Michigan attempts to catch-up with in-state 2019 recruiting, get ahead for future

Jim Harbaugh and his staff didn’t miss much within the state of Michigan in 2017. The top 6-ranked players from the state in the 247Sports composite, and seven of the top eight, led by 5-star wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, signed with the Wolverines. Michigan signed eight in-state players among its class of 30, and added another five in its 2018 class, including three of the top 5 players led by 4-star defensive end Aidan Hutchinson.

The Wolverines have some catching up to do, as the recruitment of the next class of prospects begins to heat up. They’ve only recently began to heighten their relationship with Devontae Dobbs, the top-ranked tackle in the class and the No. 9 overall player in the country, while tackle Logan Brown and cornerback Julian Barnett, Nos. 2 and 3 among in-state players, have already committed to Wisconsin and Michigan State, respectively.

There are  nine players rated as 4-star prospects or higher in the state, and the only one who is being viewed as heavily leaning to Michigan is safety Marvin Grant of Detroit Martin Luther King. The number of high-end prospects in this class puts it among the best Michigan has produced since the recruiting rankings industry began to emerge in the early 2000s.

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“I think it’s shaping up to be pretty good,” said Allen Trieu, Midwest recruiting coordinator for 247Sports. “In terms of top-end talent, 2017 with Donovan Peoples-Jones, Ambry Thomas and guys like that was really good at the top, and this last class, the 2018 class was more of a deeper class that didn’t have as many high-end, national guys. I think we’re back to that in ’19. You’ve got some kids that are already ranked among the top 25 of players in the country, and you’ve got another group of guys that will be solid 4-stars and high 3-stars that will have a chance to compete.”

Michigan’s top recruits

The state of Michigan has had just three players rated as 5-star prospects since 2010, but Belleville tackle Devontae Dobbs is set to add another name to that list. Here’s a breakdown of 5-star and 4-star players, as well as the top-ranked player from the state since 2010.

Note: ratings and rankings are according to the 247Sports composite; * indicates player signed with Michigan.

Year 5-stars 4-stars Top-ranked player
2019 1 8 T Devontae Dobbs
2018 0 6 DE Aidan Hutchinson*
2017 1 9 WR Donovan Peoples-Jones*
2016 0 9 G Michael Onwenu*
2015 0 4 ATH Brian Cole*
2014 1 3 DE Malik McDowell
2013 0 9 QB Shane Morris*
2012 0 11 WR Aaron Burbridge
2011 0 6 WR DeAnthony Arnett
2010 1 7 DE William Gholston

Trieu said that about 60 in-state players in the Class of 2019 already have received offers from Division I programs. Typically, he said, about 70-80 players in the state will receive Division I offers during the recruiting process.

So who are these top players in the state for this year?

Dobbs and Barnett are teammates at Belleville, a school located about 15 miles east of Ann Arbor. Michigan has offered both players, and hosted Dobbs, 2019 defensive end Jalen Hunt and 2021 defensive end Damon Payne for an unofficial visit last month. Hunt is rated a 3-star prospect and ranked No. 13 in the state.

Michigan also hosted 4-star defensive tackle Mazi Smith of East Kentwood for an unofficial visit the first weekend of February. Smith is ranked No. 4 on the list, and the Wolverines will be battling Michigan State and Notre Dame, among others, to sign him. He’s a teammate of Brown, who committed to Wisconsin last November a day after the Badgers beat Michigan.

Michigan has yet to offer scholarships to athlete Jaren Mangham of Detroit Cass Tech, tackle Anthony Bradford of Muskegon or dual-threat quarterback Dwan Mathis of Oak Park, the Nos. 6-8 players on the in-state rankings list. It has, however, been more active early on within the state borders than it was last year through the first two months of the calendar.

Changing philosophy

Ryan Hayes was the only player from the state of Michigan offered a scholarship by the Wolverines, according to Rivals.com, in January and February of 2017. Hayes, the No. 5 player in the state for 2018, signed with the Wolverines in December. They didn’t offer tackle Jalen Mayfield, another signee, until March 24 of last year. It wasn’t until December that eventual signees Ben VanSumeren and Vincent Gray received offers from the Wolverines.

Since the turn of the calendar this year, the Wolverines already have made offers to eight in-state players in the Class of 2019, three in the Class of 2020 as well as Payne, the 2021 prospect from Belleville.

“I think they have some work to do here, and they’ve done it recently, extending new offers and having in-state kids on campus,” Trieu said. “I think their philosophy in recruiting was to not offer some in-state guys early. Every school struggles with it. I see it everywhere — Minnesota, Missouri — because everyone wants you to offer these guys, but you can’t be wrong on your home-state kids. It’s kind of a double-edged sword; you want to offer some of these guys early but you don’t want to make a mistake on kids within your home state.

“I see them changing that philosophy. They’ve extended more offers in the ’20 class and at least one in the ’21 class. I think you’ll see Michigan start to put out more offers to younger kids in the state. The ’19 class and being behind on some of those guys and having them go elsewhere is the catalyst for that change in philosophy.”

The post Michigan attempts to catch-up with in-state 2019 recruiting, get ahead for future appeared first on Land of 10.

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