Team 138 Best Guess Recruiting Class: February 7th

Alright, with the 2016 class officially in the books, let’s dive into the 2017 class with my much anticipated(??) best guess recruiting class. Just a couple notes on how I put it together:

  • This is obviously wayyyy too early to really know how this class will end. But I do believe Michigan will be in it until the end for everyone on this list and as long as they continue to develop and UM has a good year, anything is possible.
  • As for the final number, looking at the scholarship breakdown, Michigan should have somewhere between 23-27 scholarships available in this class thanks to high number of seniors on the roster and normal amount of expected attrition.
  • On top of that, it’s likely that there will be decommitments in this class. Whether that comes from the current commitments and/or the future commitments, it’ll happen just like in 2015 and 2016. So, get ready for it.

With all of that being said, check out my latest 2017 Michigan football recruiting class prediction:

1. QB: Dylan McCaffrey, 6’5″ 205lbs. Littleton, CO (Valor)

Ray Chen/ArrayPhoto.com

McCaffrey has been a part of my class prediction since day one and should end up actually joining the class in the near future. From intel and multiple reports, a decision could be coming early this spring and all signs point to Michigan, especially with Stanford (his father, mother and brother’s alma mater) reportedly targeting Davis Mills in this class.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Highlights
  • Other Options: Jelani Woods, Kasim Hill, Jack Coan 

2. RB: Kurt Taylor, 5’8” 195lbs. Covington, GA (Newton) 

via recruitgeorgia.com

Taylor is a tough, stout, quicker than fast running back that loves contact. When you look at how built he is for a high school student (or anyone for that matter), you can see why he has no problem looking for defenders.Though he can also beat the defense with a quick first step, he has similar running style to former Wolverine, Mike Hart. His size actually helps him as he can get lost behind lineman and has a low center of gravity, which makes him very tough to bring down.

3. RB: Bo Melton, 6’0” 180lbs. Egg Harbor City, NJ (Cedar Creek)

MICHAEL BRYANT/Philly.com

MICHAEL BRYANT/Philly.com

Melton landed his Michigan offer soon after his standout performance at the Army All-American combine and now the Wolverines look like a favorite to land the next star out of Cedar Creek. Thanks to his relationship with UM freshmen and former teammate WR Ahmir Mitchell, things are looking good for Michigan here if they make him a priority throughout the cycle.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: No
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good
  • First on List: Now
  • Highlights
  • Others Options:  Najee Harris, D’Andre Swift, Adarius Lemons

4. WR: Jeremiah Holloman, 6’4” 195lbs. Covington, GA (Newton)

CovNews.com

CovNews.com

Holloman is a big, physical, jump ball receiver that can box out defensive backs with his size and win the ball at its highest point. It’s something that Michigan hasn’t had for awhile and could be a big time threat in the red zone throughout his college career.

5. WR: Donovan Peoples-Jones, 6’2″ 175lbs. Detroit, MI (Cass Tech)

(via Julian H. Gonzalez, Detroit Free Press)

Peoples-Jones is the top ranked player in Michigan and looks to be the #1 player on the staff’s board in this class. Thanks to that, his family connections to the UM and the staff proving that the passing game will be a huge part of their offense in 2015, the Wolverines are in great shape early on. However, like Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz has mentioned several times, Florida is a real candidate here for his signature.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Highlights
  • Other Options: KJ Hamler, Nico Collins, Josh Palmer, Joseph Lewis, Terrell Bynum, Jordan Merrell

6. WR: Tarik Black, 6’3” 203lbs. Cheshire, CT (Cheshire Academy) 

via 247sports.com

Black has been a top target for the staff since they started recruiting the 2017 class and though Alabama is said to be making a run here, it’s still very early in the process and he’s been high on Michigan the entire time. If the staff stays on him, there’s a real chance he could sign with UM at the end of the cycle.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: No
  • Michigan’s Chances: Good
  • First on List: May 2015
  • Highlights
  • Other Options:  KJ Hamler, Nico Collins, Josh Palmer, Joseph Lewis, Terrell Bynum, Jordan Merrell

