As the Michigan Wolverines football team resets during the bye week, we figured it might be beneficial to do a reset of our own and give fans an update in the world of Michigan football recruiting.
Here is a recap of where the Wolverines currently stand and what to look for moving forward.
Where things stand
Michigan’s 2023 football recruiting class currently ranks 23rd overall and third in the Big Ten behind Ohio State (4) and Penn State (13), according to the 247Sports rankings.
Recently, the Wolverines picked up their first commitment in over two months as three-star athlete Kendrick Bell (Kansas City, MO.), who is the brother of current Michigan wide receiver Ronnie Bell, committed to the Wolverines on Oct. 17.
Bell was the first Michigan commitment since three-star tight end Zach Marshall, who committed on Aug. 13.
There is still time for the Wolverines to improve that standing in the national recruiting rankings but with the December early signing period creeping up, the coaching staff will have to work to get a surge of commits over the next couple of months to make that happen.
Potential commit watches
Karmello English, four-star WR (Phenix City, AL)
There has been much discussion about English since his unofficial visit to Michigan last weekend.
The former Auburn commit took an official visit to Ann Arbor in June before committing to the Tigers a couple weeks later. Even when he decommitted from the Tigers in September, it was unclear where his recruitment would go from there. But after his trip to Ann Arbor to see Michigan beat up on Penn State, reports have swirled that Michigan is the team to beat.
He has a very good relationship with receivers coach Ron Bellamy and he’s expected to make a return visit for a game before the early signing period.
On3’s EJ Holland reported ($) that Ole Miss and Kentucky are still involved, but believes Michigan is the frontrunner.
English is expected to make a decision in late November of early December.
Nathan Efobi, three-star OL (Cumming, GA.)
Efobi took an unofficial visit to Michigan on Sept. 24 for the Maryland game and is expected to return for an official visit at some point in the near future.
Efobi’s most recent visit only strengthened the relationship between himself and the program. He has continued to build a strong connection with offensive line coach Sherrone Moore and has been impressed with the overall play of the position group this season.
Miami remains in the mix, but Michigan is the clear favorite. Efobi’s one Crystal Ball projection is in favor of the Wolverines.
Jyaire Hill, four-star CB (Kankakee, Ill).
Hill’s recruitment has been an interesting one considering Michigan was the early favorite to land him. But as time has passed, the hometown Illinois Fighting Illini have gained major ground while a chaotic Michigan offseason saw Jim Harbaugh nearly end up in the NFL and lead recruiter Ron Bellamy move from the defensive side of the ball to offense.
Hill visited Michigan for the Penn State game and had a successful visit, but he was at Illinois the weekend before.
The Wolverines are still not in a bad position with him and are clearly the better of the two programs, but it looks to be a dead heat and a battle that will come down to the wire.
Position breakdowns for class of 2023
Although there are clear areas of strength for Michigan’s class, there’s no doubt the Wolverines need to add some players at certain positions.
The Wolverines just haven’t been able to sustain consistent momentum with this class quite yet, which is surprising considering it’s a program coming off a Big Ten title and at its peak since Harbaugh took over in 2015.
There is still time for things to shape out and add some key recruits, but here are breakdowns by position as things now.
Bell is the only recruit in the class up to this point who could be considered for this position. But it is more likely, in my view, that his game better translates to either a wide receiver or defensive back at the college level. Look for Michigan to really hone in on a high level quarterback in the 2024 class, with five-star Jadyn Davis being the top target.
The Wolverines have two running backs committed to the 2023 class, with one being four-star Cole Cabana, who happens to be Michigan’s second-highest ranked recruit. Cabana, from Dexter, Mich., is a player who is dangerous in space and can break the big play at any given time with his speed.
Benjamin Hall (Kennesaw, GA.) is Michigan’s other running back in the class, a three-star who committed back in March. He is a much different style of running back than Cabana, primarily relying on his strength to punish defenders in between the tackles and pick up necessary yards to keep the chains moving in short yardage situations.
Semaj Morgan (West Bloomfield, Mich.) was Michigan’s second commit of the class back in December of last year and has remained loyal to the Wolverines. At 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, Morgan isn’t the biggest receiver, but possesses a sudden burst that allows him to create separation on his routes with his quickness.
Fredrick Moore (Saint Louis, MO.) is Michigan’s other receiver in the class and committed to the Wolverines in July. He is a similar type of receiver to Morgan who is a concise route runner and is dangerous in the intermediate passing game.
Both receivers are ranked as three-stars by 247Sports, but I think both have a chance to outperform those rankings in their college careers.
Four-star Deakon Tonielli (Oswego, Ill.) is Michigan’s highest rated tight end in the class out of the two committed. At 6-foot-6, 215 pounds, Tonielli is a downfield threat who is used as an outside receiver in high school. He will need work in his blocking game as he gets used to the physical play of the Big Ten, but his playmaking ability in the passing game could be an asset right away.
