2017 Best Guess Recruiting Class: August 25th

Somehow with only one commitment, August has jumped to the top of the list as one of the most recruiting news heavy months of the year. The month kicked off with Michigan’s largest individual recruiting event, the BBQ at the Big House, which made some big time waves on the trail. Mostly good but also at least one bad which ended up resulting in a big time decommitment from the class.

The moves in the recruiting class and on the roster has this month’s class prediction looking different from July’s. Here’s how I put together the list:

  • Total Number
    • Pretty much every insider is reporting that the staff is aiming to take 28-32 players in this class. And while the senior departures only brings the total of open scholarships to 23, there’s expected to be plenty of attrition in other forms. That includes redshirt juniors not receiving a 5th year and transfers as well as possible grayshirts, blue shirts.
      • 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.
    • Because of the 32 member max, there are some players on the “Just Missed” list that I believe could very well be in this class but would likely mean attrition to get them in. So, since I’m not going to predict decommitments, they’re off the list for now.
  • Class Attrition
    • I highly doubt Solomon is the last decommitment from this class for Michigan. The number is unknown but because of other official visits, grade issues/prep schoolers and meritocracy, I could see 2-3 more departures from the current commitment list.
  • Positional Numbers
    • After six was said to be the sure-fire number on the offensive line, it looks like seven is the more realistic outcome. With four OL already committed and several top targets favoring UM, this is the most likely position group to see attrition.
    • The wide receiver number has gone from one to two to three to, now, four wide receivers for this class, per TMI’s Sam Webb ($). That’s not a set number though as it would only likely stay that high if they can land their top four WR targets.

With all of that out of the way, grab your popcorn and enjoy the August edition of my 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*, #101 overall) – Rivals (4*, #50 overall) – 247 (4*, #54 overall) – ESPN (4*, #45 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #45 overall, #3 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 and though he still has some more to prove through his senior season (like every commit), it looks unlikely that he signs with anyone besides UM at this point.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 10/16/15
  • First on List: August 2015
  • RankingsScout (3*, #48 RB) – Rivals (3*, #26 RB) – 247 (3*, #48 RB) – ESPN (3*, #65 RB)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #827 overall, #50 RB, #84 in Georgia
  • Other Options: Najee Harris, Stephen Carr, Sione Lund

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*, #40 RB) – Rivals (4*, #17 RB) – 247 (4*, #99 overall) – ESPN (3*, #38 RB)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #295 overall, #18 ATH, #1 in Massachusetts
  • Other Options: Stephen Carr, Najee Harris, Sione Lund

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 a name to watch if the staff adds a 4th running back later on in the cycle.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 4/4/16
  • First on List: April 2016
  • RankingsScout (4*, #23 RB) – Rivals (4*, #18 RB) – 247 (3*, #25 RB) – ESPN (4*, #236 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #271 overall, #20 RB, #1 in New Mexico
  • Other Options: Stephen Carr, Najee Harris, Sione Lund

5. FB: Chase Lasater, 6’2” 235lbs. Jacksonville, FL (Trinity Christian)

Lasater has long been committed to Michigan but, according to multiple reports, he’s a guy that still has some work to do. He’s shown his tenacity and potential as a fullback in the past. Now that he’s healthy (coming off a shoulder injury), taking the next step in his development will be something to watch this fall.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 4/1/16
  • First on List: April 2016
  • RankingsScout (2*) – Rivals (3*) – 247 (NR) – ESPN (3*, #2 FB)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #1335 overall, #2 FB, #186 in Florida
  • Other Options: Sione Lund, Tory Carter

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

Things continue to look better and better for Michigan to land Peoples-Jones. He made his umpteenth visit to Ann Arbor for the BBQ at the Big House and helped UM out even more than before. My Crystal Ball has been on the Wolverines for DPJ since May and I don’t see it going anywhere. As an early enrollee, look for him to make his decision after he takes all of his official visits.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #33 overall) – Rivals (5*, #13 overall) – 247 (5*, #8 overall) – ESPN (4*, #32 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 5 star, #12 overall, #1 WR, #1 in Michigan
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Henry Ruggs III

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

There may not be an uncommitted out of state player on this list that I feel more confident in ending up at Michigan than Collins. He’s named the Wolverines his leader several times and has visited Ann Arbor three times since May. With an official visit coming this fall and Alabama looking like they could be filled up at the wide receiver spot in the next month or so, a decision could be coming sooner than originally expected. As good as Michigan is feeling, you can never truly count out the SEC powers (Bama and Georgia).

