Class of 2021: Historical Recruiting Comparisons

Class of 2021: Historical Recruiting Comparisons

March 16, 2021
J.J. McCarthy (image via SI)

In case you’re not aware, I have a list of every Michigan recruit going back 20+ years and their rankings (LINK).

Below you will find each 2021 recruit and his closest ranked comparison by position in Michigan history. This might help boost – or temper – some expectations for what we will see from the class.

Hit the jump for the comparisons.

Chad Henne

QB J.J. McCarthy (#24 overall)
Closest comps: #13 overall Chad Henne (2004) and #61 overall Brandon Peters (2016)
Quick thoughts: McCarthy is ranked closer to Henne and even guys above him (Ryan Mallett, Shea Patterson) than Peters, so that might give you some optimism. Henne, Mallett, and Patterson all turned out to be pretty solid players.

RB Donovan Edwards (#41 overall)
Closest comps:
#27 overall Derrick Green (2013) and #49 overall Ty Isaac (2013)
Quick thoughts: Unlike Green (too heavy) and Isaac (too tall), there are no obvious physical oddities about Edwards to raise immediate doubts. Edwards is definitely a better athlete than Green, and I have heard no personality concerns like I heard about Isaac coming out of high school.

WR Xavier Worthy (#61 overall)
Closest comps:
#49 overall Antonio Bass (2005) and #68 overall Drake Harris (2014)
Quick thoughts: This doesn’t fill you with the warm fuzzies: Bass suffered a devastating knee injury that ended his career prematurely, and Harris never really got off the ground, partly due hamstring injuries. Hopefully the very skinny Worthy does not follow in their limping footsteps.

OT Giovanni El-Hadi (#87 overall)
Closest comps:
#80 overall Alex Mitchell (2004), #83 overall Erik Magnuson (2012), #83 overall Cory Zirbel (2005), #87 overall Kyle Bosch (2013)
Quick thoughts: This range is hit-and-miss. Mitchell started but had weight issues, Magnuson has played in the NFL, Zirbel’s career was cut short by back problems, and Bosch had a decent career . . . after transferring to West Virginia.

LB Junior Colson (#89 overall)
Closest comps: #88 overall Scott McClintock (2001) and #89 Jim Presley (2003)
Quick thoughts: It’s hard to imagine Colson’s career playing out like McClintock and Presley’s careers. McClintock eventually started 13 games as an upperclassman, and Presley had injury problems. Hopefully Colson pans out a little more positively.

DT Rayshaun Benny (#195 overall)
Closest comps:
#153 overall Alan Branch (2004) and #199 overall Mike Martin (2008)
Quick thoughts: Benny isn’t the same type of player. Branch was a giant, and Martin was an explosive wrestler type. But if he can make an impact on par with those guys, that would be great.

C Raheem Anderson (#208 overall)
Closest comps: #202 Michael Schofield (2009) and #211 overall Mike Kolodziej (2002)
Quick thoughts: Schofield has had a solid NFL career, and Kolodziej started a few games but never really panned out.

Amara Darboh (image via Maize ‘n’ Brew)

WR Cristian Dixon (#226 overall)
Closest comps:
#222 overall Amara Darboh (2012) and #227 overall Greg Mathews (2006)
Quick thoughts: Darboh and Mathews both had solid, unspectacular careers at Michigan. Darboh managed to get drafted. Dixon doesn’t have to be a star if some other guys pan out, but if he can be a possession guy on par with Darboh and Mathews, Michigan fans should be okay with that.

LB Jaydon Hood (#249 overall)
Closest comps:
#236 overall Josh Furman and #285 overall Jeremy Van Alstyne (2002)
Quick thoughts: Furman was a speedy linebacker that Michigan tried unsuccessfully to play at safety, and Van Alstyne was a rigid outside linebacker/defensive end type. So these aren’t good approximations for Hood’s body type. But if he’s like these two, his career will be a little underwhelming.

DT George Rooks (#260 overall)
Closest comps:
#257 overall Maurice Hurst, Jr. (2013) and #271 Larry Harrison (2002)
Quick thoughts: The good news here is that Hurst was a stud. Harrison might have been pretty good, too, if not for some poor decisions off the field.

C Greg Crippen (#272 overall)
Closest comps:
#268 overall Jalen Mayfield (2018), #268 overall Elliott Mealer (2008), #278 overall David Molk (2007)
Quick thoughts: Molk won the Rimington Trophy for being the nation’s best center, and some are project Mayfield to be a first round draft pick this year. Mealer suffered a shoulder injury in a tragic car accident before graduating from high school, and while he eventually started, he was probably held back by those medical issues.

Martell Webb (image via Oakland Press)

TE Louis Hansen (#273 overall)
Closest comps:
#234 overall Martell Webb (2007) and #313 Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. (2015)
Quick thoughts: I have my doubts about Hansen being a true difference-maker, but he does have the talent to get on the field and contribute. These comparisons re-affirm that thought. Webb was a solid player and Wheatley transferred without really developing into anything special.

