The biggest prize of the recruiting season, Terrelle Pryor, remains uncommitted, but if yesterday was any indication, Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez doesn’t mind fighting an uphill recruiting battle.

Emily Mayer
<strong>Terrelle Pryor</strong> announcing he will postpone his college decision, opting to take time for visits to more schools. According to Pryor, his final choices are Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State. (AP PHOTO)

With just three weeks on the road to finish building a class, Rodriguez and his coaching staff managed to get three high-level recruits to switch from their original verbal commitments with other schools to sign letters of intent with Michigan yesterday.

Despite the time constraints, Rodriguez and his staff were pleased with the class – just a bit exhausted.

“We basically were limited to three weeks on the road,” Rodriguez said. “So you can imagine the last three weeks have been kind of hectic for us.”

The first player to sign with Michigan despite verbally committing elsewhere was center Ricky Barnum, who had verbally committed to Florida in January. The Lakeland, Fla., native took an official visit to Michigan last weekend and he informed Rodriguez yesterday he would be coming to Ann Arbor for school.

“Ricky is a tremendous young man,” said quarterbacks coach Rod Smith, who recruited Barnum. “He’s got a world of talent.”

The next flip was former Purdue verbal commitment Roy Roundtree, who’s listed as a four-star wide receiver by Rivals.com. Roundtree weighs in at just 154 pounds, but his 4.4 speed turned heads on the recruiting trail.

And then at around 1 p.m., running back Michael Shaw, a Penn State verbal, signed with the Maize and Blue. Shaw is one of three Michigan recruits from Trotwood-Madison high school in Trotwood, Ohio.

“He’s a guy you’re going to want to get the ball in his hands, because he’s so explosive,” Rodriguez said. “He’s one of the fastest prep players in the country.”

Rivals.com ranked Michigan’s 23-member class of 2012 as the tenth-best nationwide – one spot behind Ohio State.

But the Michigan coaches say they aren’t quite done yet. There are still three available scholarships, and Rodriguez hopes to fill some of them.

“The biggest pressing needs for us, in making the transition from one offensive system to the other, are at the offensive skill positions,” Rodriguez said.

With quarterback the most glaring hole in Michigan’s roster, the biggest name the coaches are waiting on is Pryor. The 6-foot-6 dual-threat quarterback from Jeannette, Pa., is widely considered the best prep player in the country.

Most recruiting prognosticators felt confident Pryor’s final choice would be between Ohio State and Michigan. But Pryor’s decision to delay his announcement has thrown expectations aside.

At a press conference held at his high school yesterday and televised on CSTV, Pryor’s comments indicated Penn State has made a late charge in his recruitment. He said he intends to take an official visit to State College in the near future.

Pryor would have a good shot to be Michigan’s starting quarterback from day one if he commits to the Wolverines and his skill set would fit well into Rodriguez’s spread offense.

There was concern yesterday when four-star running back Sam McGuffie had not signed his letter of intent by the time of the Rodriguez press conference. McGuffie verbally committed to Michigan last summer, but had wavered since Lloyd Carr retired. The Houston-area native, known for his blazing speed and ability to leap over defenders, took an official visit to Cal last weekend.

But the rumors that McGuffie was going to renege on his verbal commitment proved unfounded when he signed his letter last night.

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