Signing Day recap: Michigan inks top-10 class despite poor season

Wednesday, December 16, 2020 - 5:13pm

Michigan held onto enough recruits to net a top-10 recruiting class.

Michigan held onto enough recruits to net a top-10 recruiting class. Buy this photo
Alec Cohen/Daily

Jim Harbaugh still hasn’t signed a contract extension.

But on National Signing Day, the impact of his unclear future seemed to be little. The Wolverines signed 20 commits, netting four-star running back Donovan Edwards and hanging onto four-star receiver Xavier Worthy after a late push by Alabama. 

Two commits — four-star defensive end Quintin Somerville and four-star linebacker Branden Jennings — flipped to other programs, but the Wolverines held onto cornerback Ja'Den McBurrows and linebacker Jaydon Hood. In a surprise, Hood signed his NLI Wednesday night after saying he would not sign in the early period.

Still, it’s good enough for the 10th-ranked class in the country by 247Sports’ composite score, and the second-ranked class in the Big Ten, behind only Ohio State. On one hand, Michigan is still a long way off its biggest rival. On the other, it’s hard to say this isn’t close to the best-case scenario for the Wolverines given their abysmal 2-4 record and the uncertainty surrounding their coaching staff.

Five-star quarterback J.J. McCarthy, the crown jewel of the class, faxed in his Letter of Intent by 10 a.m. The No. 2 quarterback in the country, McCarthy is the highest-rated quarterback Harbaugh has signed in six years in Ann Arbor. Between Brandon Peters, Joe Milton and Cade McNamara — the three starting quarterbacks Harbaugh has signed out of high school — none have developed into the caliber of player necessary to vault Michigan to the next level.

“I’m going to work as hard as I can and do whatever I can to win football games,” McCarthy said on a Big Ten Network interview. “Whether that be holding a clipboard or playing behind Cade and Joe and learning from them oor starting. It’s all just whatever the coaches want and whatever we need to win football games.”

McCarthy is one of four top-100 offensive players in Michigan’s class, with Edwards, Worthy and offensive lineman Giovanni El-Hadi being the other three. The Wolverines won a protracted battle for Edwards’ services, beating out Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Georgia, among others. 

“I chose the program because it’s 40 minutes away from my house,” Edwards told reporters on hand in West Bloomfield. “I feel as though I have great relationships with the coaching staff and the players that are on that team.”

Worthy and fellow four-star wideout Christian Dixon boast impressive speed, which should see them fit well into coordinator Josh Gattis’ offense if the Wolverines decide to keep him on board in 2021.

They also held onto three-star receiver Andrel Anthony, an East Lansing native who had given mixed signals about his commitment since Michigan State beat Michigan on Halloween. 

Three-star safety Rod Moore was also the only player from the state of Ohio, traditionally a recruiting hotbed for the Wolverines, in the class. Michigan continued to recruit New England well, netting four players from Massachusetts and Connecticut with four-star tight end Louis Hansen the highest-rated of those. It also signed five players from the state of Michigan.

Notably, Michigan didn’t sign a defensive tackle for the second year running and McBurrows is the only cornerback in the class.

The Wolverines are reportedly still after four-star defensive tackle Rayshaun Benny, of Oak Park. Benny, a Michigan State verbal commit, didn’t sign an NLI on Wednesday.

Recruiting director Matt Dudek responded to criticism on Twitter, writing, “Class is FAR FROM DONE...it will play out better than you know at those positions and others...2 signing periods, believe it or don’t, enjoy the class, enjoy the day #GoBlue.”

This is a developing story and will be updated


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