Almost exactly a year ago, in one of my first articles for this site, I laid out the case for how Michigan’s talented in-state class could lead to a better 2019 recruiting class.
It turns out I was right about the latter part, but it was not because of Michigan taking in-state players. They only ended up with two players from within their borders, 4-stars Mazi Smith and Karsen Barnhart.
Well, this year I’m doubling down! U-M already has two players committed from Michigan in the 2020 class, so they’ve already equaled last year’s production, but I think they will add to that number.
In my predictions for the 2020 recruiting class, I said that Michigan will take at least six players in the class from within their own borders. There are several prospects that have a strong chance of signing with the Wolverines, so I decided to rank them based on their likeliness of picking Michigan.
I counted 17 players that the staff has offered in the state so far. Cornell Wheeler and Andre Seldon, have already committed, so they’re off the board. That leaves 15 juniors that have varying interest in Michigan, and vice versa. So let’s see who the Wolverines have the best shot at landing for 2020.
1. Detroit King 4-star WR Rashawn Williams
Williams could come off the board any day now. After a brief flirtation with Ohio State, Williams seems to have come back around on the Wolverines after a visit for the electric Penn State game in early November.
Michigan now holds seven of the eight Crystal Ball picks for Williams. With Josh Gattis being hired as wide receivers coach and Andre Seldon in his ear, this race looks extremely promising.
2. Port Huron 4-star DE Braiden McGregor
Strap in before McGregor’s stock goes shooting through the roof. Recruiting experts have been saying that the borderline 4-star is in store for a massive upgrade when they re-rank the 2020 class.
That lines up with how hard schools have been recruiting McGregor. Luckily for Michigan, they seem to be in the driver’s seat, with McGregor’s family reportedly in the Wolverines corner. After his second visit this month last weekend, he received a couple more Crystal Balls in Michigan’s favor. He said he’s still planning to take visits over his spring break and will decide in April at the earliest, so it could be a little while for him to come aboard.
3. Muskegon 3-star ATH Cameron Martinez
Martinez received a bunch of Crystal Balls for Michigan after being offered, a good sign for their chances. He won two state titles quarterbacking Muskegon Catholic, then moved up classifications brought Muskegon to the state title game this year, losing to Rashawn Williams and Detroit King.
He won the state’s Mr. Football award on the way, and earned a bunch of recruiting attention. While he plays quarterback for Muskegon, he’s looked at as a slot receiver for Michigan. Ohio State just offered and could be the biggest threat.
4. East Kentwood 4-star DE Bryce Mostella
Like the two players above him, a few Crystal Balls went Michigan’s way as soon as they offered Mostella. He’s got a lot of potential to unlock, and could be another candidate to rise in the rankings if he puts it all together. Mostella has former teammate Mazi Smith on campus already, which will only help Michigan’s chances.
5. Southfield A&T 3-star DT Bryce Austin
Michigan has a bit of work to do here, as Austin has said they are running third behind Purdue and Michigan State right now. Developing a relationship with Shaun Nua will be important for Austin, as well as Mostella above. But with Austin playing a position of need and in Michigan’s backyard, they should be able to make up ground fairly easily.
6. West Bloomfield 4-star S Makari Paige
Paige has been an interesting recruitment to follow. Four out of five of his Crystal Ball picks are for Michigan, but the vibe from him doesn’t scream Wolverines like an in-state prospect with those predictions usually would. He still seems pretty open and is considering other Big Ten schools like Penn State and Ohio State.
To Michigan’s benefit, he’s the teammate of Cornell Wheeler who will be recruiting him hard to join him in Ann Arbor. On the other hand, his former teammate Lance Dixon just signed with Penn State, so we’ll see who has the most sway.
7. Oscar A. Carlson 3-star WR Ian Stewart
The tall wide receiver has visited Michigan’s campus a lot and plays at a position of need. If Michigan wanted Stewart, I think they could land him. They hold three out of the four Crystal Ball picks.
