The top-ranked football player in the state of Michigan, Cass Tech wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, commits to play for the Michigan Wolverines.
The Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh has changed the recruiting game more than any other coach in the modern age of football. But, he has made one thing clear, he plans on keeping talented players from the state of Michigan in state.
There is no better high school player in the state than Cass Tech’s Donovan Peoples-Jones. Universally ranked as the #1 player in Michigan, Peoples-Jones is also ranked as the #1 wide receiver in the nation, and #11 overall player in the country, according to 247’s composite rankings.
247’s composite “Recruiting Rankings” are only a few decades old. But, when looking back over the past years of rankings, Peoples-Jones is tied for the 7th highest ranking player to commit to Michigan. He is ranks just behind, current Wolverines, Rashan Gary and Jabrill Peppers, in addition to former top players from the state, Lamarr Woodley and Brandon Graham.
In 2015, Peoples-Jones, a junior at the time, became the first unclassman to become the Nike Sparq National Champion. To achieve this feat, Peoples-Jones achieved these results in the following testing measurables:
- 40-yard Dash: 4.42 seconds (laser timed)
- 20-yard shuttle: 4.0 seconds
- Vertical Jump: 43.5 inches
- Power Ball Toss: 42.4 feet
On the field
Peoples-Jones has earned a five-star rating from all the major recruiting sites and for good reason. Here’s how Scouts Allen Trieu breaksdown his game:
"Exceptional athlete with above-average size, but top notch speed, explosiveness and outstanding leaping ability. Shows the ability to make tough grabs downfield with defenders on him, and has excellent body control and ball tracking skills. Must still get stronger and continue to polish his route-running, but has all of the physical tools to be a go-to receiver in college."
To get a closer look at his skills, here’s a video of his senior season highlights (side note: his catch at the 1:00 mark is crazy impressive):
With starters Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson moving onto the NFL, and Jim Harbaugh showing he’s willing to play freshman, the opportunity to see valuable early playing time, will be a realistic possibility for Peoples-Jones.
Off the field
While Donovan Peoples-Jones has the look of an instant impact player on the field, even more impressive is his character off the field. When asked what he was looking for in a university, he stated:
"“No. 1, it’s about academics,” he said. “I want to go to a school with a good medical program and study sports medicine. No. 2, I want to play with the best, whether that means the best coaches or the best players. No. 3, I want to be in a comfortable environment.”"
Peoples-Jones wants to be a nurse after his football career, but his altruism expands beyond his career. When the NCAA voted to shut down satellite camps last April, he took to Twitter to speak out against the move:
Peoples-Jones didn’t need a satellite camp to help him land a scholarship offer, he had over 30 of them, but he spoke out so that other players could get that opportunity. The vote was overturned less than two months later and while Peoples-Jones likely didn’t impact the NCAA’s decision, his willingness to use his status to speak out on behalf of others is admirable.
Donovan Peoples-Jones looks to have a bright future ahead of him and the University of Michigan should be ecstatic he has chosen to attend their institution.
Upcoming in the 2017 cycle
As of tonight Michigan’s recruiting class for the 2017 cycle standing at 22 commitments. A lot can happen between now and signing day, but the rumors are that Michigan is expected to land another 10 players in this cycle. So stay tuned as things in the recruiting world are about to heat up.
Keep an eye on these top recruiting targets for Michigan, as they will be announcing their commitments over the next 8 days: Isaiah Wilson (16th). Cesar Ruiz (19th), Jordan Anthony (22nd), and Najee Harris (23rd).