The Wolverine

December 2015 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 97 of 162

  FOOTBALL RECRUITING BY TIM SULLIVAN I n the era of football re- cruiting, the Wolverines have twice finished with the No. 5 signing class, the high-water mark for the Maize and Blue. While U-M is in the first year of the Jim Harbaugh era — and it's natu- ral to expect the "new coach bump" to take another year to arrive in full, it's possible that Harbaugh and his as- sistants set a new bar for Michigan this season. In the past decade, nearly every na- tional champion in college football — the BCS from 2005-13 and the College Football Playoff in 2014 — has had at least one class on its roster that was ranked as the nation's best. The 2006 Florida Gators, 2010 Auburn Tigers and 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes (which each had a pair of No. 2 overall classes) are the lone exceptions. Possessing a top class isn't a necessary condition to winning championships, but it cer- tainly helps in a big way. The Wolverines already boast 21 class of 2016 commitments, and with a class that will likely reach 28 sign- ees, there's upside available, as long as the remaining pledges are highly regarded prospects. What will it take for Michigan to not only outperform past classes, but also potentially reach the top spot in the land? CURRENT LANDSCAPE AND WHAT IT TAKES After landing Boulder (Colo.) Fair- view defensive end Carlo Kemp Nov. 8, Michigan's 2016 recruiting class moved up to No. 5 nationally, with 2,046 Rivals team recruiting points (see sidebar for an explanation of the rankings system). They are within three points of No. 4 Ole Miss, and 311 points behind No. 1 overall LSU (2,357 team recruiting points). Ohio State and Florida State come in at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively. In the past five years, the top-ranked recruiting class has averaged 2,975 points on National Signing Day. That class has belonged to Alabama in most years, with the "national recruiting ti- tle" going to the Tide 2011-14 and USC snatching away top honors in 2015. The champion in the past three years has boasted more than 3,000 team re-   FOOTBALL RECRUITING Race To The Top The Wolverines are in position to land their top target — Paramus (N.J.) Catholic defen- sive lineman Rashan Gary, who is listed as the nation's No. 2 overall player by — which will be necessary if they are to move up in the team recruiting rankings. PHOTO BY BRANDON BROWN

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