Under Jim Harbaugh, Michigan has produced a bevy of NFL edge rushers. Aidan Hutchinson headlines the list, but Kwity Paye, Rashan Gary, Mike Danna and others make sizeable contributions to the pass rush on their respective teams week in, week out. A common theme with these outstanding players is they were often undervalued as recruits. Paye, who was listed as a three-star recruit, grew into a first-round game wrecker. Hutchinson wasn’t even ranked in the top-100 of his class.
Let’s hope that trend of success at the position continues as the Wolverines look to land some of these recruits on this early edition of the top-five edge recruits for Michigan in the 2024 class.
Listed as Michigan’s top target in the 2024 recruiting class by 247, Elijah Rushing is the kind of recruit that could make an instant splash for Michigan’s defensive scheme. His film and frame are reminiscent of a slightly skinnier Hutchinson, and there’s a deft physicality to his game that has some recruiting analysis projecting him as a possible first-round NFL Draft pick.
Michigan made his top-12, but it’s doubtful, at least for the time being, that the Maize and Blue are considered near the top of that list. However, Michigan’s 2024 class would get a significant bump if the staff can make some headway in his recruitment which, thankfully, is still in its early stages.
As the 12th-best edge recruit in the country, Brian Robinson is the most likely of any on this list to commit to Michigan. The blue-chip edge rusher from Youngstown, Ohio has already been on campus multiple times and holds two Crystal Balls projecting him to the Wolverines.
With plenty of length and agility, Robinson should be a dominant presence on the defensive front for in the years to come — and hopefully it’s for Michigan.
Christopher Columbus High’s Dylan Stephenson is a top-100 overall recruit — and the eighth-best rusher in the class — who recently met current New England Patriot edge rusher and Michigan alum Josh Uche last week. Uche, who also attended Christopher Columbus, could open the door for Michigan to make some headway with the highly coveted edge rusher from Miami.
Landing both Stephenson and Robinson would be the best-case scenario for Michigan’s recruiting efforts at the edge position for the 2024 class, in my opinion.
A sure tackler with plenty of speed, Jayshawn Ross would be a fine addition to the Michigan defensive line. His block-shedding technique may not be as well developed as one may like at this stage but once he gets into the backfield, he has the closing speed and tackling acumen to stifle offenses.
Ross — a blue-chipper out of Kansas City — doesn’t seem to have a clear leader with his recruitment currently, so this is a prime opportunity for the Michigan recruiting staff to deepen its ties in Missouri and gain another outstanding edge rusher.
Steadily rising up the recruiting rankings — and garnering a ton of new attention from blue blood programs — four-star Marquis Lightfoot has the makings of being a great developmental edge rusher. It wasn’t too long ago he gained his fourth star and luckily for Michigan, Sherrone Moore is forging a great relationship with the 6-foot-5 prospect from Chicago. Things are looking up for both Lightfoot and Michigan.