Michigan recently wrapped up its 2020 recruiting class, so we turn our attention forward to what the Wolverines need in the class of 2021.
As a quick reminder, these players are already committed to Michigan in 2021:
1. DEFENSIVE TACKLE
Michigan played with very little depth at defensive tackle during the 2019 season, eventually relying on unproven walk-on Jess Speight to play key snaps late in the year. Depth was hurt by the transfer of Michael Dwumfour to Rutgers, but Dwumfour was injury-prone and often ineffective. The Wolverines brought in a couple solid prospects in 2018 (Chris Hinton, Jr. and Mazi Smith). When the 2020 season wraps, Carlo Kemp’s career will be over. The Wolverines do have some young defensive ends who could bulk up to play defensive tackle, but they do need some true tackles to shore up the interior.
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The corner position seems to have been particularly volatile at Michigan in recent years, with potential starting-caliber corners like Benjamin St-Juste (Minnesota) and Keith Washington (West Virginia) transferring, along with highly touted recruit Myles Sims (Georgia Tech) bailing after just one season in Ann Arbor. Corner is typically a spot where recruiting rankings translate pretty well, and after senior Ambry Thomas graduates, Michigan will be relying on as-yet-unproven solid recruits (Darion Green-Warren, Jalen Perry) and moderately talented veterans (Vincent Gray, German Green).
3. DEFENSIVE END
Good defenses these days are often predicated on the ability to get to the passer, and Michigan has whiffed on elite weakside ends in recent years. Despite edge rushers Chase Winovich and Joshua Uche impressing over the past few seasons, speed-rush ends have chosen other schools. That has left Kwity Paye, a versatile guy but hardly a speed rusher, as a starting weakside end for two years, but the 2020 season will be his last.
4. OFFENSIVE TACKLE
You can never have enough offensive tackles, because a) it’s an important position and b) failed tackles can move inside to guard. I believe Michigan will have some failed offensive tackles who would be best served by moving inside (or transferring), and the position will need to be replenished. Add in the fact that the position often takes a couple years to percolate before they’re field-ready, and you want to bring in tackles pretty regularly.
5. OUTSIDE RECEIVER
Michigan has loaded up on slot receiver types over the past couple classes. And while the general direction of college football seems to be headed the way of shorter, quicker players, I believe you still need some good-sized (though not giant) guys on the outside. Aside from starting slot receiver Ronnie Bell, Michigan has just two receivers who are 6’0″ or taller: 6’2″ Cornelius Johnson and 6’0″ Roman Wilson. Michigan should continue to go after receivers who are at least in the 6’1″ to 6’3″ range to ensure they have flexibility at the receiver position.
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