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: November 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #112 overall) – Rivals (5*, #23 overall) – 247 (4*, #152 overall) – ESPN (4*, #156 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #87 overall, #13 WR, #3 in Alabama
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Henry Ruggs III

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

I put in my Crystal Ball for Martin to Michigan in mid-July prior to him ever visiting UM. With that visit for the BBQ in the books, I feel even better about that shot in the dark prediction. Though Iowa, Michigan State and, now, Notre Dame are definite threats, UM looks to have made the biggest impact after the recent visits. He’s expected to take official visits before making a final decision but things are looking good heading into the fall here.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good
  • Highlights
  • First on List: July 2016
  • RankingsScout (4*, #268 overall) – Rivals (3*) – 247 (4*, #67 overall) – ESPN (3*, #94 WR)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #262 overall, #36 WR, #1 in Iowa
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Henry Ruggs III

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

Photo Credit: Justin Weekes / For the Record-Journal

Black is back on the list for the first time since April after his visit to Ann Arbor for the BBQ earlier in the month. I didn’t expect to put him back on this list ever again as Peoples-Jones, Collins and Martin all have my Crystal Ball predictions. His visit looked to be that good, especially the part where the staff pitched the four WRs to play together. Not only were reviews positive but he quickly set up his official visit (his only OV at this time) for first game of the season. And when you look back at how much he’s favored Michigan in the past (he has and dons plenty of UM gear) and him mentioning that he plans on “silently” committing at the start of his season and announcing publicly at the Army All-American game, the back to back visits to Ann Arbor is big. Still not ready to put my Crystal Ball to UM in just yet with Notre Dame being a strong candidate but I’m leaning towards the Wolverines here.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good
  • Highlights
  • First on List: May 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #104 overall) – Rivals (4*, #99 overall) – 247 (4*, #186 overall) – ESPN (4*, #223 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #132 overall, #17 WR, #1 in Connecticut
  • Crystal Ball: None
  • Other Options: Henry Ruggs III

10. TE: Josh Falo, 6’5” 225lbs. Sacramento, CA (Inderkum) 

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

If you’re looking for the name on the list that I feel the least confident in, it’s Falo. Though Michigan is making a strong push for him and are right in the thick of things, him not being able to make it to the BBQ was a bit of a shot to their chances. The staff will now need to roll out the red carpet even more for Falo on his (expected) official visit this fall. Oregon and, now, Ohio State are threats but I believe the Poly connections and tight end usage by UM will be the deciding factor here.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: No
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good
  • Highlights
  • First on List: July 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #219 overall) – Rivals (4*, #225 overall) – 247 (4*, #59 overall) – ESPN (4*, #161 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #151 overall, #4 TE, #16 in California
  • Crystal Ball: None
  • Other Options: Major Tennison 

11. TE: Carter Dunaway, 6’6” 235lbs. Bloomfield Hills, MI (Brother Rice)

Photo Credit: dailyworlds.com

The three star is a legacy recruit as his father Craig played for Bo from 1980-82 while his brother Jack is a walk-on at Michigan now. So, once the offer was extended to him from Jim Harbaugh, it didn’t take long for Dunaway to follow in the family footsteps. And though he may be one of the lowest ranked players in this class, he’s a player that fits what Harbaugh wants on his team. Look for him to fill a similar role as AJ Williams (blocking TE) during his career.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 4/18/15
  • First on List: April 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (2*) – Rivals (3*) – 247 (3*, #49 TE) – ESPN (3*, #18 TE)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #1284 overall, #57 TE, #33 in Michigan

