clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

National Signing Day 2015: Michigan Wolverines Recap

New, 1 comment

Wednesday has come and gone and the 2015 class is officially set in stone. Now that we've had a night to sleep on it, let's recap what took place.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan footballs 2015 recruiting class is finally official. After a cycle filled with decommits, a coaching change and other various forms of drama along the way, 14 players faxed in their signatures to Schembechler Hall on Wednesday.

It was not as simple as just waiting on signatures, though. There was quite of bit of work that Jim Harbaugh's staff had to do to finish out the class and put their own stamp on it. While it was not the most glamorous class, they did a nice job of doing so.

Let's recap what happened Wednesday, shall we?

The class is complete

Heading in to this week, Michigan had nine players committed in quarterbacks Alex Malzone and Zach Gentry, wide receiver Brian Cole, offensive linemen Jon Runyan Jr., Grant Newsome and Nolan Ulizio, defensive end Reuben Jones, safety Tyree Kinnel and kicker Andrew David.

On Tuesday, they added another wide receiver in Grant Perry, bringing their total to ten.

After Perry's commitment, Michigan had as many as seven scholarship spots to fill. They ended up filling four of those on National Signing Day.

Of the four committed players on Wednesday, three of them were considered surprises of sorts.

Their first commitment of the day came from a flip from Iowa for three-star running back Karan Higdon, who is a nice back that gives a little more speed at that position. His pledge may or may not have affected the pursuit of one of their top targets, but we'll get to that a little later on.

The second came from three-star athlete Keith Washington, who flipped his commitment from California to the Wolverines. Washington can do a little bit of everything, but he is penciled in as a defensive back by the coaching staff, who is very high on him.

A few hours went by before Michigan found out they had a third commitment of the day in three-star defensive end Shelton Johnson, who chose them over Florida State.

Perhaps the least surprising announcement of the day was the final player to commit, four-star athlete Tyrone Wheatley Jr. Many had assumed he was heading to Michigan before his father was hired to coach the running backs in Ann Arbor. He is listed as a tight end.

With the class at 14 players, Michigan jumped up to the 38th spot in the national team recruiting rankings, which puts them at sixth in the Big Ten. Going by average star rankings for each player though, the Wolverines are third in the conference behind Ohio State and Penn State.

Of those 14 players, six are four-star prospects according to the 247 Composite (Gentry, Malzone, Cole, Newsome, Wheatley, Kinnel) and two more are graded as four-stars by some services (Higdon, Johnson).

Still one more in the mix?

Four-star linebacker Roquan Smith chose UCLA over Michigan and Georgia yesterday, but there was a development later on in the day that has caused him to open things back up before he makes a final decision. UCLA's defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich may leave the program for a position with the Atlanta Falcons, so Smith wants to reconsider and look at all of his options.

Michigan trended downward for his services the last few weeks, but one would expect DJ Durkin to get back in touch with him to try and make a last ditch effort to bring him to Ann Arbor.

The misses

Michigan finished things up an a good note, but there were some notable misses on Wednesday that could have really put a definitive stamp on this class.

The biggest is four-star tight end Chris Clark, who ended up choosing UCLA over Michigan. While that was not a huge surprise, the one-time Wolverine commit would have been a perfect fit in Harbaugh's system and would have filled a big need at tight end with injuries and inexperience at the position. They did all they could to bring him in, though. Clark just decided he wanted to go elsewhere.

Another notable miss was four-star running back Mike Weber, who reaffirmed his commitment to the Buckeyes and signed with them on Wednesday. He was also previously committed to Michigan but opened things back up in late November. Harbaugh and staff made him a big priority, but apparently not big enough, as he stated that the commitment of Higdon earlier in the day affected him a bit. Weber thought he was the only running back being recruited.

The last notable miss of the day was four-star wide receiver Van Jefferson, who ended up sticking with Ole Miss. Jefferson had ties to the area, but the Wolverines were able to fill their class out with two wide receivers, so a third perhaps was not a huge need. Jefferson may have been the most college-ready, though.

Overview

Given how things started and the short amount of time the staff had to finish the class out, they did a pretty good job. The narrative that Harbaugh failed on the trail is a silly one. The staff was all over the place the last few weeks and were able to cover a sizable amount of ground in California, Texas and Florida, which are all important pipelines to recruit if the plan is to be a national power again.