Michigan Secures Bunting, Ways
The roster had a glaring hole at receiver, and the staff patched it up quickly. First came unanimous four-star receiver Drake Harris; three-star sleeper Maurice Ways followed not too far behind. It's apparent that the Detroit Country Day product feels at home in Ann Arbor:
I'm glad that the staff offered Ways. He's a great kid, has an awesome attitude and hasn't even begun to scratch his potential. This offer could pay dividends down the line when Ways really learns the game of football.
Four-star tight end Ian Bunting also dropped in favor of the Wolverines this week. The 6'6" monster is a glorified receiver in high school, but he has the frame to become an all-around tight end at the next level. His tape shows a player with massive hands and a gloriously large catch radius:
Bunting will likely rise in the rankings if he stays healthy throughout his senior season. He's one of the best pass-catching tight ends in this class and has the potential to play on Sundays.
I'll have more thorough breakdowns of these two up tomorrow morning in the form of New Blue posts. For now, check out Ways' 2014 profile and watch the tape of Bunting a few more times.
Best Class in Michigan History?
This gets thrown around every year but I really think this class could end up being the best in program history. Michigan has been a top-ten school in terms of recruiting for quite some time now, but classes with multiple five-star players backed by countless four-star players have been hard to come by. Michigan's national class rankings in recent years, according to Rivals:
Michigan has been in the top three spots momentarily, only to be uprooted by teams like USC and Alabama toward the end of the cycle. This year might be different, thanks in large part to these players:
DE Da'Shawn Hand
CB Jabrill Peppers
DT Andrew Brown
RB Elijah Hood
RB Bo Scarbrough
DE Malik McDowell
S Montae Nicholson
WR Drake Harris (commitment)
ATH Tyler Luatua
OL Alex Bars
RB Joe Mixon
LB Michael Ferns (commitment)
WR Artavis Scott
Michigan is a legitimate contender for most of these players, and this is only the short list of players in the top 100. Michigan leads for Peppers, McDowell, is solidly entrenched in the top group with Hand, Nicholson, Bars and Scott, and could very well climb for players like Brown and Mixon.
Overall, multiple five-star commitments and thirteen or more four-star commitments would make this class one of the best in the history of the program, if not the best ever. Michigan hasn't ever taken the top overall player, so landing Hand would probably put this class toward the top by default. The fact that Michigan will only have 18-20 scholarships could hold it back from reaching the top three nationally, but this class could be the best ever in terms of quality. Could.
General Notes and Multimedia Items
The staff has been all over the country:
Few kids we heard #Michigan saw today: Jabrill Peppers & Juwan Bushell-Beatty, Josh Malone, Alex Bars, Lawrence Marshall, Drake Harris— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) April 22, 2013
Michigan coaches are in Illinois, Texas, Cali, New Jersey and Pennsylvania today.— Steve Lorenz (@TremendousUM) April 25, 2013
That's what national recruiting looks like, Sparty.
The commitment of Ian Bunting set off a mini chain reaction throughout the tight end hemisphere: Daniel Helm chose Tennesse and Nic Weishar picked Notre Dame. Both were likely caused by Bunting choosing Michigan.
Four-star (and potential five-star) corner Jalen Tabor was in Ann Arbor this past week. He looks good in the maize and blue:
The staff impressed Tabor but there's a long way to go in his recruitment. There might not be a long way to go for fellow four-star corner Parrker Westphal, who got to don the Michigan uniform as well:
Someone get that kid a Heisman trophy.
Five-star cornerback Jabrill Peppers will probably know where he wants to go to school after he visits Stanford, according to ESPN. Translation: he'll know if Stanford can live up to Michigan or not.
Michigan is getting bigger on all fronts:
@tomvh I'm the shortest 😞— Michael Ferns (@M_Ferns10) April 25, 2013
@tomvh it's a title I'm not used to— Michael Ferns (@M_Ferns10) April 25, 2013
So big that 6'3" outside linebacker Michael Ferns is the shortest of Michigan's seven commitments. More from Tom on Michigan's ESPN rankings:
Michigan had 70 commitments between 2010-2012. Michigan's 2014 class already has more ESPN 150 commitments than 2010-2012 combined.— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) April 23, 2013
Ian Bunting gives Michigan six ESPN 150 members; Ways is the lone man out.
Ferns has been invited to the Under Armour All-American Game. I believe that gives Michigan five players with invitations to the UA game.
New linebackers coach Roy Manning is already making an impression on the recruiting trail. Class of 2015 linebacker Rick DeBerry was impressed:
"It was great," DeBerry said. "I got to talk with Coach Hoke and I got to talk with Coach Manning. (Manning) is a great guy. You can tell that his heart and soul is at Michigan. He'll do anything for Michigan. He played at Michigan. He loves it. He'd rather be no other place. He told us about the academics, he told us about the football, and he was like, 'Who wouldn't want to play in the biggest stadium in the whole country?' He is just so passionate about the game and about Michigan. He really wants to help Michigan win another national championship and he loves the coaching staff and coach Hoke."
Michigan is in solid position with the future four-star, and Manning is much of the reason why.
Finally, check out Artavis Scott's highlights from an IMG 7-on-7 tournament:
He looks improved when it comes to route running and looking the ball in. He's also still extremely quick.
I apologize for the late post today. Two upper-level mathematics exams took the wind out of me today. Also, please leave any and all questions in the comments: I'm here to answer your recruiting questions.