I like to put a little bow on each recruiting class after those players finish their college careers, so here’s a step toward reflecting on the 2014 class. Michigan had six players transfer out of the program from the class, and four of them ended up starting at other FBS schools. Only one player decommitted, which is unlikely to happen again in the current recruiting climate (for example, Michigan suffered four decommitments in the 2021 class).
Hit the jump for a look back.
Ian Bunting – Tight end – Hinsdale (IL) Central
Bunting looked like a next generation tight end at the time, having played mostly wide receiver in high school. Needing to add weight and learn the position, he redshirted in 2014. He would go on to start eight total games from 2015-2017, but he always struggled as a blocker. It appeared he would become the heir to Jake Butt after the latter’s departure following the 2016 season, but Bunting was still a backup in 2017. He made 11 total catches for124 yards during his time at Michigan. He then transferred to Cal, where he became the starting tight end and made 18 catches for 195 yards in his only year there. He was not drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft and has spent some time with the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts on practice squads.
Freddy Canteen – Wide receiver – Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian
Canteen made 6 catches for 22 yards and 1 carry for -3 yards over two seasons in Ann Arbor, playing in just six games during that stretch. Injuries took a toll, leading to his departure for Notre Dame, where he made 1 catch for 7 yards in 2017. A grad transfer to Tulane ensued, but he was not on the Green Wave’s roster by the time the season came around.
Michael Ferns III – Linebacker – St. Clairsville (OH) St. Clairsville
The story of Ferns is one of the stranger ones. A lynchpin of the 2014 recruiting class, Ferns and his family were very vocal, convincing players to come to Michigan even when the 2013 season under Brady Hoke was not going so well. The Ferns family even printed up t-shirts and delivered them to guys who committed to the Wolverines. Then he redshirted in 2014 and . . . transferred to West Virginia after just that one season. He became a tight end for two seasons and never saw the field, as far as I know. (His younger brother Brendan was also a highly touted linebacker prospect who made a grand total of 11 tackles in his career at WVU.)
Drake Harris – Wide receiver – Grand Rapids (MI) Christian
Harris was a superstar recruit whose hamstring issues would derail his high school career and his Michigan career. He missed his senior season of high school and redshirted in 2014 while recovering, though hamstring problems would persist. A deep threat in high school, Harris was very, very unproductive for the Wolverines. He caught 6 passes for 39 yards in 2015, 2 passes for 11 yards in 2016, and 1 pass for 10 yards in 2017, finishing his career with the Wolverines with a stint at cornerback (though he never saw the field on defense). He would then transfer to Western Michigan for his final year of eligibility, catching 24 passes for 255 yards and 1 touchdown in 2018. He was not selected in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Wilton Speight – Quarterback – Richmond (VA) Benedictine
Speight was offered by Michigan after a personal workout for wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator Jeff Hecklinski. He redshirted in 2014 and then served as Jake Rudock’s backup in 2015, going 9/25 for 73 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. He then became the starter in 2016, completing 204/331 passes (61.6%) for 2,538 yards, 18 TD, and 7 INT. He started the first four games of 2017, completing 44/81 passes (54.3%) for 581 yards, 3 TD, and 2 INT before suffering a back injury against Purdue, ending his season and his Michigan career. Speight made his way to UCLA to play for Chip Kelly in 2018, but injuries truncated that season, too. He completed 126/208 passes (60.6%) for 1,527 yards, 6 TD, and 6 INT and was not selected in the 2019 NFL Draft. He did get a chance to make the San Francisco 49ers roster as an undrafted free agent, but he was cut shortly thereafter and has not played in the NFL.
Maurice Ways, Jr. – Wide receiver – Detroit (MI) Country Day
Ways redshirted in 2014. As a redshirt freshman in 2015, he caught 3 passes for 40 yards total while playing a fair amount, mostly as a blocker. The 2016 season saw him make 2 catches for 24 yards while playing in six games. He then made 3 catches for just 7 yards in 2017. With a limited role in place, he transferred to Cal for his final season. During his final college season, he made 34 catches for 385 yards and 1 touchdown for the Cal Bears. He was not taken in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Denzel Ward – Offensive tackle – Manatee (FL) IMG Academy
Ward committed to Michigan in October 2012. A couple months later, he chose to move from Illinois to Florida without informing Michigan’s coaching staff. In January 2013 Michigan decided to part ways with Ward. He committed to Purdue only to decommit in December 2013. He ended up signing with Syracuse on National Signing Day 2014, but he never played for the Orange due to injuries.
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