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Predicting Michigan’s 2021 recruiting class halfway through the cycle

Michigan is in line for another top 10 class if everything continues on the right path.

Michigan v Penn State Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

In spite of the ongoing pandemic, Michigan has been able to pick up over a dozen commitments since March in its 2021 class. With the total now standing at 16 in a class that looks like it could reach the upper 20s again, now seems like a good time to predict how the rest of the spots will be filled.

Of course, predicting recruiting is an exercise in futility, so this will hopefully serve more as a snapshot of the prospects the Wolverines are recruiting and how many bodies they look to want at each position. With that said, here’s my guess on what the class will look like when it’s all said and done.


Available spots: 0

Commits: J.J. McCarthy (Five-star, No. 15 overall, No. 2 PRO)

Prediction: None

Quarterback has been filled up for more than a year now when McCarthy gave his pledge to Michigan.

Running Back

Available spots: 1-2

Commits: None

Prediction: Donovan Edwards (Four-star, No. 37 overall, No. 3 RB)

The top target hasn’t changed, it’s still West Bloomfield stud Donovan Edwards. There’s still a long way to go in his recruitment, but Michigan’s optimism has been growing recently and a couple of crystal balls from notable experts have swung back in the Wolverines’ favor.

Edwards still wants to look at schools like Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Georgia, Penn State and others, but I think he eventually ends up staying close to home. He’s a prospect the in-person recruiting shutdown actually helps in Michigan’s case, since he doesn’t have an opportunity to see all these schools up close.

A month ago I would have said Michigan adds a second back, but with the other targets trending elsewhere and 2022 looking absolutely loaded at the position, I think the staff is going to hold off on another guy unless someone strongly wants in.

Four-stars Prophet Brown and AJ Green are trending to Oklahoma and Arkansas, respectively, with the former possibly helping eliminate another contender for Edwards. If I had to choose another running back to add, it would be Texas three-star Tavierre Dunlap, who is rising up Michigan’s board quickly.

Wide Receiver

Available spots: 2-3

Commits: Markus Allen (Three-star, No. 533 overall, No. 88 WR)

Prediction: Cristian Dixon (Four-star, No. 166 overall, No. 30 WR), Jayden Thomas (Four-star, No. 184 overall, No. 36 WR), Xavier Worthy (Four-star, No. 209 overall, No. 40 WR)

This would be an absolute home run class for Josh Gattis. It would give him three lengthy targets on the outside and a devastatingly fast guy for the slot in Worthy, who may end up ranked higher than Dixon and Thomas by the end of the cycle.

Dixon has 100 percent of his crystal balls on Michigan right now, and the only thing holding off his commitment is his inability to see campus first. Michigan has been picking up steam with Thomas lately and offered him the possibility of playing baseball in college as well.

The one I am most on the fence about here is Worthy. Since Michigan became a contender, if not the leader, in his recruitment, he’s picked up offers from Alabama, Georgia and LSU. While those schools will definitely give him pause, it may be Oregon that is Michigan’s biggest competition right now.

Other possibilities include four-star and Notre Dame commit Lorenzo Styles and in-state three-star Andrel Anthony, who I think will stay home and play for Michigan State.

Tight End

Available spots: 0-1

Commits: Louis Hansen (Four-star, No. 256 overall, No. 10 TE)

Prediction: None

Like running back, Michigan wanted to take two tight ends early on, but may adjust to just taking one right now. This is because Michigan really only has one top target left on the board, four-star Thomas Fidone.

It looked like Michigan had some real momentum with Fidone earlier in the dead period, despite him never visiting campus. But some of that shine seems to have faded and LSU has been making a move. That isn’t totally bad news since it means Fidone is not a lock to childhood favorite Nebraska, but it also makes getting him on campus an urgent matter.

Ultimately, I think the Wolverines may have missed their window on Fidone, though they will continue to recruit him even if he commits elsewhere. Past him, the board is thin. Four-star Michael Trigg is a longshot, and three-star Erin Outley received several crystal balls for in-state Arkansas. I think they stick with Hansen and look to add a couple tight ends in 2022.

Offensive Line

Available spots: 2-3

Commits: Giovanni El-Hadi (Four-star, No. 68 overall, No. 11 OT), Raheem Anderson (Four-star, No. 216 overall, No. 3 C), Greg Crippen (Four-star, No. 247 overall, No. 4 C)

Prediction: Rocco Spindler (Four-star, No. 44 overall, No. 2 OG), Drew Kendall (Four-star, No. 106 overall, No. 6 OG), Tristan Bounds (Three-star, No. 661 overal, No. 56 OT)

Originally, the Wolverines were planning to take only four offensive linemen in this class. But soon, they had too many guys they liked interested in them, and that number has grown to six. With three already on board, Michigan has up to three slots to fill.

There will always be a spot open for Rocco Spindler, the coveted guard who is basically down to Michigan and Notre Dame. Like Edwards, I think he’ll eventually be a Wolverine, but this will be a fight.

Joining him at guard could be Drew Kendall from Massachusetts, a borderline top 100 player whose crystal balls point to Michigan. However, after some serious momentum last month, Kendall has slowed things down and the longer he waits, the less I like Michigan’s chances. Stanford could be a dark horse here if he doesn’t commit by the time he’s allowed to take visits again.

Finally, Michigan wants another tackle in the class and I think the most obvious candidate is Tristan Bounds. Bounds took a self-guided tour of campus with his father a few weeks ago and has been in contact with Michigan for a long time. Notre Dame and Virginia are pushing, but I think Ed Warinner pulls this one off.

