With the 2017 Michigan football recruiting class pretty much wrapped up, it’s time to take a long look at the class as a whole and pass out this year’s superlatives. That includes which players are immediate impact players, have the look of a future captain or Heisman winner, and some of the most underrated additions overall.
Check out our 2017 Michigan football recruiting class superlatives:
Immediate Offensive Impact Player: Donovan Peoples-Jones
DPJ is the top ranked player in the class and has a college ready frame. Add in him being an early enrollee and at a huge position of need, and this was an easy pick.
Immediate Defensive Impact Player: Luiji Vilain
Maybe not the name most would expect here but don’t sleep on Vilain. Like DPJ, he has a college frame and is at a position of need. He should see time as a pass rush specialist early on.
Immediate Special Teams Impact Player: Brad Robbins
Robbins was the surprise commit on NSD that always seems to happen but his addition shouldn’t be passed over. As the #1 punter in the class and a huge hole at punter with Kenny Allen’s graduation, he has the chance to start from day one, if he has a good fall camp.
Best Recruiting Win: Aubrey Solomon
This was another easy pick. Michigan did the impossible. It landed a five star talent in SEC country, lost him and then got him back. Add in the hiccups along the way and this was one crazy recruitment that the Wolverines came out on top of.
Best Highlight Tape: Kwity Paye
There are a lot of great highlight tapes in this class but Paye’s is on another level. The defensive end is dominant at the high school level. But not just on defense, he’s also a legit running back. And at 6’4” 235lbs, it’s a sight to see.
Best Hair: Phillip Paea
Paea’s flow is unmatched in this class. Not much else needs to be said. JKP and J’Marick Woods were finalists here.
Best Name: Cesar Ruiz and Luiji Vilain
Last year, Eddie McDoom won this award. That was thanks to one great name. While there’s not many that can match “McDoom”, Luiji Vilain and Cesar Ruiz have two great names. Kwity Paye and Nico Collins were finalists here.
Best Announcement: Tarik Black
Yes, I’m a little biased here but even if our own Stephen Osentoski didn’t make his video, there wasn’t a more memorable announcement than Black’s high school IT team struggling for about 10-15 minutes to get said video to play in front of a national audience.
Best Story: Deron Irving-Bey
Over a year, DIB went from an unknown to a four star Michigan football commitment. But that’s not the great part of his story. The Flint native works two jobs while going to school, including his regular job at Little Caesars. Hardworking kid that continues to get better. He’ll be easy to cheer for during his career.
The Chris Evans of the Class: Oliver Martin
Evans burst onto the scene in fall camp and quickly found a role in Michigan’s offense. He was a guy that wasn’t expected to contribute that early, but his skill level and fit got him on the field. And that’s exactly what I see happening with Martin. With so much attrition at the receiver position, his ability to be a play making possession receiver is something that should help him see plenty of snaps as a freshmen.
Most Likely to Switch Positions: Brad Hawkins
Funny story: Hawkins was in this position in the 2016 edition of this list. And like in the last class, he’s the receiver with the most versatility. Though I think he could be a very productive receiver for UM, his quickest way to the field could be at safety.
Most Underappreciated: JaRaymond Hall and J’Marick Woods
Hall and Woods are two guys that have been committed for a very long time and are taken for granted by some. Both guys may not be the highest ranked players in the class but their size, athleticism and positions should help both compete for playing time early on.
Most Underrated Recruit: Andrew Stueber
Stueber is a three star prospect on the Composite rankings but is obviously a much higher rated player to the coaching staff. He’s a player that has been mentioned several times as a guy the staff loves and thinks can play early. And if the NFL level coaches at UM think that, he’s much more than a three star recruit.
Most Underrated Get: Chuck Filiaga
Michigan was in desperate need of an elite level tackle recruit and Filiaga was that guy. But thanks to coming at the tail end of the Commitmas run and before National Signing Day, it was fully expressed how big of an addition he is to the class. With playing time available, he could see the field right away and play for a long time in Ann Arbor.