7. TE: Jimmy Jaggers, 6’4” 240lbs. Roseville, CA (Roseville)

Jordan Hales/Auburn Journal

Jaggers is another name that has been on this list since the beginning and continues to look like the most likely tight end addition to the class. Not only has he visited Ann Arbor two times already on his own tab but he let me know he’s also planning on visiting Michigan again this spring/summer. If the staff continues to push for him, things look very good here.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Highlights
  • Other Options: Logan Rudolph, Trevor Kent, Josh Falo, Tre McKitty, Brian Polenday, Jake Marwede

8. TE: Carter Dunaway, 6’6” 225lbs. Bloomfield Hills, MI (Brother Rice)

Photo Credit: MIPrepZone/Jason Schmit

Photo Credit: MIPrepZone/Jason Schmit

The son of former Michigan tight end Craig Dunaway and brother of freshmen preferred walk-on Jack Dunaway, Carter was meant to end up in Maize and Blue. So, when he landed his offer from Harbaugh himself, it didn’t take long for him to pull the trigger and become the first member of the 2017 class. While he’s expected to be a tight end, some analysts believe he could end up at offensive tackle if he continues to grow.

  • Commitment Date: April 18th, 2015
  • Story
  • First on List: April 2015
  • Highlights

9. OT: JaRaymond Hall, 6’5″ 255lbs. Oak Park, MI (Oak Park)

(via scout.com)

Hall is one of the most physically impressive recruits in the state but is also one of the most raw. He has that athleticism and size needed but is in need of more reps and coaching to be a top player at the collegiate level. At Michigan, he’ll be able to work with one of the top offensive line coaches in the country in Tim Drevno and should grow into a nice player at the college level.

10. OT: Isaiah Wilson, 6’7” 322lbs. Brooklyn, NY (Poly Prep) 

Photo via Isaiah Wilson

Photo via Isaiah Wilson

Wilson is one of the top players in the class and looks to be a top target for the staff. Add in him naming Michigan his leader early on (he’s since said he doesn’t have a leader) and him visiting Ann Arbor in early February, and the Wolverines are in fantastic shape early on. The staff will need to maintain the momentum and somewhat of a lead as just about every other program throws their hat in the ring.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good
  • First on List: August 2015
  • Highlights
  • Other Options: Foster Sarell, Kai-Leon Herbert, Netori Johnson, Tyler Beach, Austin Deculus, Wyatt Davis

11. OL: Tedarrell Slaton, 6’5” 341lbs. Ft Lauderdale, FL (American Heritage) 

(via 247sports.com)

Slaton is another elite level player and lineman in this class that has named Michigan his leader multiple times in the past. And now with the staff having an in at American Heritage (2016 signee TE Nick Eubanks), UM will have an even better chance pulling Slaton out of the Sunshine State.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: No
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good
  • First on List: August 2015
  • Highlights
  • Other Options: Foster Sarell, Kai-Leon Herbert, Netori Johnson, Tyler Beach, Austin Deculus, Wyatt Davis

12. OL: Robert Hainsey, 6’5” 280lbs. Monroeville, PA (IMG Academy)

Rivals.com

Rivals.com

Hainsey visited Ann Arbor for the Ohio State game and quickly became a top target for the staff. The B1G East rivals (PSU, MSU and OSU) look to be the biggest contenders for his commitment but Michigan’s high need for lineman in this class mixed in with their spring break trip to IMG could really give the Wolverines a nice lead in his recruitment.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Good
  • First on List: May 2015
  • Highlights
  • Other Options: Foster Sarell, Kai-Leon Herbert, Netori Johnson, Tyler Beach, Austin Deculus, Wyatt Davis

13. OL: Aaron Banks, 6’7” 307lbs. El Cerrito, CA (El Cerrito) 

Rivals.com

Rivals.com

Banks is one of the biggest offensive lineman in the class and could end up being a top target for the staff throughout the cycle. Not only is he out of California (one of Harbaugh’s favorite states to recruit) but UM has an insider recruiting him in his uncle who he let me know is a gigantic Wolverines fan. Banks let me know him and his uncle are planning on visiting Ann Arbor this summer. If the staff sells him on UM, they could take a nice lead in his recruitment heading into his senior season.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: No
  • Michigan’s Chances: Good
  • First on List: Now
  • Highlights
  • Other Options: Foster Sarell, Kai-Leon Herbert, Netori Johnson, Tyler Beach, Austin Deculus, Wyatt Davis

