2017 Best Guess Recruiting Class: December 25th

Happy Holidays, everyone. While I hope everyone is safe and got everything they wanted, I know Michigan recruiting fans are still keeping an eye on the chimney to see if Jim Harbaugh will be adding the nation’s top football recruit to the #commitmas presents that have already been delivered. That includes the top ranked wide receiver in the country, the top ranked center in the country, and two of the top ranked linebackers in the country.

So, will the snowball effect continue for Michigan before National Signing Day? ?

I wouldn’t bet against it as the likes of Najee Harris, Chuck Filiaga, Nico Collins and Willie Gay are still out there and will announce their commitments between now and NSD.

Now to my latest Best Guess Recruiting List, here’s how I put it together:

  • 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. So, I’ll have mine right in the middle, with a real chance of departures.
  • Class Attrition
    • At this point, I could see 1-2 more players possibly leave the class. If Harris chooses UM, one of the current running backs could look elsewhere. Besides that, there is a chance any of the longer term guys could look for better opportunities elsewhere or get processed out of the class prior to NSD. Herbert looking like a guy who could possibly opt to stay closer to home for his college ball.
  • Positional Numbers
    • The offensive line is up to five commitments with at least two guys still very much in play to be a part of the 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 1-2 more defensive lineman.
    • As for receiver, with the Grant Perry news, it’s unclear if Michigan will pick back up the pursuit of Oliver Martin to fill that slot receiver spot. Either way, there’s at least one more spot available there.

So, without further adieu, 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 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. We’ll see if he can help land Nico Collins before NSD.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 2/16/16
  • First on List: March 2015
  • RankingsScout (4*, #109 overall) – Rivals (4*, #52 overall) – 247 (4*, #58 overall) – ESPN (4*, #60 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 proved a lot during his senior season after a transfer to Georgia high school football powerhouse, Grayson. It looks unlikely that he’ll end up signing elsewhere but with the staff putting all of its eggs in the Najee Harris basket, both Taylor and Samuels are names to watch to potentially look for better opportunities elsewhere, like AJ Dillon earlier in the month.

  • 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*, #56 RB)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #890 overall, #60 RB, #94 in Georgia
  • Other Options: Sione Lund, Eno Benjamin

3. 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. And that brought extra attention, which turned into visits, which turned into Samuels now becoming a name to watch. Like I mentioned befored, if Harris drops for UM, Samuels and Taylor both become players that could look for better opportunities elsewhere.

  • 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, #276 overall, #21 RB, #1 in New Mexico
  • Other Options: Sione Lund, Eno Benjamin

4. RB: Najee Harris, 6’3” 235lbs. Antioch, CA (Antioch) 

Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group

Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group

Jim Harbaugh made Harris a priority for the 2017 Michigan recruiting class and, along with pretty much every other member on the staff, personally recruited him for most of the cycle. That pursuit, mixed with the opportunities in Ann Arbor, his unofficial visit to Michigan for the BBQ at the Big House in August and his official visit in mid-December, had Michigan feeling very good where things stood. But this isn’t over just yet. Like everyone has reported, don’t expect a big announcement from Harris when he does officially end his recruitment (which could come at any time) and enrolls at his school of choice in January.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent (Committed to Alabama)
  • Highlights
  • First on List: Now
  • Rankings: Scout (5*, #1 overall) – Rivals (5*, #1 overall) – 247 (5*, #4 overall) – ESPN (5*, #3 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Five star, #1 overall, #1 RB, #1 in California
  • Crystal Ball: None
  • Other Options: Sione Lund, Eno Benjamin 

5. 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.

