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The top ten prospects from the state of Michigan in the 2021 recruiting cycle

Michigan has a chance to clean up in-state during the 2021 recruiting process.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Michigan Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan Wolverines have put their 2020 football recruiting class into the books and the coaching staff now turns its attention to a 2021 cycle that should give them a chance to bring in some top talent across the country.

For as important as it is for the Wolverines to have their stamp on the trail seen nationally. the state of Michigan as a whole has a uniquely loaded crop of high school talent in the pipeline this year. For as much talk as there is in closing the gap between themselves and the schools they want to measure themselves against, cleaning up on the recruiting trail at home in 2021 might be a good start in building some positive momentum there.

With that in mind, here is a look at the top ten prospects in the 2021 recruiting class set to come out of the state this season.

All rankings via 247Sports’ Composite

1. Damon Payne, defensive tackle, Belleville HS (Belleville, MI)

Rankings — Four-star prospect, No. 31 nationally, No. 5 DT

Committed to: N/A

Payne holds an offer from Michigan, but his 247Sports profile currently has Alabama, Kentucky and Ohio State as the “warm” teams in the race for his services. They compare him to Fletcher Cox of the Philadelphia Eagles. Michigan will continue to make a strong pitch on the trail to keep him home.

2. Rocco Spindler, offensive tackle, Clarkston HS (Clarkston, MI)

Rankings — Four-star prospect, No. 40 nationally, No. 6 OT

Commited to: N/A

Spindler, the son of former Detroit Lions defensive tackle Marc Spindler, leads a talent group of offensive tackles at the top of the board for in-state recruits during this cycle. This figures to be a Midwest battle between Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State with the Wolverines leading the way with the Crystal Ball predictions.

3. Donovan Edwards, running back, West Bloomfield HS (West Bloomfield, MI)

Rankings — Four-star prospect, No. 49 nationally, No. 2 RB

Committed to: N/A

Edwards is one of the best all-around backs in the 2021 class and someone who has the look of a guy who can come in and make an impact early at whichever school he lands at. The Wolverines, Buckeyes and Spartans are the “warm” schools on his 247Sports profile and Michigan is going to make a hard push here. Jay Harbaugh and Josh Gattis are running the point on his recruitment.

4. Garrett Dellinger, offensive tackle, Clarkston HS (Clarkston, MI)

Rankings — Four-star prospect, No. 88 nationally, No. 14 OT

Committed to: N/A

So the offensive line at Clarkston is pretty good, eh? Dellinger has offers from Alabama, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Florida, Ohio State, Penn State and more. Offensive line coach Ed Warinner is going to be putting the work in on this recruitment as they try to pry both Spindler and Dellinger.

5. Giovanni El-Hadi, offensive tackle, Adlai Stevenson HS (Sterling Heights, MI)

Rankings — Four-star prospect, No. 95 nationally, No. 16 OT

Committed to: Michigan (3/19/19)

The Wolverines already have a tackle commit in this class in El-Hadi, who dropped last March. He has the body type to potentially play guard, so it should not affect their standing with the other tackles that they are in on.

6. Rayshaun Benny, offensive tackle, Oak Park HS (Oak Park, MI)

Rankings — Four-star prospect, No. 172 nationally, No 23 OT

Committed to: N/A

There’s a bit of a gap between the fifth and sixth spots on this list, but Benny still has plenty of schools vying for his services. Nobody seems to have much of a handle on where this one is at right now. It’s worth mentioning here that Michigan is also recruiting Benny to play defensive line where things currently stand.

7. Raheem Anderson, center, Cass Technical HS (Detroit, MI)

Rankings — Four-star prospect, No, 208 nationally, No, 2 C

Committed to: N/A

Like Benny, Anderson’s recruitment is still taking shape, but he’s got Crystal Ball picks to Michigan from Allen Trieu, Josh Newkirk and Brice Marich over at 247Sports, so it would seem like we know what the endgame feels like here.

8. Jaylen Reed, safety, Martin Luther King HS (Detroit, MI)

Rankings — Four-star prospect, No. 235 nationally, No. 6 S

Committed to: N/A

Reed does not currently hold a scholarship offer from Michigan and his recruitment is still developing, so we will have to wait and see if that changes anytime soon.

9. Jamari Buddin, outside linebacker, Belleville HS (Belleville, MI)

Rankings — Four-star prospect, No. 280 nationally, No. 9 OLB

Committed to: N/A

Buddin has all five Crystal Ball picks currently sending him to Michigan, including ones from Trieu, Steve Lorenz and Sam Webb. This reads as a Michigan-Penn State battle, but all signs currently point to him being a part of this class.

10. Kalen King, cornerback, Cass Technical HS (Detroit, MI)

Rankings — Four-star prospect, No. 303 nationally, No. 23 CB

Committed to: N/A

King is another recruitment that is still taking shape and he is right on the fringes of being either a three-star or a four-star. He does hold a Michigan offer and is a player that they are prioritizing for this class.


  • Both Caleb Tiernan (three-star, No. 67 OT, No. 11 in-state) and WR Andrel Anthony (three-star, No. 67 WR, No. 12 in-state) currently have Crystal Ball picks to Michigan.


At the very least, Michigan seems like it is in a good spot to add at least five-to-six of the top ten players in the state with El-Hadi included. It remains to be seen how a new coach at Michigan State may affect this, but the Wolverines staff is putting the work in and feels like there’s a decent amount of momentum there, barring some of the national schools swooping in, of course. They’ll have to fight to not only get some of them, but also hold everyone else off.

A criticism of Jim Harbaugh and his staff has been the gap that continues to grow between the talent they acquire and what Ohio State brings in with top-100 players generally the biggest argument made. There’s five of those top-100 guys in their own backyard this year and it would behoove them to land those players. This is a pretty talented class and Michigan has a good shot to put together an impressive haul.