Most Surprising Commitment: Donovan Jeter
Jeter was a player who hardly looked to be on the staff’s radar for the majority of the cycle. He committed to and then decommitted from Notre Dame, then looked like a heavy Pitt lean before eventually choosing Michigan just a day after officially visiting Ann Arbor. I did not see that one coming but he looks like a player that could end up being a big time addition down the line.
Most Likely to Succeed Off the Field: Donovan Peoples-Jones
DPJ could be the answer for a ton of these options but this is the one he fit better than any other. He’s a elite level student, as well as a football recruit, as he’s been doing work at the UM hospital for awhile now and will be a pre-med student. There’s a chance he goes from the NFL to following in his father’s footsteps as a doctor.
Least Surprising Commitment: Jaylen Kelly-Powell
When your entire family is full of Michigan fans, you’re named after a famous Wolverines athlete and go to the biggest pipeline high school in the country which also happens to be right down the street from Ann Arbor, it’s not hard to see the future. JKP took his time and enjoyed his recruitment but everyone and their mother knew UM was his eventual landing spot.
Biggest Steal: Nico Collins
There are plenty of options here but when you land a top ranked, elite level prospect from the heart of SEC territory and Nick Saban’s backyard, it’s a big time steal. Collins has long looked likely to end up at Michigan and his announcement on NSD followed suit.
Biggest Sleeper: Joel Honigford and Benjamin St-Juste
Honigford and St-Juste are two three star additions that get lost in the rest of the haul at their positions. However, both guys, though in need of some size, have very high ceilings and could end up being two of the most valuable additions to this class down the line.
Biggest Hitter: James Hudson
When you flip on Hudson’s tape, you consistently see bone rattling hits from the big man. His size, strength and athleticism makes him almost an unfair player at the high school level.
Man Children: O’Maury Samuels and Kurt Taylor
In today’s world, high school recruits look more like NFL prospects than anything else. Some of these kids are built like Mack trucks and the two running back commits are two of the most physically mature players in this class.
Mr. Versatile: Ambry Thomas
Thomas was the easy choice here as he is a legit four star recruit as both a cornerback and wide receiver. He’s shown that versatility throughout his high school career and really proved it to the world at The Opening. He should have the chance to play on defense, special teams and, eventually, offense in his career.
Most Likely to Win the Heisman: Dylan McCaffrey
The quarterback position is the easiest bet for this spot and when you add in McCaffrey’s talent, his family lineage and the chance to work with Harbaugh will give him the chance to be a star in the maize and blue. We’ll see if it leads him to New York for the ceremony during his career.
Class Leader: Corey Malone-Hatcher
Another easy choice, CMH took over the reins as the class leader soon after committing to Michigan. He was a vital part in the Wolverines landing the likes of Jaylen Kelly-Powell, Tarik Black and many other recruits.
Future Dynamic Duo: Jordan Anthony and Drew Singleton
The linebacker position was easily one of the strongest position groups in this class and it’s a big thanks to Anthony and Singleton. Two top 200 recruits, both players bring a speed and athleticism factor to the position that the team has been missing for years. With the playing time available, these two could end up pairing up for 3+ years and becoming a force to be reckoned with.
Future Fan Favorite: Ben Mason
Mason is an early enrollee and a guy that will have the chance to play both sides of the ball. As a linebacker and (likely) fullback, he’s one of those guys that will do anything for the team and put everything on the line to win. That should resonate well with the fan base.
Future Team Captain: Josh Ross
Ross is another player that was a near lock to end up in this class from the very beginning thanks to his family ties to the program. But he’s more than just a legacy recruit. He’s a top level linebacker prospect and a true leader in the middle of the defense. I’d be far from shocked if he ends up being a captain in the Wolverines defense.
Strongest Position Haul: Wide Receiver
There are several positions that were up for this superlative but I’m giving it to the wide receiver haul after the staff somehow signed four of the top receivers in the class as well as locked in a four star prep schooler from 2016, in Brad Hawkins. All five guys should have the chance to play and play early on during their careers in Ann Arbor.
What are your superlatives for the 2017 Michigan football recruiting class? Let us know in the comment section below!
Photo Credit: Patrick Barron/MGoBlog
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