|Donovan Peoples-Jones (image via Rivals)|
Commits (1): Dylan McCaffrey
Decommits (0): N/A
Why? McCaffrey was a U.S. Army All-American and there have been whispers that Jim Harbaugh believes McCaffrey is the best high school quarterback prospect he’s seen in a long time, maybe going back to Andrew Luck. So there’s that. McCaffrey has the height, the bloodline, and the athleticism to be a very good quarterback. However, there are questions about his arm strength and mechanics. So while Harbaugh really likes him, I would have preferred someone like Davis Mills, who chose Stanford instead.
Hit the jump for the rest of the offensive grades.
RUNNING BACK: B+
Commits (2): O’Maury Samuels, Kurt Taylor
Decommits (1): A.J. Dillon
Why? I’m higher on Samuels than some. People have knocked him for playing against poor competition in New Mexico, and there’s something to be said for that. Quarterback Zach Gentry came from New Mexico in 2015, and not only has he failed to see the field, but he has been switched to tight end and wide receiver in the meantime. But not all players who played poor high school competition can be discounted. Samuels at one point held the highest SPARQ score in the country, and he ran a laser-timed 4.4 forty. Speaking of poor competition, Mike Hart is Michigan’s all-time leading rusher, and he played against some weak high school opponents in New York. Taylor has garnered some mentions of Hart. He’s kind of a pinball type of player without great speed, but not all those players can be great in college. I have my doubts about Taylor’s abilities, but he’s all about Michigan. (For the record, so was Michael Ferns III…and now he’s a backup tight end for West Virginia.) Dillon was my second-favorite running back commit in the class behind Samuels, but he departed for Boston College. Meanwhile, Michigan made a run at #1 running back prospect Najee Harris, who was rumored to have silently committed to the Wolverines at one point before sticking with his Alabama pledge.
Commits (0): N/A
Decommits (1): Chase Lasater
Why? Maybe this is too harsh of a grade, because there’s a chance that linebacker recruit Ben Mason might end up playing fullback. But for now, I’m sticking with the belief that Mason is a linebacker, since that’s where he was promised to get a shot first. Meanwhile, Lasater is probably the more athletic of the two, but he ended up at Florida Atlantic. Sometimes you don’t need a fullback in a recruiting class, but Michigan’s two fullbacks (Khalid Hill, Henry Poggi) will both graduate after 2017 and there’s no one in the pipeline.
WIDE RECEIVER: A+
Commits (5): Tarik Black, Nico Collins, Brad Hawkins, Oliver Martin, Donovan Peoples-Jones
Decommits (1): Jeremiah Holloman
Why? There’s some argument about whether this is Michigan’s best wide receiver recruiting class in history, and both sides have a point. Even if it’s not, it’s close enough to give this a very high grade. Peoples-Jones is the jewel of the class, but Michigan has a little bit of everything – tall guys, short-ish guys, fast guys, possession guys, good blockers, good route runners, etc. In fact, the only really negative thing one can say about this class is that there are too many guys. Without enough playing time for them all, some are all but certain to wash out.
TIGHT END: D
Commits (0): N/A
Decommits (1): Carter Dunaway
Why? I was not high on Dunaway, anyway, so losing him wasn’t a big deal. But Michigan is rumored to be on the verge of losing Devin Asiasi to a transfer, and I think it’s a good idea to take at least one tight end in each class. They’re guys who can move to defensive end, fullback, etc. if they don’t pan out at tight end. Michigan seemed to have a good chance of reeling in Californian Josh Falo, but they backed off and he signed with USC.
OFFENSIVE LINE: B
Commits (5): Chuck Filiaga, Ja’Raymond Hall, Joel Honigford, Cesar Ruiz, Andrew Stueber
Decommits (1): Kai-Leon Herbert
Why? Michigan really needed to address the offensive tackle position in this class, preferably with an early contributor, and I’m not sure they did. Filiaga is big but needs work. Honigford is a little thin but has good athleticism. Hall might be more likely to end up at guard, and Stueber is someone who has the potential to surprise some people. Michigan whiffed on Isaiah Wilson (Georgia) and Mekhi Becton (Louisville) and lost Kai-Leon Herbert to Miami late in the process. There was talk that the Wolverines wanted 7 or even 8 offensive linemen, and they ended up short. On the plus side, there’s a lot of live ammo here with oodles of potential, and Ruiz was the class’s #1 center.