With the first bye week of the season already upon us, it seemed like a good time to break down the 2020 recruiting class and see how it is likely to shape up come the early signing period in December.
Overall, this has probably been the quickest class to fill up under Jim Harbaugh, with 23 members already, not including Gaige Garcia. There hasn’t been a commitment since the end of July, when a pair of four-star safeties in RJ Moten and Makari Paige joined the fold.
That makes my job to predict who the last handful of recruits will be pretty easy, but there is also the inevitability of decommits, of which there are at least two or three every year. With all of that said, let’s see how the 2020 class could look like when it’s all said and done.
We’re going to get to the recruits who I think have a chance to de-commit later on, but I want to address a few cases of guys who have shown signs of wavering but I think will eventually stay.
Three-star quarterback JD Johnson took visits to Texas A&M and Oregon back in the spring, but then took his official visit to Michigan which seemed to alleviate any of the doubts he was having. Johnson will be the one quarterback in this class.
Soon after three-star linebacker Cornell Wheeler committed, there were some rumblings that he might not end up in the class on signing day. However, since then he has been one of the biggest recruiters for the program and in Ann Arbor almost as much as Andre Seldon, which is saying something. I think he sticks.
The most recent and most troubling news of a commit taking visits elsewhere is four-star safety Jordan Morant, who is the jewel of Michigan’s touted haul at the position. It was reported last week that he’ll be at Texas A&M this weekend, but Sam Webb of The Michigan Insider shared some insight about Morant’s decision, saying that Morant is visiting out of respect for his relationship with current defensive coordinator Mike Elko, who recruited Morant when he was at Notre Dame.
Morant also addressed the rumors on Instagram, saying he’s not a threat to flip. That doesn’t mean much to me since recruits make statements like that all the time, but he did put his commitment post back up after deleting the rest of the photos on his account. All in all, I think the relationships with Anthony Campanile and Chris Partridge win out in the end here and Morant stays in the class.
Owasso (OK) Isaiah Jacobs - Three-star, No. 862 overall, No. 59 RB
Michigan definitely needs a second running back in the class, and the top uncommitted they’ve been pursuing is Jacobs, who is the younger brother of NFL 1st round pick Josh Jacobs. The 5-foot-10, 195 pound Jacobs has more of a bowling-ball style of running that would be a good complement to Corum. He also has more pass blocking clips on his junior film than anyone I’ve ever seen, so he can definitely continue the streak of great pass-blocking backs behind Tru Wilson and Zach Charbonnet.
Also considered in this spot were Lawrance Toafili and Kyle Edwards, who are committed to Florida State and Alabama, respectively. The staff is still recruiting both, and with Florida State off to a rough start to their season, Toafili could start looking around. It’s pretty clear that Alabama gave Edwards the green light to commit after five-star Zachary Evans started trending to Georgia, but if something changes in that recruitment - which is likely - Edwards could be processed.
A random outside wide receiver
Michigan has loaded up on slot receivers in the last two classes, but has only gotten three commitments on the outside, which was reduced to two when Quintel Kent took a medical redshirt. It looked like Michigan was all set with three-star Brenden Rice following his visit for the Middle Tennessee game, but then he took a trip to Boulder and it looks likely that he’ll commit to Colorado.
Given this recent change, there hasn’t been much time for a new target to emerge. I do think the staff tries to land another wide receiver that can play on the outside, though. Some potential targets include four-star Dazalin Worsham, who committed to Alabama under Josh Gattis or four-stars LV Bunkley-Shelton and Elijhah Badger, two California prospects who have mentioned fleeting Michigan interest in the past.
I don’t think it will be any of those three, however. I’m guessing that if the staff decides to add a wide receiver, it will be someone who they evaluate after senior seasons are over and isn’t on the board right now.
Columbine (CO) Andrew Gentry - Four-star, No. 57 overall, No. 6 OT
Every few weeks, someone randomly puts in another Crystal Ball for Gentry to BYU. And yet, Gentry still hasn’t committed to them. He may end up eventually picking the Cougars, but I think there’s something making him drag out the process. Gentry has made a few visits to Michigan already and has another one planned for the Notre Dame game. Michigan’s keeping the door open, and I think they eventually close the deal.
Holy Names (ON) Theo Johnson - Four-star, No. 95 overall, No. 3 TE
Maybe the most contentious battle still left on the board, it’s been a tight battle for Johnson between Michigan, Penn State, and Georgia this cycle. I still think that Michigan getting the last visit and his family being on the Wolverines’ side will end up nudging the battle in their favor, but we’ll see.
Narbonne (CA) Darion Green-Warren - Four-star, No. 205 overall, No. 13 CB
Despite being from California, five out of the six schools in Green-Warren’s final group are in the South or Midwest. Throw in that he was previously committed to Oklahoma, and it certainly makes the statement that Green-Warren is fine with leaving home. He’s previously called Michigan his leader, and I think his official visit for the Ohio State game in November will set the Wolverines up to land his commitment on signing day.
San Antonio Christian (TX) Nick Patterson - Three-star, No. 833 overall, No. 37 TE
There have long been rumors swirling that Patterson probably won’t end up in the class. Given the fact that he’s taking an official visit to Georgia Tech this weekend, I think it’s clear that Patterson will end up somewhere else and hopefully replaced by Theo Johnson.
St. Frances Academy (MD) Osman Savage - Four-star, No. 309 overall, No. 22 OLB
St. Frances Academy (MD) Nikhai Hill-Green - Three-star, No. 365 overall, No. 25 OLB
This is pure speculation on my part, but to me the linebacker class is crowded right now and I think that one of the current commits will start to look around for a better opportunity. Kalel Mullings has been a top target forever so I don’t think Michigan would let him go, and we already covered Cornell Wheeler above.
This leaves the two St. Frances linebackers. Another reason I chose these two is because they both seemingly committed out of nowhere, which could indicate that their pledge was based on a spur of the moment decision. To be fair, the staff has pursued Savage since they saw St. Frances play Paramus Catholic at the Big House when he was a freshman. That long-standing relationship is what leads me to subtract Hill-Green from the class, who had Crystal Balls for hometown Pittsburgh until three predictions came in the morning of his commitment.
Making these changes to the class (without including a mystery wide receiver) would give Michigan 266.40 points on the composite. That mark would rank 9th, 11th, and 14th in the last three years, which feels about right to me. I predicted on a recent episode of Future Brews that I think Michigan ends up in the 10 to 15 range, which lines up with this prediction.
Of course, since this is recruiting, there will inevitably unexpectedness commitments and decommitments before the papers are signed in December and February. Given the information we have right now this is my best shot, but there’s a good chance it looks wildly different when it’s all said and done.