2017 Best Guess Recruiting Class: October 28th

While the Michigan football team and coaching staff gets ready for their trip to East Lansing this week, the recruiting staff is on a bit of a roll as of late. The Wolverines have added two more defensive lineman to the class in Donovan Jeter and Kwity Paye. But that may not be the last addition before the end of the season.

Michigan is in excellent shape with several prospects very high on their board with time starting to run out. And with two more spots taken by Jeter and Paye, I wouldn’t be shocked to see some more names drop over the next month. Spots are going to start running thin in certain positions sooner or later which means players that already know where they want to go but are “just enjoying the process”, are prime candidates to drop before the end of the season.

With Jeter and Paye on board, Michigan is at 18 commitments overall but that’s possibly only the halfway point for this class. That’s what makes this Best Guess Recruiting Class much tougher than some would think.

Here’s how I put together my…..

Michigan recruiting class prediction:

  • Total Number
    • Originally, everyone was hearing the staff is aiming to take 28-32 players in this class. But it looks like the staff could very well go even higher than that. As for how they’d get there, this offseason may be a bit of a purge in terms of players leaving the program via graduation, NFL Draft, not awarded their 5th year of eligibility, retirements and transfers. Add that in with some commits ending up as grayshirts, blue shirts or, possibly even, prep schooling, and the number now looks like it could go as high as 34 commitments.
      • Grayshirts: Allowed to enroll at the University but are not on scholarship until the following year. CB Jeremy Clark came to Michigan as a grayshirt.
      • Blue shirt: “Unrecruited” prospects (no official visit, coaching visits, didn’t sign LOI) are on scholarship right away but are unable to play their sophomore year.
  • Class Attrition
    • It’s looking more and more likely that there will be some more decommitments in this class. The class sits at 18 right now with 25+ targets looking like legit options to join the class from now until National Signing Day. While all of them won’t get in, a lot will and there’s a very real chance meritocracy takes place with the current commits.
    • There’s a good chance a couple names on the “Just Missed” list end up in this class as well.
  • Positional Numbers

So, this class is going to be pretty huge and cause a lot of craziness from now until NSD/the spring. But, when you look at the elite level prospects on the board, it should be completely worth it.

Check out my latest 2017 Michigan football recruiting class prediction:

Chances Key

  • Excellent – Top Team
  • Very Good – Top Three
  • Good – Top Five
  • Fair – Puncher’s Chance
  • Poor – Likely Not Happening

1. QB: Dylan McCaffrey, 6’5″ 205lbs. Littleton, CO (Valor)

Photo Credit: Ray Chen/ArrayPhoto.com

Photo Credit: Ray Chen/ArrayPhoto.com

Though McCaffrey has taken a bit of a tumble in the recruiting rankings, the quarterback commit is still the highest rated player in the class. On top of his talent level, he’s a leader of the class in terms of recruiting the other top talent around the country. Just a couple of top rated recruits he’s targeted includes Donovan Peoples-Jones, Nico Collins and Tedarrell Slaton.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 2/16/16
  • First on List: March 2015
  • RankingsScout (4*, #108 overall) – Rivals (4*, #50 overall) – 247 (4*, #54 overall) – ESPN (4*, #45 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #51 overall, #4 Pro-QB, #1 in Colorado

2. RBKurt Taylor, 5’8” 200lbs. Covington, GA (Grayson) 

Taylor was one of the first members of Michigan’s 2017 class and looks to be as solid as can be in a commitment. He’s been a consistent visitor to campus throughout his recruitment, including his official visit this past weekend for the Penn State game. Things still look as solid as ever here but if UM adds another running back, his recruitment could become a little more interesting.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 10/16/15
  • First on List: August 2015
  • RankingsScout (3*, #56 RB) – Rivals (3*, #26 RB) – 247 (3*, #52 RB) – ESPN (3*, #55 RB)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #840 overall, #52 RB, #84 in Georgia
  • Other Options: Najee Harris, Eno Benjamin, Cam Akers

