Now that Michigan football recruiting has settled down after doubling its class last week by adding 10 commits and moving up into the top ten of the national rankings, it’s a good time to reassess and see what’s coming next for 2020 recruiting.
The benefit of having 20 commits in the fold already by the end of June is it allows the coaches to narrow down their board and focus more attention on a few select targets from now until Signing Day, as well as continue to build relationships with guys from the 2021 class. They’ll have several opportunities to do so in this time frame, with the BBQ at the Big House next month and three high-profile rivalry games at home this season.
The question remaining is “how many more players will be added when it’s all said and done?” It’s become clear during Jim Harbaugh’s tenure that classes are always going to be bigger than expected. There’s only 10 players who will exhaust their eligibility this season, and while there will probably be a few early entrants into the NFL, there won’t be nearly enough to make up for the size of the class. This means there will continue to be fifth-years seniors who are not retained and more transfers.
There are still a few positions of need, which will be discussed more in-depth later, but I picture the class adding eight more players. This includes:
- 1 running back
- 2 outside receivers
- 1 tight end
- 1 SAM/defensive end
- 1 defensive tackle
- 1 cornerback
- 1 safety
That would bump the class up to 28 members, but I am also accounting for the fact that history says 2-3 of the current commits will not be in the class when it’s all said and done. This includes the murky status of football and wrestling commit Gaige Garcia, as it’s still not clear if his scholarship will count for the team.
Right now, my prediction is the 2020 class will have 26 members in it. Here are the likely candidates to fill each of the remaining spots listed above.
Running Back: After landing 4-star Blake Corum, Michigan will most likely target a more traditionally-sized running back who can run in-between the tackles. Two of the top remaining targets include 4-star Lawrance Toafili, who is also considering Florida State, Ohio State, and Auburn, and 3-star Kyle Edwards, who says he is down to Michigan and Alabama.
Outside Receivers: A.J. Henning and Eamonn Dennis give Michigan plenty of speed out of the slot, but the roster still needs some taller guys for the outside. The Wolverines are in a very good position to finish off their class with 4-star Roman Wilson and 3-star Brenden Rice, who still have the requisite speed, but also a couple of extra inches to help out downfield.
Tight End: I believe at this point, it’s 4-star Theo Johnson or bust at the tight end position. Michigan’s right in the thick of this race, if not leading. But if Johnson chooses one of his other finalists — Penn State, Georgia or Iowa — I don’t think the staff will push to add another tight end.
SAM/Defensive End: Michigan’s front seven cover a spectrum of players who each have a specific role. One of these is a rush linebacker/defensive end hybrid epitomized by Josh Uche. Michigan appeared to be in a good spot with 3-star Mitchell Melton after his official visit, but that glow seems to have faded and crystal balls are starting to flip back to Ohio State. This means the staff will likely move on to 3-star Kenny Mestidor, who’s originally from Canada but now plays in Connecticut.
Defensive Tackle: I don’t think this is as big a need as most fans, considering every defensive tackle on the roster is eligible to return next season and the staff just signed two of the top 105 players in the country at the position last year in Chris Hinton and Mazi Smith. Still, given the depth the defensive line requires, it’s a good idea to always take at least one every cycle. This year, it’ll probably be 3-star Kris Jenkins, who took his official visit with everyone last weekend but will take a little time before committing.
Cornerback: This position looked dire a couple months ago, but now seems to be in a better position. There’s been a good amount of buzz with 4-star Darion Green-Warren lately, and 4-stars Henry Gray and Ryan Watts made visits in the last month.
Safety: I actually could see the Wolverines take two more safeties to pair with 4-star Jordan Morant, especially if they don’t land one of their cornerback targets. 4-star RJ Moten will be deciding July 27 and all signs point to Michigan, while 4-star Malcolm Greene is also a strong possibility. Greene could be moved to cornerback if he chooses the Wolverines to balance the depth in the secondary.
This past week has transformed the perception of Michigan’s recruiting class, which was mired in the mid-20s and is now in the top 10. While that ranking will likely fall as other teams add players, it’s become clear 2020’s class will be a lot closer to 2019 than 2018. Recruiting always has plenty of twists and turns, though, so there will still be plenty of action in the coming months.