Welcome to our final installment, on offense, of the 2020 recruiting position preview series.
We finish this side of the ball with possibly the position that looks the brightest for 2020: Offensive line.
Buckingham Browne & Nichols (MA) 4-star OT Zak Zinter
The Michigan staff first noticed Zinter when his composite score was a lowly .8111. Since then, he’s shot up over 600 spots in the rankings and his score now sits at .9450.
Thanks to early diligence, Michigan now sits in a very advantageous spot for the 6-foot-8 prospect. He’s been on campus three times since June and has the bonus of being from Massachusetts. He’s the recruit I think Michigan is most likely to land.
In the Mix
Oak Park (MI) 5-star OG Justin Rogers
Who the hell knows what in-state 5-star Justin Rogers is thinking at any given moment, especially about his feelings towards Michigan. He’s both left the Wolverines off his top 13 list and named them in his top 3.
One thing is certain, there was a lack of communication early on in Rogers’ process, which turned him off. But Ed Warinner and the rest of the staff have worked tirelessly to mend that disconnect. It’s working so far, with the Oak Park stud making several visits to Ann Arbor in the last few months. Ohio State, Georgia, Tennessee, USC and basically any other national program have a shot with Rogers. This one will be a wild ride, so don’t expect it to end any time soon.
Broken Arrow (OK) 4-star OT Andrew Raym
Raym is a high 4-star tackle who was formerly committed to his home state Oklahoma Sooners, but backed off from that pledge. Since then, he’s picked up his interest with Michigan, thanks to Sherrone Moore, who is targeting more players from that region. Oklahoma is still in the picture, as well as Notre Dame. Raym still hasn’t visited campus yet, so there’s potential to increase his interest even more.
Milford (MA) 4-star OT Kevin Pyne
Pyne had some drama in his recruitment, after it seemed he would reclassify to 2019 and leave high school a year early. That hasn’t materialized yet, so I’m still including him here.
The Michigan program is highly respected in New England, which has helped out the Wolverines in this recruitment. They’re probably running second to Notre Dame right now, who has a commitment from Pyne’s cousin, 4-star quarterback Drew Pyne. It’s not sure how big of a lead it is at this point, but Michigan is not giving up.
Archbishop Carroll (DC) 4-star OT Anton Harrison
Harrison has been very quiet in his recruitment, but Michigan feels like it has a real good shot at landing the talented tackle. His recruitment is wide open, but Penn State looks to have made an early statement. Local Maryland and Ole Miss, where he’s a legacy, are also threats.
Columbine (CO) 4-star OT Andrew Gentry
Gentry is another massive 6-foot-8 tackle who has been high on Michigan since he was offered in May. Like Raym, he has yet to visit campus, which could give the staff an opportunity to surge up his list. Notre Dame and BYU each have one crystal ball pick so far.
Mars (PA) 4-star OT Michael Carmody
The high school team of Carmody is called the Mars Planets, and the 6-foot-5, 285-pound tackle fits that moniker nicely. Good work on the administration for nailing the mascot.
Carmody was wowed by his visit to Ann Arbor for a game this season, and may have left campus with Michigan as his leader. Penn State has done good work to make up that ground and possibly take the lead, but the Wolverines will be hanging around here a while.
Greater Atlanta Christian (GA) 5-star OT Myles Hinton
Hinton disappointingly committed to Stanford over Michigan just a couple of days ago, despite his brother just being signed for the Wolverines. Like Harrison Bailey in the quarterback preview, I’m keeping Hinton in the preview because Michigan seemingly had such a large lead in his recruitment at one point. Hopefully Chris can keep chipping away here and convince his brother to flip down the line.
Ferndale (WA) 4-star OG Geirean Hatchett
Pulling Hatchett across the country will be tough, especially since he’s favoring the Washington Huskies. But Hatchett did visit last offseason and Michigan made its claim for the 4-star. Another school to watch would be Ohio State, where he also visited on his Midwest swing, as well as for The Game this season.
Vanguard (FL) 4-star OT Miller Merriweather-Lewis
The most Victorian sounding player on this list, Merriweather-Lewis’ interest in Michigan came as a bit of a surprise, but welcome nonetheless. The issue is that the Wolverines are running a distant second behind LSU, who has really impressed the Florida native. We’ll see if a Michigan visit could turn the tide.
Eaglecrest (CO) 4-star OT Reece Atteberry
Atteberry has a very similar recruitment to Geirean Hatchett in my eyes. Both are west coast prospects who visited Michigan for the BBQ in July, but seem to like Ohio State a bit more at this point. In fact, Atteberry called Ohio State his favorite team growing up.
Because of that, Ohio State holds three of the four crystal ball predictions. The most recent pick, however, is for Oklahoma, so things are still open for Atteberry.
Atteberry is the lowest-ranked prospect I’ve discussed so far. He’s ranked 237th overall. Michigan offensive line recruiting is off to an outstanding start for 2020.
Under the Radar
Pinnacle (AZ) 3-star OT Tosh Baker
Now we look at the lower-ranked candidates Michigan is pursuing. Baker received his offer from Michigan around the time his teammate, quarterback JD Johnson, committed to the Wolverines. The Michigan staff is apparently very high on Baker, who stands at 6-foot-8 and is a prospect in basketball as well.
Despite his ranking, Baker has an impressive offer list, including Notre Dame, Oklahoma and USC, among plenty of others. The Michigan Insider’s Steve Lorenz has said he’s due for a big jump in the rankings soon, which will reflect his offer list.
East Kentwood (MI) 3-star OG Dallas Fincher
Fincher is only the second player from the state of Michigan to make this list. He’s been to campus several times and was the teammate of Mazi Smith. However, he’s a Michigan State legacy and is favoring the Spartans.
Elder (OH) 3-star OT Jakob James
James had visited Ann Arbor a couple times before Michigan offered him at the end of November. The Wolverines’ main competition will be Boston College, who really impressed James on a trip earlier that month.
Norwalk (OH) 3-star OT Trey Leroux
Hey look, another 6-foot-8 tackle! Michigan hasn’t extended Leroux a scholarship offer yet, but the staff is keeping him in their back pocket. He’s camped for the staff and visited for a game this season, so he has high interest in the Wolverines, and they’d be his best offer if they pulled the trigger.
Buford (GA) 3-star OT Seth McLaughlin
Michigan just made the top five for McLaughlin, who plays for Georgia powerhouse Buford. The other schools in his final group include Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and South Carolina. That collection of schools indicates a player much more talented than his ranking shows, so we’ll see if those school’s interest is legitimate or not. Either way, Michigan is in a good position if it wants to take him.
I’ll be honest, the tone of this article was a lot more positive before Myles Hinton committed to Stanford on Wednesday. There’s still plenty of talent on the board and it’s likely that Michigan ends up with a stellar class, but it’ll always feel like the staff missed their shot with a truly elite talent.
After taking six lineman in 2019, Michigan can be a bit more selective this cycle and take the three or four guys that they like the most. My prediction for the class is Zinter, Carmody, Baker and one of Raym or Gentry. That group would make impressive classes in back-to-back cycles.
That wraps up the offense position groups, next week we’ll flip to the defensive side of the ball, starting with defensive ends.