The Wolverine

February 2024

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 53 of 67

54 THE WOLVERINE ❱ FEBRUARY 2024 BY ZACH LIBBY C oming off its national title run, Michigan entered the offseason with three verbal commitments in the 2025 recruiting class — defensive line- man Bobby Kanka from Howell (Mich.) High, quarterback Carter Smith from Fort Meyers (Fla.) Bishop Verot and tight end Eli Owens of Alcoa (Tenn.) High. As of Jan. 18, the Wolverines were listed No. 14 in the On3 Industry Na- tional Team Recruiting Rankings for the class of 2025 and vying to turn their on- field success into recruiting momentum by landing many of the blue-chip pros- pects they've identified and garnered strong relationships with. The Wolverine examines the 10 most desired 2025 targets on U-M's recruit- ing board. DJ PICKETT S • 6-3 • 170 Zephyrhills (Fla.) High On3 Industry Ranking: No. 1 safety and No. 7 overall player DJ Pickett is a Michi- gan legacy. His mother graduated from U-M, and numerous family members reside in the Detroit area. The No. 1 safety in the 2025 recruiting class re- turned for the Ohio State game in Novem- ber, his fourth visit to Ann Arbor and sec- ond game-day experience. He also toured the football facilities in June of last year, earning individual time with co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Steve Clinkscale and head coach Jim Har- baugh. Clinkscale has told Pickett that he wants to coach him, and the junior recip- rocated the interest by adding Michigan to his top-five list, which was released in late December. Alabama, Georgia, Miami, and Oregon are in the mix as well for the five-star prospect. TREY McNUTT CB • 6-0 • 180 Shaker Heights (Ohio) High On3 Industry Ranking: No. 5 cornerback and No. 35 overall Michigan isn't afraid to invade the state of Ohio and get in direct competition with the Buckeyes on the re- cruiting trail. After reeling in four signees south of the border in the 2024 recruiting class, the Wol- verines have put top priority on several 2025 Ohio targets, like Trey McNutt, the No. 2 prospect in state per the On3 Industry Ranking. Even though McNutt is an OSU leg- acy, with his father and uncle playing on the Buckeyes' 2002 national cham- pionship team, the junior has visited Ann Arbor twice, including for The Game two months ago. Clinkscale has known McNutt for most of his adoles- cence because McNutt's father, Rich- ard, is a fellow collegiate defensive backs coach at Tennessee State. Mc- Nutt considers Clinkscale to be almost family. The 6-foot, 180-pound McNutt made his first unofficial visit to Michigan in late May of last year. Along with the Wolverines and Buckeyes, Penn State, Tennessee and Notre Dame have hosted McNutt on multiple recruiting visits. TALYN TAYLOR WR • 6-1 • 165 Geneva (Ill.) Community On3 Industry Ranking: No. 9 wide receiver and No. 80 overall Chicago-based 7v7 program Mid- west BOOM produced Michigan wide receiver signee I'Marion Stew- art in the 2024 class, and the Wolverines are working to get the same result from BOOM star Talyn Taylor. His return to campus for the Ohio State game was his first-ever experi- ence at The Big House, and it didn't disappoint. He also visited twice last offseason. Wide receivers coach Ron Bellamy and Taylor are in consistent contact. The Michigan wide receiver coach has told Taylor how he'd be utilized in Michigan's offense. At 6-foot-1, 165 pounds, Taylor is the No. 3 prospect in Illinois per the On3 Industry Ranking. ALEX GRAHAM CB • 6-0 • 185 Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy On3 Industry Ranking: No. 13 cornerback and No. 109 overall Alex Graham trans- ferred to powerhouse I M G A c a d e my t h i s past July after spend- ing his first two years of high school at De- troit Cass Tech. Born and raised in South- east Michigan, Graham is a U-M leg- acy — his mother graduated from the university. The Wolverines were also the first Power Four school to offer Graham. A versatile defender in the secondary, he is a junior All-American in track and has made eight unofficial visits to Ann Arbor. He also attended the Ohio State game, and before that he enjoyed a personalized experience inside the U-M facilities. At 6-foot, 185 pounds, Graham is listed as the No. 16 player in Florida by the On3 Industry Ranking. IVERSON HOWARD RB • 5-10 • 180 Gaithersburg (Md.) Quince Orchard On3 Industry Ranking: No. 28 running back and No. 362 overall There are few run- ning back targets for 2025 on the board for Michigan. Still, assis- tant coach Mike Hart is closely recruiting Iverson Howard, who called the Wolverines his top choice after the Rose Bowl win over Alabama. Howard dropped a top-10 list in early January, featuring U-M, Florida, Miami, Maryland, NC State, Ole Miss, Oregon, ❱  MICHIGAN RECRUITING NOTEBOOK The Wolverines' Top 10 Targets For The Class Of 2025

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