With the Early Signing Period in December eliminating most of the suspense around National Signing Day in February, Michigan’s 2020 class is all but wrapped up. But Jim Harbaugh isn’t done adding to a roster still with a couple of holes in it heading into the 2020 season.
Thanks to the addition of the transfer portal, the Michigan staff will have a chance to add some veteran help via (let’s stop beating around the bush) college football free agency.
Michigan’s most glaring roster need looks to be on the defensive line but there’s a lack of experienced depth on the offensive line and at linebacker. Here are some of the main names to pay attention to that have reportedly been tied to Michigan:
Michigan State LB Edward Warinner Jr.
- Eligibility: Sophomore
- HS Composite Ranking: 2018 Class – Three-star, #1252 Overall, #51 ILB, #48 in Ohio
- 2019 Stats: 3 tackles, 2 solo
Crystal Balls have already come in for the son of Michigan’s offensive line coach, Ed Warinner. As some have mentioned, it looks like it may be the first time a Spartan football player has transferred to the Wolverines program. If it does happen, as expected, I’m sure Mark Dantonio won’t use it to fuel his hatred for the Michigan program for the foreseeable future.
Stanford DT Michael Williams
- Eligibility: Grad Transfer; Immediate
- HS Ranking: 2016 Class; Four-star, #318 Overall, #33 DT, #50 in Texas
- 2019 Stats: 24 tackles, 12 solo, 1 sack
Depth and impact players on the interior of the defensive line is a big need for this Michigan defense and no one has received more attention in the news than Williams. The Stanford grad transfer has started every game (25) over the last two seasons and could step in and do the same for the Wolverines. If/when he visits, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a quick decision as Michigan is truly in need. SMU is the Crystal Ball leader at the moment while Rice and Vanderbilt are also reportedly interested.
Stanford DT Jovan Swann
- Eligibility: Grad Transfer; Immediate
- HS Ranking: 2016 Class; Three-Star, #657 Overall, #46 DT, #9 in Indiana
- 2019 Stats: 26 tackles, 13 solo, 1.5 sacks, 1 interception
Swann is another Stanford interior lineman that, according to multiple reports, Michigan is keeping tabs on. Not sure the staff would take both Stanford defensive tackles with Carlo Kemp and Michael Dwumfour looking to return for grad seasons and both Chris Hinton and Mazi Smith expected to take a step to full-time contributors in 2020. Still, if the staff gets him on campus during the contact period, keep an eye on this one.
Stanford OT Devery Hamilton
- Eligibility: Grad Transfer; Immediately
- HS Ranking: Four-star, #252 Overall, #25 OT, #7 in Maryland
- 2019 Stats: 4 games played
Hamilton is the most familiar name on this list. He was once committed to Michigan but jumped ship and signed with Stanford just before National Signing Day 2016. Now with a degree from Stanford in hand, he’s looking to play his graduate season elsewhere. He didn’t play his freshmen season and was hurt after starting the first four games of the 2019 season so a chance for multiple years is there for him as well. Ed Warinner didn’t originally recruit him to Michigan but with four starting spots opening in 2020, he may need an experienced, versatile lineman to add to the depth chart.
Some very familiar names in the transfer portal, including Michigan transfers, former top recruiting targets, or notable opponents:
- Michigan WR Tarik Black
- Boston College leads the Crystal Ball predictions though Georgia has also been mentioned as a potential match. Arizona State, Miami, Minnesota, Florida State, and Texas have also shown interest.
- Michigan LB Jordan Anthony
- The one Michigan transfer in the portal that will be the toughest to replace. No, Anthony didn’t make a big impact in his first three seasons in Ann Arbor but with his departure, the linebacker room is thin with experience. Teams that are kicking the tires here include Arizona State, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Florida, and Towson.
- Michigan OL Stephen Spanellis
- Another east coaster that is looking elsewhere to end his college career. There hasn’t been a ton of noise on him just yet but Duke, Northwestern, Washington, UCLA, Virginia, Cal, Wake Forest, Notre Dame, and Texas have all shown interest.
- Michigan DB Jaylen Kelly-Powell
- JKP recently jumped into the transfer portal. He never really found his spot in Don Brown’s defense, seeing a little bit of time here or there during his three seasons. But he’ll leave Michigan with a degree and will have two years of eligibility remaining.
- Michigan RB Tru Wilson
- With the emergence of Zach Charbonnet and Hassan Haskins, as well as the return of Chris Evans, Wilson is going to spend his grad year elsewhere. Can’t blame him there. He’ll likely end up at a G5 team and get plenty of carries in his final year of eligibility. Temple, Coastal Carolina, Northern Iowa, and Utah State have shown interest.
- Michigan S J’Marick Woods
- Transferred to Duke.
- Stanford QB KJ Costello
- Michigan isn’t really in the place to take a transfer quarterback on this offseason (next year, possibly). But when former top 2016 target KJ Costello jumped into the portal, some had to at least ask the question. Georgia was mentioned as a real candidate before they landed Wake Forest transfer QB Jamie Newman. Other options that have been mentioned for Costello include LSU, Michigan State, Miami, Washington State, and Florida State.
- Georgia OLB Otis Reese
- The former Michigan commit spurned the Wolverines for the Bulldogs on National Signing Day 2018 and less than two years later, is already leaving Athens. Michigan would seem like an obvious potential landing spot but that’s unlikely with Chris Partridge now at Ole Miss. Thanks to that, the Rebels look to be a prime landing spot for Reese.
- Penn State WR Justin Shorter
- Josh Gattis was his main recruiter at Penn State which most would think to be an immediate in for the former five-star recruit. But nothing ever really came out about Michigan’s interest in Shorter. Florida looks to be in prime position to land him after he visited Gainesville during the contact period.
- Florida State WR Tre’Shaun Harrison
- The former top 2018 target is leaving Tallahassee and Oregon State has already received a visit from the offensive weapon.
- Maryland OG Terrance Davis
- Davis was a guy who went from a guy likely to join the class to a guy the staff looked to not have a place for in 2016. He ended up signing with Maryland and starting 31 games for the Terps at right guard. Michigan could use interior help and he’s eligible to play immediately. However, with the number of talented youngsters on the roster, I expect the staff to focus on the tackle position if it brings in a transfer offensive lineman.
- Notre Dame LB Jonathan Jones
- Another former top linebacker target that had Michigan in his finalists but ended up choosing the Fighting Irish instead in 2016. Primarily a special teams contributor during his four years in South Bend. Interested teams included Florida State and Toledo.
Other Names to Keep an Eye On
Photo Credit: Patrick Barron/MGoBlog
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