  • 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, #794 overall, #29 ILB, #6 in Connecticut

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

Michigan landed its big fish earlier in the month but Peoples-Jones may turn out to be an even bigger fish than originally expected. After committing to Michigan, he spoke with reporters about his recruitment and he mentioned Najee Harris and their budding relationship. If DPJ can help lure in Harris as well, he may go down as one of the best recruiting wins in program history.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 12/15/16
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (5*, #32 overall) – Rivals (5*, #13 overall) – 247 (5*, #8 overall) – ESPN (4*, #27 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 5 star, #11 overall, #1 WR, #1 in Michigan

7. 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. But he’s not just sitting back and enjoying his commitment. He’s also been one of Corey Malone-Hatcher’s top wingmen on the recruiting trail.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 12/14/16
  • First on List: May 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #99 overall) – Rivals (4*, #99 overall) – 247 (4*, #193 overall) – ESPN (4*, #223 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #124 overall, #17 WR, #1 in Connecticut

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

Photo Credit: 247Sports.com

Photo Credit: 247Sports.com

According to multiple reports, the 2016 commit and prep school standout will be eligible to sign with Michigan this season. This is big news. Hawkins was one of the most underrated additions to the 2016 class. He’s a player that could be a standout at either wide receiver or free safety, though reports have said that the staff likes him on offense. And I agree after watching his 2016 highlights. His physical style and athleticism could make him a go-to receiver during his career.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 7/3/2015
  • First on List: April 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #224) – Rivals (4*, #206) – 247 (4*, #202) – ESPN (4*, #191)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #206 overall

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

Collins is another big, athletic receiver that has been a safe bet to commit to Michigan for awhile now. Thanks to several visits, the connections with the coaching staff, and the chance to see the field early has all signs still pointing towards the Wolverines. And even though Alabama and Georgia are pushing and he has official visits set up through January, this is another top target I’d be pretty shocked to see not choose Michigan.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: November 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #116 overall) – Rivals (5*, #23 overall) – 247 (4*, #156 overall) – ESPN (4*, #154 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #104 overall, #14 WR, #3 in Alabama
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Oliver Martin, Mike Harley

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’ll enroll early and will give himself a chance to get a jump 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*, #72 OT) – 247 (3*, #43 OT) – ESPN (4*, #172 Overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #318 overall, #33 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*, #262 overall) – Rivals (3*, #69 OT) – 247 (3*, #78 OT) – ESPN (4*, #41 OT)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #417 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*, #47 OT) – Rivals (3*, #47 OT) – 247 (3*, #72 OT) – ESPN (4*, #205 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #441 overall, #47 OT, #20 in Ohio

13. OL: 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 for the Illinois game and looks to be solid once again. But this is still a recruitment to watch up until that LOI is signed. Florida and Miami look to be pushing hard, and the chance to play closer to home looks to be a real factor.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 7/6/2016
  • First on List: June 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #251 overall) – Rivals (4*, #228 overall) – 247 (3*, #71 OT) – ESPN (4*, #108 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #253 overall, #28 OT, #36 in Florida

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

Photo Credit: 247Sports.com

Photo Credit: 247Sports.com

After telling 247Sports’ Jeremy Clark that The Wolverines are his new leader ($) after his official visit for the Wisconsin game, Filiaga quickly jumped onto the front page of UM recruiting. At his size and his advanced technical ability, he’s become a “must get” recruit for the staff. And that looks likely to happen at this point as the big man will announce his commitment at the Army All-American game on January 7th. Oklahoma and Nebraska are the other finalists.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: October 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #125 overall) – Rivals (4*, #122 overall) – 247 (4*, #105 overall) – ESPN (4*, #137 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #97 overall, #14 OT, #13 in Texas
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Tedarrell Slaton, Isaiah Wilson, CJ Thorpe

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

If Michigan wants/needs another offensive lineman in the class after Filiaga’s decision, Becton is the safest bet to be that guy. He officially visited Ann Arbor for the Maryland game and that visit looked to have move the Wolverines to the top of his list. If the staff pushes for him, I feel very confident that they’ll be able to sign the big man.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: Now
  • Rankings: Scout (3*, #44 OT) – Rivals (4*, #189 overall) – 247 (3*, #49 OT) – ESPN (4*, #34 OT)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #386 overall, #41 OT, #16 in Virginia
  • Crystal Ball: None
  • Other Options: Tedarrell Slaton, Isaiah Wilson, CJ Thorpe

