Last February, after the second signing period was over and I had broken down the staff’s recruiting board for the 2020 class at the time, I decided to give out some predictions on how I think the class would end up.
Now that the LOIs are inked and the class is all but sewn up, I figured it was a good time to take a look back at the predictions to see how correct I was. On the whole, I think I did a pretty good job, just missing out on getting the majority right.
1. Michigan will sign a prospect who isn’t a 5-star right now, but will be by the end of the cycle
This was definitely my most ambitious prediction of them all. And for a while there, it looked like it was actually on track to hit. A few months before four-star defensive end Braiden McGregor committed, he rocketed up the rankings at both 247Sports and ESPN. Both services had him in the top 30 overall and his composite reached a peak of No. 81. All that was holding him back from five-star status was Rivals, who do not agree he has that level of talent.
Unfortunately, McGregor didn’t perform well at some camps over the summer and then got hurt for the second half of his senior season, so 247 dropped him in their rankings. McGregor is still the second-highest rated player in the class, but sits just outside the top 100 at No. 108.
It’s also interesting to look at the five-stars at the time who I thought Michigan had the best shot with. Of the three guys who I said were interested in a visit, none of them ever made it to campus. Johnny Wilson just flipped to Arizona State, Darnell Washington is undecided between Alabama and Georgia, and Dwight McGlothern plummeted down the rankings to right above the four-star line.
2. Michigan will allow another 5-star offensive lineman to sign somewhere else
Right after the 2019 class was finished, some Michigan fans were still sore that Logan Brown and Devontae Dobbs, two highly touted offensive line prospects, signed with other schools. Even back in February, it was clear Michigan wasn’t really going to have a shot at landing another guy in that vein, Oak Park’s Justin Rogers.
That proved to be correct, even though Rogers is now considered a defensive tackle and fell a bit to No. 45 in the country. Most people were wrong about Rogers’ recruitment, though. After committing to Kentucky in the spring, the common sentiment was this was just a placeholder school and he could flip or decommit at any time. But Rogers signed without much drama on Wednesday, giving the Wildcats their crown jewel of the class.
Here’s a small prediction about a similar situation for 2021 — Michigan ain’t signing Damon Payne.
3. On the other hand, Michigan will sign at least 6 in-state players
This was another close but no cigar prediction, with Michigan having only four in-state guys in their class. At the time, Cornell Wheeler and Andre Seldon were already on board so only four more guys had to commit.
I listed a collection of players I thought were likely candidates, and funnily enough, the two I was most skeptical about committing were the two that ended up in the class:
That list includes Rashawn Williams, Bryce Mostella, Cameron Martinez and Ian Stewart. There are others, like Makari Paige and Braiden McGregor, who definitely have Michigan in their top two or three, but it’s hard to say who is the leader right now.
All four of the guys Michigan didn’t get ended up in the Big Ten, with Williams at Indiana, Mostella at Penn State, Martinez at Ohio State (but not signed) and Stewart at Michigan State.
Given how loaded the junior class is in Michigan, I’m tempted to double down on this prediction for 2021.
4. Michigan will sign a running back from Ohio
This was the biggest miss of the predictions by me. Michigan had offers out to four running backs from the state and looked like they were in a good position for most of them. Ohio State had Darvon Hubbard committed so it seemed likely Michigan could take whoever.
Instead, neither school really pursued guys like Michael Drennen, DeaMonte Trayanum and Jutahn McClain much. Ohio State actually flipped the lowest ranked out of the quartet, Miyan Williams, from Iowa State to join the class after whiffing on their top targets.
Michigan came out just fine at running back without help from Ohio, landing Blake Corum, who has only continued to shoot up the rankings since his senior season started.
This prediction could prove to come true in 2021 if Michigan stays on track with Cincinnati four-star Corey Kiner.
5. The class will get above 22 players
This was a gimme, but is actually going to be closer than I would have thought. Harbaugh’s smallest class has been 20 players in 2018, but 2020 is looking to be closer to that size than his other three.
Right now, Michigan has announced 22 players who have faxed in their LOIs. Micah Mazzccua and Nick Patterson did not send in their letters and probably won’t end up in the class, while Gaige Garcia signed an LOI for wrestling.
I say announced because four-star cornerback Darion Green-Warren is waiting to commit at the All-American Bowl on Jan. 4, but also wants to enroll early at his chosen school. To do that, he would’ve had to have signed during the early period. With Michigan leading in the crystal balls and no changes being made, I think it’s a safe bet Green-Warren is locked in for the Wolverines but is keeping it quiet until his announcement.
There’s also a good chance Michigan looks to replace Mazzccua with another offensive linemen, whether it be three-star James Pogorelc or another guy the coaches uncover during evaluations.
6. Michigan won’t repeat as the top class in the Big Ten
Sadly this prediction came true, as there was little drop off between Urban Meyer and Ryan Day on the recruiting trail once the transition period settled down. Ohio State is currently ranked No. 3 in the country with eight players in the top 100, but that could drop a bit if four-star athlete Cameron Martinez follows the lead of Clark Phillips and finds another school in the wake of Jeff Hafley’s departure.
Michigan is holding steady at No. 12 overall, with Penn State directly behind them by a narrow margin. It will be a battle between the two schools for second place in the Big Ten, which is essentially how it’s gone for the last several years. The 2021 class has the chance to be special for Michigan, but it’s incredibly difficult to gain ground on the recruiting machine that is Ohio State.