Biggest Recruiting Needs in 2021

Tag: recruiting needs


14Feb 2020
Blog, homepage 44 comments

Biggest Recruiting Needs in 2021

Belleville (MI) Belleville DT Damon Payne

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:

  • QB J.J. McCarthy (LINK)
  • OL Giovanni El-Hadi (LINK)

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.

Hit the jump for more.

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12Feb 2019
Blog, homepage 29 comments

2020 Recruiting Needs

Osman Savage is Michigan’s highest rated 2020 commit

Michigan landed a pretty good recruiting class in 2019, ending up at #8 in the 247 Composite rankings. They addressed a lot of needs – especially on the offensive line – and landed a few elite prospects, like Zach Charbonnet, Daxton Hill, and Chris Hinton, Jr.

But recruiting never stops, and now we turn our eyes to the 2020 class. Today I’ll look at the top five positions that need to be addressed. Keep in mind that I am not including players already committed in 2020, because we all know how fleeting and temporary commitments can be.

QUARTERBACK
2019 Depth Chart:
Shea Patterson (Sr.), Dylan McCaffrey (RS So.), Joe Milton (RS Fr.), Brandon Peters (RS Jr.), Cade McNamara (Fr.)
What they need: 2. Patterson will be out of eligibility after the 2019 season, and with Peters aging and seemingly low on the depth chart, he is unlikely to be around in 2020. That would leave McCaffrey, Milton, and McNamara on the roster with presumed starter McCaffrey a redshirt junior at that point. Michigan has landed a commitment from J.D. Johnson in the 2020 class, but you probably want to have approximately five quarterbacks on the roster with the understanding that one guy is likely to depart soon for one reason or another.

RUNNING BACK
2019 Depth Chart:
Chris Evans (Sr.), Tru Wilson (Sr.), Zach Charbonnet (Fr.), Christian Turner (RS Fr.), Hassan Haskins (RS Fr.)
What they need: 3. Running back will be a very interesting position going forward, for many reasons. Two of the players listed above are seniors, but Evans’s status is up in the air right now as he is currently suspended from the team. There is a possibility that he could sit out 2019 and return in 2020 as a fifth year senior…or he might play in 2019 and run out of eligibility…or he might declare for the NFL’s supplementary draft…or he might transfer. Who knows? Charbonnet projects as a good player, and Turner showed flashes this season, but Haskins has spent some time practicing at linebacker, so this is a very thin depth chart in 2019, let alone 2020.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE
2019 Depth Chart:
Michael Dwumfour (RS Jr.), Carlo Kemp (RS Jr.), Donovan Jeter (RS So.), Chris Hinton (Fr.), Mazi Smith (Fr.), Carl Myers (Sr.)
What they need: 3. This is a very thin depth chart, considering it’s both defensive tackle spots and I had to squeeze in some people who might not belong. First of all, Hinton might be a strongside end instead of a tackle, and Myers is a walk-on. Kemp started his career as a linebacker, moved to defensive end, and bulked up in 2018 to play defensive tackle because he wasn’t going to play much at end. With the top two guys at each spot already redshirt juniors, Michigan needs an influx of players immediately, which is why they’re exploring grad transfer options for 2019. There is a chance that some of the 2019 recruits could eventually play defensive tackle, such as Michael Morris and David Ojabo, but the need is still there.

LEFT TACKLE
2019 Depth Chart:
Jon Runyan, Jr. (RS Sr.), Jalen Mayfield (RS Fr.), Trente Jones (Fr.)
What they need: 2. My philosophy on tackles is to recruit tackles non-stop and turn the failed ones into guards. Michigan has been guard-heavy at times, and even now starts a non-prototype (Runyan) at left tackle, even though he won some awards in 2018. Runyan will graduate, leaving Mayfield and Jones. I expect Mayfield to get some experience in 2019, but he’s a guy who could take over at right tackle moving forward, too. Get some tackles in the fold and let things filter out by getting the best five guys on the field.

