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.
Even though they took two tight ends last cycle, the Michigan Wolverines are going to try and land two again this year. With them potentially losing three contributors after the 2022 season, it makes sense to do so. As has been their pattern the last few cycles, they’ve already landed the underrated borderline three/four-star and are now looking to get one of the elites.
Jay Harbaugh did a good job with this room in his two separate stints, but now Grant Newsome takes over as a first-time position coach. As a former player, he should naturally be able to pitch Michigan on the recruiting trail, but there will likely be a learning curve.
Milton Academy (MA) Andrew Rappleyea - Three-star, No. 367 overall, No. 19 TE
Michigan went back up to its favorite spot to land tight ends, New England, to get Rappleyea in January. He visited for the Ohio State game and left without an offer, but somewhere along the line the staff re-evaluated him and got him on board.
Central Catholic (OR) Riley Williams - Four-star, No. 115 overall, No. 8 TE
After Walker Lyons left Michigan off of his top list, Williams has settled in to being the clear top target at the position. Jay Harbaugh attended Oregon State for college so he has familiarity with the area and probably helped early on. He’ll probably still assist in this recruitment with Newsome.
In the Mix
Horizon (AZ) Matthew Klopfenstein - Three-star, No. 556 overall, No. 30 TE
Michigan has been very high on Klopfenstein throughout the cycle. His composite ranking is still low, but 247Sports has him as a four-star prospect. Arizona and Michigan State are also top schools in his recruitment.
DeSmet (MO) Mac Markway - Four-star, No. 101 overall, No. 7 TE
Michigan was high on Markway before he committed to Florida last July. Markway backed off that commitment in December and Michigan could circle back here to try and rekindle the relationship.
De La Salle (CA) Cooper Flanagan - Four-star, No. 196 overall, No. 11 TE
Flanagan is currently committed to Notre Dame, but that’s not stopping Michigan from going after a bunch of prospects in the Fighting Irish’s class. Michigan has a great relationship with De La Salle, and just got Zeke Berry from there last year. Flanagan visited Ann Arbor last summer so there is some foundation here if he eyes start wandering.
Under the Radar
Bridgeland (TX) Reid Mikeska - Three-star, No. 419 overall, No. 23 TE
A prospect who doesn’t hold a Michigan offer yet but has high interest, Mikeska took a visit back in January and enjoyed the experience. Mikeska has a long offer list but it’s one the Wolverines could jump to the top of if they decided to offer.
Oswego (IL) Deakon Tonielli - Three-star, No. 453 overall, No. 25 TE
Tonielli has been on Michigan’s radar for a while, and he took a visit up for the Ohio State game last fall. He’s someone the Wolverines should be able to land if they make a push, but they may wait on other targets to decide first.
Lynden Christian School (WA) Kade Eldridge - Three-star, No. 81 ATH
Eldridge also hasn’t received an offer from Michigan yet, but nonetheless is still planning a visit to Ann Arbor in late March. He already has a good relationship with Newsome.