Michigan’s 2017 Recruiting Battles: Clashing with Clemson

Michigan and Clemson have never played on the football field and don’t have plans, at the moment. But that doesn’t mean they still don’t go up against one another. That actually happens on the recruiting front each and every day, especially in this 2017 recruiting cycle.

The two programs fought tooth and nail for the #1 player in the 2016 class in DL Rashan Gary, with Michigan winning out in the end. And there will be some more dog fights in 2017, including Gary’s former Paramus Catholic teammate.

Check out where things stand with the main 2017 recruiting battles between Michigan and Clemson:

OL Tedarrell Slaton

Slaton is one of the top offensive lineman in the class and is wanted by several heavy hitters. However, this looks to be a Michigan-Clemson battle more than anything else (some Florida schools are still in there too). The Wolverines had long been the favorite to land the versatile lineman before the Tigers took over as his leader in May ($), according to Scout’s Jacquie Franciulli.

Once Michigan landed the commitment of Slaton’s good friend and teammate OT Kai-Leon Herbert, most, including myself, thought UM would regain the lead and expand it more than ever. But that has not happen (at least publicly) and it’s looking like the Wolverines have a ways to go.

At this point, I believe Clemson is the favorite to land his commitment but Michigan is in no way out of this race. If he and Herbert can make it up for the BBQ and/or an official visit, the Wolverines could sell him on playing with his teammate up north.

  • Crystal Ball: None; leaning towards Clemson at the moment

LB Drew Singleton

One of the top linebackers in the entire class, Singleton is a priority recruit for both Dabo Swinney and Jim Harbaugh. Just like his former teammate, Rashan Gary, was going into 2016 National Signing Day. And, like Gary, the battle between Michigan and Clemson for Singleton could go down to the wire.

For the majority of his recruitment, the Wolverines have been the favorite. However, there are some reporters who now are hearing the Tigers are the leader for Singleton. That includes 247Sports’ Ryan Bartow, who recently reported that Clemson is “slightly ahead” of Michigan ($) after The Opening. But is it true? TMI’s Sam Webb caught up with Singleton who let it be known that Clemson is “one of (his) favorites” ($).

At this point, I still feel quite confident that Singleton will end up choosing Michigan thanks to his longtime relationships with Chris Partridge, Jabrill Peppers and Rashan Gary. But I do not believe it’s a slam dunk. This recruitment will likely continue to be a rollercoaster, similar to Gary’s.

  • Crystal Ball: Michigan

ATH Markquese Bell

Bell is a player that a lot of analysts and fans may have thought would already be a member of Michigan’s class by this time in the cycle. That is thanks to the staff’s New Jersey connections and rumors of him nearly committing to the Wolverines over the spring. But that wasn’t/isn’t the case and Clemson (among others) have made a big run at the versatile star out of the Garden State.

The Tigers were able to host Bell for an unofficial visit earlier this summer which had the four star athlete telling 247Sports’ Ryan Bartow that distance was no longer a factor in his recruitment ($). That was a big reason why so many analysts thought he’d stay in-state and choose Rutgers. But now that distance won’t affect his decision, though it helps Clemson as well, I believe UM could make a big run soon.

Michigan is expecting to host Bell for the BBQ at the Big House on August 6th. The last time they had him on campus, he left the spring game with the Wolverines at the top of his list. Could that happen again? I believe it’s very much possible and a big reason why I put him in my July BGRC. But, like with Singleton, don’t count out Dabo and the Tigers here.

  • Crystal Ball: None; leaning towards Michigan

As three of the top targets in the class for both programs, Michigan and Clemson fans may want to get comfortable arguing with each other because all three of these recruitments will be nail biters up until the ink on the LOI is dry.

So, who do you think Michigan beats Clemson for in 2017? Let us know in the comment section below! 

Photo Credit: Independent Mail/Twiter