Category Archives: B1G Ten

Is This Michigan Football’s Best Recruiting Class Ever?

The 2017 Michigan recruiting class could go down as arguably the best one in school history.

While the overall class is deep and balanced, the crown jewels are the wide receivers. Michigan wanted three receivers in this class and they did themselves one better with the addition of 2016 re-recruit Brad Hawkins, who was in last year’s class but took a prep school year to get his academics in order. The wide receiver class is led by five-star Donovan Peoples-Jones – a big, physical player billed as the next great Michigan receiver. In addition to Hawkins and Peoples-Jones, Michigan also signed four-stars Tarik Black and late addition Oliver Martin. Four-star wide receiver Nico Collins is still a potential commitment for Michigan’s receivers group.

The defensive back group is strong and should provide some immediate help for the Wolverines. Jim Harbaugh and Co. went big after local kids and came up aces, landing four-star defensive backs Ambry Thomas and Jaylen Kelly-Powell. Alabama three-star defensive back J’Marick Woods has already made his way north as an early enrollee and four-star Benjamin St-Juste has made his way down from Montreal.

Others expected to have a strong impact early are four-star center Cesar Ruiz, five-star linebacker Jordan Anthony and four-star Pennsylvania defensive lineman Donovan Jeter.

The disappointment – if there is one for a top-five class – is that Michigan missed on elite running back Najee Harris, who stuck with his original commitment to Alabama. Michigan isn’t without running backs in this class, but there was a late push for Harris who some thought would flip to the Wolverines.

Marquee recruit: DT Aubrey Solomon. He was a Michigan commitment until he rescinded it after receiving a thank-you note from Michigan for visiting an event that he never attended. His name was also misspelled multiple times in the note. His re-commitment this morning was a huge get at a position of need for the Wolverines. It was also another head-to-head recruiting win for Michigan over Alabama.

The one who got away: OT Isaiah Wilson. A massive offensive tackle who was a strong Michigan lean for most of the recruiting cycle, but ultimately decided to sign with Georgia. The Wilson loss was especially tough for the Wolverines not only because he was considered a lock for most of the year, but he was also an important player at a position of need. Michigan thought of him as a player who could contribute immediately.

Position of strength: Wide receiver. Michigan’s wide receiver depth chart is loaded. With four highly rated recruits in this class and one more potentially on the way, the Wolverines should have plenty of star power and depth in the years ahead. In addition to highly rated sophomores Kekoa Crawford and Eddie McDoom, the Wolverines have loaded up on wide receiver talent in the 2017 recruiting cycle with Peoples-Jones, Black, Martin and Hawkins.

Position of worry: Running back. Michigan lost out on Harris, but they still landed a couple of running backs who could contribute in a crowded, young backfield. Kurt Taylor and O’Maury Samuels are the only two running back commitments in the class, but neither is a top 300 player. The good news for Michigan is the sophomore class is loaded and should be able to produce while Michigan searches for a feature back in the 2018 cycle.

Recruits to watch this spring: Michigan has eleven early enrollees, with none more important than center Cesar Ruiz. Michigan lost three offensive linemen to graduation and a revamped offensive line in 2017 is the most important area of need. The offensive line will be young, but more athletic than the last 10 years. It is imperative that Ruiz play early to give Michigan the flexibility to move Mason Cole to tackle of needed. Ruiz is one of the few “true” centers to come out of high school; he has the ability and the body to be an important early contributor on an line that must come together quickly.

(You can follow Gregg Henson on Twitter @GreggHenson)

Teddy Greenstein Exposed His Dislike Of Harbaugh!

If you ever needed to see an example of the media being dishonest, look no further than Teddy Greenstein’s article this week on former Michigan recruit Erik Swenson.

Greenstein has been a rather unfair Harbaugh critic and the article about current Oklahoma offensive lineman Erik Swenson actually proved that Greenstein has been unfair to Harbaugh since the Wolverines pulled the longtime commit’s scholarship early last year.

Greenstein aired some pretty damning information about Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and then proceeded to backtrack with comments from Harbaugh himself.

Greenstein printed a quote from Swenson’s high school coach, Mark Molinari that was clearly revealed only to hammer away at Michigan and Harbaugh’s credibility on the recruiting trail.  Molinari has this to say after Michigan pulled Swenson’s offer, “In the first three or four hours, my phone rang 50 times,” Molinari said. “(College) coaches were blown away by it. They said, ‘There is no way that this happens.’ Some said, ‘That’s why we hate Michigan.’ Or Harbaugh.”

This is how Greenstein portrayed Swenson’s situation with Michigan.

What happened to Swenson is exceedingly rare: a high school player in good academic standing, who remains loyal to the school to which he verbally committed, getting dumped within weeks of signing day.

There is a term for a school dispatching a player it no longer wants: “processing.”

Connecticut coach Randy Edsall got crushed last week by national media figures Paul Finebaum (“total disgrace”), Mike Greenberg (“How you go to sleep at night, I have no idea”) and the Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins (“No one is more committed to Randy Edsall than Randy Edsall”) after his scurrilous actions regarding a high school linebacker from New Jersey named Ryan Dickens.

However, when Harbaugh was asked how the situation played out, he offered this explanation in regards to the Swenson recruitment.

“There’s a camp in June, and we really want you to come so we can see you.’ It ended up, after a couple of conversations that he wasn’t going to come to camp.

“I said: ‘We’re going to be in Indianapolis in the beginning of June for a satellite camp. It’s closer to your home.’ He said no. I said, ‘We really need to see you for ourselves.’ He said, ‘Just evaluate my senior tape.’ ‘OK, that’s what we will do.”

Critics often nail coaches for pulling scholarships, but they rarely hold the player to the same standard, recruiting is a mutual agreement….when one side is not satisfied, they move on to better opportunities.  It is a two way street.

The bottom line for Michigan is they couldn’t get a live evaluation of Swenson and decided to move on, this isn’t new and it is something every single power five school does on a regular basis.

In the end, Greenstein let his personal opinion of Harbaugh get in the way of the facts of the story.

Jeremy Clark Denied Sixth Year, What Does It Mean for Michigan’s Secondary?

Michigan cornerback Jeremy Clark has been denied a sixth year by the NCAA, according to WTKA Radio in Ann Arbor, this is a big blow to the Michigan secondary that was decimated by graduation following Michigan’s Orange Bowl loss to Florida State.

Clark suffered a torn ACL in the Penn State game and Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh had sought a medical redshirt.  Clark started the first three games of the season in place of Jourdan Lewis who missed the beginning of the season with an injury.

Clark has signed with an agent and plans to play in the NFL.

Clark started seven games at corner in 2015 and three in 2016 before his injury.  Clark was an important member of the Michigan secondary, battling Channing Stribling for the starting spot.

Michigan will enter the 2017 season with very little experience in the secondary minus Clark.  Brandon Watson is the only experienced upperclassman returning to the position group.

Highly touted sophomore’s LaVert Hill and David long are expected to earn starting spots in 2017 while competing with Keith Washington (Redshirt sophomore) and freshman Ambry Thomas and Benjamin St-Juste.

Michigan is reportedly looking to sign one more cornerback in the class of 2017 to add more depth to the position.

Look for Long, Hill and freshman Ambry Thomas to fill out the Michigan secondary when the Wolverines face Florida in Dallas this fall.