Michigan Football Recruiting: Position-by-Position Preview for the Class of 2015

Adam Biggers@@AdamBiggers81Senior Analyst IIJune 5, 2014

Michigan Football Recruiting: Position-by-Position Preview for the Class of 2015

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    Brady Hoke's 2015 class is slow to form, but it could quickly deliver a return.
    Brady Hoke's 2015 class is slow to form, but it could quickly deliver a return.Tony Ding/Associated Press

    Michigan's 2015 recruiting class has taken a few hits. 

    Three, to be exact.

    However, despite losing cornerback Shaun Crawford, wide receiver George Campbell and running back Damien Harris, the Wolverines enter June with a strong, healthy six-man class—one which should balloon to the 15-to-17 range, depending on circumstances—that's looking to sign on the dotted line on national signing day in February. 

    This slideshow will highlight those who are committed to next year's class on a position-by-position basis.


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    Alex Malzone will probably be it; the Wolverines offered five quarterbacks, with four committing elsewhere, so it's safe to say that they're set with the one that they have. However, don't completely rule out the addition of another, just probably not a scholarship athlete. 

    The 6'1.5," 200-pound former Brother Rice standout holds a 3-star ranking from 247Sports but was recently bumped to 4-star status by Rivals. Both services tab him as the No. 11-ranked pro-styler of his group. 

    Everything has been worked out for Alex Malzone to enroll early at #Michigan ($) http://t.co/CazOPaqRcd

    — Allen Trieu (@AllenTrieu) June 4, 2014

    Malzone's taken part in the internal recruiting trend as well, so he could convince others to join. Those are the types of players coaches dream about. They make recruiting so much easier. 

    #Michigan QB commit Alex Malzone (@AlexMalzone) reflects on his decision, who he's recruiting to Ann Arbor and more. http://t.co/lmv1uuHBl9

    — Josh Newkirk (@JoshNewkirk7) May 22, 2014


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    Garrett Taylor is very much dedicated to Michigan and is arguably Brady Hoke's best 2015 recruit thus far. 

    The 4-star out of St. Christopher's in Richmond, Virginia, is the No. 8-ranked cornerback of his class and is a ball-hawking, helmet-cracking physical cover man. At 6'1" and 188 pounds, he's built for the Big Ten. Once he gains his Freshman 15, he'll be a true asset to the Wolverines. 

    During a recent interview with yours truly at Maize n Brew, Taylor, who is mapping out his future, said the following about his commitment to Team 136: 

    It’s really important, and it’s definitely the biggest thing in my short life so far. The football part is very important, and the NFL is the goal for everyone who plays college football. But I’m also going to get a great degree from Michigan. ...I gave them my word and the coaches gave me theirs. I’m going to stick to my commitment.

    Michigan Football Recruiting: 2015 Wolverines CB Recruit Garrett Taylor is Ready to Hit the Ground Running http://t.co/eazMQdvaqd

    — Maize n Brew (@MaizenBrew) May 25, 2014


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    Tyree Kinnel is another strong pledge. 

    Very strong, in fact. He's fielding interest from Alabama and other powerhouse programs, but the 6'0", 205-pounder out of Dayton Wayne (Ohio) is all Maize and Blue as of early June. The junior is the No. 9-ranked safety of 2015 and is worthy of the hype that follows him. 

    Tyree Kinnel insists he's 100% Blue http://t.co/tJrxmFkLyp

    — Tom Beaver (@TomBeaverGBW) June 3, 2014

    Along with Taylor, Kinnel will jump into a secondary that features some of the best talent that the Wolverines have had since 1997, with Jabrill Peppers, Jourdan Lewis, Channing Stribling and Dymonte Thomas, among others, leading the way into the future. 

    Michigan swung and missed on targets such as Minkah Fitzpatrick, a 5-star who was recently obliterated by Peppers during a recent 100-meter race, but it hit a homer by gaining Kinnel's attention. 

    And as it turns out, Kinnel is actually a solid ambassador of the program—and he's yet to play at The Big House.

