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2023 Michigan recruiting position previews: Edge

Michigan is looking to translate two potential first rounders at the position into success on the recruiting trail.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Football Championship-Iowa vs Michigan Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

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.


Edge is in the same position as the rest of the defensive line with Mike Elston taking over the position, which was all covered in the defensive line preview.

The difference between the positions is Michigan is about to have two edge prospects taken in the first round of the NFL Draft, with one potentially as the first overall pick. That gives Elston and the rest of the staff much more ammo on the recruiting trail and that is reflected in the quality of talent that Michigan is in a good position with already.

Top Target

Archbishop Carroll (DC) Nyckoles Harbor - Five-star, No. 16 overall, No. 2 ATH

Hands down, Harbor is the freakiest athlete of anyone in his class. At 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, he runs a 10.38 in the 100 meters and has a legitimate shot at competing in the Olympics. But he’s also talented on the football field and Michigan has an advantage with his track coach, who is a graduate of the Michigan law school.

Harbor has already visited for a game last season and highly values academics. Oklahoma had an early lead, but Michigan caught up to that quickly and is at or near the top. Harbor just visited Alabama who will also be in the race, as well as Oregon and Penn State.

In the Mix

Berkeley Prep (FL) Keon Keeley - Five-star, No. 10 overall, No. 1 Edge

Michigan could pull off a huge coup by flipping Keeley from Notre Dame after hiring away Elston, who was set to be his position coach for the Irish. Michigan also has good connections at Berkeley Prep after getting Jaylen Harrell from the school a couple years ago. Getting this flip won’t be easy, but Keeley is planning a spring visit to Ann Arbor that could help swing the tides in the Wolverines’ favor.

Wylie East (TX) Anthony James - Four-star, No. 112 overall, No. 12 DL

Another prospect Michigan would love to flip is James, who is committed to Texas A&M and has been for more than a year. However, A&M signed a historic defensive line class last cycle that could have James wondering about playing time. He’s also originally from Flint and still has family in the area. When James visited for the Ohio State game last season, his trip was five days long — he went to see his family and explore Ann Arbor — so there is a solid foundation for a flip here.

Catholic Memorial (MA) Boubacar Traore - Four-star, No. 149 overall, No. 23 DL

Traore is yet another prospect committed elsewhere and has been for much longer than Keeley or James. Traore committed to Boston College way back in Aug. 2020, and because of that only has four reported offers, even though the actual number is likely much higher.

Elston was working to flip Traore when he was at Notre Dame and now has the weight of Michigan’s presence in the northeast behind him. If any school could pull off the flip, it would be Michigan.

Covenant Christian (TX) Enow Etta - Four-star, No. 161 overall, No. 24 DL

Michigan quickly became a contender for Etta after Elston offered him in January. Just a couple weeks after receiving the offer he made it up to Ann Arbor for a visit, which is big for a prospect from Texas. He also visited Michigan State on the trip and looks to be a rare battle between the schools for an out-of-state prospect.

St. John’s (DC) David Ojiegbe - Four-star, No. 207 overall, No. 17 Edge

Michigan has the chance to nail down a monopoly on edge rushers whose names start with David Oj- by landing Ojiegbe. He made it up last season for the Ohio State game, which obviously impressed him. He just took a visit to Clemson who offered him while on campus. The Tigers should immediately become a contender, along with Penn State, Rutgers and West Virginia.

American Fork (UT) Hunter Clegg - Four-star, No. 234 overall, No. 19 Edge

Elston just offered Clegg a couple weeks ago and he had really positive things to say about Michigan afterward. Getting guys out of Utah is a tough ask, but Clegg is originally from Ohio and spent most of his life there so he’s very familiar with the Midwest.

St. Frances Academy (MD) Dashawn Womack - Four-star, No. 236 overall, No. 37 DL

Womack has been rising up Michigan’s board this winter since getting his offer in January. He’s also been rising in the rankings, going from unranked to the top-150 to 247Sports. Michigan has Biff Poggi on staff who is well-connected with St. Frances after previously serving as the head coach.

Lakeview Centennial (TX) Trey Wilson - Three-star, No. 374 overall, No. 49 DL

Wilson was a top target for Shaun Nua and put Michigan in a really good position with him before his departure. Elston doesn’t seem to have quite the same enthusiasm for Wilson as Nua but he should still be a take for the staff.


IMG Academy (FL) Samuel M’Pemba - Five-star, No. 15 overall, No. 1 ATH

M’Pemba is originally from St. Louis, but transferred to play at IMG Academy. He has a visit to Ann Arbor scheduled for March 18, which should help Michigan stake a claim in his recruitment, though it will be battling every school in the country. Still, getting a visit for a prospect of M’Pemba’s level is a good start.

Lincoln (WA) Jayden Wayne - Five-star, No. 30 overall, No. 4 DL

Michigan was surprisingly left off Wayne’s list of top schools in January, but this was after Nua left and during the Harbaugh to the NFL turmoil. Since then, Elston has been putting in work to get Michigan back in the race and Wayne has been receptive. USC, Alabama and Miami are some of the other schools near the top for the five-star.

Brashear (PA) Ta’Mere Robinson - Four-star, No. 129 overall, No. 9 Edge

Robinson visited Ann Arbor twice since they were allowed again last spring. He’s a solid four-star close to Michigan, but the staff isn’t as high on him as his ranking would suggest. Penn State is widely considered the leader right now.

Lawrence Central (IN) Joshua Mickens - Four-star, No. 209 overall, No. 18 Edge

Mickens is another Midwest blue-chip Michigan could be doing better with if he was higher on the board. Mickens did mention recently he is looking to get to Michigan for the first time this spring, which could change things. Michigan State and Iowa are two schools standing out for Mickens so far.

Under the Radar

Panther Creek (NC) Tyler Thompson - Three-star, No. 593 overall, No. 76 DL

Michigan is making more offers in the Carolinas than usual this cycle and Elston jumped in by offering Thompson in early February. Thompson has some average P5 offers in Virginia Tech, Boston College, Louisville, Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia and Washington.

Cedar Grove (GA) Adonijah Green - Three-star, No. 639 overall, No. 47 Edge

Wrapping up the prospects committed to other schools is Green, who gave his pledge to Louisville this past Christmas Eve. Michigan has been upping the interest in him lately, though, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him on campus soon.

Parish Episcopal (TX) Tre Williams - Unranked

Williams is unranked, but shouldn’t be for long with offers from Arizona State, Boston College, Cal, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Utah and more. The Wolverines were pursuing a couple players from Williams’ high school last cycle, so they have some familiarity with the school.