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Recruiting Roundup: Four-star defender named best program fit for Michigan

The coaching staff likes to target playmakers with a high ceiling, a method that tends to pay off.

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Erik Bean Erik is a lifelong Wolverines fan born and raised in West Michigan. He covers a variety of topics related to Michigan football including game analysis and recruiting.

The Michigan Wolverines are less than a week away from their Rose Bowl matchup against the Alabama Crimson Tide. While the players prepare to win on the field, the coaching staff is coming off a recruiting victory, signing all 27 committed players last Wednesday.

Several of the signees started popping onto the scene as of late and have an extremely high ceiling. That being said, one of the later commits could make waves early in his career.

National outlet believes edge signed could make an immediate impact

The coaching staff hit the recruiting trail hard following the Smith twins’ decommitment. They had a couple holes to fill and were looking for a diamond in the rough late in the cycle. The Wolverines have found what they were looking for in four-star edge Lugard Edokpayi.

Edokpayi made waves on the recruiting front after a stellar senior season. The Wolverines jumped into his recruitment late, offering him just last month. While the interest came late, he knew what the Wolverines had to offer.

On3 Director of Scouting Charles Power feels that he could be a plug-and-play guy for the Wolverines:

“Michigan has made a living in signing and developing high upside prospects along the defensive front and Lugard Edokpayi looks to be the next in line. At over 6-foot-6 and around 220 pounds with plus length, the Maryland native has a big frame that should really fill out after time in Michigan’s strength program.

“He’s a twitchy athlete off the edge, drawing on his basketball background. Edokpayi burst on the scene as a senior after entering the fall as a relative unknown. Given his rapid ascent and strong play this fall, it appears as though he’s just scratching the surface of immense potential. With Michigan’s track record of developing these types of prospects, I’m willing to bet Edokpayi becomes a difference-maker for the Wolverines.”

The Wolverines strength and conditioning staff is known for making some unreal transformations when it comes to incoming players. Edokpayi will arrive to Ann Arbor with the athleticism and size they are looking for in a player who could get immediate playtime.

The Wolverines also have a great track record for developing defensive players, specifically at the edge position. They will look to do the same with Edokpayi the moment he steps on campus.

Brother of 2024 commit talks Michigan football

The Wolverines hit it big with several defensive prospects in the 2024 cycle. Many of the guys coming in have high upside and will be good additions. Among those players is four-star defensive tackle Owen Wafle.

Wafles’ brother, Luke, is a defensive lineman in the 2026 class and knows Ann Arbor is the ideal landing spot for his older sibling.

“Extremely proud of my brother,” Wafle told The Michigan Insider ($). “He has paved the way for my brother and me. His accomplishments so far are already very impressive and to see these dreams begin to turn to reality is surreal.”

The younger Wafle has yet to receive an offer from the Wolverines, but is very early in his recruitment. He currently holds offers from just four programs, but will likely rise up the rankings as his high school career progresses. Wafle does have an interest in the Wolverines, though, and have spent some time around the program, including Michigan’s huge victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes.

“The game was a super cool experience,” Wafle said. “All players and coaches were laser focused and amped up, which was fun to watch. I also noticed that Michigan has an extremely committed fan base.”

Wafle will likely follow in his brother’s footsteps and develop into a playmaker who draws interest from around the country. If and when Michigan decides to offer, potentially joining his older brother in Ann Arbor could play a huge impact in his recruitment.

Four-star DL includes Michigan in top-five

The Wolverines have become a popular landing spot for the top defensive prospects in the country. The Wolverines only have three verbal commits in their 2025 cycle, but are trending in the right direction for several targets, including four-star defensive lineman Ethan Utley.

Utley is a top-15 DL in the 2025 class and the No. 4 player in Tennessee. In a Christmas Day post on social media, he included Michigan in his top-five.

Included in his top schools are Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Syracuse.

Utley visited Michigan most recently for the victory over Ohio State. By all accounts, it appears the Wolverines are in a good position so far in this recruitment. However, this one doesn’t appear likely to wrap up soon, so stay tuned for update on this recruitment.