Michigan Football: Jim Harbaugh Building a Top Recruiting Class


Jim Harbaugh is making a statement with his first full recruiting class as Michigan football head coach; a class that is shaping up with top five potential.

There are four major recruiting websites: 247 Sports, Scout, ESPN, and Rivals a Yahoo website. 247 Sports has a composite ranking system that compiles and compares the rankings of the different sites. I’ll be using this system when I discuss recruits. There is always some fluctuation when it comes to grading to players but they all agree on one thing, Jim Harbaugh is putting together a fantastic recruiting class. As of today, Michigan’s class is rated #1 by Rivals, #2 by Scout and 247, and #9 ESPN.

Michigan has room for about 27 players in this class and as of today they have received 23 commitments. This number is fluid because current players may transfer and open more spots or incoming players may delay enrollment. Check out this link for the 247 composite list of current players committed to Michigan for the 2016 class.

Harbaugh has done an impressive job of targeting players from all over the country and all over the field. Currently there are commits from Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

Harbaugh filled in at least one recruit at every position on the field except for nose tackle, which is Michigan’s deepest position. He also has recruited several “athletes”, which are players who can play multiple positions. These athletes give Harbaugh the flexibility to try them out at several positions to see where they can best impact the field.

As social media continues to become a more important part of recruiting, its fun to watch coaches reactions to players committing. Here is Chris Partridge’s (Michigan Recruiting Coordinator and interim linebackers coach) reaction to the latest player (Kareem Walker) committing to Michigan.

Harbaugh is changing the way Michigan recruits with these commitments.

Quarterback Brandon Peters (#4 pro-style QB) is the Player of the Year in Indiana and is finalist for Army Bowl National Player of the Year (winner announced January 18, 2016). Peters is the first quarterback recruit in the Harbaugh era. When you consider the progression that Jake Rudock made with less than a year of Harbaugh’s tutelage, imagine the ceiling on a kid like Peters who was hand-picked and will get three to five years of coaching. Impact: Harbaugh makes Michigan an attractive school for future Elite 11 quarterbacks.

Running back Kareem Walker (#1 RB) committed to the Wolverines on Thursday and should immediately be considered a contender for snaps next season. Walker was originally committed to Ohio State but after attending his official visit to Michigan he decommitted soon after. This should send a clear message to Urban Meyer. Walker is one of four commits from New Jersey and he helping Michigan pursue another New Jersey native, #1 overall player DT Rashan Gary. Impact: Harbaugh is trying to own New Jersey and so far he’s acquired quite a bit of real estate.

Offensive lineman Ben Bredeson (#4 OT) is from Wisconsin which is known for producing elite level offensive lineman. Bredeson is not just an elite lineman but an elite player. He won Wisconsin’s Player of the Year and is the highest rated player in this class so far at #36 overall. Impact: It’s not a given anymore that Wisconsin lures in its home-grown offensive linemen.

Defensive lineman Jordan Elliot (#13 DT) is from Texas and he is very underrated. Recruited by 40 different schools he fell in love with Michigan and is trying to recruit other players to come here. Look for him to be a part of a rotation at DT/DE and help solidify an already strong part of this team. Impact: Harbaugh knows you win games in the Big Ten by having quality lineman and Elliot looks like he fits this system like a glove.

Buck linebacker/defensive end Carlo Kemp (#14 SDE) is a smart football player. The nephew of Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and grandson of legendary high school coach Sam Pagano, Kemp has been around football his entire life. In this system the Buck Linebacker is a 250+ pound pass rushing machine. Kemp fills this integral role perfectly and will challenge for snaps next year as part of a rotation. Impact: Kemp will be the catalyst that takes this defensive line to a new level. This will show new recruits that this defense is capable of being better than it already is.

Inside linebacker Devin Bush Jr. (#11 ILB) committed to the Wolverines on Wednesday. He comes into a situation where he will be able to compete for a starting role immediately. Bush is a Florida State legacy and it was assumed he was headed for FSU. Rumors are they took him for granted and stopped recruiting him hard and gave Harbaugh and opening that he seized. Impact: Think about what Harbaugh accomplished by securing Bush’s commitment: he stole away a FSU legacy from south Florida, all without having a defensive coordinator.

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This type of opportunistic recruiting is what will put Michigan back in the National Title conversation.