2017 Best Guess Recruiting Class: January 25th

It’s almost here. National Signing Day 2017 is on Wednesday, February 1st aka one week from today. So, with the clock running down and several big name targets left on the board, I’ve put together my 2nd to last 2017 Best Guess Michigan Recruiting Class. And with just a week remaining before NSD, things are getting clearer but they are far from a done deal. There are 6-7 real options to end up being a part of this class. So, that didn’t make my latest class prediction any easier.

Here’s how I put together my latest Michigan recruiting class prediction:

  • Total Number
    • The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown had a phenomenal break down of how many scholarships Michigan could have available in this class. Everyone is hearing it’ll be a big class and Brown backs it up with his numbers, saying it could land between 32-35 signees for the Wolverines ($), depending on roster attrition via graduation, transfer and the NFL draft. Others have it closer to 30.
    • With pretty much every need checked off and not too many realistic options left on the board, I’m going witha a 30 person class. This would help boost up the 2018 haul.
  • Class Attrition
    • Kai-Leon Herbert decommitted, as expected, and may not be the last one before NSD. While it’s far from a sure-thing, Kurt Taylor looks to be a name to watch. The offer from Michigan State and Hawaii look to have really caught his attention, especially with the logjam at the running back spot in Ann Arbor.
  • Positional Numbers
    • The offensive line is at five commitments after the Herbert decommitment and want at least one more lineman in this class.
    • The defensive line is up to seven commitments but with some guys looking like they could end up on the offensive line during their careers, there’s a chance Michigan takes one more defensive lineman.
    • As for receiver, with the Grant Perry’s future up in the air and three legit wide receivers already committed, the staff is now targeting two more guys, looking likely to add at least one of them.
    • Michigan’s linebacker haul is one of the best in the country but the staff is looking for the cherry on top.

So, without further adieu, check out my latest 2017 Michigan 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 one of the gems of the class. On top of his talent level, he’s one of the leaders of the class in terms of recruiting the other top talent around the country. He was a big part of Michigan landing the likes of Donovan Peoples-Jones and Tarik Black. He’s also a big reason why Michigan has a very real chance to land Oliver Martin and Nico Collins.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 2/16/16
  • First on List: March 2015
  • RankingsScout (4*, #134 overall) – Rivals (4*, #131 overall) – 247 (4*, #204 overall) – ESPN (4*, #60 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #123 overall, #5 Pro-QB, #2 in Colorado

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

Taylor was one of the first members of Michigan’s 2017 class and proved a lot during his senior season after a transfer to Georgia high school football powerhouse, Grayson. He was one of the most sure-fire signings by UM early on but with Michigan State offering and pushing for another running back in its class, he could have a better chance to see the field early on in East Lansing than in Ann Arbor. We’ll see if that is enough to flip him in the final moments of the cycle. This will be interesting to watch.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 10/16/15
  • First on List: August 2015
  • RankingsScout (3*, #64 RB) – Rivals (2*) – 247 (3*, #55 RB) – ESPN (3*, #56 RB)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #893 overall, #58 RB, #95 in Georgia
  • Other Options: Sione Lund

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

Samuels has become one of the names to watch closest prior to NSD in the aftermath of the Najee Harris fallout. He’s been flirting with Arizona and others for awhile now but with Michigan getting him on campus for an official and making sure he knew how important he is to the class, all signs point to him signing with UM.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 4/4/16
  • First on List: April 2016
  • RankingsScout (4*, #21 RB) – Rivals (4*, #21 RB) – 247 (3*, #22 RB) – ESPN (4*, #240 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #277 overall, #21 RB, #1 in New Mexico
  • Other Options: Sione Lund

4. FB/LB: 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. While he looks likely to start out his career on defense, I believe he could be a true two-way player for Michigan in the same form as former Stanford FB/LB Owen Marecic. He’s enrolled.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 5/3/16
  • First on List: May 2016
  • RankingsScout (3*, #65 DE) – Rivals (3*, #35 ILB) – 247 (3*, #36 ILB) – ESPN (4*, #30 OLB)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #806 overall, #32 ILB, #7 in Connecticut