DE Kechaun Bennett (#350 overall)
Closest comps: #315 overall David Ojabo and #365 overall Shelton Johnson
Quick thoughts: Despite not playing a senior season, I think Bennett is more developed than Ojabo or Johnson coming out of high school. Ojabo was an immigrant who picked up football late, and Johnson never played a down at Michigan.

RB Tavierre Dunlap (#406 overall)
Closest comps: #392 overall Pierre Rembert and #417 overall Roger Allison
Quick thoughts: Rembert was forgettable during his time at Michigan, and Allison was a fullback. In a class with top-50 recruit Donovan Edwards, it’s hard to project Dunlap to beat him out . . . except for the fact that highly touted running backs at Michigan have not done well over the past 15 years or so.

OT Tristan Bounds (#417 overall)
Closest comps:
#412 overall Tim McAvoy (2005), #414 Dan Samuelson (2013), #415 Jeremy Ciulla (2004), #429 overall Ben Braden (2013)
Quick thoughts: While the first three are interior guys, Bounds is 6’8″ and almost certainly headed for tackle. Braden had some success at tackle, at least, but the first three did not have much success, though McAvoy and Ciulla started at times during the Rich Rodriguez era.

LB Tyler McLaurin (#501 overall)
Closest comps:
#497 overall Charles Thomas (2019) and #515 overall Brandin Hawthorne (2009)
Quick thoughts: Thomas transferred out and Hawthorne was an undersized, athletic guy. Neither one accomplished a whole lot in a Michigan uniform. McLaurin is more of a SAM outside linebacker who might be able to set an edge and occasionally rush the passer.

S Rod Moore (#507 overall)
Closest comps:
#471 overall Artis Chambers (2007) and #574 overall Jeremy Clark (2012)
Quick thoughts: These aren’t great comparisons for Moore, who is a safety/cornerback due to his size. Chambers was a linebacker type, and while Clark played both safety and corner at Michigan, he was looked at as a potential outside linebacker by the NFL.

WR Andrel Anthony (#525 overall)
Closest comps:
#497 overall Maurice Ways, Jr. (2014) and #562 overall Csont’e York (2013)
Quick thoughts: Ways and York were both in-state guys who did not pan out at Michigan. Ways, like Anthony, was a guy who had aspirations of playing basketball in college. These seem like pretty solid comparisons.

CB Ja’Den McBurrows (#552 overall)
Closest comps: #408 overall James Rogers (2007) and #564 overall Chris Richards (2005)
Quick thoughts: Sam Webb swears McBurrows can play, but Rogers and Richards don’t suggest that McBurrows will be anything special.

DE T.J. Guy (#931 overall)
Closest comps:
#895 Quintin Woods (2006) and #947 Michael Dwumfour (2016)
Quick thoughts: Woods had academic issues, and Dwumfour eventually transferred to Rutgers after earning a lot of practice hype at Michigan that fizzled in games.

DT Ikechukwu Iwunnah (#1103 overall)
Closest comps:
#950 Willie Henry (2012) and #1194 Marques Walton (2004)
Quick thoughts: Interestingly, this puts Iwunnah right in that boom-or-bust range, which is what I think of him as a prospect. Henry was a boom who got drafted in the middle rounds of the NFL draft, and Walton was a non-entity.

P Tommy Doman (#1593 overall)
Closest comps:
#1258 overall Matt Wile (2011) and #1874 overall Andrew David (2015)
Quick thoughts: Another boom-or-bust spot, Wile carved out a fringe NFL career while David transferred to TCU and never did much.

DT Dominick Giudice (#1777 overall)
Closest comp:
#1717 overall Brady Pallante
Quick thoughts: While Pallante was undersized – which is not exactly the case for Giudice – they both have similar body types in that they’re a little wide and didn’t quite pass the look test. Giudice is the lowest ranked defensive line prospect Michigan has ever recruited (during the internet recruiting era).

How would you feel if this recruiting class ended up with the following:

  • QB Chad Henne
  • RB Ty Isaac
  • RB Pierre Rembert
  • WR Antonio Bass
  • WR Amara Darboh
  • WR Maurice Ways
  • TE Martell Webb
  • C David Molk
  • OG Kyle Bosch
  • OT Ben Braden
  • OT Mike Kolodziej
  • DE Shelton Johnson
  • DE Quintin Woods
  • DT Alan Branch
  • DT Maurce Hurst, Jr.
  • DT Brady Pallante
  • DT Marques Walton
  • LB Scott McClintock
  • LB Charles Thomas
  • LB Jeremy Van Alstyne
  • CB Chris Richards
  • S Jeremy Clark
  • P/K Matt Wile

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