12. 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 is solid to Michigan and will sign with the Wolverines barring any crazy changes.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 12/5/16
  • First on List: March 2015
  • RankingsScout (4*, #249 Overall) – Rivals (3*, #68 OT) – 247 (3*, #42 OT) – ESPN (4*, #173 Overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #312 overall, #32 OT, #8 in Michigan

13. 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. Add in him being a top recruiter, with the likes of Henry Bainivalu and Isaiah Wilson among his top targets, and I don’t see him going anywhere.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 6/25/16
  • First on List: July 2016
  • RankingsScout (3*, #44 OT) – Rivals (3*, #64 OT) – 247 (3*, #77 OT) – ESPN (4*, #39 OT)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #581 overall, #63 OT, #3 in Connecticut 

14. 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. If/when he’s able to pack on those pounds, he should take a big step forward as a prospect.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 6/29/16
  • First on List: July 2016
  • RankingsScout (3*, #47 OT) – Rivals (3*, #46 OT) – 247 (3*, #72 OT) – ESPN (4*, #204 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #433 overall, #47 OT, #20 in Ohio

15. 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. He’s a big, athletic tackle that is still a bit raw but, with coaching, he should be a nice player at the collegiate level. But that’s not his only thing he brings to UM. He’s also a big recruiter for the class as he’s been a main reason why his teammate OL Tedarrell Slaton is looking likely to remain his teammate in college.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 7/6/2016
  • First on List: June 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #180 overall) – Rivals (4*, #228 overall) – 247 (3*, #70 OT) – ESPN (4*, #109 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #218 overall, #27 OT, #32 in Florida

16. OL: Henry Bainivalu, 6’5” 290lbs. Seattle, WA (Skyline) 

Bainivalu made his way to the BBQ for his 2nd unofficial visit of the year and is a player to watch closely throughout the fall. Prior to the visit, I thought Michigan was possibly running first over Washington. After the visit, I believe that’s definitely the case. He told Dawgs247’s Ruth Robbins that he’s already planning his Michigan official visit for “earlier in the season” ($). Is that because he wants to make a decision before his spot is gone? I wouldn’t rule that out. Washington is still a threat here but I’m sticking with my Crystal Ball prediction for Bainivalu to Michigan.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: May 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #230 overall) – Rivals (4*, #29 OT) – 247 (4*, #135 overall) – ESPN (4*, #160 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #185 overall, #22 OT, #4 in Washington
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Isaiah Wilson, Aaron Banks, Alex Leatherwood

17. OL: Tedarrell Slaton, 6’5” 350lbs. Ft Lauderdale, FL (American Heritage)

Photo Credit: 247Sports.com

Photo Credit: 247Sports.com

Slaton is the latest player to receive a Crystal Ball to Michigan from myself. He’s been a member of this class prediction for all but one list since last August. Thanks to the staff’s solid relationships with Slaton, his multiple visits to campus, the possibility of playing early and, oh yeah, his best friend and teammate, OL Kai-Leon Herbert, already committed, Michigan continues to lead here. It was once a guess by most but now every top analyst is hearing the same thing. Besides the chance to play top level D1 basketball, I don’t see any school beating out Michigan at this point.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: August 2015
  • Rankings: Scout (5*, #30 overall) – Rivals (4*, #56 overall) – 247 (4*, #157 overall) – ESPN (4*, #43 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #54 overall, #2 OG, #12 in Florida
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Isaiah Wilson, Aaron Banks, Alex Leatherwood

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

Photo Credit: 247Sports

Ruiz has been one of the most consistent names on this list dating back to last summer and it looks like he’ll remain on this list throughout the rest of the cycle. According to multiple reports, Ruiz is no longer a take for Alabama, his previous top team along with Michigan. Add in Oklahoma, his other top three team, adding a center to their class and all signs, once again, point to UM. Though he’s still likely to take his official visits and enjoy the process, I’d be pretty shocked if he didn’t choose the Wolverines at the end of the day.

  • 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, #66 overall, #1 C, #14 in Florida
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Isaiah Wilson, Drew Dalman, Aaron Banks, Alex Leatherwood

19. DT: 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 ($). Some of the Poly recruits that he’ll likely be going after includes Henry Bainivalu, Jay Tufele and Sione Lund.

  • 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, #436 overall, #35 DT, #11 in Michigan

20. DT: Popo Aumavae, 6’4” 315lbs. Stockton, CA (St. Mary’s)

Photo Credit: Rivals.com

Aumavae is high on Michigan and Michigan is high on Aumavae. He’s one of the biggest and best “jumbo athletes” in the class as he has the skills and size to play both defensive tackle and offensive guard at the next level. With that versatility, he could be a really nice fit at 1 or 3 technique on UM’s defensive line. Look for the staff to push for him when he takes his official visit this fall. If they do so, he looks to be the safest pick to fill this position in the class.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good
  • Highlights
  • First on List: July 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #23 DT) – Rivals (3*) – 247 (3*, #44 DT) – ESPN (3*)
  • Composite Ranking: 3 star, #368 overall, #26 DT, #40 in California
  • Crystal Ball: None
  • Other Options: Popo Aumavae, Deron Irving-Bey, Neil Farrell, Aubrey Solomon 

21. DT: 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.

  • 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

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. 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, #101 overall, #6 WDE, #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 play linebacker and tight end. If he stays healthy and plays well, he could rise up the rankings. And don’t worry about him going anywhere in this 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, #281 overall, #17 WDE, #5 in Michigan

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

Photo Credit: Steve Hockstein | For NJ Advance Media

Even though his recruitment has been pretty quiet lately, Singleton remains a priority recruit for the staff. The linebacker board looks to be down to 4-5 names with the New Jersey standout at the top. Clemson remains a top threat but I don’t see him signing with anyone else besides his former head coach and good friends at Michigan.

  • 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, #60 overall, #3 OLB, #1 in New Jersey
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Baron Browning, Juliano Falaniko, Will Ignont, Willie Gay

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

Anthony is a player I’ve had Crystal Balled to Michigan since June and continue to feel confident in that choice. He’s another top target on the board that looks to have a great connection with the staff and has the athleticism UM is looking to add to the depth chart. Though he was unable to make it to the BBQ, like originally planned, he’s expected back on campus for an official this fall. If he remains a take, like expected, that visit will be one to watch very closely.

  • 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, #113 overall, #7 OLB, #23 in Florida
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Baron Browning, Juliano Falaniko, Will Ignont, Willie Gay

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, #218 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 highly 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, #732 overall, #30 ILB, #5 in Connecticut

28. 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 the 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, #350 overall, #38 CB, #1 in Quebec

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

Photo Credit: CampusInsiders

My Crystal Ball has been on Thomas for weeks now and I still feel very confident in that choice. The Michigan staff has made him a priority recruit throughout the cycle and has hosted him numerous times. However, the last trip to the BBQ with his mother has UM feeling even better than before. That trip mixed with his with him wanting to play alongside his cousin, Jaylen Kelly-Powell, who is the heaviest lean to UM at the moment, and some other info from a source has me feeling very good about the Wolverines’ chances to beat out the Spartans for Thomas.

  • 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, #101 overall, #13 CB, #2 in Michigan
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Shaun Wade, Alex Perry, Christopher Henderson

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

Photo Credit: MaxPreps

Holmes went from a pipe dream to a realistic option for this class after his BBQ visit at the beginning of the month. Thanks to everything Michigan offers and the staff clearly winning over his dad, I went out on a limb and put a Crystal Ball in for the Wolverines. It was definitely a bit of a reach on my part as most analysts believe UCLA is the favorite here. However, though UM is the long distance option, the early playing time available, educational opportunities, close friendships in Ann Arbor and his reaction to his first visit has me leaning towards the Wolverines here.

