In his first year as head coach, Brady Hoke completely revamped a beleaguered Michigan team and led the Wolverines to a Sugar Bowl berth and win.
But one of the more overlooked aspects of a college coach’s job is recruiting and he is succeeding in that area as well. Per Rivals.com rankings, the incoming class currently ranks fourth in the country.
Here’s a breakdown of the top committed players as well as the top targets who could still sign.
One of the most important and most overlooked positions on the field is the offensive line, but Hoke will bring in at least five linemen in this class, led by tackle Kyle Kalis. He is one of the best run blockers in this class, but is more famously known for originally committing to Ohio State before pledging to be a Wolverine.
He is already technically sound and has most of the measurable stats a coach could want at 6’5”, 305 pounds. He is also plays with a great deal of intensity and a will to win. Michigan is lucky to have him.
Michigan has 24 commitments right now but needs to get more talented guys at the offensive skill positions. That’s why a tight end is the second best prospect in this class. But don’t take that as a knock on Funchess. who is one of the best pass catching tight ends in the class.
He will almost certainly need a redshirt season to build up his size and strength because he only weighs in the low 200-pound range. If he can do that, he’ll be one of the premier tight ends in the Big Ten and possibly the country by his senior year.
In terms of pure athleticism, there may not be a better guy currently committed to Michigan than Jenkins-Stone. He loves to rush the passer, but sometimes his instincts let him down and he can over-pursue the running back.
His 215-pound frame could add some size, which would help when he gets beat and can’t shed the tackler. He is athletic enough to play immediately and may end up on the two-deep, but he will likely need some more coaching in order to maximize his potential.
What he lacks in size at 5’9”, 160 pounds, Richardson makes up for in instincts, technique and playmaking ability. If he was a few inches taller and a few pounds heavier, he would be one of the consensus top cornerbacks in the country.
He is a surprisingly good tackler for his size but his strength is in pass coverage. If he can continue to be quick while adding at least 15 pounds, he will be an absolute nightmare for just about any receiver.
Michigan has itself one of the deepest classes in the country but it lacks true star power as well as offensive playmakers. The Wolverines are in desperate need of a pro-style quarterback for when Denard Robinson leaves, as well as some explosive receivers.
Unfortunately, it looks like big-name targets Dorial Green-Beckham and Stefon Diggs are no longer really considering the team. The best remaining target is offensive guard Joshua Garnett. While he doesn’t play at a position of need, he is one my personal favorites in this class because of his toughness on and off the field. He is a true “Michigan man” and plans on one day becoming a surgeon.
This is a great class, but there are gaping holes which need to be filled on offense in order for Hoke to make a transition into a pro-style set.