Michigan’s football program landed a commitment from three-star tight end Deakon Tonielli last week to snap a near three-month long drought, but the Wolverines still have a long way to go in building their 2023 recruiting class.
Dozens of prospects have made their way to Ann Arbor this month, including many on official visits, as the Wolverines made their best pitch to recruits. But getting players on campus is only one step in the process. Securing their commitments is the challenging part.
It’s no secret that Michigan is off to a sluggish start on the recruiting trail this cycle. Its 2023 class currently sits at No. 39 in the 247Sports Composite rankings with seven players committed. However, these next few weeks will be a telling indicator of how much the Wolverines moved the needle with their top targets.
The summer dead period begins June 27, which will also mark the start of a busy commitment season. Prospects have more time to evaluate their college options before their senior years begin. Plus, July is a popular month to announce their decisions after they had a chance to take official visits to their top schools in June.
The Wolverines will receive answers from some of their top targets as a few have already announced their commitment dates. West Bloomfield four-star offensive lineman Amir Herring (No. 284 overall prospect in the 247Sports Composite) will be choosing between Michigan, Nebraska, Missouri, Boston College and others on July 7. Although the Cornhuskers recently were considered the favorite, it appears a late push by the Wolverines has them back in front as all six 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions are in their favor.
Michigan also is the Crystal Ball leader for St. Louis (Mo.) Cardinal Ritter three-star receiver Fredrick Moore (ranked No. 492 overall) and Anaheim (Calif.) Fairmont Preparatory Academy four-star edge defender Collins Acheampong (No. 298 overall), who both will announce their decisions July 1.
The most notable prospect the Wolverines appear to be leading for is Colleyville (Texas) Covenant Christian Academy four-star defensive lineman Enow Etta, who is the No. 124 player nationally. He took his official from him to Ann Arbor last week for “Victor’s Weekend,” and the Wolverines now hold all six Crystal Ball predictions to land the talented lineman. However, he is also visiting Stanford this week and announced Wednesday that he will be “deciding soon” between Michigan, Michigan State, Alabama and Stanford.
Other prospects who experts are currently projecting to Michigan are Philadelphia Imhotep Institute four-star linebacker Semaj Bridgeman (No. 306 overall), Cary (NC) Panther Creek three-star defensive lineman Tyler Thompson (No. 656 overall), Peoria (Ariz. ) three-star defensive lineman My’Keil Gardner (No. 487) and Buford (Ga.) three-star offensive lineman Paul Mubenga (No. 701).
Of course, recruiting is always fluid and things can change, but landing at least a few of these guys could go a long way in building some momentum on the trail heading into the 2022 season.
What about the other big-name visitors?
The Wolverines welcomed several high-profile recruits to campus this month, including five-star cornerback Javien Toviano, five-star wide receivers Jalen Brown and Johntay Cook, four-star edge Jaxon Howard, four-star athlete Jacobe Johnson, four-star offensive lineman Charles Jagusah and four-star defensive lineman Jason Moore. All are top-100 recruits in the country this cycle.
Michigan isn’t believed to be the favorite to land any of those elite prospects, but making a lasting impression on their visits could pay off down the road. Howard, who visited during Victor’s Weekend and had a chance to meet former Wolverine pass-rushers Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo as they received their Big Ten championship rings, will be the first of the group to announce his decision. He will choose between Michigan, Minnesota, Miami and LSU on July 1.
“I loved the ceremony, and the group of men and women who served those rings were so happy,” Howard told 247Sports. “And when I met Aidan Hutchinson, man, that’s a big dude. He’s someone I look up to and want to be dominant like him.”
Even Detroit Martin Luther King five-star quarterback Dante Moore, arguably Michigan’s top overall target this cycle, made a trip to Ann Arbor this month for another unofficial visit.
If the Wolverines want to sign another top-15 class this cycle, they will need to land some top players.
Keeping current commits in the fold?
Michigan has had two prospects decommit this cycle, and there is always a risk to lose more until players put pen to paper on signing day.
Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln four-star linebacker Raylen Wilson, the Wolverines’ top-ranked commit at No. 73, appears the most likely to jump ship. He took official visits to Georgia and Florida earlier this month, but Michigan was able to get him on campus for Victor’s Weekend.
We’ll see if the Wolverines impressed Wilson enough to remain in the fold for the long haul, but considering he is currently their only top-200 recruit in the class, holding onto him is crucial.
In the 2022 class, Michigan landed 10 of its 22 recruits after June, including four of its top six prospects the week of the early signing period in December. Team performance on the field in the fall is usually always an important component in recruiting, so Michigan can still make plenty of headway in the coming months. But it is rare for Jim Harbaugh’s program to be this stagnant on the recruiting trail this late in a cycle. The longer Michigan goes without adding some important building blocks, the more difficult it will be to piece together a 2023 class.
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