Michigan Football: All-Time Best Recruit at Each Position

Austin FoxCorrespondent IIMay 6, 2013

Michigan Football: All-Time Best Recruit at Each Position

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    The saga that is college football recruiting has engulfed the sport in recent years, with some people putting just as much importance on it as they would on-the-field results.

    Whether that's fair or not can be debated, but there's no denying that recruiting has captured the attention of fanbases everywhere.

    Unsurprisingly, how well a major program such as Michigan does on the recruiting trail is something the entire nation keeps an eye on.

    Rivals.com is arguably the king of college recruiting sites, so all of these rankings and statistics will reflect them. Because they didn't start keeping detailed accounts of players until 2002, so that's as far back as this list will go.

    It would be extremely hard to rank players much before that time period anyway, seeing how little information there was on the majority of players coming out of high school.

    With that being said, all of these players will be placed on their position out of high school, regardless of if they made a position switch in college.

QB: Ryan Mallett (2007) Texarkana, Texas

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    As of today, Ryan Mallett is the highest-rated player Michigan has ever signed in the Rivals.com era. He came out of high school as the No. 4 player in the country and the second-best quarterback, behind only Jimmy Clausen.

    Mallett's 6'6", 235-pound body frame had scouts talking about his NFL potential already at that point. He also had offers from Florida State, Alabama, Nebraska and Texas but committed to Michigan very early in the process.

    Mallett began his freshman season backing up senior starter Chad Henne but got a chance to play when Henne went down with injury. Henne's injury-plagued 2007 season saw the two quarterbacks basically flip-flop at times throughout the course of the season.

    We all know what happened after this point, though. Rich Rodriguez was brought in as head coach after the season, and Mallett soon transferred out.

    He landed at Arkansas, where he put up all kinds of gaudy passing numbers. The New England Patriots wound up drafting him in the third round once his college career ended.

    Even though it doesn't do us any good, it's hard not to play the "what-if" game when thinking about if Mallett had stayed at Michigan.

RB: Derrick Green (2013) Richmond, Virginia

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    Derrick Green will be a freshman this fall for the the Wolverines.

    Ranked as the No. 8 overall player and best running back in the country, Green wound up choosing Michigan over his other finalists, Tennessee and Auburn.

    His decision sure made running backs coach Fred Jackson happy, as he had this to say soon after: "There were some things that we went through last year that cost us in some situations in games, and hopefully we rectified that."

    Expectations will be extremely high for Green, as some think he may even start here in 2013 as a freshman. While I still think the job is Toussaint's to lose, there's no doubt that this will be Green's job once Toussaint graduates.

    Many think Green will go down in Michigan history as the school's next great running back, setting all kinds of records and putting up impressive numbers.

    Will he live up to those expectations? Only time will tell.

WR: Darryl Stonum (2008) Sugar Land, Texas

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    Michigan has surprisingly never landed a 5-star receiver in the Rivals era. Although Stonum came close to that status, he just missed the cut.

    He held offers from the likes of Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and USC but committed to Michigan very early in the process.

    Stonum's legacy at Michigan will go down in history as a tainted one because of his off-the-field problems, but it's also important to remember what he did on the field.

    He set school records as Michigan's primary kick returner and also had a big impact in the passing game during his career.

    Stonum was basically a role receiver in 2008 and 2009, but 2010 saw him have a breakout year. He recorded 49 catches for 633 yards and four touchdowns while playing in a stacked receiving corps.

    However, a DUI forced Brady Hoke to suspend him for the 2011 season while giving him the opportunity to return in 2012. Unfortunately, Stonum didn't hold up his end of the bargain, and Hoke dismissed him altogether.

    He wound up transferring to Baylor, where he had a minimal impact on this past year's team.

TE: Kevin Koger (2008) Toledo, Ohio

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    Kevin Koger had a solid career at Michigan, although he would have flourished if he would have played in an offense that utilized the tight end more often.

    Still, he a number of big catches and memorable moments throughout his playing days.

    Unfortunately, Koger wound up tearing his Achilles after his senior year and went undrafted.

    He is currently working as a football coach in Saline, Michigan.

OL: Kyle Kalis (2012) Lakewood, Ohio

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    This may surprise some, but Kyle Kalis actually tops the list of offensive linemen.

    He redshirted this past year at Michigan as a freshman, but he figures to start here in 2013.

    He is expected to be an anchor on this line for years, as expectations are through the roof for Kalis. Kalis was actually a one-time Buckeye commit in high school, making his recruiting journey even more exciting to watch.

    The fact that Brady Hoke was able to snag him away from that program makes things just a little bit sweeter.

DL: Ondre Pipkins (2012) Kansas City, Missouri

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    Even though Ondre Pipkins' hometown is listed as Kansas City, he actually once lived in Saginaw, Michigan. In fact, LaMarr Woodley is the reason Pipkins wears the No. 56.

    Rated a 5-star by Rivals, Pipkins also had offers from the likes of Alabama, Florida and Oklahoma. However, he wound up committing to Michigan in August of 2011.

    Coming in at right around 330 pounds, Pipkins has slimmed down big time over the past year. He is currently listed at just over 300 pounds, a weight that should help him move around much better.

    Pipkins contributed some but not a large amount during his freshman season; that should definitely change here in 2013. Regardless of if he starts or not, he should still be expected to see a huge role on this defensive line.

LB: LaMarr Woodley (2003) Saginaw, Michigan

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    LaMarr Woodley came out of high school as a 5-star and a very heralded recruit, with USC and Oklahoma being two of his other finalists.

    His career at Michigan turned out to be nothing short of amazing. He played both defensive end and linebacker throughout his tenure and actually won the Lombardi Award his senior year.

    Woodley's 12 sacks during the 2006 campaign led the Big Ten, helping him be selected as a unanimous first team All-American selection.

    The Pittsburgh Steelers took him in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft, and so far he has been a huge success.

    Looked at as one of the best defensive players currently in the NFL, Woodley is wreaking havoc on opposing offenses just as he did at Michigan.

DB: Prescott Burgess (2003) Warren, Ohio

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    Some may be surprised to see Prescott Burgess in this slot, but he was actually rated as the No. 6 player in the country out of high school by Rivals. Florida, Notre Dame and Ohio State were three of his other top schools.

    Burgess certainly didn't live up to the hype during his time at Michigan, but he was still a solid player. He started 20 games during his college career and had a knack at times for making the big play.

    This was most evident during the 2006 Notre Dame game, in which he picked off Brady Quinn twice, en route to Michigan's 47-21 blowout win in South Bend.

    The Baltimore Ravens selected Burgess in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL Draft, but they wound up trading him to the Patriots in September of 2009.

    Burgess eventually wound up with the Ravens once again, but he has since been released.