16. 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.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 12/19/16
  • First on List: June 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #100 overall) – Rivals (4*, #118 overall) – 247 (4*, #64 overall) – ESPN (4*, #70 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #58 overall, #1 C, #11 in Florida

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 may have to take over the role as the lead Poly recruiter for UM as former director of player personnel, Tony Tuitoi, is the new DL coach for Fresno State. Look for Paea to continue to recruit Jay Tufele up until he makes his final decision.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 4/2/16
  • First on List: March 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (3*, #24 DT) – Rivals (3*, #15 OG) – 247 (3*, #28 DT) – ESPN (4*, #30 DT)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #445 overall, #36 DT, #13 in Michigan

18. 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 have a nice career for the Wolverines.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 8/8/16
  • First on List: May 2016
  • RankingsScout (3*, #26 DT) – Rivals (4*, #233 overall) – 247Sports (4*, #226 overall) –ESPN (4*, #30 DE)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #329 overall, #13 SDE, #16 in Ohio

19. 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*, #279 overall) – Rivals (3*, #18 SSDE) – 247 (4*, #186 overall) – ESPN (4*, #258 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #270 overall, #9 SSDE, #5 in Michigan

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

Photo Credit: 247Sports

Photo Credit: 247Sports

Solomon is back on the list for another month in a row as things continue to look good for Michigan to land the five star’s commitment once again. The staff is pushing hard and it looks like Aubrey’s comfortable in Ann Arbor. However, the staff may still have to completely win over his mother. Georgia and Alabama are still pushing hard as well, especially the Crimson Tide. This one will be a close call whenever he makes his decision, but I’m sticking with UM here.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: June 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (5*, #20 overall) – Rivals (4*, #94 overall) – 247 (4*. #41 overall) – ESPN (4*, #62 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Five star, #31 overall, #2 DT, #3 in Georgia
  • Crystal Ball: Cloudy
  • Other Options: Jay Tufele

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

Photo Credit: Scout.com

Photo Credit: Scout.com

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 five, seven and, with some more size, the three-technique in Don Brown’s defense.

  • 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: Four star, #281 overall, #10 SSDE, #8 in Pennsylvania

22. 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*, #71 DE) – Rivals (3*, #34 DE) – 247Sports (3*, #45 WSDE) – ESPN (4*, #26 DE)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #868 overall, #45 SDE, #1 in Rhode Island

23. 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: Four star, #93 overall, #8 WSDE, #3 in Virginia

24. 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: Four star, #285 overall, #18 WDE, #6 in Michigan

25. 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: Four star, #220 overall, #9 ILB, #3 in Michigan

26. 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*, #68 overall) – Rivals (4*, #43 overall) – 247 (4*, #77 overall) – ESPN (4*, #131 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #66 overall, #3 OLB, #1 in New Jersey

27. 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*, #150 overall) – Rivals (5*, #26 overall) – 247 (4*, #200 overall) – ESPN (4*, #125 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #107 overall, #6 OLB, #21 in Florida

28. LB: Willie Gay, 6’2” 215lbs. Starkville, MS (Starkville)

Gay moves right to the top of the staff’s wish list alongside Najee Harris, Chuck Filiaga and Aubrey Solomon after the December the Remember. With a great linebacker haul already intact, his addition would be icing on the cake. And it’s starting to look more and more possible that it could actually happen as Michigan’s remained the top team on his list. Though Mississippi State is pushing hard and could eventually land him, if he can be cleared by UM, I like the Wolverines chances.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: May 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #89 overall) – Rivals (4*, #17 OLB) – 247 (4*, #51 overall) – ESPN (4*, #214 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #111 overall, #7 OLB, #3 in Mississippi
  • Crystal Ball: None
  • Other Options: None 

29. 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.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • First on List: May 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #269 overall) – Rivals (3*, #31 S) – 247Sports (4*, #148 overall) – ESPN (4*, #265 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #256 overall, #21 S, #4 in Michigan

30. 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*, #26 S) – Rivals (3*, #36 S) – 247 (3*, #32 S) – ESPN (4*, #21 S)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #367 overall, #29 S, #16 in Alabama

31. 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 made a late push but St-Juste reaffirmed to Michigan after his official visit to Ann Arbor.