TIGHT END
2019 Depth Chart:
Sean McKeon (Sr.), Nick Eubanks (RS Jr.), Mustapha Muhammad (RS Fr.), Luke Schoonmaker (RS Fr.), Erick All (Fr.)
What they need: 2. I say this is a need more for talent than numbers. McKeon will graduate, and it will be interesting to see whether Eubanks returns for a fifth year. Meanwhile, the other players in the pipeline are solid, but they may not be what Michigan wants. New offensive coordinator Josh Gattis is more of a spread guy, and it would be nice to land a matchup problem type of athlete. Shea Patterson’s brother, Nick, is already committed in 2020, but he’s not a matchup issue.

2Dec 2016
Blog, homepage 5 comments

Recruiting Down the Stretch: Quarterback

dylan-mccaffrey-726x

With the regular season in the rear view mirror and only a bowl game (or maybe playoff) between now and National Signing Day, I thought I would do a rundown of the position groups. This should not be confused with my “If I Had My Druthers…” posts, which rank remaining recruits. With football season wrapping up and the holidays, I haven’t had a ton of time to pore over film. So here’s a look at Michigan’s quarterback recruiting situation in 2017.



COMMITMENTS

Littleton (CO) Valor Christian’s Dylan McCaffrey is a 6’5″, 196 lb. Army All-American. He’s a part of the famed McCaffrey clan. You might have heard of his brother, who won an Olympic medal. No, wait. His dad won an Olympic medal. Or was that his grandfather? Okay, okay, his brother was an NFL receiver for the Broncos. Right? No, that was the mom. The whole family’s just so athletic that I can’t keep things straight. Anyway, Dylan is a 247 Composite 4-star, the #4 pro-style quarterback, and #53 overall in the class. He can run a little bit and has a very similar athletic profile to that of last year’s QB recruit, Brandon Peters.

UNCOMMITTED PLAYERS

  • Jackson Gibbs

COMMITTED ELSEWHERE

  • Chase Brice (Clemson)
  • Jack Coan (Wisconsin)
  • Kasim Hill (Maryland)
  • Bailey Hockman (Florida State)
  • Hunter Johnson (Clemson)
  • Tate Martell (Ohio State)
  • Davis Mills (Stanford)
  • Shawn Robinson (TCU)
  • Jelani Woods (Oklahoma State)

RETURNING ROSTER PLAYERS

  • Shane Morris (5th)
  • John O’Korn (5th)
  • Wilton Speight (RS Jr.)*
  • Alex Malzone (RS So.)
  • Brandon Peters (RS Fr.)

OUTLOOK FOR MICHIGAN

Generally, you want to aim to have about five scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, preferably one in each class to spread out the talent and experience. Including McCaffrey, six are scheduled to be on the roster in 2017. That will almost certainly not be the case when August rolls around. The most glaring reason is that Michigan would have two fifth-year seniors on the roster, neither of whom would likely be starting. With Speight locking down the starting job for the duration of 2016, it would be an upset for one of his elders to win the gig. Expect one or both of Morris and O’Korn to transfer, at the very least. As for the recruiting aspect, Michigan has not been pursuing quarterbacks for months and will stick with only McCaffrey unless something weird happens, like a mass transfer at the position. Gibbs isn’t a serious option for Michigan, and his only chance to join the team would be as a walk-on.

*Returning starter

12Feb 2015
Uncategorized 16 comments

2016 Recruiting Needs

Rancho Santa Margarita (CA) Catholic quarterback K.J. Costello is one of Michigan’s top targets

As of this moment in February of 2015, Michigan has 14 spots scheduled to open up in the 2016 class (LINK). Michigan also took 14 players in the class of 2015, but the numbers for 2016 should grow by the time a year goes past, and the class will probably be close to 20. Based on the current number, though, here’s how things should start off.

