The Michigan Wolverines currently have the No. 5-ranked recruiting class in the 2021 cycle with a number of top targets still remaining on the board. Perhaps the biggest fish comes in the form of four-star in-state running back Donovan Edwards out of West Bloomfield.
The versatile back — who is the nation’s third-ranked running back and no. 37 overall player — has drawn comparisons to Alvin Kamara for what he is able to bring to the field and is no doubt the top-remaining prospect on the offensive side of the ball throughout the rest of this cycle. Michigan’s chances of keeping him home seem to be improving, as well, as both National Recruiting Analyst Allen Trieu and Director of Football Recruiting Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports have put in Crystal Ball picks that send him to the Wolverines. Both experts explained their rationale behind the paywall and made their picks within a minute of each other and have assigned confidence numbers of “2” and “6” to their picks on a scale of 10, respectively.
While neither expert explains it away as a lock, it does point to Michigan’s renewed emphasis on him since the start of the new year. There were whispers back in the winter that the Wolverines were not making as hard a push for him as the Edwards camp had hoped for, which allowed programs like Ohio State, Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas A&M to jump into the mix. Since then, the Wolverines staff has been working hard on him with frequent contact coming from Jim and Jay Harbaugh and Josh Gattis.
A decision does not seem to be on the way anytime soon for the elite running back prospect, but his timeline does seem to hinge on whether or not he gets to make visits to some of these other programs or not. Should the pandemic travel restrictions persist, it is hard to imagine how that would not be a silver lining for Michigan in his recruitment.
With Trieu and Wiltfong’s picks for Michigan on Thursday, the Wolverines now hold six Crystal Ball predictions of the eight experts that have weighed in. Brice Marich and Josh Newkirk of The Michigan Insider are among them.
“Strong, muscular build. Compact and has prototypical size. Explosive runner with good burst and can hit the home-run,” Trieu writes in his scouting report of Edwards. “Will run tough between the tackles. Great pass-catcher who can function as a receiver out of the backfield or in the slot. Good, willing blocker with good strength. Does not have many glaring weaknesses, but can still keep improving timed speed and continue recovery from an injury which ended his sophomore season. He is a complete back who can play in any scheme though, and should be a lead-back early in his college career. Should hear his name called around the second round of the NFL draft.”
Michigan currently has one five-star prospect committed in 2021 in the form of quarterback J.J. McCarthy and four other four-star commits on the offensive side of the ball. That includes three offensive linemen (Giovanni El-Hadi, Greg Crippen, Raheem Anderson) and tight end Louis Hansen.