We’ve finally reached the end of the 2020 position previews! I hope these posts were informative and helped give shape to Michigan’s recruiting landscape for the next cycle. I expect the coaching staff to pull in another top ten class for the fourth time in fifth years, especially if the 2019 season goes well.
Our last position will be one that looks very promising at this stage: Safety.
West Bloomfield (MI) 4-star Makari Paige
Paige is from the area and has visited campus numerous times during is recruitment already. He’s teammates with commit Cornell Wheeler and is friends with plenty of other commits and players from Southeast Michigan.
However, this recruitment isn’t wrapped up for the Maize and Blue quite yet. Eighty percent of his crystal ball picks point to Michigan, but the other 20 percent are for Ohio State after a flirtation with the Buckeyes over the summer.
I actually think Penn State is more of a threat. His other teammate and former Michigan target Lance Dixon chose the Nittany Lions, and Paige visited Happy Valley for a game this season. Michigan is probably in the lead here, but it’ll have to fight.
In the Mix
Bergen Catholic (NJ) 4-star Jordan Morant
The chances of landing Morant skyrocketed after hiring Anthony Campanile, whose older brother is the head coach of Bergen Catholic, and was his primary recruiter at Boston College.
Michigan had offered a year ago, but it was Penn State who has been in the driver’s seat, with five crystal ball picks for them. Now Michigan has jumped right back into the top group. Hiring Josh Gattis, who was Morant’s primary recruiter at Alabama, doesn’t hurt either.
Salpointe Catholic (AZ) 4-star Lathan Ransom
Ransom is another member of Arizona’s star-studded junior class, and teammates with running back target Bijan Robinson. As I wrote in the running backs preview, the pair visited Ann Arbor for a game this season, which is a big sign of interest for prospects across the country.
Members of the coaching staff are also going out to visit them sometime this week as they try to expand their efforts in the state. Ransom has two crystal balls to Stanford so far, and USC is also a factor. Michigan is heavily in the mix, though, and making him a priority.
Oak Park (MI) 4-star Enzo Jennings
Jennings is probably a step below the three players listed so far in both his interest in Michigan and the staff’s interest in him. He’s listed as an athlete, but is mostly being recruited as a safety.
While he’s from Michigan, Jennings has been open to schools from all over the country, like his teammate Justin Rogers. Auburn, Georgia and Tennessee are strong possibilities for the top 100 talent. Notre Dame is the biggest threat of all, however, with all three crystal ball picks for the Fighting Irish. His recruitment may be similar to Rogers’ in that he favors leaving the state, but it’s hard to gleam a leader.
St. Frances Academy (MD) 4-star Jordan Toles
Toles is ranked as the No. 4 safety in the country for his class. Another member of St. Frances Academy, what’s interesting about Toles is he’s also a talented basketball player who wants to play both sports in college.
That has hindered his football recruiting for now, with only five FBS schools offering him, including Maryland, Michigan, Pitt, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. I don’t know how good of a basketball player Toles is, but since Michigan is a #basketballschool now, Beilein probably wouldn’t mind getting a player for free on his squad.
Hebron (TX) 4-star Darius Snow
If you go to Snow’s profile and are wondering how Michigan State has 40 percent of the crystal balls for a stud safety from the state of Texas, it’d be helpful to know his father is former Spartan basketball star Eric Snow. His uncle also played linebacker for Michigan State, getting drafted in the first round.
Those connections still may not be enough to bring him to East Lansing. Texas has the other 60 percent of his crystal balls. I’m not sure how hard Michigan is recruiting Snow, if at all, but if the Michigan State connections don’t exclude him from considering the Wolverines, his ties to the are may be enough for him to be interested.
Under the Radar
Islands (GA) unranked James Shellman
Shellman was a teammate of former target Kalen DeLoach, which is probably how the Michigan staff discovered him. Michigan is not the only school to notice the unranked safety, though. Ole Miss, USF and West Virginia have also offered. He’s listed as an athlete, but is being recruited for defense by most.
Henrico (VA) unranked Eric McDaniels
Another unranked player who’s listed as an athlete, McDaniels may be leaning toward running back, but he also plays safety. Like Shellman above, McDaniels holds several offers despite being unranked. Michigan is among Florida, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and more to offer him. He’ll definitely be getting a ranking soon.
Michigan obviously hit safety recruiting out of the park in 2019, landing the No. 1 at the position in Daxton Hill, as well as athletic freak Quinten Johnson. Still, there will be an open spot after Josh Metellus leaves that the staff could use to entice recruits to join the team. Plus, it’s not like Hill is gonna be here long, right?
Like I stated in the intro of the very first preview last week, these lists will change and grow as the cycle moves on. While a good portion of the eventual class may have been named, there will be recruits who no one has heard of yet who pop up and suddenly have committed.
But by now, you should have a good sense of what positions and areas of the country the staff is emphasizing, and how well they’re doing in each. Michigan will always be competing for top 10 recruiting classes, and 2020 will be no different.