  • 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: Four star, #326 overall, #36 CB, #1 in Canada

32. 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*, #58 overall) – Rivals (4*, #178 overall) – 247 (4*, #31 overall) – ESPN (4*, #227 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #101 overall, #11 CB, #2 in Michigan

33. CB: Brandon Sebastian, 6’2” 185lbs. Cheshire, CT (Cheshire Academy)

Sebastian is the other first timer on the list this month as Michigan looks to pretty much be out of it for five star CB Darnay Holmes, barring a January official visit. While the big corner is still committed to Boston College, he looks like another player that looks like he’ll be apart of this class if the Michigan staff pushes for him. He’s expected to officially visit January 13th. Obviously, that could be a trip to watch closely if the staff gives him the green light.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good (Committed to Boston College)
  • Highlights
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (3*, #43 CB) – Rivals (3*) – 247 (3*, #80 CB) – ESPN (3*, #48 CB)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #1096 overall, #115 CB, #7 in Connecticut
  • Crystal Ball: None
  • Other Options: Darnay Holmes, Elijah Hicks

Projected Class Score: 302.58 (per 247Sports

If Michigan is able to pick up the top names on their board in Harris, Filiaga, Solomon and Gay, it’ll truly rival Ohio State and Alabama as the top recruiting class of 2017. It would also be, easily, one of the program’s best recruiting hauls on paper.

Just Missed

  • CB Elijah Hicks
    • Hicks is still very much in play but things have died down a bit interms of him flipping from Notre Dame to Michigan. He’s a player to watch from now until his signs his LOI.
  • DT Jay Tufele
    • Tufele remains a top target for the staff but with Ohio State and Utah making a big push along with Tony Tuioti leaving Ann Arbor for the Fresno State defensive line coaching job, things look to be trendy in the wrong direction for Michigan here.
  • OT Isaiah Wilson
    • Wilson was the only December miss for Michigan as he shocked plenty of people and chose Georgia after a school holiday party. While he says he’s done with his recruitment, it’s highly unlikely that the UM staff gives up on him that easily. He’s another name to watch up until his LOI is sent in.
  • RB Eno Benjamin
    • There hasn’t been much noise out there between Michigan and Benjamin since his decommitment from Iowa but that could all change if the staff misses on Najee Harris. But with all of their eggs in that basket, Benjamin looks likely to choose Texas or Arizona State.
  • WR Oliver Martin
    • Things are clearly trending in the opposite direction between Martin and Michigan as the UM staff looks like it’s set to end the receiver recruiting with its current haul and Nico Collins. The Grant Perry stuff could possibly change things here but it looks like Martin will end up at Notre Dame or Iowa when everything is said and done.
  • CB Darnay Holmes
    • Holmes looked to be favoring Michigan after his BBQ visit over the summer but things died off there for awhile between both sides. With him unable to make it to Ann Arbor for the unofficial visit earlier in the month and OSU pushing, things are trending towards the Buckeyes. The only way I see UM getting back in this one is if a miracle happens and he takes a trip in January. And that’s unlikely to happen, at this point.
  • OL Tedarrell Slaton
    • Slaton was a longtime favorite to be a part of this class but grade issues look to have become a bigger factor than originally expected. Things are clearly trending towards Slaton staying down south for his college ball.
  • RB Sione Lund
    • Lund has long planned on officially visiting Michigan and still plans to do so. However, with the class looking to be close to wrapping up, it’s hard to see him flip from Stanford to UM at this point.
  • OG CJ Thorpe
    • According to multiple reports, Michigan visited Thorpe before the quiet period to see where things are at in his recruitment. He looks solid to Penn State but if UM pushes hard, they may at least have a chance to have him think twice.

Photo Credit: Bryan Fuller/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