Michigan football isn’t where it wants to be. That isn’t breaking news.
The team is coming off a 9-4 season, and hope that things will quickly turn around lies in the hands of recruiting classes that haven’t gone the direction coaches would hope. The Wolverines landed the No. 14 recruiting class this year, according to 247Sports. Michigan had the No. 8 class in 2019, No. 22 in 2018, No. 5 in 2017, No. 8 in 2016 and No. 37 in 2015.
What has led to such up and down trends in recruiting? Well, according to Rainer Sabin of the Detroit Free Press, much of it is because the team has lost some of its luster recruiting in southern states.
As Sabin points on in the article, when Harbaugh took over the Wolverines program in 2015, he made an immediate impact in southern states, where talent is plenty. Since then, however, Michigan has seen pipeline states develop in the northeast, in states such as New Jersey, but have lost former strongholds in southern states, such as Texas and Florida.
Another issue Sabin points out is that many players from southern states — Alabama, for example — end up leaving the Wolverines program in favor of returning home.
Nico Collins, an Alabama native, is one of few who opted to stay put.
“People who grow up in Alabama, you go to Alabama,” Collins, a former four-star prospect who led the Wolverines in touchdown receptions in 2019, told the Freep. “I saw this mainly as an opportunity to be different. And I feel like that’s what I did. I chose Michigan, I did what was best for me.”
Michigan’s 2019 class featured four players from Florida and four from Georgia. The 2018 class had three from both of those states. The 2020 class, however, possessed just one from a “southern” state.
It’s not a set in stone fact that Michigan is struggling in the south and therefore struggling to pull in the nation’s best in recruiting, but it’s certainly a trend to watch. They hired Brian Jean-Mary to coach the linebackers after the season and he has experience in Texas and Florida, so perhaps Michigan is aware it needs to be better down there.
Michigan’s 2020 class
Speaking of recruiting, Michigan’s 2020 class was broken down in an article by The Detroit News, and the article featured a few superlatives that Michigan fans might want to check out.
One interesting note is the article’s take on preferred walk-on quarterback Peyton Smith, a recruit out of Traverse City Central. Smith has strong family ties, and the article refers to him as the walk-on to know:
Traverse City Central quarterback Peyton Smith visited Michigan last weekend and the staff continuously referred to him as “diamond in the rough.”
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Smith passed for 1,432 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushed for another 322 yards and three touchdowns. When Michigan coaches reviewed his film and saw he was available, they reportedly were surprised he did not have an FBS offer.
Davenport, Northwood, Saginaw Valley State and Hillsdale offered. Penn and Dartmouth extended Ivy League opportunities. Smith’s oldest brother, Travis, signed with Wake Forest out of Ithaca High and another older brother Jake is currently the starting quarterback at Harvard.
Here are a few of the notes:
► Where the class is from: States represented (11): Michigan (4), Maryland (4), Massachusetts (3), New Jersey (3), New York (2), California (2), Colorado (1), Florida (1), Hawaii (1), Illinois (1), Virginia (1)
► By position: Quarterback (1), running back (1), wide receiver (3), tight end (1), offensive line (3), defensive line (4), linebacker (4), defensive back (6)
► Tallest recruit: OT Jeffrey Persi (6-7)
► Heaviest recruit: OL Zak Zinter (300 pounds)
► Fastest recruit: WR Roman Wilson (4.37 40)
► First commit (who signed): CB Andre Seldon (verbally committed June 20, 2018)
► Last commit: CB Darion Green-Warren (Jan. 4)
► Most offers: DE Braiden McGregor (36)
► Earliest offer from Michigan: LB Kalel Mullings (Jan. 20, 2017)
► Latest offer from Michigan: QB Dan Villari (Dec. 18, 2019)
News and notes with Ed Warinner
Rivals.com recently broke down a conversation with Michigan offensive line coach Ed Warinner. Of note, Warinner discussed the status of a few players the Wolverines may need to count on in 2020.
On Jalen Mayfield, Michigan’s only returning starter on the offensive line:
“Jalen started every game, and he had a great trajectory,” U-M offensive line coach Ed Warinner told Jon Jansen on the In The Trenches podcast. “Sometimes, guys that are starting for the first time can flat line in the middle of the season and not continue to grow, but he played his best football in November for us. If you go back and watch the tape against Michigan State, Indiana, Ohio State and Alabama, he played high level football.
On Andrew Stueber, who missed last year due to an ACL tear:
“His rehab is going well, everything is going well,” Warinner said. “He might be available in spring on a limited basis, but the one thing I don’t want to do is rush him back. I mean, he’ll be kind of right on the edge of when he could or could not compete full-go in contact when spring ball is going on. We’ll be really cautious with him, but we’ll try to do as much as we can do without putting him in harm’s way, because we don’t want to lose him again and then we’ve lost him for the season. We’ll just get him back in the swing in spring, but I don’t see him being involved in scrimmaging or full-go competition.”
- There was a lot of movement in the NBA Thursday. 247Sports broke down some of the former Wolverines who swapped jerseys.
- Speculation that Texas Tech quarterback Jett Duffey was transferring to Central Michigan is going to end following reports that the Chips’ 2020 quarterback was denied admission into the program due to a Title IX complaint.