  • 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: Shaun Wade, Alex Perry, Christopher Henderson

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

Photo Credit: YouTube.com

Sounding like a broken record here but Kelly-Powell remains the safest bet out of the uncommitted names on this list. He’s been a consistent visitor to Ann Arbor throughout the cycle and has plenty of ties to the program. Though he’ll take his visits this fall, it would be the biggest shocker of the class to see him sign with anyone but Michigan.

  • 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, #19 S, #4 in Michigan
  • Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Markquese Bell, Shaun Wade, Christopher Henderson

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. Look for Woods to, not only sign with UM, but to be a big reason why others sign with UM moving forward.

  • 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, #334 overall, #26 S, #17 in Alabama

Projected Class Score: 298.81 (per 247Sports

If the class finishes like this, it will be one of the top classes in Michigan history. And though it won’t be the top ranked class, there’s a very good chance UM lands inside the top five on NSD.

Just Missed

  • OL Isaiah Wilson
    • Wilson was the last name taken off the list this month because of the very real threat he signs with Alabama. He’s a guy I definitely believe may end up at Michigan but the numbers just didn’t work out on this list. UM will likely only take 7 lineman (max) so if Wilson does join want in, some attrition may come from the current commits.
  • S Markquese Bell
    • Bell was another final cut from the list. It’s unknown where he’s leaning at this time though Michigan is definitely one of the top teams on his list. Rutgers and Clemson are still real threats to land him but UM may have the best chance at landing him, if they push during his (likely) official visit. If he wants in, hard to see the staff telling him no with the high need for safeties.
  • DT Jay Tufele
    • Tufele is a top target for the staff especially now that Solomon is no longer in the class. He’s expected to officially visit his top two schools, OSU and Michigan, this fall. However, OSU is the leader going into these visits. It’s very possible that UM wins him over during the trips but, until then, I went with Aumavae on the list.
  • DE Deron Irving-Bey
    • My Crystal Ball is on Michigan State for Irving-Bey but his visit for the BBQ has me thinking twice about that decision. He looks to be the top strong side defensive end on the staff’s board and with his mother loving the Wolverines, UM looks to be right in the thick of things now.
  • OL Aaron Banks
    • Banks was another BBQ visitor that left town with UM making a big jump up his list. However, with only so many spots on the offensive line left, there wasn’t enough there for me to add him to the list over the other OL options.
  • RB Najee Harris
    • Even though Harris had a great trip to the BBQ, adding the #1 overall player in the class to the list at this point would be a big time reach. According to almost every analyst, he’s still firmly committed to Alabama. However, UM made an impact and looks to be the top candidate to flip him, if he decides to bail on Bama.
  • DT Aubrey Solomon
    • Solomon decommitted out of the blue on Monday after a mailing mistake from the UM staff. It was a hit to the class but was something most analysts saw coming as he shocked the world with his commitment in the first place. He said he’ll continue to look at UM but my Crystal Ball is now firmly on Georgia here.
  • OLB Juliano Falaniko
    • Falaniko is a name to remember this fall as the USC commit is planning on taking an official visit to Ann Arbor. There are conflicting reports on whether or not Michigan would take him. If so, UM is the top candidate to flip him from the Trojans.
  • LB Will Ignont
    • Ignont was a name I was watching closely during his visit for the BBQ. Well, according to a source, he was looking to commit to Michigan but was told to hold off. With other linebackers higher on the board, this wasn’t much of a surprise. I’m not completely writing Ignont off just yet. If UM misses on a couple of their top targets and other items check out, he’s a guy they could target again.
  • OT Toryque Bateman
    • Bateman was another guy who was rumored to try and commit during the BBQ but there look to be some other issues keeping the staff from accepting his pledge. Barring any big changes, he’s won’t be a part of this class.

Don’t Forget About Us

What do you think about the latest 2017 Michigan football recruiting class prediction? Any recruits that you believe that will be in the class that are missing? Any recruits that you believe that are included that won’t end up at Michigan? Let us know in the comment section below!

Photo Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

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