With the Michigan Wolverines on their bye week, I thought it would be a good time to check in on recruiting.
You don’t typically see a lot of commits during the season. Although Michigan got one this past week, more on that in a minute. So not much has changed since the season began.
But recruiting is something most fans don’t give a lot of their attention to. So, a little refresher won’t hurt.
Where Are They Ranked?
According to 247Sports, Michigan is currently ranked 23rd in their team rankings. Not encouraging after coming off the programs best season in nearly two decades. The Wolverines are ranked worse on Rivals sitting at 30th. We’ll continue to use 247Sports for player rankings in this article.
The top-rated commit in the class is Enow Etta, a defensive lineman from Texas. He’s currently rated the 111th player in the nation. Michigan has two other players rated in the top-200. Cole Cabana (162), running back from nearby Dexter, and Collins Acheampong (171), labeled an athlete, but he plays defensive line.
The fact that Michigan does not have a top-100 commit is, to put it mildly, not great. And on top of that, they only have three inside the top-200? Yikes.
Last year, Michigan had three players inside the top 100, including the 15th ranked player in Will Johnson. They also had three others that were inside the top-200.
There has only been one time in Jim Harbaugh’s seven recruiting classes where he did not land a top-100 player. That was the 2018 class, and the top-rated player Michigan got happened to be… Aidan Hutchinson. So yes, that worked out. But you don’t want to bank on that happening often.
Again, the most discouraging part about this is the fact that Michigan is coming off such a spectacular season. Beating Ohio State and winning the conference should have given them tons of momentum heading into the summer recruiting period. Instead, it’s like those two achievements didn’t happen.
A Few Interesting Stories
The backstories to a few of Michigan’s commits aren’t super encouraging. Acheampong, a foreign exchange student from Ghana, is playing his first season of football this year since he was a high school freshman. That certainly doesn’t mean the young man can’t be talented. He’s rated higher than 99 percent of the other players in high school football, and there’s a reason for that.
But the fact he played as a freshman, then didn’t play for two whole years, that’s a lot of time away from the field. That’s two years of valuable practice time learning the intricacies of the game.
Michigan also has a commit from France. Yes, the country in Europe. He only had one other power five conference team offer him a scholarship. And it was Vanderbilt.
That brings us to Michigan’s new commit, who made his pledge this past week. Kendrick Bell, labeled an athlete but mainly plays quarterback, from Missouri.
If you’re wondering, doesn’t Michigan already have a player with the last name Bell from Missouri? Yes they do and that’s not a coincidence. Kendrick is the brother of wide receiver Ronnie Bell. Kendrick isn’t even ranked nationally and had two other offers, Massachusetts and Northern Iowa.
Once again, that does not mean he or the other two players won’t turn out to be good. They very well can, we’ve seen stories like that happen before. Current players Mike Morris and DJ Turner were both three-star recruits ranked near 400 in their class, and they are doing just fine.
Another glass half-full take is that when it’s all said and done, Michigan will likely land a few more recruits and move up the team rankings board. I would be shocked if Michigan finishes lower than 20th in the rankings.
Two Huge Misses
But for the Wolverines to be where they are now after last season is disappointing. Not to mention, they missed out on two five-star quarterbacks from their own backyard.
Dante Moore, Martin Luther King (Detroit), is the 8th ranked player in the 2023 class. He committed to Oregon back in the summer. CJ Carr, Saline, is the 32nd ranked player in the 2024 class. He made his pledge to Notre Dame back in June. Carr, you may have heard, is the grandson of former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr.
Missing out on one of those players is what it is, can’t win them all. But Michigan missed out on both. That’s bad.
You will never convince me this would happen with two kids who grew up within a half hour of Columbus and chose other schools over Ohio State.
It’s hard not to wonder if something Harbaugh said over the summer has a role in this year’s recruiting woes.
At a football camp in June, Harbaugh said, “Right or wrong, our philosophy coming to the University of Michigan – it’s still going to be a transformational experience rather than a transactional experience.”
That sounds great, but in today’s world where players can now get paid for their name, image, and likeness, college football is more transactional than ever before.
Photo Credit:Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports