2017 Recruiting Update: January 11, 2017

2017 Recruiting Update: January 11, 2017

January 11, 2017

Chuck Filiaga with Jim Harbaugh


Aledo (TX) Aledo offensive tackle Chuck Filiaga committed to Michigan (LINK).


Clinton (MS) Clinton running back Cam Akers committed to Florida State at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He was considering Ohio State, so this is somewhat of a recruiting win for Michigan. He enrolled early, so there’s no chance of him flipping now, either. Akers looks to me like the best back in the 2017 class.

Bridgeton (NJ) Bridgeton safety Markquese Bell committed to Maryland. This is a pretty good pull for D.J. Durkin. Bell is the 247 Composite #188 player and #7 athlete in the country. He was a Michigan lean at one point, but Michigan supposedly put him on the back burner. He also considered Clemson, Ohio State, and Rutgers. Two of those things are not like the other.

Wylie (TX) East running back Eno Benjamin committed to Arizona State. Benjamin named Michigan to his top six, and I had hoped that the Wolverines would somehow be able to reel him in despite their pursuit of Najee Harris. He seems like a good kid and trained with former Michigan running back David Underwood. However, the Wolverines stopped pursuing him weeks before his final decision.

Hit the jump for several other news bits.

Las Vegas (NV) Bishop Gorman safety Bubba Bolden committed to USC. Bolden committed at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and Ohio State or Arizona State could have also been the picks. Michigan offered him rather late in the process (October 2016), so it’s tough to win that battle with an elite recruit when you join the fray late.

Suwanee (GA) Grayson linebacker Breon Dixon committed to Ole Miss. He occasionally mentioned Michigan early, but the former Georgia commit never gave the impression he was interested in coming north.

Loganville (GA) Grayson cornerback Deangelo Gibbs committed to Georgia. Gibbs could end up playing receiver, corner, or safety at the next level. He’s a potential difference maker and one of the best athletes in the country. He’s the #3 safety and #40 overall in the 247 Composite.

La Mirada (CA) La Mirada cornerback Elijah Hicks flipped from Notre Dame to Cal. Hicks had been committed to Notre Dame for a while, and Michigan was going after him pretty hard at one point to flip. However, that mutual interested seemed to have faded. More interesting than the flip to Cal is that Hicks’s coach was obnoxiously adamant that he would sign with Notre Dame, but with Hicks enrolling early at Cal . . . oops.

Calabasas (CA) Calabasas cornerback Darnay Holmes committed to UCLA at the Army Bowl. At one time he looked likely to end up at Ohio State. He’s rumored to have committed to a few different coaching staffs, but he ended up picking the Bruins.

Vidalia (GA) Vidalia linebacker Nate McBride committed to Georgia. I really liked this McBride kid when Michigan offered him early, but the interest was never mutual.

Detroit (MI) U of D Jesuit safety Scott Nelson committed to Wisconsin. Michigan offered him last summer and a bunch of Crystal Balls came in for the Wolverines, but that momentum faded quickly. He was also thought to be a Michigan State lean at one point.

Grand Prairie (TX) South cornerback/safety Jeffrey Okudah committed to Ohio State. He’s a 5-star, the #1 safety, and #7 overall. Ohio State missed out on a few high-profile guys – Akers, Bolden, Holmes – but they reeled in maybe the best out of the bunch.

Graham (WA) Graham-Kapowsin offensive tackle Foster Sarell committed to Stanford. Along with Walker Little, the Cardinal pulled in two 5-star offensive tackles.


The thing that dominated the last couple weeks for Michigan was the ongoing saga of Antioch (CA) Antioch running back Najee Harris. Harris refused to make his decision public on whether to go to Alabama or Michigan, and the conclusion of that story only arrived when someone took a picture of Harris arriving at the Birmingham airport. I had put in a Crystal Ball for Harris to the Wolverines, and he did supposedly tell Michigan’s coaching staff at one point that he would end up in Ann Arbor. Obviously, something changed between December and last weekend.

I wrote up a summary on the Army All-American Bowl from last Saturday (LINK).

I also posted my thoughts on the Under Armour All-American Game from the week prior (LINK).