3. RB: AJ Dillon, 6’1” 240lbs. Groton, MA (Lawrence Academy)

Dillion is the top ranked player out of Massachusetts and proved his ranking after his performance at The Opening. Though his talents translate more to padded football than the 7v7 game, his athleticism consistently shows. He fits the mold of an old-school power back and reminds me a bit of former OSU standout Chris Beanie Wells.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 3/28/16
  • First on ListFebruary 2016
  • RankingsScout (3*, #39 RB) – Rivals (4*, #17 RB) – 247 (4*, #99 overall) – ESPN (3*, #38 RB)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #299 overall, #19 ATH, #1 in Massachusetts
  • Other Options: Najee Harris, Eno Benjamin, Cam Akers

4. RB: O’Maury Samuels, 5’10” 190lbs. Los Lunas, NM (Los Lunas) 

Samuels posted the best rating in The Opening Regional camps with a 138.30 rating (which was the best on the regional circuit). That put his name on the map even more than his commitment to Michigan. With that extra attention, official visits elsewhere are expected. Though I still believe he sticks with the Wolverines in the end, he’s another name to watch if the staff adds a 4th running back to the class.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 4/4/16
  • First on List: April 2016
  • RankingsScout (4*, #22 RB) – Rivals (4*, #18 RB) – 247 (3*, #24 RB) – ESPN (4*, #240 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #275 overall, #21 RB, #1 in New Mexico
  • Other Options: Najee Harris, Eno Benjamin, Cam Akers

5. WR: Donovan Peoples-Jones, 6’2″ 195lbs. Detroit, MI (Cass Tech)

Though Peoples-Jones has yet to officially visit Michigan, all signs still point towards the Wolverines. And with the success on the field and the growth of Wilton Speight, things are looking better than ever. He’s going to be an early enrollee so his decision will come in late December/early January. I’d be shocked if it weren’t Michigan.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #34 overall) – Rivals (5*, #13 overall) – 247 (5*, #8 overall) – ESPN (4*, #27 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 5 star, #12 overall, #1 WR, #1 in Michigan
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Mike Harley

6. WR: Nico Collins, 6’5” 200lbs. Pinson, AL (Clay-Chalkville)

While the likes of Georgia and Alabama have continued to push for Collins, Michigan is still the safest bet here. He’s a normal in Ann Arbor, is very close with several of the current commitments and top targets, and a perfect fit for the Wolverine’s offense. This is another player I’d be completely shocked if he chose anyone but Michigan.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: November 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #115 overall) – Rivals (5*, #23 overall) – 247 (4*, #152 overall) – ESPN (4*, #154 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #89 overall, #13 WR, #3 in Alabama
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Mike Harley 

7. WR: Tarik Black, 6’4” 205lbs. Cheshire, CT (Cheshire Academy)

Photo Credit: Justin Weekes / For the Record-Journal

Black is the best bet out of the four receivers on this list. Though I don’t believe in silent commitments, according to a source, that looks like it may be the case. With the staff looking for big, physical receivers to go along with their slot receiver haul in 2016, Black looks to be sold on the possibilities in Ann Arbor. He’ll make his choice known at the U.S. Army All-American Game. Once again, another player I’d be shocked if he chose anyone but UM.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: May 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #98 overall) – Rivals (4*, #99 overall) – 247 (4*, #187 overall) – ESPN (4*, #223 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #129 overall, #17 WR, #1 in Connecticut
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Mike Harley, Omar Manning

8. WR: Oliver Martin, 6’1” 190lbs. Iowa City, IA (West) 

Out of the four receivers, Martin is by far the guy who is the biggest question mark. He’s a top target for Jim Harbaugh and looks to have loved both of his visits to Ann Arbor. Add in his fit in the offense and the struggles going on at his other top choices (Oregon, Notre Dame and Michigan State) and that’s why my Crystal Ball has been on Michigan since mid-July.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: July 2016
  • RankingsScout (4*, #216 overall) – Rivals (3*, #70 WR) – 247 (4*, #67 overall) – ESPN (4*, #58 WR)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #226 overall, #31 WR, #1 in Iowa
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Mike Harley

