Donovan Edwards, Wolverine

Donovan Edwards, Wolverine

December 16, 2020
West Bloomfield (MI) West Bloomfield RB Donovan Edwards (image via Freep)

West Bloomfield (MI) West Bloomfield running back Donovan Edwards committed to Michigan on Wednesday afternoon. He picked the Wolverines over offers from Georgia, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma, among others.

Edwards is listed at 5’11” and 190 lbs. As a junior in 2019, he ran for 1,326 yards and 16 touchdowns, while also catching 33 passes for 419 yards and 5 touchdowns.

ESPN: 4-star, 86 grade, #4 RB, #66 overall
Rivals: 4-star, 5.9 grade, #3 RB, #74 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, 95 grade, #2 RB, #29 overall

Hit the jump for more on Edwards’s commitment.

Edwards had a long and drawn out recruitment, although without being a huge roller coaster ride. Despite seeming to have a lot of drama, Edwards did not ever commit to another school and stuck to his plan of wanting to visit other schools despite not having the opportunity to take official visits. Of course, he never did take an official visit because those were banned by the NCAA, but he stuck to his guns as much as possible.

Edwards was rumored to have been leaning toward Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, and Oklahoma at various times. At one point the Buckeyes seemed like a serious option, but they reportedly pushed him to commit before he was ready and also seemed not to be, uh, honest and forthright in their pursuits. Georgia and Oklahoma both made surges, but ultimately, having Edwards in-state and having former Michigan receiver Ronald Bellamy as his high school coach both helped land him in a winged helmet.

I’m sure this opinion will be unpopular with many of you, but I am not and have not been enamored with Donovan Edwards’s skill as a running back. He lacks the ideal burst and extra gear. His highlights don’t show a lot of broken tackles, and there’s not much in the way of forcing people to miss in tight spaces. On his “breakaway” runs, he jogs just enough on the way into the endzone to let him almost get caught.

I’m sure some people will take this the wrong way, but I’ll also say this: I get some Kareem Walker vibes from Edwards when it comes to on-field performance, and Edwards has the look of a guy who’s already in his 20s. John Beilein was famous for finding younger guys who are good but haven’t really hit their physical maturity. Edwards looks like the opposite (I don’t know his exact age), a guy who has hit some level of physical maturity and is playing well against average, baby-faced high schoolers. I’m afraid he’s already closer to being maxed out physically than some other prospects.

Edwards is a good back. He has some speed, some elusiveness, some power, and some upside as a receiver. I do not see him as the #2 back in the country or a borderline 5-star recruit. Is he going to come to Michigan and be a star like Saquon Barkley was for Penn State when Josh Gattis was with the Nittany Lions? I don’t see that happening.

Michigan now has 20 commits/signees in the 2021 class, including two running backs, Edwards and Texan Tavierre Dunlap. Edwards is the third West Bloomfield prospect to join Michigan in the past two classes, adding on to linebacker Cornell Wheeler and safety Makari Paige.

TTB Rating: 79 (rating system)

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