QUARTERBACK
Seniors in 2015:
 None
Needs: 1
Comments: With no seniors on the roster in 2015 but a slew of scholarship guys in their freshman to junior years, Michigan does not need to take two quarterbacks like they did this past Signing Day. Jim Harbaugh has taken two quarterbacks consistently in past classes, which is a stark contrast to Brady Hoke taking zero or one in each class. While Harbaugh could continue his own trend of taking multiple quarterbacks, the true need is only one.
Top targets: K.J. Costello, Messiah DeWeaver, Jacob Eason, Brandon Peters

RUNNING BACK
Seniors in 2015:
 None
Needs: 1
Comments: Michigan has three juniors and a sophomore on the roster, plus true freshman Karan Higdon. This is not a strong need, but Michigan needs to keep stocking the roster for a couple years in the future, when all of those juniors leave at once (or earlier if they want playing time elsewhere).
Top targets: Kingston Davis, Elijah Holyfield, Kareem Walker

FULLBACK
Seniors in 2015:
 Sione Houma, Joe Kerridge
Needs: 0
Comments: Harbaugh likes to use fullbacks quite a bit in his offense, and the two guys with significant playing time will both be gone after the upcoming season unless Houma somehow takes a redshirt year. The only fullback-type player left on the roster afterward will be Wyatt Shallman, a redshirt sophomore this year. The coaches could settle for having a walk-on back him up if they find someone who can get the job done.
Top targets: None identified yet

WIDE RECEIVER
Seniors in 2015:
 Dennis Norfleet
Needs: 1
Comments: Michigan will have nine receivers left on the roster after Norfleet leaves, which is a good number. The coaches may choose to recruit more players at the position depending on what they see out of the current guys on the roster. None of them seem like possibly early entrants to the NFL, so that should help maintain some continuity and allow the younger guys time to develop.
Top targets: Dylan Crawford, Demetric Felton, Theo Howard

TIGHT END
Seniors in 2015:
 A.J. Williams
Needs: 1
Comments: Michigan wanted to take both Chris Clark and Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. in 2015, but only Wheatley committed, and his long-term ceiling might be highest at defensive end. Taking one tight end likely assures that Wheatley stays on offense, whereas taking two could allow the coaching staff some more position flexibility. Starter Jake Butt will be a junior with the ability to depart early if Michigan is able to showcase his talents, so the coaches must have a contingency plan in place. Also, Harbaugh’s use of multiple tight ends requires several to be ready to play at any given time.
Top targets: Devin Asiasi, Luke Farrell

OFFENSIVE LINE
Seniors in 2015:
 Graham Glasgow, Jack Miller
Needs: 2
Comments: Glasgow and Miller are both projected starters in 2015, and while they likely won’t be replaced by freshmen in 2016, Michigan does need to replenish their numbers very soon. Most linemen redshirt, so the 2016 class is essentially addressing the 2017 team. Michigan has four redshirt juniors, at least three of whom should be starting in 2016 and will need to be replaced. Michigan took just one lineman in 2014 and three in 2015, most of whom are projects and not blue-chippers. The Wolverines need to address the center and left tackle positions.
Top targets: Alex Akingbulu, Michael Jordan, E.J. Price, Erik Swenson (commit)

DEFENSIVE END
Seniors in 2015:
 Mario Ojemudia
Needs: 1-2
Comments: The Wolverines appear to be going to more of a 3-4 look with a rush linebacker playing one of the defensive end spots, so this position can be folded into linebacker somewhat. The team brought in two freshman defensive ends in the past class and loses just Ojemudia, so the remaining group should be able to hold down the one true defensive end position.
Top targets: Quayshon Alexander, Terrell Hall, Khalid Kareem, Connor Murphy, Rahshaun Smith