Other potential candidates include five-star Nolan Rucci, a longshot but not completely out of the question, four-star Garrett Dellinger, who is Spindler’s teammate but probably won’t choose the same school as him, and three-star Thomas Cole, who will have to visit first if he’s going to leave the West Coast.

Defensive Line

Available spots: 2-3

Commits: Kechaun Bennett (Four-star, No. 329 overall, No. 21 SDE), TJ Guy (Three-star, No. 785 overall, No. 44 WDE), Dominick Giudice (Three-star, No. 1,402 overall, No. 71 WDE)

Prediction: Quintin Somerville (Four-star, No. 152 overall, No. 14 SDE), George Rooks (Four-star, No. 202 overall, No. 14 DT)

I’m throwing all of the defensive line together since it’s hard to tell if Don Brown wants guys like Guy and Giudice to eventually grow into tackles or stay on the edge.

One guy who they should keep on the outside is four-star Quintin Somerville. After saying he wanted to make more visits before he decided, Somerville decided to announce a commitment date of June 20 when the recruiting dead period was extended through July. As soon as he did that, crystal balls poured in for Michigan. Barring anything strange, he’ll be in Michigan’s class in less than a month.

A few crystal balls have also come in for four-star tackle George Rooks. An early Notre Dame lean, Michigan has reignited interest after the Irish backed off. He could also play defensive end if he doesn’t bulk up more, which I doubt will happen.

The big target missing from my prediction is in-state four-star Rayshaun Benny. He’s been pretty wide open before, but his favorites are starting to become clearer. Michigan is battling Kentucky, Iowa and Ohio State for Benny the most. The Hawkeyes may not have room for Benny, but I would find it hard to believe they don’t take a player of his caliber and figure it out later.

The school I am the most worried about is Ohio State, who is recruiting him on either side of the ball. Right now he may not be a take for them, but if the Buckeyes decide to push, I think they’re hard to turn down. Ultimately, there’s enough uncertainty for me to leave him out as of now.

Another guy I’m leaving out is four-star USC commit Jay Toia. Once the pandemic hit and he wasn’t allowed to take the visits he was planning, including Michigan, his chances of flipping decreased dramatically. I don’t think he’s likely at this point.

A prospect who will always have a spot if he wants to join is four-star Dallas Turner. Michigan will have to work some magic to pry him away from Alabama and Georgia, but they’ve done a good job so far by getting commitments from his cousin Ja’Den McBurrows and teammate Jaydon Hood. But yeah, Michigan doesn’t beat out Alabama or Georgia for prospects from Florida often.


Available spots: 0

Commits: Junior Colson (Four-star, No. 116 overall, No. 8 OLB), Jaydon Hood (Four-star, No. 298 overall, No. 11 ILB), Tyler McLaurin (Three-star, No. 443 overall, No. 28 OLB), Casey Phinney (Three-star, No. 1,085 overall, No. 41 ILB)

Prediction: None

After picking up four-stars Colson and Hood a couple weeks ago, Michigan looks to have locked up its four-man class for 2020 already. The ship has sailed on in-state four-star Jamari Buddin after the coaches gave him a window to commit before moving on. He’ll probably end up at Penn State or Michigan State.


Available spots: 1-2

Commits: Ja’Den McBurrows (Three-star, No. 605 overall, No. 46 CB)

Prediction: Kamonte Grimes (Three-star, No. 505 overall, No. 35 ATH)

Talking about cornerback this cycle is always difficult since deducing a pecking order has been really hard to do. Because of that, I’m going a bit off the reservation and predicting Grimes, a three-star athlete from Florida the staff is recruiting at cornerback, to be the guy they pair with McBurrows.

Grimes should be talked about more as a legitimate target for Michigan. He’s got the size and athleticism to stick at the position but could also play safety, which the staff covets.

Also look out for California four-stars Ceyair Wright and Jamier Johnson. Both are pretty wide open right now, but will need to visit Michigan before they can be considered candidates to join the class.

Pennsylvania three-star Tyreek Chappell is a staff favorite but is a lean to Texas A&M right now and is deciding on July 4. Michigan would have had a better shot with four-star Ishmael Ibraheem if he were allowed to visit, but in-state Texas looks to be the leader now. Maryland three-star Ryan Barnes is another prospect the staff likes, but Notre Dame seems to have pulled ahead here.


Spots available: 1

Commits: Rod Moore (Three-star, No. 408 overall, No. 29 S)

Prediction: Donovan McMillon (Three-star, No. 369 overall, No. 25 S)

After loading up at the position in the last two cycles, Michigan only needs one or two prospects in 2021. They already have a good one in Rod Moore, and would love to pair him with Pennsylvania three-star Donovan McMillon.

McMillon, who could also be a four-star by the end of the cycle, has Michigan in his upper echelon of schools, along with Oklahoma, Penn State, Arizona State and others. His recruitment will probably take a while to play out, but I think the tandem of Mike Zordich and Bob Shoop, who both have strong Pennsylvania roots, will eventually win out.

If not, three-star Daymon Davis has been rising up the board quickly and is a likely back-up option. Hawaii four-star Titus Mokiao-Atimalala could play on either side of the ball, but with wide receiver in better shape, safety seems like the more practical option.

In total, this scenario would make up a class of 27 players with a rating of 282.13 using 247Sports’ class calculator. That’d place Michigan at seventh, sixth and eighth in the past three cycles, which seems about right, if not a little high. Of course there is much more waiting to happen before the cycle is going, but if the program stays on this trajectory, they should lock up another great recruiting class.

If you think I left someone out, feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll discuss my thoughts on where Michigan stands with them!