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

Peoples-Jones will be the cream of the crop of Michigan’s 2017 class. He’s already enrolled and, with the departures of UM’s top two receivers, he should have as good of a chance as any freshmen to make an impact from day one.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 12/15/16
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (5*, #22 overall) – Rivals (5*, #12 overall) – 247 (5*, #26 overall) – ESPN (4*, #22 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 5 star, #12 overall, #1 WR, #1 in Michigan

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

Photo Credit: Justin Weekes / For the Record-Journal

Another December addition to the class, Black was the second addition of the month as he dropped the best commitment video in recruiting history (on tape delay) to the country. And like Peoples-Jones, he has a very real chance to contribute throughout his freshmen year.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 12/14/16
  • First on List: May 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #90 overall) – Rivals (4*, #76 overall) – 247 (4*, #194 overall) – ESPN (4*, #225 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #122 overall, #17 WR, #1 in Connecticut

7. WR: Brad Hawkins, 6’2” 210lbs. Camden, NJ (Suffield Academy)

Photo Credit: 247Sports.com

Photo Credit: 247Sports.com

Hawkins is now firmly in the 2017 recruiting class after taking a prep year at Suffield Academy after signing in 2016. His addition is one that is flying under the radar but should be felt during his time in Ann Arbor. His physical build and athleticism will give him a chance to be a standout whether he ends up playing wide receiver or safety for the Wolverines. At this point, it looks like he’ll be on offense to start off career.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 7/3/2015
  • First on List: April 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (3*) – Rivals (4*, #235 overall) – 247 (4*, #202) – ESPN (4*, #193 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #206 overall

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

Collins has quickly gone from one of the safest bets to join the class to one of the bigger toss ups heading into NSD. Georgia has clearly made a big push, as it did with Isaiah Wilson, who eventually ended up committing to UGA over UM, and with the pursuit of Oliver Martin picking back up, it looks like the staff knows it’s in for another fight. Collins has heavily favored the Wolverines thoughtout and I’m remaining optimistic that UM’s staff will be able to land the big receiver’s signature on NSD. Though I’m far from being as confident about it as I once was.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: November 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #178 overall) – Rivals (4*, #120 overall) – 247 (4*, #200 overall) – ESPN (4*, #154 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #136 overall, #23 WR, #5 in Alabama
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: None 

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

Like Solomon earlier on, Martin makes a return to the list after some time off it. Thanks to the additions of Brad Hawkins, Tarik Black and Donovan Peoples-Jones, as well as the longtime pursuit of Nico Collins, the staff looked to slow down on Martin just a bit. But that has all changed. With some questions surrounding Collins’ recruitment, Michigan has picked up the pursuit of the multi-sport athlete. According to multiple reports, the staff (most importantly, Pep Hamilton) made its way to Iowa City for an in-home visit with the Martin’s. And now UM looks to be the favorite again ($). My Crystal Ball is back on the Wolverines though it may all come down to who gets this last official visit.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: July 2016
  • RankingsScout (4*, #216 overall) – Rivals (4*, #206 overall) – 247 (4*, #47 overall) – ESPN (4*, #60 WR)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #169 overall, #28 WR, #1 in Iowa
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: None

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

Photo Credit: MIPrepZone

Hall has been committed to Michigan since last December and is locked into his commitment. He enrolled early and will likely have the chance to have a leg up on the other offensive lineman commits that will be heading to Ann Arbor over the summer. That time in the weight room and with the coaches should be huge for his career in the Maize and Blue.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 12/5/16
  • First on List: March 2015
  • RankingsScout (4*, #35 OT) – Rivals (3*, #78 OT) – 247 (3*, #43 OT) – ESPN (4*, #169 Overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #316 overall, #32 OT, #8 in Michigan

