Michigan’s 2017 class is signed and delivered, and has been since Feb. 1.
The Wolverines’ 2017 class is stacked with talent, from former 247Sports composite 5-star WR Donovan Peoples-Jones to the nation’s No. 1 punter, Brad Robbins.
Some have been committed for a long time – such as Oak Park (Mich.) 3-star OT Ja’Raymond Hall, who committed in October 2015 – and some committed on the final day, such as Lee County (Ga.) 5-star DT Aubrey Solomon.
So, who had the best senior campaigns that took us by surprise? Let’s take a look at the three best.
Bishop Hendricken (Mass.) DE Kwity Paye
Offensive stats: 44 carries for 651 yards, 13 touchdowns
Defensive stats: 65 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks
Paye won Gatorade National Player of the Year honors in Massachusetts on top of his ridiculous stat line on both sides of the ball.
He was a Boston College commit when he received an offer from Michigan midway through his senior season. It didn’t take long to commit to the Wolverines, about three weeks later.
The possibility that Paye could come in and battle for a spot at defensive end, linebacker or fullback shows the potential of the former bottom-500 ranked player, who remains very underrated at No. 485 overall.
He impressed on a big stage at the Under Armour All-America Game, too, with multiple QB hurries and a sack.
— Joe Kayata (@NBC10_Joe) December 31, 2016
Paye could be a force in Ann Arbor following his big-time senior year.
Flint (Mich.) Southwestern Commencement Academy 4-star DE Deron Irving-Bey
Defensive stats: 79 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 3 fumble recoveries
Irving-Bey might be the most improved player in the country. A year ago, he had zero offers and zero stars. Fast forward to today. He’s signed to a full scholarship to play for Michigan, is a 4-star recruit and a U.S. Army All-American.
Talk about improvement.
A defensive end who also can play offensive tackle, Irving-Bey might see some time on offense, though his ceiling seems higher on the D-line.
Michigan defensive line coach Greg Mattison had this to say about Irving-Bey at MGoBlue.com:
“Deron was a defensive end for Southwestern, and he showed great improvement throughout the year. He plays with a very high motor and shows a lot of talent when he is playing; he shows flashes on tape, and that gets us excited. We see the potential, and he is like a sponge because he absorbs everything and wants to be as good as he can be. That really impressed me. He will probably improve every day he is here because of the level of football.”
It’s safe to say the Wolverines are excited.
Iowa City (Iowa) West 4-star WR Oliver Martin
Offensive statistics: Caught 85 passes for 1,272 yards and 16 touchdowns
Martin didn’t have a Michigan offer until midsummer, after he hit the scene hard in July with an eye-opening performance at Nike’s The Opening Finals in Oregon.
Martin took that momentum into his senior season. That was enough for him to become a U.S. Army All-American in another underdog story for a Michigan signee.
— Steve Wiltfong (@SWiltfong247) January 3, 2017
The 6-foot wide receiver has all the tools to be Michigan’s version of Clemson’s Hunter Renfrow.
A speedy, good route-running slot receiver who has hands as strong as you’ll see out of high school, Martin will be a name heard over the Big House PA sooner than you think.