  1. Comments: 1357
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Jan 11, 2017 at 6:53 AM

    I’m pretty happy with Filliaga. Particularly when I look at the photo above. Despite the fact that he’s huge, there’s very little bad weight on this kid. and judging by the size of the kid’s head, a lot of it is bone. This kid could grow up to be just a drive blocking nightmare to play against.

    Stanford sure put together a nice pair of bookends.

    • Comments: 6285
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Jan 11, 2017 at 2:29 PM

      David Shaw needs to be considered for some NFL jobs ASAP

  2. Comments: 523
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Jan 11, 2017 at 7:52 AM

    Re: Eno Benjamin’s commitment to Arizona State … if he was from Arizona I would understand that pick, but he’s from Texas. He had offers from Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State (among others, including Michigan) and he chose Arizona State.

    I don’t get the sense ASU is going anywhere special under Todd Graham. Tempe is an okay place; it’s close to Phoenix, so it has a big-city vibe.

    I hope the kid well. I’m always curious what goes into a decision like this.

    • Comments: 3845
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jan 11, 2017 at 8:18 AM

      At one point he was thought to be headed to Texas, but Texas got two RBs – including Toneil Carter, a Georgia decommit – within the span of a week or so.

  3. Comments: 1
    Joined: 11/11/2015
    Jan 11, 2017 at 11:54 AM

    I’m still puzzled why we missed on so many highly rated left tackle prospects. Immediate playing time, storied program etc. Are we aiming for too many athletes who can’t meet the requirements in the classrooms? Or they don’t want to?

    thx thunder

    • Comments: 6285
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Jan 11, 2017 at 2:27 PM

      Some are just misses but they backed off others because they thought they had Wilson in the class. That was a huge blow, much bigger than not landing Harris.

  4. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Jan 11, 2017 at 2:20 PM

    I dislike the argument that an OSU target choosing another school is a win for Michigan. I’m in the camp that wants OSU to be strong when we beat them. Let them get all the recruits they want – they are going to be loaded with talent either way.

    Michigan is in a position where they are going to have to upset OSU with less talent for the foreseeable future. They only way I see of closing the talent gap is to beat them first.

    I get the argument that anything that is bad for OSU is good for UM but I don’t like thinking that way.

    • Comments: 9
      Joined: 12/16/2016
      Jan 11, 2017 at 4:40 PM

      OSU is going to be strong either way. Your going to get your wish every year pretty much. Them not getting one 5-Star safety doesnt make them noncompetitive, but it does help keep that talent gap that you mentioned in the second paragraph a little closer.

      OSU not getting another talented player is a bit of a “win” for Michigan, you can’t really argue that.

      And sorry, but the whole “I want OSU to be good when UM beats them” thing…its bit of talking tough to sound tough. OSU and MSU didnt care if UM was good or not over the last 10 years when they beat us. Its still a rivalry game, and its still a win. And getting wins is what is important. Moving forward, the best chance for UM to get into the playoff is to win the East and get to and probably win the BIG. If OSU isnt a juggernaut and its a little more likely UM beats them, thats better for UM as they try to reach their goal.

      • Comments: 6285
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Jan 11, 2017 at 5:25 PM

        OK but “winning is what matters” falls into the same category of meaningless talk. I think we agree.

        My point is we want Michigan to be national championship-good, not beat OSU on a down year-good.

        I get the incremental benefit to UM thing and am not arguing it, I just want to be above caring let alone celebrating. I feel the same way about comparing recruits with MSU, cheering for injuries, and various forms of schadenfreude. Michigan being THIS IS MICHIGAN means acting better than OSU and MSU. We earned our goddamn reputation for arrogance.

        Furthermore I would say that Michigan is stronger if the Big Ten is perceived as strong and OSU is the premier candidate to contribute. Perception of conference strength is very top-weighted.

        That all said – I will admit in doing a little victory dance in my head when I heard Samuel was off to the NFL, that guy is not just a 5-star recruit but a proven difference-maker. OSU is challenge enough without him.

  5. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Jan 11, 2017 at 2:26 PM

    Bell and Benjamin are head-scratchers from a fan perspective given misses on Harris, Holmes and other first-tier recruits. Still, we only have partial information and the coaches must have their reasons for backing off.

    DB depth is so bad I think they should take Bell & Sebastian.

    Sorry, I just had to say Bell & Sebastian once.

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