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Michigan football 2021 target board: Safeties

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After landing back-to-back loaded classes at safety, there are not a lot of guys on the board for 2021.

NCAA Football: Army at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The final position left to cover in the 2021 Michigan recruiting previews is safety, which is very light on offers for a couple reasons. The first is the fact Michigan has landed five blue-chip safeties in the last two classes. That makes safety not very high as a position of need for 2021. In fact, only eight uncommitted safeties in the country hold a Michigan offer.

The other reason is the absence of Chris Partridge, who played a large role in landing these loaded classes as safeties coach. With Partridge gone and replaced by Bob Shoop, who is almost a zero on the recruiting trail, it means a lot of work has to be done to re-establish the cultivated relationships. Let’s see what can be derived from Michigan’s almost bare safety board.

Top Target

Woodward Academy (GA) Khari Gee - Four-star, No. 317 overall, No. 13 S

It’s kind of baffling how long Gee went unranked, given the caliber of schools pursuing him aggressively. Gee went from unranked to a four-star in the rankings update two weeks ago and was moved from being listed as an athlete to a safety. Michigan has been very high on Gee for a long time, hosting him for the Ohio State game last fall. They will be competing against Clemson here, which will be a tough battle.

In the Mix

Episcopal (VA) Bryce Steele - Three-star, No. 352 overall, No. 26 S

Steele was an early top target for Michigan at the Viper position. He’s been on campus several times with his teammate and former 2020 target, Elijah Gaines. However, it looks like Michigan is prioritizing other guys at Viper right now, and several crystal balls have come in for UNC and Ohio State.

Dublin Coffman (OH) AJ Kirk - Three-star, No. 466 overall, No. 25 S

Kirk was an early five-star player, but has since fell to earth as a middle-of-the-road three-star. The younger brother of former Buckeye Mike Doss, it seemed like a foregone conclusion Kirk would also end up at Ohio State. But the Buckeyes waited a while to offer Kirk and aren’t pursuing him very much. That may push him to Michigan, who received a crystal ball for Kirk a couple of weeks ago. Despite that prediction, I’m not sure how much Michigan is pursuing Kirk either.

Peters Twp (PA) Donovan McMillon - Three-star, No. 790 overall, No. 51 S

Don’t let the ranking of McMillon fool you — he is being pursued hard by some big schools. This is shaping up to be a Michigan-Notre Dame battle, with Jim Harbaugh offering McMillon himself and Bob Shoop and Pennsylvania native Mike Zordich assisting. McMillon has tentative plans to visit campus during the first week of April.

Long Shots

Gateway (PA) Derrick Davis Jr. - Four-star, No. 44 overall, No. 2 S

Michigan is competing against familiar Big Ten foes Ohio State and Penn State, along with Clemson, for the No. 2 safety in the country. While the Buckeyes have received a couple of recent crystal balls, Davis has said he wants to visit Michigan at some point this spring. Until that happens, he can only be seen as a long shot.

Kennedale (TX) JD Coffey - Four-star, No. 186 overall, No. 6 S

Like many of the cornerbacks on Michigan’s board, Coffey was offered recently at the end of January. I can see Brian Jean-Mary being a factor in this recruitment, but it’s too early to determine Coffey’s interest in Michigan.

Hunter Huss (NC) Dontavius Nash - Four-star, No. 257 overall, No. 10 S

Nash has been committed to North Carolina since last June, but said in an interview he was considering taking a trip up to Michigan at some point after getting an offer in December. While I wouldn’t take much meaning from that, when there’s so few guys on Michigan’s board, why not throw him in here?

Under the Radar

Marist School (GA) Josh Moore - Three-star, No. 557 overall, No. 34 S

While Moore has not received an offer from Michigan yet, he’s another prospect Bob Shoop has been in frequent contact with. Moore attends the same school as 2019 safety target Kyle Hamilton, who rose over 1,000 spots to become a five-star, although he eventually committed to Notre Dame.

Oak Park (MI) Jaylin Mines - Three-star, No. 593 overall, No. 39 S

Michigan has not had much success at Oak Park despite the amount of talent they have produced the last couple of years. They have yet to offer Mines, but he has visited campus a couple times as an underclassman. It looks like Penn State is in the lead here, but that could change if Michigan offered.

Class Prediction

I think Michigan will probably only take one safety for the 2021 class, but it’s hard to tell who it will be. Khari Gee looks to be the guy the Wolverines really want, but prying him away from Clemson will be tough. If Gee does fall through, I could see Michigan making a push for McMillon or Coffey, with McMillon being much more likely.

Offer Board

Thanks for reading along with all of these previews! Hopefully you have gained a better understanding of where Michigan is at in the recruitment of players at every position. Stay on the lookout for weekly updates to Michigan’s 2021 offer board so you can stay in the loop on various recruitments throughout the cycle.