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Michigan Football Recruiting: National Signing Day 2016 Preview

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Announcement times, key storylines and everything else you need to know going into Wednesday.

The light at the end of the tunnel is so close that we can taste it, as Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines attempt to close out their 2016 football recruiting class on the highest note possible.

Let's get right to it:

The Storylines

Closing for Gary

Michigan fans in recent years are familiar with high profile recruitments going their way until when it mattered most -- announcement time. This has caused many to go into Wednesday with cautious optimism when it comes to the nation's top prospect, defensive tackle Rashan Gary.

Clemson is trending for the five-star recruit and has perhaps made this decision a bit more difficult for Gary and are certainly a threat. With that being said, Michigan has been the biggest constant throughout his recruitment and the combination of that along with the New Jersey pipeline and having close friends set to play in Ann Arbor have the Wolverines in the driver's seat.

There is no sugarcoating this one. If he chooses Clemson, it would be a devastating blow to this class with only Michael Dwumfour committed at the position. The Wolverines have Willie Henry's role to fill in the defense next season, and Gary would absolutely be able to slide in and provide that.

Still, it would be a surprise if he does not put on a maize and blue hat on Wednesday.

Lavert Hill's Decision

Hill is a player that has long seemed destined to join this class with his brother Delano in the program already. He has reportedly been ready to pick the Wolverines on a few occasions, even while he was still committed to Penn State.

Michigan State has jumped into this race and made things very interesting, though. His high school teammate and good friend Donnie Corley became a Spartan last month and it seems like things have been 50/50 throughout the process recently.

His brother, along with Jourdan Lewis, has been working at him hard to make sure he becomes a Wolverines and we remain confident that he will choose Michigan during his Wednesday morning announcement.

West Coast Wolverines?

Things have gotten interesting on the Devin Asiasi front. The nation's third-ranked tight end has had increased interest in the Wolverines and seems willing to come east from California to come play in Ann Arbor.

There were rumors that he and defensive tackle Boss Tagaloa were going to be a packaged deal, but if Asiasi were to come, his friend may not follow, though it is still possible.

Michigan appears out of the running for defensive end Connor Murphy and many have him heading to USC.

Then there is Victor Viramontes, who has been an interesting name to watch in recent weeks. He is a former Michigan commit, but decided to open things up because of the emphasis on wanting to play quarterback. Jim Harbaugh has been in contact with him recently and those issues seem to have been ironed out.

Michigan is certainly in the mix here with California, Utah and Arizona. There are really no firm indications on where he is headed where we stand going into signing day, but Harbaugh has taken it upon himself to try to get him back into this class.

Adding an Offensive Tackle

After surprisingly losing out on long-time commit Devery Hamilton over the weekend, Michigan turned its attention to three-star Alaric Jackson out of Detroit, Michigan.

Jackson was set to make his college choice earlier this week, but decided to hold off after the Michigan offer. All signs seem to point he will join the 2016 class on National Signing Day.

On a semi-related note, Michael Onwenu's Tuesday night decision still looks like good news for the Wolverines. While MSU has made a run, we expect him to reaffirm to Michigan.

Quinn Nordin's Decision

Nordin's has been one of the more high-profile kicker recruitments that I can ever remember. After committing to Penn State with a flashy airplane video, he decommitted from the Nittany Lions recently as Michigan kept up the pressure on him, which included a much-publicized sleepover with Harbaugh.

USC has jumped into the mix with former Michigan special teams coach John Baxter rejoining the Trojans' staff, but distance should ultimately keep him in the state playing in Ann Arbor.

Tidbits

  • I do not see a scenario where wide receiver Nate Johnson does not reaffirm to Michigan on Wednesday. After a crazy few weeks, they are firmly back in the driver's seat.
  • I would not expect Pie Young to join the class if Johnson reaffirms. This is because the staff does not see him as a take at this point with how the board has shaken out. With some misses on Wednesday, he could be back in the mix.
  • Anyone holding their breath over Mecole Hardman should not. Michigan is merely a hat on the table here.
  • Shoutout to MGoFish and company for their signing day hype video, which is featured at the top of this page. Mixing football with comics and movies pulls at every single emotion I have.

The Announcement Times

All times listed are ET.

8:15 a.m. - WR Nate Johnson

8:30 a.m. - ATH Mecole Hardman

9 a.m. - DB Lavert Hill

11 a.m. - K Quinn Nordin

1:10 p.m. - DT Rashan Gary (ESPN's SportsCenter)

2 p.m. - DE Connor Murphy

3:20 p.m. - TE Devin Asiasi and DT Boss Tagaloa

4 p.m. - ATH Victor Viramontes

Unknown - WR Pie Young

Signing Day Coverage

We will have you covered from sunrise to sunset with the latest developments throughout the entirety of Wednesday's happenings, starting at 7 a.m. Join us!