Michigan football’s 2021 recruiting class is currently ranked No. 13 overall and has 20 players who signed their letters of intent during the early signing period in December. Even with those guys all signed up, and some of them already in Ann Arbor, there is still work to be done for Jim Harbaugh and his staff in this class.
There were a couple guys they tried to get onboard during the early signing period, but were unsuccessful. Ceyair Wright, a four-star cornerback from California, committed to USC earlier this month. Before that, four-star cornerback Omarion Cooper kept his pledge to Florida State and signed his letter of intent in December.
The more traditional signing day is coming up on Feb. 3, one week from today. There aren’t many guys left for the Wolverines to go after, but let’s take a closer look at three final remaining targets in the 2021 class.
Michigan State commit, No. 194 overall, No. 16 DT, No. 6 in the state of Michigan
The Oak Park native has been a longtime target for Shaun Nua and the Wolverines. They offered a scholarship to Benny on April 24, 2019. He continued to rack up offers after that and now holds more than 30 scholarships. He unofficially visited Michigan for the first time in Aug. 2019, and has visited Ann Arbor several times since.
Michigan has always recruited him as a defensive lineman, but some schools early on were going after him to play along the offensive line. As Benny told Maize n Brew last summer, his preferred position in college has always been defensive line, which gave Michigan a feather in its cap during the early stages of the recruitment.
Benny released a top four list of Michigan, Michigan State, Kentucky and Penn State back in October. Three days later, he announced a commitment date, and it appeared Michigan was in the driver’s seat to land his commitment. But he ended up delaying that decision, and then committed to MSU in November after the Wolverines lost to the Spartans at the Big House.
But despite Benny’s commitment to MSU, the Wolverines have not stopped recruiting him. Now that Nua is officially staying on staff for the foreseeable future, the time is now to crank up the heat with this recruitment.
Standing at 6-foot-5 and weighing 275 pounds, Benny is the type of guy Michigan needs on its defensive line. Get him in the strength and conditioning program in Ann Arbor, and I’m willing to bet he’d be around 300 pounds by the time September rolls around. He could come to Ann Arbor and, at the very least, provide meaningful snaps in the two-deep.
Uncommitted, No. 259 overall, No. 18 DT, No. 4 in the state of New Jersey
This has been one of the more quiet recruitments among Michigan targets in the class of 2021. It seemed like a commitment was bound sometime in the fall, but it never happened, and now he will look to make his decision next week.
Michigan offered Rooks way back on June 26, 2018. That’s the same day Penn State, Auburn and Rutgers also sent offers to Rooks. He visited Ann Arbor for the first time that fall for the Penn State game. The next year, Rooks visited Penn State for its game against Michigan, so it seemed like those were the top two schools of choice for Rooks.
Fast forward two years, and Michigan and Penn State are still among the top options for Rooks. The crystal ball predictions now favor Michigan, with the last several coming in for the Maize and Blue, so things are looking good again here.
Rooks is 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds. A bit of a tweener, it will likely take time for Rooks to get acclimated to the college game and get settled in on a position along the defensive line, whether that be tackle or end. With the way the depth chart is looking these days, he is a talented guy you take regardless and hope to develop sooner rather than later.
Colorado commit, No. 1,187 overall, No. 66 DT, No. 173 in the state of Texas
This is the most recently-offered of the remaining targets — by a longshot.
Iwunnah was offered by the new defensive coaching staff last week, but committed to the University of Colorado just a few days before.
The 6-foot-4, 275-pounder from Garland, Texas played his high school football at Lakeview Centennial. He was a first-team All-District player as a junior. To go along with his successes on the gridiron, he also performed in the triple jump and discus in track and field.
No, for real. That isn’t a typo.
He holds other offers from Texas, Missouri, Baylor, Boston College, Kansas, New Mexico, Washington State, Wyoming, Boise State and UTSA.
Not much is known about Michigan’s chances with Iwunnah at the moment. It is unclear how solid his commitment is to Colorado, so I suspect we will know more in about seven days or so.