The Michigan coaching staff has done a terrific job early on in the 2017 cycle in terms of the running back recruiting. They’ve added a stocky, physical, hardworking grinder in Kurt Taylor out of Georgia, a big, strong, workhorse in AJ Dillon out of Massachusetts and an athletic, strong, home run threat in O’Maury Samuels out of New Mexico.
Three talented backs with more than nine months before National Signing Day. Pretty good. But are they finished?
After looking at who the staff has been in contact with and who is still left on the board, they definitely are not completely finished at the position. Now, that’s not saying they add another tailback but they’re not closing shop and staying content with what they have. And that’s the way to go for multiple reasons.
For one, you don’t turn down top talent. John Beilein did this in the 2016 class when he pretty much stopped recruiting Josh Langford after landing Tyus Battle. Welp, whataya know, Battle decommits and Langford has moved on to East Lansing.
Jim Harbaugh isn’t going to do that.
If you’ve already forgot, Harbaugh is trying to put the best class together possible and when looking at the names on the board, (let’s call it) “movement” happens.
Taking me to my next point, decommitments are almost a foregone conclusion at this point. Whether that’s from the recruit or from the staff, it happens and will very likely continue to happen. Now, I won’t get into who could possibly leave the class or if any of the running back commits will leave but anything is possible with Harbaugh at the helm.
Add in the report that Michigan told Eno Benjamin that they’d accept his commitment that he just gave to Iowa on Monday night and the staff clearly isn’t settling.
So, they’re still recruiting running backs. That’s a given. But who are they going after?
Here are some of the names to keep an eye on moving forward:
Swift has been a top name on the board throughout the cycle and looks to still have Michigan in contention as he recently released his top 10, which included UM:
🅱️eyond🅱️lessed 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/uijBi94wtC
— SWIFT7️⃣ (@DAndreSwift) April 16, 2016
Michigan likely has a good amount of ground to make up on Swift if they’re truly trying to land him. However, a player at his level may just be a guy who they’re staying in contact with for now to see if the interest is starts to grow or anything changes on UM’s end.
Harris is the top player in the class (IMO) and is a guy the staff will remain on until the final whistle. And, luckily for UM, they were in on him pretty early and that is helping keep them in the game for the Alabama commit.
While I doubt Harris flips from Bama at this point, he’s at least showing interest in other programs. He recently visited Washington and told Scout’s Greg Biggins he’s also looking into visiting Ann Arbor this spring or summer ($).
Carr visited for the spring game and it looked to really make an impact on his recruitment. Though he’s still committed to USC, most believe he’s a top candidate to flip his commitment sooner or later. But could that be to Michigan?
Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz has heard very good things from both Carr and a “great source” ($). Though he’s also mentioned that it may not have been as impactful as it sounded, it looks like Michigan is definitely a legit option, if they want him.
With the visit already in the books early on, he’s the guy I’d say to watch the closest until NSD. An official visit and a great season in Ann Arbor could mean big things.
Outside of the elite names, a couple other names to keep an eye on include:
So, what do you think about the staff continuing to recruit the running back position? Are there any names that I listed that you’d want the staff to take a full run at? Let me know in the comment section below!
Photo Credit: Melanie Maxwell | The Ann Arbor News