The Wolverine

January 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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JANUARY 2021 THE WOLVERINE 33   MICHIGAN RECRUITING and blown people away at the all-star games, and could have wound up as the best player in the class from a rank- ings standpoint. I think Worthy is the most dangerous guy in the class. "McCarthy could be great or he could be horrible … it's so hard to tell with quarterbacks. He has the tools to be successful, especially on the 'wow' plays, where he makes throws on the run with pinpoint accuracy." Helmholdt: "We have J.J. McCarthy rated as the No. 1 player in the class, and I think he's definitely worthy of that. He has the ability to be a pro- gram-changer, both on the field and in the locker room. "He has shown his leadership abili- ties already with this class in the way he encouraged others to join. He's the pied piper of sorts, in that he can com- mand a following. McCarthy has the goods to back it up on the field." Who is an underrated player in the class that not enough people are talking about? Lemming: "[Del Valle (Tex.) High three-star running back] Tavierre Dun- lap. I saw him last year and really liked him. "I also really liked [Bolingbrook (Ill.) High three-star linebacker] Tyler McLaurin, though he's not a big line- backer. He makes a lot of plays though and plays for a program in Boling- brook that has produced a lot of big- time players in the past." Farrell: "Maybe [Plantation (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas three-star corner- back] Ja'Den McBurrows. He's a high three-star and isn't the biggest corner, but is a Florida kid with great speed and has a swagger to him. He was flip- ping between Miami and Michigan leading up to the early signing period, though U-M held on. "TJ Guy is also a raw prospect who can be molded into something. He's athletic, big, long and is learning what he needs to do. Get him in college a couple years, and he could turn into something special." Helmholdt: "I'd probably point to Tyler McLaurin if we're talking about a player who more people should be talking about. If he reaches his upside, he could be really impressive. He re- minds me in some ways of [current Michigan redshirt sophomore line- backer] Cameron McGrone, though he's later in his development. "McLaurin has length and abilities in space to do some good things, but he has a long way to go to reach his potential. That brings a higher degree of risk. If he does reach that potential though, he could be an outstanding linebacker in the Big Ten." Were you surprised Jim Harbaugh kept the class intact as well as he did given the way the season went and the uncertainty around his fu- ture at Michigan? Lemming: "No. There's about 16 schools nationally who can have a di- sastrous year and still recruit well be- cause kids see an opening. Prospects see an opening at Michigan where they can play right away. "Harbaugh is a proven commodity, especially after what he did at Stanford and with the 49ers. I don't think Mich- igan was in danger of losing many guys, and the future still looks bright for U-M and for Harbaugh. I think the fans who turned on him will be cheer- ing for him in another year or two. "When [Alabama coach] Nick Saban lost two games last year, they wanted to fire him. Once you set a standard and you go below it, there's no loyalty at any school. Michigan has proven it themselves now with fans turning on Harbaugh. Fans are loyal to a point, and then they turn on you. "I think Harbaugh will make them eat their words in the next few years. He's dedicated, and I think he'll turn it around. They have the players to do it." Farrell: "No, I wasn't. There was talk of Jennings leaving, and I don't think Somerville is that good anyway. I think he's a little overrated. "They couldn't afford to lose another in-state guy like Edwards, California speed like Worthy or Florida athleti- cism like Hood. When you take into account those three and then trade off the two they lost, I think they came out ahead." Helmholdt: "Going into it, I thought there would be more casualties simply due to the uncertainty. This also came around in a good year, because kids are hesitant to leave a place they know they have a spot, with the uncertainty surrounding scholarships for next sea- son and transfers being granted for immediate eligibility. "It was a good year for Michigan to not be hit as hard by their coaching situation being unsettled." — Austin Fox U-M SLATED TO HAVE BIG GROUP OF EARLY ENROLLEES Out of the 20 players U-M signed during the early period, several will enroll early and join the team in Janu- ary, head coach Jim Harbaugh revealed to former U-M All-American Jon Jan- sen on his 'In The Trenches' podcast. "It's probably going to be 11 or 12," he said. "We'll see when it all shakes out, but [quarterback] J.J. McCarthy, a tremendous player, he'll be here as a mid-year enrollee. [Running back] Donovan Edwards; [offensive line- man] Giovanni El-Hadi; [wideout] Xavier Worthy, a tremendous player from California, one of the top players in the whole country. "Junior Colson, a tremendous line- backer; [offensive lineman] Raheem Anderson; Cristian Dixon, another re- ally tremendous wide receiver from California; [offensive lineman] Greg Crippen; Tavi Dunlap, the running back from Texas; Tristan Bounds, a super tall, athletic offensive tackle; and [wideout] Andrel Anthony are the ones we're counting on right now coming in at the mid-year who have graduated early from high school." — Clayton Sayfie JIM HARBAUGH RAVES ABOUT KEY PIECES TO SIGNING CLASS Many recruiting classes are high- lighted by its quarterback signee, and that is certainly true of the Wolverines' haul in the early signing period. Four- Bolingbrook (Ill.) High linebacker Tyler McLaurin is a three-star prospect according to all three major recruiting services, but he was a popular pick in our national ana- lyst roundtable for an underrated player not enough people are talking about. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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