11. OL: 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*, #248 overall) – Rivals (3*, #74 OT) – 247 (3*, #78 OT) – ESPN (4*, #41 OT)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #431 overall, #46 OT, #4 in Connecticut 

12. OL: 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*, #51 OT) – Rivals (3*, #49 OT) – 247 (3*, #72 OT) – ESPN (4*, #205 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #448 overall, #48 OT, #20 in Ohio

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

Photo Credit: 247Sports.com

Photo Credit: 247Sports.com

Nebraska and Oklahoma made late pushes, a Jim Harbaugh speech to his high school team and the chance to play early kept the Wolverines out front throughout. He announced his commitment to Michigan at the U.S. Army All-American Game and gave the staff its day one contributor it needed in this class. He’s one of the offensive lineman commits that could make an early impact at Michigan.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 1/7/17
  • First on List: October 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #139 overall) – Rivals (4*, #175 overall) – 247 (4*, #99 overall) – ESPN (4*, #137 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #113 overall, #15 OT, #18 in Texas

14. OL: Mekhi Becton, 6’7” 340lbs. Highland Springs, VA (Highland Springs)

Becton has quickly vaulted to the top of priority list for the staff heading into NSD. He’s pretty much the only offensive lineman left on the board (depending on how serious the staff is about Gray Davis) and, after the Herbert decommitment, the staff will push hard here. At the moment, it looks like Virginia Tech may be sitting atop his list after a great official visit. However, with Michigan pushing hard and pitching the chance to play early, I think Harbaugh could steal the big tackle out of his home state. But this one it going to be much closer than originally believed.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: December 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (3*, #42 OT) – Rivals (4*, #195 overall) – 247 (3*, #48 OT) – ESPN (4*, #34 OT)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #399 overall, #42 OT, #16 in Virginia
  • Crystal Ball: None
  • Other Options: Gray Davis

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

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

After months of waiting, Ruiz followed through on being one of the safest bets to be in the class by announcing his commitment via a Bleacher Report video on December 19th. His addition is huge for this class as he’s at, arguably, the biggest single positional need for the staff. He should have a chance to play right away in the Maize and Blue, especially after enrolling early.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 12/19/16
  • First on List: June 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #98 overall) – Rivals (4*, #41 overall) – 247 (4*, #55 overall) – ESPN (4*, #28 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #44 overall, #1 C, #8 in Florida

16. 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. It may take a year for him to build into a college ready lineman but his hands and raw strength should give him a chance to be a nice player for UM.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 4/2/16
  • First on List: March 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (3*, #28 DT) – Rivals (3*, #22 OG) – 247 (3*, #29 DT) – ESPN (4*, #30 DT)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #456 overall, #37 DT, #13 in Michigan

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

Photo Credit: Scout.com

Hudson may not have all the flash and rankings but he 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. However, it’s rumored that he could possibly have a brighter future on the offensive side of the ball as a tackle. Either way, look for him to be one of the biggest gets in this class.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 8/8/16
  • First on List: May 2016
  • RankingsScout (4*, #273 overall) – Rivals (4*, #240 overall) – 247 (4*, #109 overall) –ESPN (4*, #30 DE)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #219 overall, #4 SDE, #2 in Ohio

18. DL/OL: Deron Irving-Bey, 6’5” 285lbs. Flint, MI (Southwestern Academy)

Photo Credit: Mark Felix | MLive.com

Photo Credit: Mark Felix | MLive.com

Irving-Bey is another member of #commitmas for Michigan as the big man out of Flint moved up his announcement date and ended all speculation by committing to the Wolverines. This is another big win for UM over Michigan State, who was the heavy favorite for the majority of his recruitment. But the opportunity to play under Greg Mattison and in the UM defense was more than enough to sway him to Michigan.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 12/19/16
  • First on List: October 2016
  • RankingsScout (4*, #269 overall) – Rivals (3*, #18 SSDE) – 247 (4*, #187 overall) – ESPN (4*, #223 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #258 overall, #7 SSDE, #4 in Michigan

