running for several others. One to watch very closely will be Canton native Michael Jordan. He is keeping an open mind, but given his close proximity to U-M and multitude of visits, the Wolverines would have to be considered the odds on favorite.
Ft. Wayne, IN
Farmington Hills, MI
Vero Beach, FL
Panama City, FL
Committed Elsewhere: Janarius Robinson to Florida State; Josh Brown to Florida State; Joseph Jackson to Miami (Fla.); Terrell Hall to Ohio State; Xavier Kelly
Quick Take: Harbaugh managed to close out Michigan’s 2015 recruiting with a couple of important additions at defensive end in Shelton Johnson and Reuben Jones, but the position is still one of the greatest needs for 2016. That’s because a player in that class would have a real shot at competing with Johnson and Jones for a spot on the two-deep as soon as he gets on campus. The safe bet would be that Taco Charlton and Henry Poggi will be the starters that year, but after those two, there’s not much proven at this point. Even Poggi has seen only limited action so far.
Khalid Kareem wanted to commit Michigan State early, but had his parents tapped the breaks on the recruiting process, encouraging him to take his time. He visited Michigan several times since his early near-pledge, so it appears the Wolverines have a legitimate shot at him. Auston Robertson had a strong interest in the Maize and Blue a year ago after earning an offer at the Michigan summer camp, but currently has Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan State in front. He has remained open to interest from the Wolverines, so if a visit happens before his June 7 decision, he could be one to watch. Another player that the Wolverines might have a better chance at is Josh King, who visited twice while Hoke was in charge, then returned to Ann Arbor this spring.
Wake Forest, NC
Fort Worth, TX
Committed Elsewhere: None
Quick Take: The Wolverines didn’t sign a defensive tackle in the 2015 recruiting class. Between that, Bryan Mone playing as a true freshman and Brady Pallante moving to fullback, the defensive tackle spot is clearly one of the most important areas of need in the recruiting class. If a 2016 player at that spot were to redshirt, he would have a very strong shot at being a three-year starter. Because of that, the Wolverines will sign at least two players at the position, but may want to hedge their bets and take three.
It’s still early in the process and Michigan hasn’t offered a ton of players at defensive tackle, but there are three that stand out as pretty interesting. New recruiting operations coordinator Chris Partridge, who coached Jabrill Peppers and Juwann Bushell-Beatty at Paramus Catholic, was also the coach for one year for top DT Rashan Gary. That has put the Wolverines in strong contention. Michigan has also played host to Michael Onwenu on a number of occasions. Another prospect to watch closely will be Chris Daniels, who currently resides in Texas, but used to go to school at Muskegon. He was a 2013 Michigan summer camper.
Ann Arbor, MI
West Hartford, CT
Jacksonville , FL
Devin Bush Jr.
Santa Ana, CA
Orange Park, FL
Commitments: Dele Harding
Committed Elsewhere: Shaquille Quarterman to Miami (Fla.); Daelin Hayes to Southern Cal; Mique Juarez to Southern Cal; Lokeni Toailoa to UCLA; Rahshaun Smith to Clemson; Julian Okwara to Notre Dame; Curtis Robinson to Stanford
Quick Take: Michigan didn’t sign a linebacker in the 2015 recruiting class, and with the graduation of the Wolverines’ top four players at that spot after this coming fall, there is some need for immediate help. A linebacker that is both physically ready and mentally prepared for the challenge could conceivably enter the two-deep as a true freshman. Ben Gedeon and Mike McCray would be favorites to start in 2016, but after that, it’s anyone’s guess.
Dele Harding committed to Michigan even as it was becoming clear Hoke was on his way out, and the former high school teammate of Freddy Canteen and Brandon Watson has not surprisingly stuck to his pledge through the transition. After him though, it’s tough to guess where the help will come from, as the only Midwest linebacker with a Michigan offer is Daelin Hayes, who is committed to Southern Cal. He will play at Ann Arbor Skyline for his senior year, and did visit once after making his commitment, so the Wolverines could still try to sway his interest. The Wolverines also have a pledge from David Reese, who we listed as a fullback, but who could end up at linebacker.
La Puente, CA
Phenix City, AL
St. Petersburg, FL
Coconut Creek, FL
Virginia Beach, VA
Los Angeles, CA
Coconut Creek, FL
Committed Elsewhere: Marquill Osborne to Tennessee; James Valdez to N.C. State; Shyheim Carter to Alabama; Lavert Hill to Penn State
Quick Take: Blake Countess is entering his last season and Jourdan Lewis is just a year of eligibility behind, so the need to replenish the talent at cornerback is significant. That is especially true with Jabrill Peppers playing at safety. Michigan signed Keith Washington to the 2015 class and redshirt freshman Brandon Watson moved to corner this spring, so the cupboard isn’t completely bare. But the Wolverines definitely need to bolster their next wave of talent and depth at the position.
At this point, cornerback recruiting looks a lot like linebacker recruiting. Michigan has sent out offers to the East Coast, to Texas, to California, but has yet to put much focus on closer to home prospects. The only player at the position in the Midwest with an offer is Lavert Hill, and he is committed to Penn State. With so few of the offered cornerback prospects having visited yet, it's tough to get a great feel on where the Wolverines stand. One who did visit following spring practice was Mark Gilbert (picture at right via Hudl).
Either the Wolverines will emerge as strong players for some of the national recruits or more offers will need to go out. It could be a mixture of both those factors.
Old Tappan, NJ
Pembroke Pines, FL
Elk Grove, CA
Committed Elsewhere: Marquel Dismuke to Cal; Spencer Perry to Florida; Devin Gil to Miami; Cameron Lewis to LSU
Quick Take: With the Jabrill Peppers move to safety looking like something that is permenent, the position has at least one very strong player at that spot for the next two to four years. With that said, the Wolverines will be a bit senior loaded in 2016 with Jeremy Clark, Delano Hill and Dymonte Thomas all entering their final season. Once they are gone, the position could be wide open. So a recruit in the 2016 class likely won’t make a huge impact as a true freshman, but the opportunity for playing time in the future is definitely there. Among the younger classes, Michigan has just Peppers and incoming freshman Tyree Kinnel. So worst case scenario for 2016 safety would be competing for a spot on the two-deep in year two.
Once again, Michigan is reaching out to a lot of far-flung locations with its scholarship offers while holding off on Midwest prospects. Demetric Vance is the lone in-state offer at the position, and is definitely one to watch as he has visited on a number of occasions and has continue to show strong interest.