A week ago, Michigan football fans were asking when the staff would start reeling in 2017 offensive line commitments. I thought the dominos would start to fall in August when several top targets were expected to make their way to Ann Arbor for the BBQ. However, two of the lower rated targets on the board (which is saying a lot) decided to lock up their spots in the class.
Both players are ranked as three star recruits by the majority of recruiting services and, oh boy, that is not ok with some fans. And though I disagree with these stargazing fans here, I see why they’re upset as Michigan has been said to only have room for six lineman in the 2017 class and are now halfway there with several highly ranked lineman very much in reach.
For one, the numbers game is always fluid. The staff may have been looking to bring in 6 lineman a week ago but could very well now be willing to fit 7+ (depending on who) into the class. Looking at the depth chart, the staff will have to replace 3 or 4 starters after this season and will be down to, at best, 10 lineman with at least 3 players futures up in the air because of attrition and the NFL draft. That thanks to only taking 8 lineman in the past three classes and is why taking 6-7 lineman in 2017 is not only a good idea but a necessity as most staffs want to have 15 scholarship lineman on every roster.
So, let’s say 7 is the new target number.
Who are the best bets to join Stueber, Honigford and JaRaymond Hall in Michigan’s 2017 offensive line haul?
- C Cesar Ruiz
- Ruiz has long called Michigan his leader and, though he tweeted out last month that he no longer has a leader, all signs continue to point towards Ann Arbor. Not only does his connections to the roster and staff give UM a step up on the competition but the immediate playing time available is another feather in the Wolverines cap.
- OL Tedarrell Slaton
- Like Ruiz, Slaton has named Michigan his leader multiple times. He’s made his way up to Ann Arbor twice this year including two weeks ago for the Big Man camp. Though he hasn’t said much about exactly where UM sits after the latest visit, most believe they are the team to beat. With his teammate, Herbert, said to be swaying towards UM as well, things are looking better and better for the big Floridian.
- OL Kai-Leon Herbert
- Speaking of Herbert, the versatile lineman visited for the Big Man camp and clearly walked away with Michigan at the top of his list. Florida has been the long time favorite here and is still very much in the thick of things. He’s expected to make his commitment before the end of the summer and, at this point, I believe it’ll be to the Wolverines. Though it’s very close.
- OT Isaiah Wilson
- Wilson has long been a favorite and top want for the Michigan and UM fans thanks to his elite size, athleticism and ranking (#2 overall player on ESPN). Add in him naming UM his leader early on and visiting Ann Arbor in February and he’s on the Most Wanted list. Things have gone pretty quiet on the Wilson front as of late with Alabama and Georgia making a push for his services. I still believe the Wolverines are in great shape to land him but this is not a sure thing whatsoever.
- OL Henry Bainivalu
- Bainivalu is another highly ranked lineman that the staff looks to be very high on and vice versa. Coming from the Northwest, most believed he would end up in the Pac12. However, UM impressed him during his spring visit and is expected to get an official visit out of him this fall. He’s another player that could play multiple positions on the line. If he loves what he sees from his official, I wouldn’t rule out him trying to lock up a spot prior to December.
Other targets remaining on the board:
My June Best Guess Recruiting Class featured all five of the lineman above. There’s plenty of time to go in the class and the numbers will continue to fluctuate.
So, who do you think will be the full offensive line class that Michigan signs on February 1st? Let us know in the comment section below!
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: TIFFANY TOMPKINS/Bradenton Herald