    Michigan commit Tyree Kinnel was just recruiting RB Damien Harris on the sidelines. #OSUNFTC

    — Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) June 1, 2014

Inside Linebacker

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    If you don't know about Darrin Kirkland Jr., take this time to familiarize yourself by watching the video above. 

    You missed out if you didn't watch the footage in its entirety. If that's the case, here's a summary: He can do a little bit of everything, and that's putting it lightly. But for all intents and purposes, just think of him as one BA insider who may one day play up to Jake Ryan standards (Michigan fans can only hope). 

    The Lawrence Central (Indiana) junior is the No. 6-ranked inside linebacker of 2015, so he's definitely carrying his weight in terms of class quality—Michigan may end up with a top-25 group on its hands if it can gain a few more pledges from skilled players such as Kirkland, who wouldn't surprise anyone by catching a pass or rushing a few times during his time at Michigan. 

    But then again, he'll probably be too busy smashing quarterbacks. According to 247Sports, Kirkland did rather well this past weekend during the Nike Football Training Camp in Indianapolis: 

    #Michigan LB commit Darrin Kirkland Jr. having a big day. One of the top performers overall at Ohio NFTC: http://t.co/638WuYOQ69

    — Steve Wiltfong (@SWiltfong247) June 1, 2014

    Signed up for more camps, Kirkland's scheduled appearance at Sound Mind Sound Body is heavily anticipated. 

    2015 Michigan LB commit Darrin Kirkland vs. 2015 RB Mike Weber (UofM,MSU,OSU offers) might be the best matchup at the camp June 12-13.

    — SoundMind SoundBody® (@SMSBFootball) June 2, 2014


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    Brendan Gibbons had a great career on the field for Michigan, left-footing his way to point-after attempt after point-after attempt and to field goal after field goal. 

    But he's no longer with the program. 

    However, help is on the way, and it's coming in the form of 2015's No. 1-ranked kicker, Andrew David of Massillon Washington (Ohio). At 5'9" and 165 pounds, he's the opposite of Gibbons, who, at 6'1" and 240 pounds, was essentially a linebacker who could kick the daylights out of a ball. 

    David should be another guy who benefits from the Freshman 15. But just because he's small doesn't mean he's weak. As the above video shows, he has decent range. Of course, it was a camp session, and he wasn't chased by bone-crushers, either. 

    The 8th Member of the 2014 "TOP 12" Underclassmen is...Andrew David (OH). The Michigan commit is one of the very best! #TOP12 #TeamSailer

    — Chris Sailer (@Chris_Sailer) January 29, 2014

    Nonetheless, he was the best available for Hoke, who scored big by getting a talented kicker. Michigan needs one (has that been mentioned at all lately?!).

    Also worth nothing: He was the first to commit to Team 136, so he'll always have that going for him during his career.

Offensive Tackle

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    Jon Runyan Jr.'s dad played at Michigan, so there will always be the legacy comparison. 

    At 6'4" and 276 pounds, Junior, who preps at St. Joseph's in Philadelphia, is the No. 110-ranked offensive tackle of his class. He's a bit light for a starting left tackle, but he could be an early fill-in if needed. The Wolverines have recruited O-liners well in the past years, so Runyan could be a candidate for a redshirt.

    Or he could hit the gym, put on lots of mass and be an underdog-turned-hero. It's his call. 

    He's not a blue-chipper, but he's gaining attention from other schools, one of which is a hated rival. Don't worry about Runyan jumping ship, he's all Hoke's. 

    And he's not an Ohio State fan. Sorry, Urban Meyer

    Michigan commit Jon Runyan Jr. RT @Jon_Run1: No words haha #GoBlue pic.twitter.com/1dcpGvUZ2b

    — Ace Anbender (@AceAnbender) March 23, 2014


    With just six guys, there are holes to fill, causing this preview to be a bit thin. But hey, it's not my fault, tell Michigan to recruit more guys! With that being said, look for future position-by-position updates on Bleacher Report.

    Unless otherwise noted, recruiting rankings and information comes via 247Sports.

    Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.