We’re now in the third and final day of the early signing period for the 2020 recruiting cycle. Most of Michigan’s class has submitted their LOIs and the staff will work to fill out the remaining gaps before February.
Even though the second signing day hasn’t occurred yet, it’s not too early to start looking at some of the top prospects Michigan will target in 2021. The class is off to a good start already, with two top 100 prospects in the fold, five-star quarterback J.J. McCarthy and four-star tackle Giovanni El-Hadi.
While I’m going to go much more in-depth about Michigan’s recruiting board for the class in due time, here are some of the most important names to know, many of which you should be familiar with already if you have followed recruiting this season.
1. Good Counsel (MD) Landon Tengwall - Five-star, No. 28 overall, No. 5 OT
Arguably at the top of a loaded offensive line board is Tengwall, who just got bumped into five-star status. Michigan is in his top three along with Penn State and Notre Dame, with the former probably leading right now.
We shouldn’t have to wait too long to know his decision, since Tengwall has stated he wants to take official visits to his finalists as soon as possible in the spring and then commit. When he takes his official, it will be his third trip to campus, following one last spring and one this season for the Notre Dame blowout.
2. Bergen Catholic (NJ) Tywone Malone - Four-star, No. 38 overall, No. 7 DT
Given the position of need, high school and ranking, there may not be a more coveted prospect in 2021 than Malone. The top 50 talent is 6-foot-3.5 and 300 pounds as a junior and would literally plug a big hole in the interior of the defensive line.
Michigan has extensive connections with Malone that will help in this recruitment. He plays at Bergen Catholic, whose head coach is the brother of Anthony Campanile. Michigan also just signed his teammate Jordan Morant a couple days ago. Basically every big school will be battling for Malone’s services.
3. Clarkston (MI) Rocco Spindler - Four-star, No. 40 overall, No. 6 OT
Every player on this list has a good chance to eventually choose Michigan, but none are more likely than Spindler, who visited three games this season, as well as the BBQ at the Big House and once more previously in the spring for good measure.
All of these visits have swung the Michigan legacy’s crystal ball predictions firmly in favor of the Wolverines. Now it just seems like a matter of time before the stud on both lines gives his commitment to the staff.
4. West Bloomfield (MI) Donovan Edwards - Four-star, No. 49 overall, No. 2 RB
The state of Michigan is loaded for 2021 and Edwards is one of the leaders in the class. He’s the complete package, running for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns along with 419 yards and 5 touchdowns receiving as a junior.
Two of his former teammates in Makari Paige and Cornell Wheeler are now Wolverines and his coach Ron Bellamy also wore the winged helmet, so he has plenty of pro-Michigan influence around him. Michigan solidly leads the crystal ball predictions for Edwards, but they’ll have to hold off the elite programs across the country to secure his commitment.
5. Roger Bacon (OH) Corey Kiner - Four-star, No. 108 overall, No. 8 RB
Jay Harbaugh could completely load up his running back room is he’s able to pull off the commitments of both Edwards and Kiner in the 2021 class after landing Zach Charbonnet and Blake Corum in consecutive cycles.
If you were to believe the crystal balls, that’s what is expected to happen. However, any Michigan fan should know that pulling top talent from Ohio is not easy, and the Buckeyes will have a need at the position after missing out on their top targets in 2020. Kiner seems to feel different than most players in the state about Michigan, so we’ll see what happens.
6. Blair Academy (NJ) Aaron Armitage - Four-star, No. 153 overall, No. 9 SDE
Like many of the prospects on this list, Armitage has an existing relationship that is helping Michigan. In this case, Michigan has Armitage’s former teammate David Ojabo on the roster to help give perspective on what it’s like to be a Wolverine.
After visiting for the BBQ at the Big House it looked like Michigan jumped out in the lead. But a recent offer from Notre Dame may have thrown a wrench in the plans and opened up his recruitment again. The staff will have to fight hard to maintain their footing here.
7. New Trier (IL) David Davidkov - Four-star, No. 159 overall, No. 22 OT
One thing about Michigan recruiting that has quickly become clear is you cannot count out Sherrone Moore in a battle for an Illinois prospect. He’s locked up commitments from the top player in the state of Illinois in 2019, 2020 and 2021 so far.
Moore is looking to pad his resume in the state by landing Davidkov, who is ranked second in the state right now, only behind McCarthy. Unsurprisingly, it’s looking like his pitch is working, as Michigan landed the first crystal ball pick for the four-star last month.
8. IMG Academy (FL) Dekel Crowdus - Four-star, No. 204 overall, No. 34 WR
Crowdus is one of the most intriguing prospects in the class due to his insane athleticism. At The Opening events this past spring and summer, Crowdus posted a 4.40 40-yard dash, a 4.18 shuttle, and a 44.3-inch vertical jump.
Michigan got him on campus for the BBQ at the Big House right after he posted these numbers and extended him an offer. Crowdus transferred to IMG Academy before this past season, but is originally from Kentucky, so Michigan is not as far away as it appears.
9. Cass Tech (MI) Raheem Anderson - Four-star, No. 207 overall, No. 2 C
Michigan missed out on the No. 1 center in the country after Ryan Linthicum committed to Clemson, so the coaching staff simply moved down to No. 2. Anderson should be much easier to land considering he’s right in Michigan’s backyard at historic pipeline Cass Tech.
All the crystal balls are in for Michigan, and there doesn’t seem to be an indication another school stands much of a chance here. Now it’s just about waiting for him to pull the trigger.
10. Belleville (MI) Jamari Buddin - Four-star, No. 284 overall, No. 20 OLB
Linebacker is not a huge position of need for 2021, so the Wolverines are zeroing in on a handful of top guys they really like. One of them is Buddin, who attends Belleville, a high school Michigan would very much like to make greater inroads.
There’s not much to say here as Buddin is yet another in-state prospect with all Michigan crystal balls. Locking up the 2020 class so early has afforded the coaching staff to focus their time on junior prospects this past season and it’s paying off so far, especially with the talented in-state crop.
Like I said earlier, this is not a list of every prospect Michigan has a good shot with in 2021, but rather a collection of targets the staff has invested a good amount of time with so far and have received a positive reception. It would be helpful to get familiar with these guys moving forward, as their names will keep popping up.