Welcome back to our 2020 recruiting position preview series!
Today’s position will be one that will have to replace an outstanding group of players when they get on campus: Wide receiver.
Northland (OH) 4-star Kalil Branham
Branham is a 4-star who committed to the Wolverines over the summer. He’s going to be playing in the slot when he gets to college. If you want to see someone who grinds nonstop, check out his Twitter feed.
Detroit King (MI) 4-star Rashawn Williams
For a while, it looked like Michigan was losing the battle for the No. 3 player in the state to the Buckeyes. But the staff seems to have stemmed the tide and put themselves solidly back in the lead for the touted 4-star. There’s belief he’ll be ending his recruitment soon, and with 86 percent of the crystal ball picks on Michigan, it should be good news.
In the Mix
IMG Academy (FL) 4-star Michael Redding III
Michigan has several other enticing options at receiver, both for the outside and in the slot.
Redding III is a 4-star who was offered in early December. After receiving the offer, he said the Wolverines would make his top 10 schools when he announces them. He also has 2019 commit DJ Turner as his teammate at the IMG Academy, who’s been talking up his school as they face off in practice.
Folsom (CA) 4-star Elijhah Badger
Badger hails from California, and, as you’ll see later, he’s the one prospect at the position from across the country I believe Michigan has the best shot with. He’s high school teammates with 4-star running back Daniyel Ngata, who I covered yesterday. In addition, he’s on the same 7-on-7 squad with Cade McNamara and Giles Jackson, who are helping with Ngata too.
Marist (IL) 4-star Jadon Thompson
Speaking of top groups, Michigan has already made Chicago 4-star Jadon Thompson’s top six. Based on the other schools in his group — Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri and Purdue — he wants to stay in the Midwest. Michigan could grab him if it pushed hard.
Suffield Academy (CT) 4-star Jaden Dottin
In the last three cycles, the staff has nabbed two highly-ranked wide receivers who played in Connecticut. They could make it three with the addition of 4-star Jaden Dottin. The 6-foot-3 receiver visited in mid-December and was blown away. The program made a big move up, but is still battling Penn State for his services.
North Gwinnett (GA) 4-star Josh Downs
Downs is another receiver who was really impressed with Michigan after his first visit, which was for the BBQ at the Big House. That led him to make another trip up to Ann Arbor for a game this season. DJ Turner is also helping with this recruitment, since they were teammates at North Gwinnett before Turner transferred.
A speedy slot devil, Downs is a North Carolina State legacy, who will be the biggest competition for Michigan. His crystal balls are split between the two schools at one apiece.
Bay City Central (MI) 3-star Devell Washington; Oscar A. Carlson (MI) 3-star Ian Stewart
Devell Washington and Ian Stewart have very similar recruiting profiles. Their composite score is exactly the same, in fact, which sits in the high 3-star range. Both are tall outside receivers, with Washington at 6-foot-4 and Stewart at 6-foot-3. They play for small schools and the top contenders are the two big in-state programs.
Washington is more of a Michigan State lean, with all four crystal ball picks for the Spartans. Stewart, on the other hand, is leaning toward Michigan. His crystal ball reads 75 percent for Michigan, 25 percent for Michigan State.
Muskegon (MI) 3-star Cameron Martinez
Martinez is a tantalizing athlete who just won Michigan’s Mr. Football award after leading Muskegon to the state title game, where they lost to Rashawn Williams and Detroit King. Nevertheless, he proved his ability while playing quarterback for the Big Red, even though he’ll move to receiver at the next level. Michigan immediately jumped out as the leader after it offered him in November. His crystal ball picks are 100 percent Maize and Blue.
Southern Columbia (PA) 5-star Julian Fleming
The No. 1 receiver in the nation, 5-star Julian Fleming included Michigan in his top 10, but this will be an uphill battle against Penn State, who are in a great position to keep him in-state.
Michigan was his first offer, though, and Fleming is planning a visit to Ann Arbor soon. If that materializes, Michigan could be right in it for the fifth ranked player in the country.
Calabasas (CA) 5-star Johnny Wilson
Wilson is right behind Fleming as the No. 2 ranked receiver in the country. He put Michigan in his top six, along with Fresno State, Northwestern, Oregon, USC and Washington. It’s an interesting group, but we’ve been through this so many times it’s foolish to get your hopes up for a 5-star receiver from California when USC is involved.
Booker T. Washington (OK) 4-star Javian Hester
Normally, Michigan probably wouldn’t have a shot with a prospect like Hester, who is a top-100 4-star from Oklahoma. That was until they signed his teammate Daxton Hill in the 2019 class. Now that connection may help the Wolverines insert themselves in the race. The in-state Sooners are leading here.
Junipero Serra (CA) 4-star LV Bunkley-Shelton
Bunkley-Shelton is a 4-star from California who is considering Oregon and USC as well. Have the same attitude about him as you do about Johnny Wilson.
St. Frances Academy (MD) 4-star Traeshon Holden
Holden is another prospect the Wolverines are trying to use to crack into the DMV area, where they’ve struggled gaining elite talent. He’s visited AA before, but just seems to favor West Virginia more right now. Losing Dana Holgorsen may open this one back up, though.
Under the Radar
St. Thomas Aquinas (FL) 3-star Xavier Restrepo
Restrepo is a 3-star who is teammates with Anthony Solomon at Florida powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas. Michigan, along with Texas and Miami, are his biggest offers so far. He’ll play the slot wherever he ends up.
Scecina Memorial (IN) 3-star David Baker
David Baker is pretty similar to Washington and Stewart above, except he’s ranked a little lower, a tad shorter, and from Indiana. Purdue and Iowa are hot on his trail, but he’s also visited for a game this season.
After taking several slot receivers in the 2019 class and already having one committed so far for the 2020 class, I expect the staff to focus more on outside guys in this cycle. Michigan has started this position off much better than in 2019, so this group could be impressive.
Tomorrow will feature everyone’s favorite position in Jim Harbaugh’s offense, the tight ends!