DEFENSIVE TACKLE
Seniors in 2015:
 Ondre Pipkins
Needs: 1-2
Comments: Michigan has a good number of defensive tackles spread across the years, although they did not take one in 2015. Pipkins has not played up to his recruiting ranking, so the younger guys have taken over and played fairly well. This is another position where 2016 defensive tackles address the 2017 team because so many young guys redshirt, although the Wolverines are in on a couple guys who could contribute early, such as Rashan Gary.
Top targets: Rashan Gary, Ed Oliver

LINEBACKER
Seniors in 2015:
 Joe Bolden, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Desmond Morgan, James Ross III
Needs: 2
Comments: Michigan is very top-heavy at the linebacker position, where four guys are seniors and another two are juniors. Luckily, all three remaining linebacker recruits in 2014 (Michael Ferns III already transferred) were able to redshirt, but the position group needs to be replenished a little bit, and with Michigan looking to put four linebackers on the field instead of three, the group itself needs to expand.
Top targets: Camilo Eifler, Dele’ Harding (commit), Dontavious Jackson, Caleb Kelly, Jeffrey McCulloch,

CORNERBACK
Seniors in 2015:
 Blake Countess
Needs: 2
Comments: Michigan wanted two corners in the 2015 class, and they only got one. With Countess graduating the Wolverines will likely take at least two, if not more. There’s also a chance that junior corner Jourdan Lewis gets the urge to leave early. The coaching staff has already been sending out lots of offers, so they consider this a position of priority.
Top targets: Jordan Fuller, David Long Jr., Trayvon Mullen

SAFETY
Seniors in 2015:
 Jarrod Wilson
Needs: 1
Comments: The coaching staff does not appear to be confident in their options at safety, because a large number of offers went out early in the cycle. Wilson is the only proven player at the position, and so far the group lacks a guy who can play center field. They will be helped out at least temporarily by Jabrill Peppers, who moves from corner to safety for 2015, but he’s a guy who could be an early NFL draft entrant or who could play corner.
Top targets: Deontay Anderson, Marquel Dismuke, C.J. Pollard

KICKER/PUNTER/LONG SNAPPER
Seniors in 2015:
 None
Needs: 0
Comments: The coaches have kicker Andrew David and long snapper Scott Sypniewski on scholarship, both of whom are young guys with at least three years remaining. The punting duties should be handled by Kenny Allen, a redshirt junior, but punting can often be handled by walk-ons who earn scholarships. If there’s no suitable replacement waiting in the wings by 2016, expect the coaches to address it in 2017.

5Mar 2014
Uncategorized 10 comments

Needs for 2015 Recruiting Class: Defense, Special Teams

Blake Countess may leave early if he replicates or improves upon his 2013 season

Yesterday I covered the needs on offense, so it’s time to look at what Michigan needs on the other side of the ball.

DEFENSIVE END
2015 Depth Chart: Mario Ojemudia (Sr.), Matt Godin (RS Jr.), Taco Charlton (Jr.), Lawrence Marshall (So.)
Need: 2
Offers: Terry Beckner Jr., Jashon Cornell, Jalen Dalton, Lasamuel Davis, Clelin Ferrell, Hjalte Froholdt (Arkansas), Keisean Lucier-South, Darian Roseboro, Josh Sweat
Scoop: The need here might be mitigated by Tom Strobel and/or Henry Poggi, defensive tackles who have the ability to play as strongside ends if necessary. But the weakside end position is pretty thin with Ojemudia and Marshall scheduled to be the only real options there (Charlton is moving to the strong side). I believe that Noah Furbush might end up at weakside end, too, but so far the coaches are saying he’s a linebacker.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE
2015 Depth Chart: Ondre Pipkins (Sr.), Willie Henry (RS Jr.), Tom Strobel (RS Jr.), Chris Wormley (RS Jr.), Maurice Hurst (RS So.), Henry Poggi (RS So.), Bryan Mone (So.), Brady Pallante (So.)
Need: 0
Offers: Josh Alabi, Rasheem Green, Du’Vonta Lampkin (Oklahoma), Tim Settle, Shy Tuttle
Scoop: Zero defensive tackles will graduate after the 2014 season, and only one is scheduled to be a senior in 2015. There may be room for a defensive tackle in the class, and the coaches are clearly pursuing some elite talents, but missing out on tackles would not be a major issue. The Wolverines could then pursue some prospects in 2016, when Henry, Strobel, and Wormley are all scheduled to be seniors.

