ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan coach Brady Hoke welcomed his fourth recruiting class since coming to U-M a little over three years ago. While it’s not the biggest class – only 16 commits – Hoke and Co. brought in another solid haul into Ann Arbor.
No. 1: The headliner is this year’s class is Paramus Catholic (N.J.) five-star cornerback Jabrill Peppers, who is the highest rated prospect Hoke has landed since coming to Michigan. Peppers is rated the No. 1 CB in the country and is expected to be a difference maker the from first day he steps on campus. He can play multiple positions and could make an early impact as returner as a true freshman.
No. 2: Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian four-star wide receiver Drake Harris was originally committed to Michigan State for basketball, but after deciding that he wanted to play football in college -- he chose to flip to the Wolverines last April. While he didn’t play his senior season due an ongoing hamstring injury, Harris still finished as the No. 8 WR overall. He stands at 6-foot-3, 175-pounds, and is known for his elite vertical leap and is known for jumping over his defenders. He is one of sevenearly enrollees in this year’s class.
No. 3: Salt Lake City (Utah) Highland four-star defensive tackle Bryan Mone enrolled early this January. At 6-foot-5, 314-pounds, he is disruptive force in the middle of the defense. He is rated the No. 6 DT in the country and should see some early playing time in an already young Michigan defensive front.
Along with Peppers (3), Harris (52) and Mone (88), the Wolverines landed a total of eight players in the final Scout 300 player rankings.
Southfield (Mich.) four-star defensive end Lawrence Marshall finished right outside the top-100 at 104. At 6-foot-4, 240-pounds, Marshall possess elite pass rushing skills and should be the sack master the Wolverine coaching staff covets.
Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy four-star wide receiver Freddy Canteen had an outstanding senior campaign and jumped all the way up to 179 in the final rankings. Canteen is a burner and should be slot receiver or speedster on the edge to stretch the opposing defenses. He is also an early enrollee.
Michael Ferns, who is rated the 179th player overall and was the first player to commit to Michigan’s 2014 class, is a talented middle linebacker out of St. Clairsville (Ohio) and current early enrollee.
Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake four-star offensive tackle Mason Cole finished as Scout’s 253rd overall prospect. At 6-foot-4, 265-pounds, he certainly looks the part. Cole is another early enrollee, and while he will most likely redshirt, with how much youth there is on Michigan’s front, he could be a dark horse to play as a true freshman.
Clariton (Pa.) Thomas Jefferson four-star linebacker Chase Winovich chose the Wolverines over rival Ohio State. At 6-foot-4, 220-pounds, Winovich finished just inside the Scout 300 at 281 overall, and might end up being one of the better prospects in this class. He’s super athletic and possesses sideline to sideline speed and has chance to play early as freshman.
Michigan has seven early enrollees in this year’s class. Afore mentioned Harris, Mone, Canteen, Ferns and Cole, will also be joined by Richmond (Va.) Collegiate three-star quarterback Wilton Speight and Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy cornerback Brandon Watson.
Speight, who was looked as one the main recruiters in this year’s class, comes in at 6-foot-6, 225-pounds, and worked with famed QB coach Steve Clarkson while in high school.
Watson is widely considered the “other cornerback” in this year’s class, but while he doesn’t bring Peppers’ name recognition, he does bring elite speed with him to Ann Arbor.
The rest of the class
Naples (Fla.) Barron Collier three-star defensive tackle Brady Pallante, stands at 6-foot, 270-pounds, and fits the mold of Rob Renes like DT and future run stuffer for the Wolverines.
Hinsdale (Ill.) Central three-star tight end Ian Bunting is tall, real tall, at 6-foot-6, 220-pounds, and fits the mold of a pro-style pass catcher – he just needs to add weight to his frame.
Beverly Hills (Mich.) Detroit Country Day three-star wide receiver Maurice Ways should bring a nice compliment to Harris and Canteen with his bulkier 6-foot-4, 190-frame.
Paramus Catholic (N.J.) three-star offensive tackle Juwan Bushell-Beatty is 6-foot-6, 320-pounds and just started paying football in high school.
Kenton (Ohio) three-star outside linebacker Noah Furbush is known for getting to the quarterback. At 6-foot-4, 235-pounds, he could end up at defensive end when his U-M career is over.
Warren (Mich.) De La Salle Collegiate three-star linebacker Jared Wangler is son of former U-M QB John Wangler and brother of current Michigan freshman wide receiver Jack Wangler. Wangler, was committed to play for Penn State, but switched his commitment in August when the Wolverines offered.