Aaron Alexander – LB – Belleville (MI) Belleville: Alexander is committed to Michigan (LINK).
Falentha Carswell – OT – Sandersville (GA) Washington: Carswell is a 6’7″, 275 lb. prospect who committed to Miami recently. He also has an offer from Michigan. He’s a 3-star, the #64 offensive tackle, and #741 overall. He’s a recent convert from basketball to football, so he’s a project.
Josh Conerly – OT – Seattle (CA) Rainier Beach: Conerly is a 6’5″, 275 lb. prospect with offers from Alabama, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texas, among others. He’s a 5-star, the #4 offensive tackle, and #20 overall. He worked out in front of Michigan’s coaches at a satellite camp in Washington, and he also plans to return for an official visit in the fall.
Mario Eugenio – OLB – Clearwater (FL) Gaither: Eugenio is committed to Michigan (LINK).
Name: Donovan Edwards Height: 5’11” Weight: 190 lbs. High school: West Bloomfield (MI) West Bloomfield Position: Running back Class: Freshman Jersey number: #7 Last year: Edwards was a senior in high school (LINK). He rushes for 1,021 yards and 17 touchdowns, adding 153 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. TTB Rating: 90
Edwards had long been considered “The One” within the state, the guy that Michigan needed to land in 2021. There was a lot of pressure for the staff to sign him, and he made everyone sweat until National Signing Day in December. After flirting with Georgia, Michigan State, and Oklahoma, among others, he finally signed with the good guys. Considered to be a borderline 5-star prospect (247 Composite 4-star and #41 overall) at a position of need, Michigan fans let out a big sigh of relief.
I debated for a long time about how high to place Edwards in the countdown. Michigan needs help at running back after Zach Charbonnet (UCLA) and Christian Turner (Wake Forest) transferred, and while Charbonnet had one of the best freshman years for a running back a couple years ago, it can be a tough transition from high school to college. Edwards has good physical skills, but he also has some bad habits, such as carrying the ball too loosely and celebrating a little too early and too much on some of his big plays.
Michigan rotates heavily at running back, and Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum appear to be 1-2 at the position. The Wolverines only have four scholarship running backs (Haskins, Corum, Edwards, and Tavierre Dunlap), and they don’t even have quasi-running backs like Ben Mason and Ben VanSumeren anymore to fill in for a spell if necessary. The last time Michigan had a full season in 2019, Tru Wilson and Christian Turner tied for #3 on the team in carries with 44 each. I’m not sure that Michigan will be able to redshirt Dunlap, but if they tried, that might mean 60+ carries for Edwards. Michigan also sold Edwards on a plan to use him in the passing game, although I’ll buy into that when I see it.
Overall, Edwards will certainly play quite a bit and he will probably make some flashy plays when he does. But Haskins is reliable and steady, and Corum is a weight room warrior with some quickness. When it gets down to crunch time, Haskins and Corum will probably be on the field.
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Name: Joel Honigford Height: 6’6″ Weight: 305 lbs. High school: Sugarcreek (OH) Garaway Position: Offensive tackle Class: Fifth year senior Jersey number: #85 Last year: I ranked Honigford #50 and said he would be a backup offensive guard (LINK). He played tight end and on special teams in six games. TTB Rating: 84
Honigford has had a bit of an odd career over his four-plus years at Michigan. I thought he would develop into a starting offensive tackle by the time his career ended, but instead, he has floated around from tackle to guard to tight end in 2020. After spending his first three years at offensive line exclusively, he changed his number from 59 to 85 and played as a tight end (basically an extra offensive lineman). Jim Harbaugh has done that kind of thing numerous times over his career.
The most surprising part to me is that Honigford is returning for a fifth year. With no clear path to playing offensive line, Honigford is the type of player who would normally take a grad transfer exception to go play somewhere else. I think it’s pretty obvious that he could go play offensive tackle in the MAC or elsewhere, probably start for a year or two, and then see what happens. Maybe he just loves Michigan or thinks he can beat out someone for playing time, but most guys don’t stick around for five years to play his role.
What is that role? Well, starting tight end Nick Eubanks and starting fullback/H-back Ben Mason are gone, which sort of bumps everyone else up a notch or two. While junior Erick All will presumably take Eubanks’s role, it’s unclear how Michigan will use personnel to replace Mason or fill in for the roles that All and Luke Schoonmaker held. Redshirt freshman Matt Hibner and true freshman Louis Hansen are also in the mix to play, but I have to think Honigford will reprise and perhaps expand upon his role as a blocking tight end in 2021.
River Rouge (MI) River Rouge defensive tackle Davonte Miles decommitted from Michigan on Thursday. He had been committed to Michigan since mid-December of 2020 (LINK).
Miles is listed at 6’5″, 275 lbs. and is a 3-star, the #127 defensive lineman, and #960 overall.
I did not view Miles as an impact player at the next level, but his commitment was important because Michigan needs interior defensive linemen. While Michigan does not have any other defensive tackle commitments, they are pursuing numerous others and Miles seemed to have been forgotten. With a new defensive staff in place, it’s quite possible that Mike Macdonald and Co. just didn’t see Miles fitting into their scheme.
Michigan has now lost two defensive tackle commits in the 2022 class, Miles and Alex VanSumeren.
Name: Gabe Newburg Height: 6’5″ Weight: 265 lbs. High school: Clayton (OH) Northmont Position: Defensive end Class: Redshirt sophomore Jersey number: #99 Last year: I ranked Newburg #60 and said he would be a backup defensive end (LINK). He made 3 tackles. TTB Rating: 72
Newburg redshirted in 2019 and spent the first two games of 2020 on the bench before moving into the rotation for the final four games. That playing time coincided with the injury to Aidan Hutchinson, who left early in game three against Indiana and did not return for the remainder of the season. Newburg looked physically underdeveloped to be playing the role he was, but that seemed to be the case with a number of players who were thrown into the fire too early due to injuries, opt-outs, etc.
With the new defensive system brought by Mike Macdonald and the graduation of Kwity Paye, I expect Newburg to move up in the pecking order a little bit this year. There is stiff competition for playing time in the front seven, but other guys would need to leapfrog him, at least with respect to last year’s depth chart. Hopefully with another year of lifting under his belt, he’s a little more physically ready. He is an adequate defensive lineman with limited upside who should be a solid backup.