New Michigan Man: HB Ben VanSumeren Flips & Commits to Michigan

Over the last couple of recruiting classes, Michigan has shown its ability to find and sign talent committed elsewhere very late in the process. It happened with Karan Higdon in the 2016 class. It happened with Delano Hill in 2013. And like both Higdon and Hill, Michigan’s latest late flip came from the Hawkeyes as 2018 Garber (MI) HB Ben VanSumeren has flipped from Iowa and committed to Michigan just days after receiving his offer from the staff.


Scouting Report

VanSumeren is a man amongst boys in high school. Throughout his tape you see him running by, running through, and running over both defensive and offensive players as he’s a standout at both tight end/wide receiver and outside linebacker. But will it translate against better competition? It’s the main question with most recruits but with VanSumeren, it’s his size, style and attitude that should fit in just fine as an H-Back in Jim Harbaugh’s offense.

That toughness and willingness to stick his nose in on blocks and opposing tacklers reminds me of current Michigan fullback Ben Mason (who may have some new competition for toughest player on the team), which is something you know has Harbaugh, the staff and the fans excited. It may take him a little time to adjust to the speed of the college game but he’s a player I see contributing in one way or another early in his career. Whether that’s on offense or special teams, he has the look of another Khalid Hill-like fan favorite.


A name that was floated around earlier in the cycle, VanSumeren was an in-state talent that was intriguing (especially after putting up one of the best scores for an ATH on the SPARQ test) but with other tight end targets higher on the board, he was a name on the back burner for the coaching staff. The son of a Michigan alum ended up committing to Iowa in mid-November, just a month after receiving his offer from Kirk Ferentz and officially visiting Iowa City in October. And it was solid as he planned on signing with the Hawkeyes on the first day of the early signing period, December 20th.

But then Michigan missed on TE Tommy Tremble, who committed to Notre Dame on December 14th. The same day the staff extended its offer to VanSumeren.

It wasn’t known for sure if the versatile in-stater would be willing to change course and flip to his in-state school just days before he’s signing his letter of intent. So the Michigan coaching staff let him know he was wanted by showing up in full force at his high school on the 15th. That visit clearly was successful as VanSumeren ended up visiting Ann Arbor later the same day.

With Iowa having a “no visit” policy, similar to Brady Hoke (if a commit visits elsewhere, the staff will view the recruit as not committed), and the chance to play for his in-state Wolverines, all signs pointed towards VanSumeren flipping during the trip. And he followed through, announcing his commitment just three days after first receiving his offer.

  • Height: 6’3”
  • Weight: 230lbs
  • Hometown (School): Essexville, MI (Garber)
  • Notable Offers: Iowa, Iowa State, Yale, Navy, Air Force
  • Rankings: Rivals (3*, #37 ATH) – 247Sports (3*, #54 ATH) – ESPN (3*, #52 ATH)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #630 overall, #51 ATH, #12 in Michigan


As for the Rest of the Class

VanSumeren is the 17th overall commitment, the first H-Back in the class and the 4th in-state commit. With him on the board, Michigan looks like it could set to pick up at least one more commitment before the early signing period as ATH Michael Barrett looks likely to drop. Other names to watch heading down the stretch are DT Tyler Friday, OT Jalen Goss, DE Jayson Oweh, WR JaMarr Chase, OT Nicholas Petit-Frere and OT Jarrett Patterson.

Photo Credit: Jacob Hamilton |