With National Signing Day now in the rear view mirror and the 2019 class officially in the book, it’s time for my annual Michigan recruiting class superlatives.
Immediate Offensive Impact Player: Zach Charbonnet
This was an even easier pick once the news broke of Chris Evans’ suspension from the football team. Michigan’s lead returning rusher is former walk-on Tru Wilson. Christian Turner has flashed potential but there’s nothing like Charbonnet on the roster. I believe the early enrollee won’t only be a significant contributor but could be the starter by conference play.
Immediate Defensive Impact Player: Daxton Hill
Another elite prospect at a big position of need, Hill was also an easy choice. He’s the playmaking safety Michigan has been missing for years and one that could take the defense to another level.
Immediate Special Teams Impact Player: George Johnson
There are several options here as Michigan signed 6-7 guys who could make an impact as punt or kick returners. But Johnson has the mix of speed, quickness, wiggle and vision after starring as a quarterback and receiver in high school.
Unexpected Freshmen Contributor: Cornelius Johnson
Most would think the loaded receiver corps would mean the freshmen receivers may have a hard time seeing quality snaps. Well it may take some time but I see the other Johnson in the class turning heads this fall. He’s shown at on the game field and in camp settings. With Gattis expected to air it out and the consistent need for long receivers, the rookie may be able to crack the outside receiver two-deep by mid-season.
Best Recruiting Win: Daxton Hill
Another easy one. The Hill drama is well documented after he was a shock to end up at Michigan in the first place, and then flips to Alabama just weeks before Early Signing Day just to flip back and recommit to the Wolverines on ESD. Even without the drama, it’s one of the best recruiting wins of the Harbaugh era.
Best Highlight Tape: Mike Sainristil
From Charbonnet to Hill, Giles Jackson to Cornelius Johnson, there are some really impressive highlight tapes out there. But Sainristil’s is extremely impressive on both sides of the field as he makes big, explosive plays at both receiver and cornerback.
Best Name: Mazi Smith
There are some decent names on the commit list but nothing tops Mazi. Plus the options are a bit more limited with several signees having damn near made up names like George Johnson, Charles Thomas, and Jack Stewart.
Most Likely to Switch Positions: Jack Stewart
This is a complete shot in the dark but with the need at defensive tackle and six offensive lineman in this class, I wouldn’t be completely surprised to see someone make the move. Stewart may be the best candidate as on top of being a standout offensive tackle he was also a standout at defensive tackle in high school. No rumors or anything of this happening but I feel like this could be his quickest way to see the field.
Most Underrated: Quinten Johnson
The last signee of the class and the composite’s 316th ranked player in the country may be a four-star but I believe he’s a top 200 player. He’s a physically impressive, hard-hitting, strong safety that could see his way to the field quickly. Dax Hill may not be the only safety in this class to see the field this fall.
Most Underappreciated: Trente Jones
Every class has players that committed earlier on in the process that
Most Surprising Commitment: Anthony Solomon
Even though I left my Crystal Ball on Michigan for Solomon for years, him actually ending up in this class was a total surprise. He went from a damn near guarantee to a backup plan to committing to Miami and looking solid in that decision. But with the coaching change for the Hurricanes and Michigan looking to add another linebacker in this class, Solomon flipped to Michigan just days before the Early Signing Day.
Least Surprising Commitment: Nolan Rumler
This one was known and expected right away. Growing up a huge fan of the program and being one of the best offensive lineman in the midwest, all signs pointed to Michigan for Rumler from the start.
Most Intriguing: David Ojabo and Karsen Barnhart
Easily the two biggest and rawest lineman in this class. Both have the elite frames and top end athleticism that has to have Shaun Nua and Ed Warriner ecstatic. But with that pure talent and athleticism, both prospects may need some time to get ready for elite college ball. Out of the two, Ojabo could burst onto the scene much quicker as just a pure freak off the edge while Barnhart has a deeper depth chart ahead of him. Either way, I’m very interested to see how these two four-star talents turnout during their collegiate careers. Erick All is another name I’m very interested in watching during his career.
Man Child: Joey Velazquez
Quinten Johnson and Nolan Rumler are other names that could’ve easily been here but with Velazquez not only being a physical specimen as well as being a division one football and baseball recruit,
Most Likely to Win the Heisman: Zach Charbonnet
Position and ceiling matter most here and Charbonnet checks both boxes. With the chance to get a ton of touches as a freshmen, he could become a Heisman candidate pretty quickly. And I’m not the only one who thinks he can win one:
Future Fan Favorite: Giles Jackson
Jackson already has this one locked up thanks to his rivals trash talk on Twitter. Add in his elusiveness, speed and fit in a #SpeedInSpace offense, and he’ll be a guy that will put fans on the edge of their seat every time he touches the ball.
Biggest Steal: Chris Hinton and Daxton Hill
Weird, both five stars are steals? As two elite prospects out of southern states, you bet your ass both were steals. Hinton committed to Michigan early and the staff was able to hold off in-state Georgia throughout. Hill’s drama with Bama is well known now but stealing him away from in-state Oklahoma and Oklahoma State (where his brother played) shouldn’t be forgotten. Both were monster gets for Michigan and could make impacts very early in their careers.
Biggest Sleeper: DJ Turner
Turner was another player I could see possibly making an early impact. He was a standout playing in Georgia and then transferred to IMG Academy where he made his mark as well. He’s played against the best talent in the country and though he needs some work, like every incoming freshman, he’s a guy that will make some noise during his career. George Johnson, Quintel Kent, Gabe Newburg, and Mike Morris are some others being slept on.
Biggest Hitter: Charles Thomas
Thomas’ game resembles Devin Bush’s in multiple ways. His shorter height, sideline to sideline speed, tenacity, and, especially, his ability to lay the wood. Built like a pit bull, he’s a guy that leaves a lasting mark when he hits opponents.
Two-Way Standout: Mike Sainristil
This was another easy choice. Sainristil is a top flight prospect at both slot receiver and cornerback. And he’ll likely get the chance to play both to find his best fit during his time in Ann Arbor.
Class Leader: Chris Hinton
Hinton was one of the first commitments and became a main player recruiter for the staff. Though he didn’t get all of his top targets, he played a key part in Trente Jones and Jalen Perry’s recruitment as a fellow Georgia prospect. He led the way on Twitter and truly set the tone for Michigan’s 2019 class.
Future Team Captain: Cade McNamara
There are plenty of options in this class so I’ll take the easy way out and choose the quarterback. McNamara may not have the fanfare of previous QB signees under Harbaugh, he’s a name not to forget. With a bit of Drew Brees and Shea Patterson in his game, he’s a competitor that should fight for the starting spot by his sophomore or junior seasons.
Strongest Positional Haul: Offensive Line
While the wide receiver haul, secondary, and defensive line hauls are really nice, the six offensive line signees were impressive and much needed. Four top 300 signees in OT Trente Jones, G/C Nolan Rumler, OT Trevor Keegan,
Photo Credit: Aaron Bills/Michigan Football