The Wolverine

November 2015

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 133 of 193

T he Wolverines picked up their third class of 2017 commit Oct. 16, when Covington (Ga.) Newton run‑ ning back Kurt Taylor gave his pledge to head coach Jim Harbaugh. The 5‑9, 201‑pounder should have many more classmates by the time he signs his let‑ ter of intent on Feb. 1, 2017. Although the numbers are still devel‑ oping, thanks to an as yet incomplete 2016 class, the early starting point for U‑M's 2017 signing group is 25 players. That is the number of players on the team currently with junior eligibility, whose time as Wolverines will expire at the conclusion of the 2016 season. However, that number is likely to change. U‑M hopes to sign as many as 28 players in the 2016 class, and given that there are only 18 scholarships available (per NCAA rules, schools are allowed a maximum of 85 scholarship players) for that group, it's likely that the coaches are expecting attrition from the underclassman ranks. That means that those spots will be filled by the time 2017 rolls around, reducing the number of available scholarships. Safe estimates would result in a recruiting class around 23 signees in 2017. Given Michigan's depth chart, the most important positions are likely to be linebacker, running back (par‑ tially filled with Taylor's commitment) and offensive line. REASONABLE FINISH IN THE RANKINGS Michigan's 2016 recruiting class, with 22 pledges, was ranked No. 5 in the na‑ tion as of Oct. 19, behind only Ohio State, LSU, Florida State and Ole Miss. With a half‑dozen openings left — or more, depending on if the Maize and Blue have any decommitments — the Wolverines have a chance to not only remain among the nation's five best recruiting classes, but perhaps finish even higher. U‑M is still in the hunt for a hand‑ ful of five‑star prospects, which could result in a huge boost to its ranking. Wayne (N.J.) De Paul running back Kareem Walker, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy tight end Isaac Nauta, Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West linebacker Caleb Kelly, Bowman (Ga.) Elbert County athlete/defensive back Mecole Hard‑   MICHIGAN RECRUITING Early 2017 Numbers Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West linebacker Caleb Kelly, the nation's No. 5 outside linebacker and No. 17 overall player, is one of five five-star players still considering the Wolverines as of mid-October. PHOTO BY BRANDON BROWN

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