But, he may be a back-up plan at wide receiver right now. Wide receiver is loaded in the 2020 class and Michigan has some elite target they’re still pursuing. We’ll see how this one plays out.
8. Oak Park 3-star WR Maliq Carr
Carr is listed as a wide receiver but is being looked at as a tight end by the staff. Carr has offers from every Midwest power, and has one Crystal Ball pick for Notre Dame and Ohio State each. His mom played basketball for the Buckeyes so that may put them ahead, but Michigan was one of the first to spot his talent.
9. Oak Park 4-star ATH Enzo Jennings
The second of the Oak Park trio on this list, Jennings will probably end up as a safety in college.
He hasn’t shown much love to the Wolverines in the process so far, and the staff looks to have other targets ahead of him. Notre Dame was thought to have led early on, but Penn State has made a big move. Georgia and Auburn are also contenders.
10. Farmington 3-star LB Jordan Turner
We’re firmly in back-up plan territory here, as most of the prospects after this, with one notable exception, will probably be takes only if Michigan whiffs on their top targets. I put Turner up first because he plays a position of need for the 2020 class.
Turner’s picked up some other notable offers recently, like Wisconsin and Minnesota, so he could rise up. But he’ll probably still be there for the taking if Michigan wants him.
11. Detroit King 4-star RB Peny Boone
Boone is a big power back from the storied Detroit King program. For such a local and touted prospect, Michigan offered Boone late, only extending a scholarship last month. Given that, he’s probably not a huge priority, which is somewhat of a surprise since they could take up to three backs this class.
Tennessee has the only Crystal Ball prediction, so Boone may be looking South. He also holds 5 other Big Ten offers, though.
12. Bay City Central 3-star WR Devell Washington
I keep comparing Washington to Ian Stewart because they have similar profiles. The only difference seems to be that Washington favors Michigan State more. This is in spite of the fact that he’s been in Ann Arbor several times since the start of the season, even more than Stewart.
At this point, if Washington keeps visiting Michigan and still likes the Spartans more, there’s not much the staff can do. The staff may not push hard anyway since there are bigger fish at receiver on the board.
13. Oak Park 5-star OG Justin Rogers
I just don’t see him ending up in Ann Arbor. He’s visited campus a lot recently as the staff continues to build relationships, but I think he just wants to go far away from home to play his college ball.
I’ve been wrong plenty of times before about prospects, and I hope I’m wrong about this recruitment, but right now it doesn’t seem to be in the cards. I’m expecting an SEC school here.
14. Southfield A&T 3-star QB Anthony Romphf
Romphf is the lowest-ranked prospect in the state that Michigan has offered so far. He’s got some low Power 5 offers, and Penn State has shown interest but the Wolverines are the best school to offer him. Though he’s listed as a quarterback, Michigan is recruiting him as an athlete.
Despite being from Southfield, Romphf has yet to visit campus. That would obviously be the first step in his recruitment. He wants to get his recruitment over early, and with Michigan’s board still so wide open, I don’t think he’d be a take at this point.
15. East Kentwood 3-star OG Dallas Fincher
Rounding out the list is Fincher, who doesn’t seem to be getting recruited by the staff much lately. He is teammates with Bryce Mostella and formerly Mazi Smith, so he probably is still hearing about the Wolverines.
Fincher is a Michigan State legacy, so he has one Crystal Ball pick for the Spartans. 247’s Midwest analyst Allen Trieu just switched his pick from State to foggy, so a new team could be emerging.
If Michigan were to get exactly six in-state prospects like I predicted, and they are the top four from this list, they’d have four of the top eight, and six of the top 18 in the state. That’s a good haul, but not on 2017’s level.
Of course, the rankings will change a lot before signing day next year, and will look very different in just a few days, when 247 updates there’s for the second time of the cycle. Regardless, it looks like Michigan will bring in a good haul from their backyard.