14. OC: Cesar Ruiz, 6’4” 290lbs. Camden, NJ (IMG Academy)

(via 247sports.com)

Ruiz has been on the list since last summer and remains thanks to multiple visits to Ann Arbor as well as his former teammates and good friends Ron Johnson and Brad Hawkins signing with Michigan in 2016. Now that he’s at IMG Academy, he’ll be a tougher pull but thanks to the spring break trip, early interest in UM and need for a center in this class, I still like Michigan’s chances here.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good
  • First on List: June 2015
  • Highlights
  • Other Options: Kai-Leon Herbert, Netori Johnson, Tyler Beach, Austin Deculus, Wyatt Davis, Jordan Reid

15. DT: Jay Tufele, 6’3” 285lbs. South Jordan, UT (Bingham) 

Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune

Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune

Tufele landed his offer from Michigan back in October and with their need for defensive tackles in the class and the staff making him a top target in this class (per Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz), things look good here if they can get him on campus before he makes a final decision.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: No
  • Michigan’s Chances: Good
  • First on List: Now
  • Highlights
  • Other Options: Marvin Wilson, Kedonis Haslem, Fred Hansard, Dalyn Wade-Perry

16. DT: Corey Bolds, 6’3” 280lbs. Paramus, NJ (Paramus Catholic)

Scout.com

Scout.com

After Michigan signed Rashan Gary in the 2016 class, UM has an even better shot at landing the next defensive lineman recruit out of their pipeline school in New Jersey, Paramus Catholic. Though Clemson looks to be a big threat to land him but thanks to the need at the position and ties to the program, I think UM could sign him at the end of the day.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good
  • First on List: April 2015
  • Highlights
  • Other Options: Marvin Wilson, Kedonis Haslem, Fred Hansard, Dalyn Wade-Perry

17. DE: Joshua Kaindoh, 6’6” 235lbs. Baltimore, MD (IMG Academy) 

via Twitter

via Twitter

Kaindoh is one of the staff’s top targets in the class and they’re in good shape early on. Though he’s being heavily targeted by just about everyone, UM’s spring practices at IMG mixed in with the possibility of Michigan adding Baltimore coaching legend Biff Poggi to the staff (Kaindoh is from the area), they could be a favorite in his recruitment throughout.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: No
  • Michigan’s Chances: Good
  • First on List: June 2015
  • Highlights
  • Other Options: Jarez Parks, Guy Thomas, LaBryan Ray, Jordan Wright

18. LB: Corey Malone-Hatcher, 6’4” 240lbs. Saint Joseph, MI (St. Joseph’s)

Malone-Hatcher is another original member of my class prediction and will remain here until something drastic changes. Though Notre Dame is becoming more and more of a threat, Michigan has continued to look like his eventual landing spot and that pledge could come at any time.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Highlights
  • Other Options: Jaquan Henderson, Jordan Anthony, Sterling Jones, Baron Browning

19. LB: Drew Singleton, 6’2″ 215lbs. Paramus, NJ (Paramus Catholic)

via Twitter.com)

If you were able to catch the IMG vs Paramus Catholic game on ESPN a couple weeks ago, though it was full of five star 2016 recruits, there wasn’t a player that stood out more than Singleton. He’s an instinctive, athletic linebacker that just makes plays. And luckily for Michigan, their ties to the program and his early visits have put them in the drivers seat for his commitment. If they continue to make him a top priority and can hold off Clemson, the ties to the program and familiarity with UM’s campus, staff and roster should win out in the end.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Highlights
  • Other Options: Jaquan Henderson, Jordan Anthony, Sterling Jones, Baron Browning

20. LB: Josh Ross, 6’1″ 220lbs. West Bloomfield, MI (OLSM)

(via @Joshua_Ross05/Twitter)

Ross has been on the list of “most likely to commit” for what seems like years now. As the younger brother of LB James Ross III and one of the top linebackers in the 2017 class, it’s obvious to see why he’s a top target for the staff. As for when he’ll make his decision, that could come at anytime and it would be a shock if it were for anyone but Michigan.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Excellent
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Highlights
  • Other Options: Jaquan Henderson, Jordan Anthony, Sterling Jones, Baron Browning

21. CB: Benjamin St-Juste, 6’3” 170lbs. Montreal, Quebec (Cegep du Vieux) 

Hudl.com

Hudl.com

St-Juste committed to the 2016 recruiting class over the summer after putting on a standout performance at the UM camp. But because of the Canadian high school system, he reclassified to the 2017 class. This is actually a good move for both St-Juste and Michigan as it will allow him to continue to grow as a player and will give the staff even more time to evaluate his play.