9. OT: JaRaymond Hall, 6’5″ 285lbs. Oak Park, MI (Oak Park)

Photo Credit: MIPrepZone

Hall has been committed to Michigan since last December and looks to be solid in that commitment. There were some questions raised by UM fans after Hall was unable to make it to the BBQ at the Big House earlier in the month. However, I believe Hall looks to be one of the most solid commitments in the class as he’s been a regular at the Big House this season. Something crazy would have to happen for him to leave the class.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 12/5/16
  • First on List: March 2015
  • RankingsScout (4*, #36 OT) – Rivals (3*, #72 OT) – 247 (3*, #43 OT) – ESPN (4*, #172 Overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #319 overall, #33 OT, #8 in Michigan

10. OT: Andrew Stueber, 6’6” 290lbs. Darien, CT (Darien) 

Photo Credit: Scout.com

Photo Credit: Scout.com

Stueber may not be the most recognizable name or highly ranked recruits but he’s easily one of the most college ready prospects in UM’s class. He also has the versatility to play all along the line at Michigan, which is another reason why the staff is so high on him. He’s solid as can be to Michigan.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 6/25/16
  • First on List: July 2016
  • RankingsScout (4*, #266 overall) – Rivals (3*, #69 OT) – 247 (3*, #78 OT) – ESPN (4*, #41 OT)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #413 overall, #44 OT, #3 in Connecticut 

11. OT: Joel Honigford, 6’6” 275lbs. Sugarcreek, OH (Garaway) 

Photo Credit: 247Sports

Photo Credit: 247Sports

Honigford is a recruit that has a high ceiling but he’s got a bit of a ways to go to get there. Though he’s very athletic and has the ideal frame for an offensive tackle, his weight is something that he’ll need to work on. Now, that will come with age and more time in the weight room so it’s not a big problem. Once he gets the size and strength necessary, he could be a very nice tackle prospect for Drevno.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 6/29/16
  • First on List: July 2016
  • RankingsScout (3*, #47 OT) – Rivals (3*, #47 OT) – 247 (3*, #72 OT) – ESPN (4*, #204 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #439 overall, #47 OT, #20 in Ohio

12. OT: Kai-Leon Herbert, 6’5” 285lbs. Ft Lauderdale, FL (American Heritage)

Herbert was one of the biggest recruiting wins of the class so far for Michigan after beating out the likes of Florida and Miami (FL) for the Sunshine State standout. But will UM be able to hold onto him? There’s been a lot of smoke out there about Florida and Miami making a move for Herbert. He visited Ann Arbor this past weekend for the Illinois game and looks to be solid once again. We’ll see if the in-state schools are able to change things but, as for now, he looks likely to sign with the Wolverines.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 7/6/2016
  • First on List: June 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #251 overall) – Rivals (4*, #228 overall) – 247 (3*, #72 OT) – ESPN (4*, #108 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #249 overall, #27 OT, #36 in Florida

13. OT: Chuck Filiaga, 6’6” 335lbs. Aledo, TX (Aledo) 

Photo Credit: 247Sports.com

Photo Credit: 247Sports.com

Filiaga is a new name to the list thanks to his official visit for the Wisconsin game earlier in the season. That visit completely changed his recruitment as, once seen as a near lock to USC, the big man told 247Sports’ Jeremy Clark that The Wolverines are his new leader ($). Thanks to that, I put in my Crystal Ball for Michigan and believe he could be one of the next offensive lineman targets to drop.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: Now
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #124 overall) – Rivals (4*, #122 overall) – 247 (4*, #102 overall) – ESPN (4*, #137 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #97 overall, #14 OT, #13 in Texas
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Tedarrell Slaton, Alex Leatherwood, Henry Bainivalu, Aaron Banks, Austin Deculus

14. OL: Isaiah Wilson, 6’7” 350lbs. Brooklyn, NY (Poly Prep) 

Photo Credit: Scout.com

Photo Credit: Scout.com

After Alabama had a couple months of being the top team, Michigan has firmly replaced the Crimson Tide and look to be in excellent shape to sign one of the staff’s top overall targets. His exact decision date is not known yet but I wouldn’t be shocked to see him drop before the new year.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: August 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #49 overall) – Rivals (5*, #6 overall) – 247 (4*, #100 overall) – ESPN (5*, #2 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 5 star, #31 overall, #7 OT, #1 in New York
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Tedarrell Slaton, Alex Leatherwood, Henry Bainivalu, Aaron Banks, Austin Deculus

15. OL: Jedrick Wills, 6’5” 320lbs. Lafayette, KY (Lafayette) 

Photo Credit: Jeff Drummond/Scout.com

Photo Credit: Jeff Drummond/Scout.com

Wills is a name I never thought I’d put on this list but momentum has drastically changed after his official visit for the Wisconsin game. He was seen as a lock to Alabama prior to the visit but now, I’ve changed my Crystal Ball from Bama to Cloudy and could be close to putting my official prediction in for Michigan. This recruitment will be a battle until the final whistle but I believe UM is out front at the moment.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances:Very Good to Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: Now
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #62 overall) – Rivals (5*, #16 overall) – 247 (4*, #48 overall) – ESPN (4*, #89 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #43 overall, #10 OT, #1 in Kentucky
  • Crystal Ball: Cloudy
  • Other Options: Tedarrell Slaton, Alex Leatherwood, Henry Bainivalu, Aaron Banks, Austin Deculus

16. OC: Cesar Ruiz, 6’3” 315lbs. Camden, NJ (IMG Academy)

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

Out of all of the players on the list, Ruiz is right up there with Jaylen Kelly-Powell and Tarik Black in terms of players I feel the most confident about signing with Michigan. He’s been to campus several times and has been rumored to already be recruiting other top players to join him in Ann Arbor. It would be a huge shock if he ends up anywhere else.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: June 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #98 overall) – Rivals (4*, #118 overall) – 247 (4*, #63 overall) – ESPN (4*, #70 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #65 overall, #1 C, #14 in Florida
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Tedarrell Slaton, Alex Leatherwood, Henry Bainivalu, Aaron Banks, Austin Deculus

17. DL/OL: Phillip Paea, 6’4” 280lbs. Berrien Springs, MI (Berrien Springs)

Paea is one of the biggest “just scratching the surface” members of the class. That’s in both his game and as a recruiter. He’s a raw talent but has the chance to be a very good defensive tackle thanks to his sneaky athleticism and wrestling background. As a recruiter, he told Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz about his plans for a “Poly pipeline” to Michigan ($). And he may be a main reason IF Michigan lands Jay Tufele.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 4/2/16
  • First on List: March 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (3*, #26 DT) – Rivals (3*, #16 OG) – 247 (3*, #27 DT) – ESPN (4*, #30 DT)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #445 overall, #35 DT, #11 in Michigan

18. DL/OL: James Hudson, 6’5” 280lbs. Toledo, OH (Central Catholic) 

Photo Credit: Scout.com

Hudson is the latest commitment in the class and is a big time add for the staff. At 6’5” 280+, he has the size and athleticism to play all along the defensive line but is expected to play the 3-5 technique for Michigan. Though MSU was a close 2nd place finish, I don’t expect him to end up anywhere besides Ann Arbor, barring any craziness. Though his college position is up for question as several reports have come out mentioning his unreal ceiling as a left tackle. We’ll see what the coaching staff has in store for Hudson.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 8/8/16
  • First on List: May 2016
  • RankingsScout (3*, #32 DE) – Rivals (4*, #233 overall) – 247Sports (4*, #221 overall) –ESPN (4*, #30 DE)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #322 overall, #13 SDE, #16 in Ohio

19. DT: Rutger Reitmaier, 6’3” 275lbs. Nashville, TN (Lipscomb Academy)

Photo Credit: Scout.com

Photo Credit: Scout.com

Reitmaier is a new name to the list and another player I believe Michigan will eventually flip from his current commitment. He received his offer from the staff just a couple of weeks ago and looks to be a perfect fit in the Michigan defense thank to his size and tenacity. And the coaching staff will likely push for him when he eventually makes his way up north for his official visit. That trip, his fit in the defense and Oregon having their worst season in years should be more than enough for him to flip.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: No
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good (Committed to Oregon)
  • Highlights
  • First on List: No
  • Rankings: Scout (3*, #32 DT) – Rivals (3*, #28 DT) – 247 (4*, #164 overall) – ESPN (4*, #25 DT)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #366 overall, #24 DT, #11 in Tennessee
  • Crystal Ball: None
  • Other Options: Tedarrell Slaton, Popo Aumavae, Robert Porcher IV

20. DT: Jay Tufele, 6’3” 295lbs. South Jordan, UT (Bingham) 

Photo Credit: Scout.com

Photo Credit: Scout.com

Tufele is back on the list and likely to stay here. He finally made his way to Ann Arbor for his official visit last weekend and, from all reports, absolutely loved it. His fit in the defense, in the program, and with the UM Poly players and coaches all have me extremely close to putting in a Crystal Ball here.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: July 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #37 overall) – Rivals (4*, #95 overall) – 247 (4*, 39 overall) – ESPN (4*, #131 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #59 overall, #3 DT, #1 in Utah
  • Crystal Ball: None
  • Other Options: Tedarrell Slaton, Popo Aumavae, Robert Porcher IV

21. DL: Deron Irving-Bey, 6’5” 285lbs. Flint, MI (Southwestern)

Irving-Bey once looked like a lock to Michigan State but with the Spartans season spiraling out of control and Michigan pushing for him to be part of the class, things are looking better and better for UM here. He’s expected to be at the game between the two programs tomorrow. If UM puts on another show, it could be all he needs to see for him to grab one of the last defensive line spots remaining in the class.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: Now
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #277 overall) – Rivals (3*, #16 SSDE) – 247 (4*, #289 overall) – ESPN (4*, #258 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #304 overall, #12 SSDE, #7 in Michigan
  • Crystal Ball: None
  • Other Options: Tedarrell Slaton, Popo Aumavae, Robert Porcher IV

22. DL: Donovan Jeter, 6’5” 250lbs. Beaver Falls, PA (Beaver Falls)

Jeter is the 279th ranked player in the country and the #11 strong side defensive end in the class. And I believe that’s a very fair ranking. The talented lineman is a big, strong, physical player that has the size and the athleticism to play the 5, 7 and, with some more size, the 3 technique in Don Brown’s defense. As for his commitment, he looks very likely to sign with Michigan.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 8/8/16
  • First on List: May 2016
  • RankingsScout (4*, #300 overall) – Rivals (4*, #14 DT) – 247Sports (4*, #237 overall) – ESPN (4*, #28 DE)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #279 overall, #11 SSDE, #8 in Pennsylvania

23. DE: Kwity Paye, 6’4” 235lbs. Warwick, RI (Bishop Hendrickson) 

Photo Credit: ESPN

Photo Credit: ESPN

Paye is a player that was quickly identified by Don Brown as a perfect fit for the Michigan defense. His size, speed and motor pops off of the screen throughout his highlights, as does his pure rawness. With more coaching and time in the weight room, he could be a very disruptive player in the Maize and Blue throughout his playing career. As for his commitment, he flipped from Boston College and looks set to sign with UM, barring any crazy changes.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 8/8/16
  • First on List: May 2016
  • RankingsScout (3*, #32 DE) – Rivals (4*, #233 overall) – 247Sports (4*, #221 overall) –ESPN (4*, #30 DE)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #314 overall, #13 SDE, #15 in Ohio

24. DE: Luiji Vilain, 6’4” 235lbs. Ontario, Canada (Episcopal (VA)) 

Photo Credit: Hudl.com

Vilain was the 2nd Canadian addition the class and, like fellow Canadian Benjamin St-Juste, he’s a player with a very high ceiling. Though he’s already a top 100 recruit in the class, I firmly believe he’d be a top 50 guy, pushing for five star status, if he played his entire high school career in the US. Luckily for Michigan, they’ll get the chance to reap the benefits of his natural ability throughout his career.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 6/12/16
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #138 overall) – Rivals (4*, #181 overall) – 247 (4*, #85 overall) – ESPN (4*, #102 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #95 overall, #7 WDE, #3 in Virginia

25. DE: Corey Malone-Hatcher, 6’4” 240lbs. Saint Joseph, MI (St. Joe’s)

Malone-Hatcher is another one of those “scratching the surface” commitments mainly because of the injury that kept him out for a large portion of his junior season. But he’s back to 100% and should put on a show during his senior year. At Michigan, he’s projected to play weak side defensive end but he’ll continue to play linebacker and tight end throughout his senior season. As for his recruitment, don’t worry about him going anywhere in this class. He’s become the vocal leader and main player recruiter for the 2017 class.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 6/2/16
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #297 overall) – Rivals (4*, #14 SDE) – 247 (4*, #261 overall) – ESPN (4*, #273 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #285 overall, #17 WDE, #5 in Michigan

26. ILB: Josh Ross, 6’2″ 225lbs. West Bloomfield, MI (OLSM)

Photo Credit: MIPrepZone

Ross is easily one of the most solid commitments in the class. As a four star inside linebacker, he’s not only a big get for the staff but he’s also a player that should see the field quickly. He has the athleticism and instincts to be a game changer as both a blitzer and coverage linebacker in Don Brown’s defense.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 3/22/16
  • First on List: March 2015
  • RankingsScout (4*, #230 overall) – Rivals (4*, #206 overall) – 247 (4*, #194 overall) – ESPN (4*, #234 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #209 overall, #10 ILB, #3 in Michigan

27. ILB: Ben Mason, 6’3” 245lbs. Newtown, CT (Sandy Hook)

Photo Credit: H John Voorhees III / Hearst Connecticut Media

Mason is one of the two-way players in the class which makes him a player that doesn’t look to be going anywhere. His ability to play both linebacker and fullback at the collegiate level fits Harbaugh’s style to a tee. Outside of his on the field play, he’s also a pretty big recruiter for the class as he targets the east coast targets in Tarik Black and Isaiah Wilson. It’s looking unlikely he signs with anyone besides the Wolverines.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 5/3/16
  • First on List: May 2016
  • RankingsScout (3*, #64 DE) – Rivals (3*) – 247 (3*, #35 ILB) – ESPN (4*, #28 OLB)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #738 overall, #34 ILB, #5 in Connecticut

28. OLB: Drew Singleton, 6’3″ 215lbs. Paramus, NJ (Paramus Catholic)

Photo Credit: Steve Hockstein | For NJ Advance Media

Singleton has firmly been a member of this class prediction and continues to be a part of it, even after tearing his ACL and being out for the rest of his senior season. That injury is a hiccup at this point and I don’t believe it will affect his standing with the staff. His great relationships with both the players on the roster and staff have me, once again, feeling very confident he’ll end up choosing Michigan over Clemson and others.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #68 overall) – Rivals (4*, #43 overall) – 247 (4*, #77 overall) – ESPN (4*, #131 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #67 overall, #3 OLB, #1 in New Jersey
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Willie Gay, Shanon Reid, Baron Browning, Juliano Falaniko, Ellis Brooks 

29. OLB: Jordan Anthony, 6’1” 230lbs. Olney, MD (IMG Academy) 

Anthony has become another mainstay on this class prediction and will continue to be on here until something more comes out about him not choosing UM or linebacker spots running out. But, since that’s not the case, he’s firmly on the list with a decision that looks like it could come at any moment.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: June 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #150 overall) – Rivals (4*, #70 overall) – 247 (4*, #200 overall) – ESPN (4*, #125 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #116 overall, #6 OLB, #22 in Florida
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Willie Gay, Shanon Reid, Baron Browning, Juliano Falaniko, Ellis Brooks

30. OLB/S: Brelin Faison-Walden, 6’1” 200lbs. Greensboro, NC (Grimsley) 

Photo Credit: InsideCarolina.com

Photo Credit: InsideCarolina.com

Could Jim Harbaugh really flip another Penn State commit? While it’s a bit of a reach at this point, I’m going out on a limb and saying yes. And Faison-Walden is, by far, the best bet. He’s a player that reminds me a ton of 2016 signee and PSU flipper, Khaleke Hudson, thanks to his athleticism and versatility at the safety position. He made his way to Michigan for the Wisconsin game and things continue to look to be trending towards UM, though it may come down to how hard the staff pushes for him from now until he signs his LOI.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good (Committed to Penn State)
  • Highlights
  • First on List: Now
  • Rankings: Scout (3*, #34 S) – Rivals (4*, #23 OLB) – 247Sports (3*, #32 OLB) – ESPN (3*, #37 S)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #448 overall, #27 OLB, #14 in North Carolina
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Willie Gay, Juliano Falaniko, Shanon Reid, CJ Holmes, Grant Delpit

31. SJaylen Kelly-Powell, 6’0” 183lbs. Detroit, MI (Cass Tech)

Photo Credit: YouTube.com

Kelly-Powell is as close to a lock as you can find on the recruiting trail. With a decision date not set in stone, I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see him drop right after his senior season is over.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: May 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #276 overall) – Rivals (3*, #27 S) – 247 (4*, #145 overall) – ESPN (4*, #265 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #259 overall, #21 S, #4 in Michigan
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Shanon Reid, Juliano Falaniko, CJ Holmes, Matt Hankins, Grant Delpit

32. S: J’Marick Woods, 6’4” 205lbs. Florence, AL (Florence)

Photo Credit: USATodayHSS

Woods has long been committed to Michigan and has been a top recruiter for the staff throughout the cycle. He’s been talking about helping build a pipeline from Alabama to Michigan, which Harbaugh and his staff have been trying to set up since they got to Ann Arbor. Even though he’s taking other visits, look for Woods to, not only sign with UM, but to be a big reason why others sign with UM.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 3/28/16
  • First on List: April 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #26 S) – Rivals (3*, #36 S) – 247 (3*, #32 S) – ESPN (4*, #21 S)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #349 overall, #28 S, #16 in Alabama

33. CB: Benjamin St-Juste, 6’3” 190lbs. Montreal, Quebec (Cegep du Vieux) 

Photo Credit: CEGEP du Vieux Montreal

St-Juste went from an unknown recruit to a legit four star cornerback after showing off the size and athleticism that the Michigan staff saw during the camp circuit. Besides recruiting analysts, other programs have started to take notice as well. Virginia Tech is the biggest new comer to extend an offer to St-Juste and is expected to receive an official this fall. However, it looks highly unlikely the Canadian standout leaves UM’s class.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 6/23/2015
  • First on List: August 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (3*, #32 CB) – Rivals (4*, #215 overall) – 247 (4*, #92 overall) – ESPN (3*, #61 CB)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #319 overall, #35 CB, #1 in Quebec

34. CB: Ambry Thomas, 5’10” 170lbs. Detroit, MI (King)

Photo Credit: CampusInsiders

Thomas is starting to look more and more like a player that Michigan will eventually sign. However, he’s still enjoying his recruitment and MSU is a threat. Though, with the Spartans having a tough year, look for Michigan to wrap him up with a successful season.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #55 overall) – Rivals (4*, #174 overall) – 247 (4*, #32 overall) – ESPN (4*, #257 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #100 overall, #11 CB, #2 in Michigan
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Brandon Sebastian, Matt Hankins

35. CB: Darnay Holmes, 5’10” 190lbs. Calabasas, CA (Calabasas)

Photo Credit: MaxPreps

For another month, I’m sticking to my guns with Holmes ending up in this Michigan class. UCLA is the longtime favorite because of his ties to DB coach Demetrice Martin but I think Michigan is running neck and neck with the Bruins. His visit for the BBQ went over better than, probably, anyone expected and, according to MaizenBrew’s Evan Petzold, he’s slated to make an official return this December. With UCLA struggling on the field and Michigan thriving, I believe that visit could put UM over the top heading into the final months of the cycle.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good
  • Highlights
  • First on List: March 2015
  • RankingsScout (5*, #8 overall) – Rivals (5*, #15 overall) – 247 (5*, #18 overall) – ESPN (4*, #40 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 5 star, #11 overall, #2 CB, #3 in California
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Brandon Sebastian, Matt Hankins

Projected Class Score: 303.70 (per 247Sports

Though it’s highly unlikely this class finishes exactly as I have it above (because of likely departures), it would be one of the best classes in the country. This score would give UM a chance to surpass Ohio State on NSD though that looks unlikely, unless they add a couple big names on the list below to the class.

Just Missed

  • OL Tedarrell Slaton
    • Slaton was the last name taken off of the list. My Crystal Ball is still firmly on Michigan though there are some questions out there about Miami making a move here. However, I still think he ends up at UM, especially with Kai-Leon Herbert looking more likely to stay in the class.
  • S/OLB Shanon Reid
    • Reid is another Florida recruit that I have my Crystal Ball on to Michigan. However, there are some grade issues that need to be cleared up before UM can accept him. If/when that happens, UM should be the choice. But with the tight numbers, had to hold him off for now.
  • CB Brandon Sebastian
    • Sebastian is the name on this list that I believe will be the one to drop just days after I publish this article. He’s still committed to Boston College but, as long as UM has him as a take, he looks likely to flip to the Wolverines sooner or later.
  • FB Tory Carter
    • Carter has been committed to LSU since May but with Les Miles out in Baton Rouge, he looks like he could end up leaving the Tigers as well. Michigan is the most-likely landing spot, if he does flip his commitment, especially with this class no longer featuring a full back after the Chase Laster decommitment.
  • RB Najee Harris
    • Harris is the big fish in this class and is starting to look more and more like a real possibility to join this class. Though I’m not ready to put in a Crystal Ball for him to flip from Alabama, I do believe this race is tightening and will be one to watch very closely from now until he signs his LOI.
  • OT Alex Leatherwood
    • Leatherwood, like Harris, is committed to Alabama but is a top target for the Michigan coaching staff. He’s an elite offensive tackle prospect and looks to be falling in love with UM as his recruitment goes on. Im not ready to put in the flip prediction yet but, like Harris, he’s a guy UM will push extremely hard for up until he signs.
  • OLB Baron Browning
    • Browning is another elite level prospect that Michigan is making a move for. But, unlike Harris and Leatherwood, he’s a longer shot to end at UM, at this point. Texas has been the longtime favorite but with their season going down the drain and Charlie Strong looking very likely to be fired, UM has taken advantage. Only problem is the likelihood of Tom Herman taking the coaching job and likely winning over Browning pretty quickly.
  • LB Willie Gay
    • Gay officially visited Michigan last week and the visit went so well that he decommitted from Ole Miss and Michigan is now on top. However, there are questions about his academic standings and whether or not he’ll be a take for UM because of it. If he is, he’ll be a part of this class.
  • OL Henry Bainivalu
    • Bainivalu was on the list for awhile but with Washington having a great year, they look like the most likely landing spot for the in-stater. My Crystal Ball is now on Huskies though an official visit to Ann Arbor could sway momentum back towards the Wolverines.
  • TE Josh Falo
    • Fall remains the most likely tight end to sign with Michigan but that’s not saying much. Besides Dalton Keene, there really aren’t many known options out there. Colorado, where his brother plays, looks to be the leader at the moment, though an official to Ann Arbor could put UM out front heading into the winter.
  • OLB Juliano Falaniko
    • Falaniko looked likely to flip from USC when their season was falling apart. However, they have got things back on track and the American Samoan looks like he just may stay with the Trojans. He’s still a guy to watch closely moving forward though as UM could very well land him, if they push.

Don’t Forget About Us 

So, that’s my extremely long class prediction. What would yours look like right now? Let us know in the comment section below!

Photo Credit: Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog

Garrett Fishaw

Born and raised in Metro Detroit. Played soccer and graduated from Seton Hill University. Live in Atlanta. Owner and Managing Editor of MGoFish.com