Michigan recruiting has picked up in July, landing four total commits and three four-stars just in the first half of the month. There are a few big fish left in the 2023 class, one of which will be covered in today’s roundup along with some international prospects.
Five-star ATH handicaps his recruitment
Archbishop Carroll (DC) 2023 five-star Nyckoles Harbor has been at the top of Michigan’s board for the majority of the cycle. He has narrowed his list down to seven finalists and talked about each with The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb (FREE).
Outside of football, Michigan has plenty of ties to the DMV area that Harbor highlighted as significant to him.
“Hunter (Dickinson) is the face of basketball. Ziyah (Holman) is the face of track, Blake (Corum) is going to be the starting running back this year. You’ve got big faces in Michigan athletics trying to recruit me there. That’s a big thing, too,” Harbor said.
Holman is especially significant, considering Harbor will also compete in track at his school of choice and try to make the Olympics in 2024.
“Ziyah is like a big sister to me,” Harbor said. “That’s like the face of Michigan track right there. She’s heavy on me. And then the coaches — I’ve got a great relationship with them too.”
His desire to stay competitive in track has also caused Harbor to lean more towards playing on the offensive side of the ball so he can keep his weight down. Michigan and any other school would take him to play either, but this does help the Wolverines a bit since Ron Bellamy is already the area recruiter for the DMV and can now pitch being his position coach.
A decision is not likely to take place any time soon, as he has yet to even take any official visits. But Michigan has done enough to stay in this race until the end.
Michigan extends offer to 2024 German LB
In recent years, groups of international football players have been formed to tour summer camps and get more chances at earning scholarships. Michigan dipped into international waters a few cycles ago with Julius Welschof and has done well with first- or second-generation recruits like Collins Acheampong and David Ojabo, who played their high school football in the United States.
Michigan recently offered another German defender after a strong camp performance in 2024 linebacker Justin Okoronko. On3’s EJ Holland caught up with Okoronko to learn more about his thoughts on Michigan ($).
“It was an indescribable feeling to get an offer from Michigan after training for this moment for years,” Okoronkwo said. “It felt like I was dreaming. It took me a few days to really realize it.”
Okoronkwo also got the opportunity to tour Michigan’s facilities while on campus.
“I really liked the visit to Michigan,” Okoronkwo recapped. “The most impressive part was the Wolverines’ stadium. It must be incredible to enter the stadium full of spectators. The University of Michigan is one of the most renowned universities in the world, and this can also be seen with its high-quality campus and facilities.”
Michigan wasn’t the only school to offer Okoronkwo following his camp performance. Penn State also threw out an offer to the 6-foot-3, 205-pound prospect.
Okoronkwo is part of the group PPI Recruits, which is also where Welschof came from. Michigan is currently recruiting a couple other prospects in the group as well. 2023 French edge Aymeric Koumba is swiftly rising up Michigan’s board and could be a candidate for an official visit during the season.
2024 defensive lineman Manuel Beigel is from Germany but transferred to Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut to finish his high school football career. There are already two Crystal Balls in for Michigan and he has been a candidate to commit at any moment.
Holland credits Mike Elston for having a presence again with PPI Recruits, which is perhaps unsurprising given the emphasis on defensive linemen ($). Michigan previously had a good relationship with founder Brandon Collier under Don Brown, but the connection fell off when Brown left. Elston has rekindled that relationship and has been familiar with the group since his Notre Dame days.
If Michigan continues to refuse to participate in the emerging NIL landscape of college football, searching out international players could be an avenue to explore and maintain the talent level somewhat equal.