LINEBACKER
2015 Depth Chart: Joe Bolden (Sr.), Royce Jenkins-Stone (Sr.), James Ross (Sr.), Allen Gant (RS Jr.), Ben Gedeon (Jr.), Mike McCray (RS So.), Michael Ferns (So.), Noah Furbush (So.), Jared Wangler (So.), Chase Winovich (So.)
Need: 1
Offers: Jerome Baker, Josh Barajas, Kamonte Carter (Penn State), Justin Hilliard, Jeffrey Holland, Malik Jefferson, Osa Masina, Joshua McMillon, Tanner Muse (Clemson), Adonis Thomas, Tyriq Thompson, Cameron Townsend
Scoop: Numbers-wise, Michigan doesn’t truly need a linebacker in the 2015 class, but the coaches obviously want at least one. It does make some sense, because three players are scheduled to be seniors, so recruiting players at the position would give them a chance to redshirt before pressing for playing time in 2016. The coaches have done a good job of populating the linebacker corps over the past few seasons.

CORNERBACK
2015 Depth Chart:
 Blake Countess (RS Sr.), Terry Richardson (RS Jr.), Jourdan Lewis (Jr.), Channing Stribling (Jr.), Reon Dawson (RS So.), Jabrill Peppers (So.), Shaun Crawford (Fr.)
Need: 1
Offers: Rashard Causey, Shaun Crawford (Michigan), Minkah Fitzpatrick, DuWayne Johnson (Virginia Tech), Marcus Lewis, Iman Marshall, John Reid, Kendall Sheffield, Garrett Taylor, Kevin Toliver (LSU), Jordan Whitehead
Scoop: With Crawford committed, he essentially replaces the departing Raymon Taylor. Delonte Hollowell also graduates after the 2014 season. Cornerback is a position where guys can move to safety or wide receiver, so there’s some flexibility at the position; Stribling, Dawson, and/or Peppers could eventually be safeties.

SAFETY
2015 Depth Chart:
 Jarrod Wilson (Sr.), Jeremy Clark (RS Jr.), Delano Hill (Jr.), Dymonte Thomas (Jr.), Brandon Watson (So.), Tyree Kinnel (Fr.)
Need: 1
Offers: Stephen Griffin, Tyree Kinnel (Michigan), Prentice McKinney
Scoop: Michigan lacks depth at the safety position, and four of the six safeties – assuming no position changers from cornerback – will be seniors or juniors. That sets up for a pretty young back end down the road. In addition to the numbers and age, Clark is considered a project and some have suggested that Hill’s future might be as a linebacker. I believe he will stick at safety, but we haven’t seen anyone except Wilson play significant minutes. Watson is listed here because he has been playing safety during spring practices after enrolling early.

KICKER/PUNTER
2015 Depth Chart:
 Kenny Allen (RS Jr.), J.J. McGrath (RS So.), Andrew David (Fr.)
Need: 0
Offers: Andrew David (Michigan)
Scoop: Michigan has brought in a couple preferred walk-ons over the past couple seasons in the form of Allen and McGrath, both of whom were pretty highly touted. One or both will probably be scholarship starters once 2014 seniors Will Hagerup and Matt Wile graduate, so the need here is not dire.

LONG SNAPPER
2015 Depth Chart:
 Scott Sypniewski (RS So.)
Need: 0
Offers: None
Scoop: Sypniewski is already taking up a scholarship, and long snappers are often walk-ons.