19. DT: Aubrey Solomon, 6’4” 295lbs. Leesburg, GA (Lee County)

Photo Credit: 247Sports

Photo Credit: 247Sports

Solomon is firmly back on this list as I’ve put in my Crystal Ball prediction on him after craziness happened during the Army All-American Bowl weekend. From Alabama leading by a mile to him dissing Michigan on video to every top analyst hearing that the Wolverines are in the drivers seat, Solomon’s recruitment has been a roller coaster. And while it’s hard to say it’s over, all signs point to the former commitment going back to his original decision and signing with the Wolverines on NSD.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: June 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (5*, #11 overall) – Rivals (5*, #31 overall) – 247 (5*. #30 overall) – ESPN (4*, #63 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Five star, #25 overall, #2 DT, #3 in Georgia
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Jay Tufele

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

Photo Credit: Scout.com

Photo Credit: Scout.com

The talented lineman is a big, strong, physical player that has the size and the athleticism to play the five, seven and, with some more size, the three-technique in Don Brown’s defense. And when you look at the departures on the defensive line, as an early enrollee, he has a real shot to contribute early on.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 8/8/16
  • First on List: May 2016
  • RankingsScout (4*, #34 DE) – Rivals (4*, #13 DT) – 247Sports (4*, #249 overall) – ESPN (4*, #28 DE)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #289 overall, #14 SSDE, #8 in Pennsylvania

21. 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 legit ball carrying ability as a running back. 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.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 8/8/16
  • First on List: May 2016
  • RankingsScout (3*, #75 DE) – Rivals (3*, #35 WSDE) – 247 (3*, #45 WSDE) – ESPN (4*, #26 DE)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #547 overall, #32 SDE, #1 in Rhode Island

22. 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. And he’s showed the potential off at the Under Armour All-American Game. Luckily for Michigan, they’ll get the chance to reap the benefits of his natural ability throughout his career. He has the chance to be a star.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 6/12/16
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #102 overall) – Rivals (4*, #74 overall) – 247 (4*, #36 overall) – ESPN (4*, #69 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #56 overall, #5 WSDE, #3 in Virginia

23. 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 an early enrollee, he could see the field as a pass rushing and special teams coverage specialist.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 6/2/16
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #297 overall) – Rivals (4*, #12 SDE) – 247 (4*, #284 overall) – ESPN (4*, #273 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #291 overall, #19 WDE, #6 in Michigan

24. 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*, #196 overall) – Rivals (4*, #222 overall) – 247 (4*, #202 overall) – ESPN (4*, #236 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #214 overall, #8 ILB, #3 in Michigan

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

Photo Credit: Steve Hockstein | For NJ Advance Media

Singleton has long been a Michigan lean, even with all of the Clemson smoke out there over the summer. And he backed up all of those rumors about him ending up in the Maize and Blue by committing to the Wolverines just two days before Christmas. His addition to the class is a big one as he’s the next big thing out of Paramus Catholic and one of the best linebackers in the class.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #93 overall) – Rivals (4*, #52 overall) – 247 (4*, #100 overall) – ESPN (4*, #158 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #80 overall, #4 OLB, #1 in New Jersey

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

Anthony is yet another top 125 player to commit to Michigan in December and may be the most underrated addition of the month. He’s an athletic linebacker that may not have the elite size but he has the speed, instincts and tenacity that any linebacker coach would love to work with. Whether he ends up on the inside or outside, he could end up being a very productive player for the Wolverines throughout his career.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • First on List: June 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #153 overall) – Rivals (5*, #26 overall) – 247 (4*, #210 overall) – ESPN (4*, #124 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #107 overall, #9 OLB, #21 in Florida

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

Photo Credit: YouTube.com

This was an ending sources have let us know about for quite sometime as he worked with our very own Stephen Osentoski to put together his official commitment video. Look for him to become a main recruiter alongside Corey Malone-Hatcher to wrap up this class. As a player, he’s expected to player Jabrill Peppers’ “Viper” position as a hybrid safety/linebacker. He’s another early enrollee.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • First on List: May 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #278 overall) – Rivals (3*, #34 S) – 247 (4*, #156 overall) – ESPN (4*, #265 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #264 overall, #21 S, #5 in Michigan