Three-star Zach Marshall (Carlsbad, CA.) committed to Michigan in August and is Michigan’s second tight end in the class.
West Bloomfield’s Amir Herring is a four-star and is Michigan’s top rated offensive lineman. He committed to the Wolverines in July after a bit of a hot and cold recruitment. He projects to an interior lineman at the college level and possesses good balance, executes the fundamentals and reads the game well overall.
Evan Link (Washington, DC) is a four-star and is Michigan’s other offensive lineman committed to the class.
It’s no secret the Wolverines have struggled to recruit at this position, and it’s puzzling as to why since Sherrone Moore’s group is coming off winning the Joe Moore Award last year and could very well repeat this season. We will see if Michigan can make a push with more guys along the offensive front in this class.
Contrary to the offensive line, Michigan has had no trouble recruiting up front on the defensive side of the ball in this class. Defensive line coach Mike Elston continues to do a great job with recruiting guys whose games should translate well into defensive coordinator Jesse Minter’s system.
Four-star Enow Etta (Colleyville, TX.) is Michigan’s top ranked recruit after the Wolverines beat Michigan State to land him back in July. Etta plays with good technique and possesses the athletic ability, physicality and quick twitch to get to opposing quarterbacks and cause problems in the backfield for opposing teams.
Four-star Collins Acheampong (Santa Margarita, CA.) committed to the Wolverines just before Etta and is Michigan’s third ranked prospect in the class. While still very raw and inexperienced, Acheampong possesses all the tools and natural ability to be an elite pass rusher at the Division I level if he can adapt and learn on the fly. Given Michigan’s track record of developing his style of game, there is plenty to be excited about as it relates to his potential.
Brooks Bahr (Wilmette, Ill.) and Aymeric Koumba (France) are three-star recruits who round out the position group for the Wolverines so far in this class.
Four-star Semaj Bridgeman (Philadelphia, PA.) is Michigan’s fifth-highest ranked recruit in the class, and his July commitment was an important one considering the decommitment of Raylen Wilson prior to that, who is now committed to Florida. He possesses a high level of versatility and has the ability to cover a lot of ground in pursuit of the ball.
This is certainly a group that could use more depth, and we’ll see if the Wolverines can do anything further with this class to address that need.
Michigan currently has no players from the defensive backfield committed for the class of 2023, which is a concern. As mentioned above, Jyaire Hill is one to keep an eye on as Michigan continues to battle Illinois for his pledge.
Four-star CB Chris Peal is another player Michigan is in the running for. He will make his college decision this Sunday, but Georgia is thought of to be the favorite there.
Adam Samaha (Ann Arbor, Mich.), a three-star, was Michigan’s first commit of the class as he pledged himself to the Wolverines in Nov. 2021. With current kicker Jake Moody in his final season at Michigan, it makes sense for the Wolverines to start addressing that position for the future.
Over the bye week, the Wolverines have sent out offers to three prospects in the 2023 class. The first one was to three-star wide receiver Chance Fitzgerald. The 6-foot-3, 184-pounder is from the state of Tennessee — a place Michigan has recruited well as of late.
Over the last week and a half, Fitzgerald has picked up offers from Oklahoma State, Michigan State, Louisville, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and more. The new recruiting attention came on after putting out some updated highlights from his senior season. Through the first six games of 2022, he compiled 35 receptions for 624 yards and eight touchdowns. His success also dates back to last season as a junior, when he racked up 754 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns.
Fitzgerald has the ideal height and body size the Wolverines are looking for in another receiver, but they are also trending for the aforementioned English. Receiver recruiting has suddenly become a whole lot more interesting than it was this time last week.
The second recruit offered during the bye week is three-star defensive lineman and Wisconsin commit Trey Pierce. He is 6-foot-3, 290 pounds and has been committed to the Badgers since May. “Since May,” is the key, as the Wisconsin head coach back in May was still Paul Chryst, who was fired a few weeks ago. Will that play a role in Pierce’s recruitment moving forward? With Michigan jumping in the mix here, it very well might.
Michigan is in a good spot along the defensive line in the 2023 class, but Mike Elston is looking for one more interior prospect to pair up with Bahr. Pierce would be an ideal candidate if the Wolverines whiff on four-star Kayden McDonald, who is set to commit to his future program on Halloween, Oct. 31.
Finally, 2023 three-star athlete Breeon Ishmail reported an offer from Michigan on Friday morning. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound prospect is from Ohio and is being recruited as a defensive prospect, even though other programs are going after him as a wide receiver. He visited Ann Arbor last weekend for the Penn State game and holds other offers from Tennessee, Purdue, Iowa State, Cincinnati, Kentucky, West Virginia and more.