The Wolverine

September 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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58 THE WOLVERINE SEPTEMBER 2016 BY BRANDON BROWN E ntering mid-August, Michigan was projected to take 23 pros- pects in its 2017 class. It is possible, however, that as many as 11 addi- tional roster spots could open up by National Signing Day Feb. 3. It likely won't be that many, but there will be 11 fifth-year seniors next year that are not guaranteed to return. Quarterbacks John O'Korn and Shane Morris, running back Ty Isaac, full- backs Henry Poggi and Khalid Hill, offensive linemen David Dawson and Patrick Kugler, defensive lineman Maurice Hurst, linebackers Mike Mc- Cray and Wyatt Shallman, and long snapper Scott Sypniewski will be, in a way, auditioning in 2016 for a chance to be on the roster again in 2017. Head coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff have secured 19 verbal commit- ments in the 2017 class through mid- August, but there is still room for the Maize and Blue to add several top- flight recruits. Multiple five-star pros- pects and high-end four-star players are still considering the Wolverines, and those are the type of players that usually don't decide until much later in the cycle. NARROWING THE NET Even with anywhere between four to eight spots remaining, realistic tar- gets for Michigan in the 2017 class are dwindling. Prospects are committing, reducing the number of schools they are considering, and focusing on long- time favorites more and more while their senior seasons get underway. Sometimes that favors U-M; other times it doesn't. Michigan is set at quarterback with Highlands Ranch (Colo.) Valor Chris- tian four-star Dylan McCaffrey in the fold and no other options being pursued. Running back recruiting is also in a good spot with three very different backs committed in Groton (Mass.) Lawrence Academy four-star AJ Dillon, Los Lunas (N.M.) High four- star O'Maury Samuels and Loganville (Ga.) Grayson three-star running back Kurt Taylor. In addition, the Wolver- ines also have Jacksonville (Fla.) Trin- ity Christian three-star fullback Chase Lasater in the fold. Harbaugh and his staff are still ac- tively recruiting Antioch (Calif.) Senior five-star Najee Harris, the nation's top running back and No. 2 overall player according to, and Fontana (Calif.) Summit four-star Stephen Carr, the country's top all-purpose back and No. 29 overall prospect. Both Harris — who is committed to Alabama — and Carr would be wel- comed with open arms, but if they end up elsewhere the current group of committed backs meets U-M's needs. Five-star wide receivers Nico Collins of Pinson (Ala.) Clay and Donovan Peoples-Jones of Detroit Cass Tech are targets Nos. 1 and 1A at wide receiver, and both may very well end up at Michigan. lists Collins as the No. 4 wideout and No. 21 overall player nationally, while People-Jones has been tabbed as the No. 2 wide re- ceiver and No. 11 overall recruit in the class of 2017. Just a notch down you'll find Cheshire (Conn.) Academy four-star wide receiver Tarik Black and Iowa City (Iowa) West three-star wide re- ceiver Oliver Martin. Black is rated as the No. 21 wide receiver and No. 151 overall recruit nationally by, while Martin is cur- rently unranked by but listed as the No. 10 wide receiver nationally by 247Sports. All four would be brought on board should they decide Ann Arbor is the place for them. No other uncommitted receivers were being actively recruiting as of mid-August. Bloomfield Hills (Mich.) Brother Rice three-star Carter Dunaway is the lone tight end pledge in Michigan's 2017 class, and it may stay that way. At this time, Sacramento (Calif.) Inderkum four-star Josh Falo — the nation's No. 8 tight end according to — is the only other real target and pulling him away from the West Coast could be tough. With so much depth already on the roster, U-M can afford to take only one tight end in 2017. Along the offensive line, the top tar- get is Brooklyn (N.Y.) Poly Prep five- star offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson. Ri-'s top tackle and No. 5 overall player was in Ann Arbor for the BBQ at The Big House and is still very high on Michigan. Alabama is possibly leading his recruitment, but U-M has been there throughout. Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage four-star offensive tackle commit Kai- Leon Herbert's friend and teammate Tedarrell Slaton — a four-star recruit, and the No. 8 tackle and No. 50 over- all prospect in the land according to — is still giving Michigan a real look, but it feels like he'll stay down south. El Cerrito (Calif.) High four-star of- fensive tackle Aaron Banks and Sam- mamish (Wash) Skyline four-star of- fensive tackle Henry Bainvalu were also in Ann Arbor for the BBQ and will likely include Michigan in their top groups when they release them. Banks is listed as the No. 14 tackle and No. 96 overall recruit nationally by Ri-, while Bainvalu is pegged as the country's No. 29 tackle. Another four-star tackle, Aledo (Texas) High's Chuck Filiaga is being recruited aggressively by Michigan, specifically fellow Polynesian and U-M   MICHIGAN RECRUITING Taking A Big-Picture Look At The 2017 Class Fontana (Calif.) Summit's Stephen Carr, the No. 1 all-purpose back and No. 29 overall player nationally according to, remains on U-M's radar. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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