If one had to point to a single factor that catapulted the Michigan Wolverines to back-to-back Big Ten championships and College Football Playoff appearances, it has to be player development. Names like Hassan Haskins, Kwity Paye and Ronnie Bell were far from being on the top of recruiting rankings when they committed.
Yet these underrated recruits were forged into foundational contributors to the championship teams of 2021 and 2022 — and NFL draft picks. With such a track record under the staff’s belt, Michigan fans should feel confident every recruit that commits to the program has the potential to play on Sundays.
Here are five underrated recruits in the 2024 class Michigan fans should keep an eye on.
1. Jaylen McClain
As the nation’s 22nd-best safety, New Jersey native Jaylen McClain could be one of the biggest oversights of the 2024 recruiting cycle.
With natural pass defense instincts and a penchant for laying the lumber, he can make plays at every level of the defense. In fact, he has a Dax Hill-esque quality to his game.
Michigan, Penn State, Georgia and USC recruiting him is a testament to the lack of respect he is getting from the recruiting experts.
2. I’Marion Stewart
Oscillating between a three- and four-star composite recruit, I’Marion Stewart could be turning some heads when he takes the field at the college level.
He will play college snaps at wide receiver, and it’s easy to see why. With a lengthy frame and a great instinct for high-pointing passes, he could be a potent weapon for the Wolverines on the outside.
Michigan is the undeniable leader for the Chicagoan athlete; it seems like a matter of time before he formally commits, given the sheer amount of times he’s been to Ann Arbor and the Crystal Balls in favor of the Wolverines.
3. Channing Goodwin
Providence Day wideout and Michigan legacy recruit Channing Goodwin has the potential to be the steal of the 2024 class. Frankly, it’s irksome the 6-foot-1 North Carolinian barely cracks the top-500 overall and is listed as only the 73rd-best receiver.
With requisite height and phenomenal YAC potential, one would think he would rank much higher. Goodwin’s potential could skyrocket if he joins his high school quarterback Jadyn Davis at the next level.
4. Jake Guarnera
Currently rated as the 31st-best Interior offensive lineman in the class, Jake Guarnera’s stock has the potential to rapidly rise. The lineman from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida is a pancake machine, absolutely belying the middle three-star status he currently holds.
5. Jalen Todd
Lengthy with adequate speed, cornerback Jalen Todd of Southfield High should be on the radar of Michigan recruiting followers. At 6-foot and counting, the mid-three-star possesses the frame needed to guard against some of the bigger wide receivers Michigan will come across during the Big Ten season.
While he might not make the starting rotation his freshman or even sophomore campaign, Todd is the prototype of a physically gifted prospect who can improve drastically with superior coaching — something defensive backs coach Steve Clinkscale brings in spades.