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2023 Michigan recruiting position previews: Cornerback

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Michigan looks to reload the position after a couple rocky years in the secondary.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 23 Northwestern at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via 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

After not having much of a recruiter coaching the cornerback position in Mike Zordich, Michigan has flipped the script with Steve Clinkscale now holding the role. Clinkscale is one of the most active recruiters on the staff and has Michigan in good position with several prospects across the country.

After a great haul in the 2022 cycle Michigan can afford to be a little picky here, but you can never have enough cornerbacks, as fans know from the past couple of seasons.

Top Target

Lake Gibson (FL) Cormani McClain - Five-star, No. 3 overall, No. 1 CB

Clinskscale is shooting his shot with McClain, who is the top cornerback in the country. McClain didn’t include Michigan in his top five schools last November but has expanded his list to include the Wolverines, Oregon and Georgia.

McClain is a national prospect who has all the elite schools going after him. He’s still learning about Michigan, and Clinkscale will have to get him up on a visit this spring and then again for a game in the fall in order to stay in the race.

In the Mix

Laurel Highlands (PA) Rodney Gallagher - Four-star, No. 81 overall, No. 8 ATH

Once thought to be a longshot, Michigan learned a month or two ago Gallagher had higher interest in the program than originally thought. Also a top-level basketball prospect, he’s focusing on his season on the hardwood right now before setting up visits in the spring, which should include Michigan.

Rainier Beach (WA) Caleb Presley - Four-star, No. 86 overall, No. 10 CB

There are conflicting reports about Presley’s interest with the Wolverines. He was supposed to visit along with the rest of the large West Coast group for the Washington game last season but didn’t make it. He is said to be rescheduling his visit during spring practice, according to one source, while another says he’s ready to drop Michigan from his list. If the visit this spring materializes, we’ll see which way Presley is actually leaning.

Kinkaid School (TX) Micah Bell - Four-star, No. 147 overall, No. 17 CB

Last cycle, Michigan recruited Bell’s older brother Dillon quite well, and even got him to silently commit. But Georgia swooped in and nabbed him soon after. Still, there should be a good relationship with Micah already, who is more highly regarded than his brother.

Junipero Serra (CA) Rodrick Pleasant - Four-star, No. 170 overall, No. 21 CB

With a 10.32 100-meter time, Pleasant is one of the fastest players in the country. Pleasant’s older brother played for USC, which probably makes the Trojans the favorites, but he does have some connections to Michigan. He is family friends with David Long’s family and he goes to the same high school Tom Brady attended, a fact Clinkscale has probably brought up often.

Florida Christian School (FL) Antonio Robinson - Four-star, No. 302 overall, No. 29 CB

Robinson has already taken a visit to Ann Arbor last summer and keeps frequent contact with Clinkscale, who also took the time to visit his high school when the coaches were on the road. Robinson’s recruitment seems pretty wide open as of now with a meaningless Miami Crystal Ball as the only prediction for him.

Longshots

La Grange (TX) Bravion Rogers - Five-star, No. 36 overall, No. 6 CB

Michigan has been going hard after Rogers for a while now, but was unable to get him up on campus for a game last fall. If the Wolverines can’t get him up for a visit soon, their chances are pretty slim.

South Oak Cliff (TX) Malik Muhammad - Four-star, No. 44 overall, No. 7 CB

Once a Notre Dame lean, Michigan is looking to take advantage of Muhammad’s willingness to leave the state now that his recruitment is more open. Clinkscale and Mike Elston are working on this recruitment and Muhammad has said he’s looking to get up to campus in the spring. If that happens, he could easily move into the “In the Mix” category.

Under the Radar

Roseville (MI) Amare Snowden - Four-star, No. 359 overall, No. 37 CB

Snowden is down in this category because he does not yet hold a Michigan offer. Iowa, Notre Dame, Penn State, Wisconsin and several other P5 schools have thrown their hat in the ring, so there is something holding Michigan back here. But Clinkscale is keeping tabs on him — you just want to avoid the situation where Snowden is turned off by the Wolverines waiting too long to offer if they eventually decide to offer him a scholarship.

St. John’s (DC) Collin Gill - Three-star, No. 801 overall, No. 67 CB

Gill does hold a Michigan offer and has visited campus twice already. He is also the teammate of 2023 four-star edge rusher David Ojiegbe, who is a target for Michigan as well. If Michigan pushes for Gill, it’s hard not to see him jumping on board, but he would have to be a take first.