22. CB: Ambry Thomas, 5’10” 160lbs. Detroit, MI (King)

via YouTube.com

Thomas is one of the best players in the state and Midwest, and also happens to be a top target for the staff. Michigan has been in good shape with him for awhile but thanks to UM signing his teammate and friend CB Lavert Hill in 2016 and him wanting to play with Cass Tech DB/best friend/rumored UM lean Jaylen Kelly-Powell in college (per Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz), the Wolverines are in even better shape as the 2017 cycle goes into full gear.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Good
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Highlights 
  • Other Options: Stanford Samuels III, Meshael Custis, Lamont Wade, Greg Johnson, Trajon Brandy

23. DB: Jaylen Kelly-Powell, 6’0” 183lbs. Detroit, MI (Cass Tech)

YouTube.com

YouTube.com

Kelly-Powell is from a family of Michigan fans, was named after former Wolverine basketball great Jalen Rose and is reportedly hoping to be a surgeon after football is over. All signs point to him choosing Michigan though Ohio State is looking like a viable option after multiple visits over the fall. But I’d still be a little shocked if he chose anyone besides the Wolverines when he makes his dec

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good
  • First on List: May 2015
  • Highlights
  • Other Options: J’Marick Woods, Markquese Bell, Jeffrey Okudah, Chaz Ah You 

24. S: AJ Harris, 6’0” 185lbs. Madison, AL (Bob Jones)

via Twitter

via Twitter

Harris may be the biggest shot in the dark on this list but with his early offer from the staff and his relationship with Michigan’s new Offensive Analyst and former Prattville coach Bam Richards, the Wolverines should have a real shot here. It’ll also help if they are able to host another satellite camp in Alabama this summer.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Decent to Good
  • First on List: Now
  • Highlights
  • Other Options: J’Marick Woods, Markquese Bell, Jeffrey Okudah, Chaz Ah You 

25. ATHAllen Stritzinger, 6’0″ 180lbs. Warren, MI (De La Salle)

(Mike Mulholland | MLive.com)

Stritzinger has been a consistent member of my class prediction thanks to multiple conversations with him and several visits he’s made to Ann Arbor. Thanks to his versatility as either a running back or cornerback at the next level, he could be a nice player where ever he ends up. And all signs point to Michigan here.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Excellent
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Highlights
  • Others Options: Scotty Nelson, Collin Smith, Markquese Bell, Deejay Dallas

26. ATH: Antjuan Simmons, 6’1” 205lbs. Ann Arbor, MI (Pioneer)

(via TOM HAWLEY/Monroe News)

(via TOM HAWLEY/Monroe News)

Though Simmons didn’t originally add Michigan to his first “top 11”, the Wolverines have jumped on to that list after picking up the pursuit of the Ann Arbor star. If the staff continues to make him a priority throughout and sells him on playing across the street from his high school, I believe he’ll don the Maize and Blue in college.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Good
  • First on List: March 2015
  • Highlights
  • Other Options: Scotty Nelson, Collin Smith, Markquese Bell, Deejay Dallas

Projected Class Score: 299.71 (per 247Sports)

If somehow I predicted this class perfectly and none of these players moved in the rankings (not happening), this class would definitely be fighting for the #1 spot as it would be less than 2 points behind Alabama’s #1 class in 2016 and 16 points better than Michigan’s class.

Just Off:

  • ATH Scotty Nelson
  • LB Jaquan Henderson
  • WR KJ Hamler
  • OG Netori Johnson
  • ATH Greg Johnson
  • WR Joseph Lewis
  • TE Logan Rudolph

Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports