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2023 Michigan recruiting position previews: Running Back

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Can Michigan land two backs this cycle after not being able to do so last year?

2021 Big Ten Championship - Iowa v Michigan Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

This series will break down Michigan’s targets at each position, categorized into different groups. The first group will list any commits Michigan has at the position so far. The next will identify the top overall target at the position, which considers both the coaches’ interest in the player and the likelihood he chooses Michigan.

Following “Top Target” will be “In the Mix”, which will include the group of players Michigan is in good standing with and would be takes if they wanted to commit today. Following that are the “Longshots”, who are elite players Michigan has work to do with but would make room for in the class. Finally we have “Under the Radar”, which are lower-rated prospects who may be Plan Bs if the guys above don’t work out.

Overview

Michigan tried but failed to add a second running back in the 2022 class, only landing three-star CJ Stokes. Mike Hart will once again try to land two backs this cycle and is already halfway there with four-star in-stater Cole Cabana already on board. It appears Hart has opened up his board more than usual, with a good amount of solid targets remaining as legitimate options at this point.

Commits

Dexter (MI) Cole Cabana - Four-star, No. 243 overall, No. 17 RB

Michigan landed Cabana despite the Jim Harbaugh saga wrapping up right before his commitment date. Cabana boasts a 10.69 time in the 100 meters, which makes him one of the fastest players in the country.

Top Target

Lake Stevens (WA) Jayden Limar - Four-star, No. 234 overall, No. 14 RB

Despite living across the country, Limar made it to two games last season for unofficial visits. He picked two good ones too, the wins against Washington and Ohio State. He clearly has a lot of interest in the Wolverines, and his scouting report suggests he would complement the style of Cabana well.

In the Mix

Fleming Island (FL) Samuel Singleton - Four-star, No. 100 overall, No. 5 RB

Singleton was also able to make it up for a game last season, which is always a good first step in a recruitment. He sits as the No. 100 player in the country but his offer list doesn’t reflect that ranking yet, which could give Michigan an opening here to grab him. Being from just southwest of Jacksonville, Singleton is a guy new assistant director of player personnel Denard Robinson could also play a big role with.

Trinity Christian Academy (FL) Treyaun Webb - Four-star, No. 109 overall, No. 6 RB

Another running back from the Jacksonville area, Michigan has been on Webb since he decommitted from Georgia in early January. He’s mentioned Michigan as one of the schools recruiting him hardest since then, but he hasn’t been able to make it up to campus yet.

American Heritage (FL) Mark Fletcher - Four-star, No. 152 overall, No. 7 RB

Rounding out the trio of Florida running backs is Fletcher, who also hasn’t seen campus in person yet but is working on a visit soon. Miami will be a tough school to beat under Mario Cristobal, and Ohio State is also a threat with him.

Liberty Magnet (LA) Kaleb Jackson - Four-star, No. 191 overall, No. 11 RB

Michigan is high on Jackson and are looking to make more of a splash in the state of Louisiana with Ron Bellamy on staff. He runs a sub 11-second 100 meters at 5-foot-10, 200 pounds so he looks to have a good combination of speed and size.

Montgomery Catholic Prep (AL) Jeremiah Cobb - Four-star, No. 295 overall, No. 19 RB

Since the new year, Cobb has been hot on the trail, picking up Michigan, Florida State, South Carolina, Nebraska, UNC, Utah, LSU, Oregon, Missouri, Auburn, Arkansas, and Texas A&M in just two months. We’ll see where Michigan shakes out once he sets his visits for the spring.

Longshots

El Campo (TX) Reuben Owens - Five-star, No. 27 overall, No. 2 RB

Owens is the No. 2 running back in the country and has every school in the country after him. He’s said good things about Michigan but until he takes a visit, this will be a longshot.

Blessed Trinity Catholic (GA) Justice Haynes - Four-star, No. 47 overall, No. 3 RB

Hart is high on Haynes, but it looks like he may be the top guy for Ohio State. In-state Georgia is also a possibility and has the only Crystal Ball prediction right now. If those schools land other guys at the position, Michigan may be able to circle back.

Under the Radar

Palmetto Ridge (FL) Jaden Booker - Three-star, No. 537 overall, No. 34 RB

Booker was an early offer by the staff, but interest in him has died down despite him running for more than 1,700 yards as a junior. Depending on what has caused the drop in interest, Michigan could turn up the heat again.

Granada Hills (CA) Dijon Stanley - Three-star, No. 571 overall, No. 45 ATH

Stanley is another prospect Michigan was once high on, but has dropped interest in lately. He was a favorite of Courtney Morgan, but the rest of the staff may not have agreed as much with his evaluation.