ADDED TO THE BOARD
Nashville (TN) Montgomery Bell offensive guard Blake Bars was the only new offer this past week to a 2012 recruit.
OFF THE BOARD
California QB Jake Rodrigues committed to Oregon.
California OT Max Tuerk committed to USC.
Colorado OT Shane Callahan committed to Auburn.
Fans keep asking about how the class will finish, who will be included, etc. With the departure of wide receiver D.J. Williamson, who has been given his release to transfer, the current class should be 18. However, there will almost certainly be additional attrition between now and next February, whether from unhappiness, failure to qualify, homesickness, injury, etc. So while people are eager to project which players will end up in the class, it's somewhat of a fool's errand at this point. Michigan has more commitments on May 27, 2011, for the upcoming class than for any class since Rivals/Scout started keeping track. This is uncharted territory.
According to Rivals insider Josh Helmholdt, the coaches have been recruiting for a 22-person class. Recruiting guru Jim Stefani thinks Michigan's class will be 25 or more by February. I really have no idea what to expect. From the classes of 2008-2010, eight February signees never made it through their freshman years. That's an average of 2.7 per year. From the classes of 2005-2007, only one player - defensive end Quintin Woods - failed to qualify or begin his freshman season.
There's ample evidence to suggest that the Rich Rodriguez years took a step back when it came to actually getting kids on campus, but what's unclear is whether that trend will continue. Much of the 2011 class was landed by Rodriguez's staff, but a full 50% jumped on board after the hiring of Brady Hoke, including running back Thomas Rawls, who reportedly struggled to qualify. So recent history suggests that 2-3 of the 2011 signees will be gone by February, increasing the class size to 20-21. However, one would hope that the attrition rate during Rodriguez's tenure will drop off in the coming years.
BIGGEST NEEDS, BY POSITION
1. Defensive tackle. Tackles normally need a redshirt year, which means that the only options in 2013 would be fifth year senior Quinton Washington; redshirt juniors Richard Ash and Terry Talbott; and any redshirt or true freshmen from the 2012/2013 classes. That's especially scary considering since Washington hasn't played much yet and Talbott has reportedly struggling with a back injury that might hamper his career.
2. Offensive line. Teams are built on the offensive and defensive lines, and recruiting on the OL has been paltry in the past few years. There have been some good players, but not much in terms of quantity. The coaches want to take six in 2012, and even if tight end A.J. Williams converts to offensive tackle, Michigan needs three more players here.
3. Quarterback. Michigan only needs one quarterback, but it's imperative that they at least fill the position. There's no guarantee that Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner will fit the new offensive equation, and the earliest Shane Morris might get to Michigan would be January 2013 . . . if he enrolls early. That's too far off to count on. Michigan has taken at least one quarterback in each class for the past 14 years, so a QB in this class is extremely likely - and imperative.
4. Safety. There's youth at the safety positions, but not much in the way of depth. Furthermore, at least two of the safeties (Marvin Robinson, Josh Furman) were considered by many to be headed for linebacker. Other than Jordan Kovacs, Carvin Johnson, and incoming freshman Tamani Carter, the position seems slim.
5. Wide receiver. With Williamson gone and four wideouts scheduled to graduate this year, Michigan doesn't need many receivers . . . but they could use one or two good ones.
6. Cornerback. The coaches are still going after cornerbacks even with Terry Richardson in the fold for 2012, but missing out on other cornerbacks wouldn't hamper the team too much. Michigan just picked up four in the 2011 class, and sophomore Courtney Avery is already pushing to lock down a starting position for the next three years.
7. Defensive end. Michigan got three in 2011 and already has three for 2012. There's some elite talent interested in Michigan for the upcoming class, and those guys shouldn't necessarily be turned down if they want to come to Ann Arbor. But if the class ended today with just Mario Ojemudia, Pharaoh Brown, and Matt Godin, I wouldn't be disappointed.
8. Tight end. The Wolverines already have two committed for 2012, and the staff seems to have backed off Ron Thompson a little bit. They seem to be satisfied with their haul so far unless they might be able to pull in an elite talent.
9. Running back. This is another position where a great player would always be welcome, but numbers don't require an addition. There will probably be seven running backs still on the roster in 2012, and if history can be trusted, only about three of them will play significantly in any given year.
10. Linebacker. There will be 13 linebackers on the 2012 roster for a position group that only puts three on the field at once.
11. Kicker/punter. Michigan has already committed three scholarship kickers/punters on the 2011 roster, all of whom will still have eligibility through at least 2013.
MagnusThunder is the author of Touch the Banner, a Michigan football blog.