Michigan Football gaining ground in key recruiting battles

A big win for Michigan football over Minnesota has led to some momentum on the recruiting trail with key targets in 2021 and 2022.

When it comes to recruiting, on-field performance matters, so when Michigan football trounced Minnesota in the season opener, recruits took notice.

And it appears that the victory over Minnesota, as well as some of the things that happened in the game, caught the attention of some key recruits.

Of course, Michigan football was in solid position with these recruits before Saturday’s win, and some of the positive vibes don’t have anything to do with the Gophers, but with a pair of priority targets in 2021, it’s easy to see how the play on the field could win them over.

That’s where we will start and top target Donovan Edwards is the first recruit we will look at.

Running Back usage should help with Edwards

Edwards recruitment has been an interesting one, but as one of the top players in the state and a top priority of Michigan football, the Wolverines have been among the favorites throughout.

As of now, Michigan controls all of his crystal ball projections and all of the picks from Rivals too with Futurecasts.

Over the weekend, Edwards released a top seven that included U-M, as well as Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, LSU and some others. Oklahoma and Georgia have been the real threats and there is no reason to think that’s changed.

Donovan did want to see the Wolverines offense and how Michigan used their backs and he had to like what he saw. Even though Michigan returned its two leading rushers from last season in Zach Charbonnet and Hassan Haskins, the first play went to freshman Blake Corum.

Corum actually played the most snaps, while Chris Evans, Charbonnet and Haskins all scored touchdowns. Charbonnet and Haskins each went had runs of at least 65, so it was a productive night for the running backs.

And better yet, the first call was a pass play, which was notable because Edwards want to be used as more than just a runner.

Sam Webb and the guys at the Michigan Insider Podcast believe that it helped and right now there is no solid reason to believe Edwards is going anywhere but Michigan.

Confidence grows with Benny

When Rayshaun Benny decided to delay his decision past Oct. 25, there was some concern. It’s been clear that Michigan has the most to worry about from Michigan State, although I’ve been a little worried about Kentucky too.

However, the loss by Michigan State to Rutgers really had to hurt. If Michigan State was happy Benny extended his timeline in order to see them on the field, it wasn’t a good look.

It also adds another element to the game this weekend. If the Spartans can put up a fight, that would help from a recruiting standpoint, but if they get blown out again, you can bet the Wolverines will be using that with Benny and other in-state recruits.

What happens on the field matters, as Michigan knows very well and if the Wolverines can notch another win it’s going to make Mel Tucker’s job that much harder. It could also seal the deal with Benny, who is expected to make a decision Nov. 9 according to Clayton Safie of Rivals ($).

All of the expert picks currently have him going to Michigan.

Updates on 2022

As far as the 2022 recruiting class is concerned, Michigan football is sitting well with a number of high-level recruits and EJ Holland of Rivals ($) said he’s close to predicting both Jaeden Gould and Joe Strickland to the Wolverines too.

Gould is a 6-foot-2 defensive back out of New Jersey, who already has four crystal ball projections to the Wolverines. Rutgers has been recruiting him hard and could be a real threat with some of their recent success both on the field and on the recruiting trail, but here’s what Holland wrote:

“I’m continuing to hear that Michigan is the team to beat in this recruitment. Gould loves the coaching staff at U-M, had some really positive things to say after the opening win over Minnesota and has been to campus on multiple occasions.”

The No. 17 corner in the 2022 class according to the 247 composite may not be ranking as highly as Will Johnson or Domani Jackson, but it seems unlikely U-M lands both of those. But landing Gould and Johnson or Jackson would be a tremendous haul, one that seems possible.

Holland said he was close to a Futurecast pick with another 2022 defensive recruit and that’s defensive end Joe Strickland, a top 200-prospect (247 sports composite) out of Indiana, who also came away impressed with the season-opening win by the Wolverines. Here’s more from Holland:

“Michigan’s defensive line play definitely impressed him over the weekend, and he plans to watch more U-M games throughout the season. Strickland recently took a self-guided tour of Michigan and enjoyed his time in Ann Arbor.”

Strickland is one of the 2022 prospects who took a self-guided visit and it would be hard not to be impressed with the way Michigan has developed its defensive ends.

Notre Dame has a crystal ball pick for him right now and he is from Indiana, but the Wolverines seem to have some real momentum, enough that they could be considered the leader.