28. 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. Though Mississippi State and Arkansas made a push, Woods reaffirmed his commitment to the Wolverines earlier in the month.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 3/28/16
  • First on List: April 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #29 S) – Rivals (3*, #45 S) – 247 (3*, #45 S) – ESPN (4*, #21 S)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #379 overall, #29 S, #16 in Alabama

29. DB: Ifeatu Melifonwu, 6’3” 190lbs. Grafton, MA (Grafton Memorial)

Melifonwu is the only first timer on the list and he’s coming from out of left field. A long time Syracuse commit, he’s a name that has just recently popped up on the radar and things are moving quickly. The staff visted him last week and he’s officially visiting this week. This will come down to whether or not UM offers him. I’m guessing they will since they took the time out to set up of an official this close to NSD. My Crystal Ball is on Michigan.

  • Offer: No
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good (Committed to Syracuse)
  • Highlights
  • First on List: Now
  • Rankings: Scout (2*) – Rivals (2*) – 247 (3*, #69 S) – ESPN (3*, #80 ATH)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #1804 overall, #137 S, #5 in Massachusetts
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Brandon Sebastian 

30. 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 corner back 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 made a late push but St-Juste reaffirmed to Michigan and is now enrolled in Ann Arbor. His length and athleticism could get him on the field right away thanks to UM’s top three five defensive backs heading to the NFL.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 6/23/2015
  • First on List: August 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (3*, #38 CB) – Rivals (4*, #229 overall) – 247 (4*, #94 overall) – ESPN (3*, #82 CB)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #331 overall, #37 CB, #1 in Canada

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

Photo Credit: CampusInsiders

After a tough fought battle, Michigan came out on top for Thomas as it beat out Michigan State for the talented two-way talent. He was actually the true start to the December commitment haul for UM as he decided to announce his public pledge earlier in the month. Look for him to be a standout at cornerback and as a return man during his time in Ann Arbor.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #56 overall) – Rivals (4*, #146 overall) – 247 (4*, #62 overall) – ESPN (4*, #186 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #94 overall, #13 CB, #2 in Michigan

Projected Class Score: 393.89 (per 247Sports

If Michigan wraps up NSD with the class above, it’ll very likely stay right where it is right now, #4 behind Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia. After missing on a couple big names, like Isaiah Wilson and Willie Gay, UM will be unable to jump any of the teams above them and really make this class an all-timer.

Just Missed

  • LB Willie Gay
    • This was a last second move on my part. Though LSU looks to be leading, Michigan looks to have the family on its side. As does in-state Mississippi State. And when you add in the real chance that LSU flips Christopher Allen from Alabama, UM should have a very real shot to get Gay’s signature. But this one is too close to call for UM at this point. This is truly going to be a surprise to whichever team he chooses.
  • DT Jay Tufele
    • Tufele is a player the Michigan staff clearly isn’t giving up on, even though most analysts believe this is a Utah-USC battle. But the fact that they keep visiting and pushing is intriguing. I believe he’ll end up staying home and picking Utah but it looks like Michigan may be in this one a little more than most believed.
  • DB Brandon Sebastian
    • Sebastian was expected to officially visit right after the dead period ended but his trip was cancelled. It was said to be a mutual agreement but there’s likely a little more to that story. Either way, it’s interesting, especially with the sudden pursuit and very possible add in Melifonwu. Sebastian will sign with Boston College barring anything crazy happening before NSD.
  • P Brad Robbins
  • OG Gray Davis
    • According to multiple reports, the staff is visiting Davis before NSD. As a two star recruit, most would think this is a longshot from happening but they’re at least keeping tabs on him before the 1st. If an offer comes, it’ll obviuosly be a quick decision. We’ll see if it’s a real offer or PWO offer.

Photo Credit: Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog

Garrett Fishaw

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