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The defensive backs remaining
Michigan has just two defensive backs committed in its 2017 class – 3-star S J’Marick Woods and 4-star CB Benjamin St-Juste.
The Wolverines will likely add two more cornerbacks and probably just one safety, if they can hold on to Woods’ commitment, which we will get to later.
As for now, here are the players who are left on the board:
Calabasas (Calif.) 5-star CB Darnay Holmes – Holmes is as good as it gets for a high school cornerback. He plays both sides, and comparisons to Jabrill Peppers have been made, but Peppers is, and always will be, an anomaly. Holmes isn’t as muscular as Peppers, but he mirrors his style of aggressiveness on defense and is a heck of a punt returner. Holmes has family ties in UCLA, as his dad’s best friend is an assistant with the program. His hometown isn’t far from Los Angeles either, but leaving home doesn’t sound so bad to him lately. He is a huge Jim Harbaugh fan, and the two keep close tabs. UCLA’s struggling season, and the fan base’s dismay for coach Jim Mora lately, might just give Michigan the biggest steal from UCLA since, well, Devin Asiasi last year. Prediction: Michigan
— Rico Beard (@RicoBeard) October 28, 2016
Detroit King 4-star CB Ambry Thomas – You want to talk about players who have similar styles? Look no further than Thomas and Holmes. They’re both future superstars, but I still think Thomas ends up playing offense at the next level. He’s a no-doubt lockdown corner, but his skill at wide receiver is as good as it gets. He’s between Michigan and Michigan State, and it’s been a Michigan lead for nearly a year. Prediction: Michigan
Detroit Cass Tech 4-star S Jaylen Kelly-Powell – Kelly-Powell is a cousin of Thomas, and it’s pretty well-known the two want to play at the next level together. The announcement from Kelly-Powell should come soon, but there’s around zero doubt that this one is all Michigan. Prediction: Michigan
Marcus (Texas) 3-star CB Matt Hankins – Hankins is not as highly rated but his new film jumps out at you. I’m not comparing him to Michigan senior CB Jourdan Lewis, but their styles are very similar. He’s an in-your-face press coverage guy with alert hands, and although he’s physical, he avoids penalties and specializes in pass breakups, much like Lewis. The problem is he is still committed to Iowa, and he canceled his official visit to Ann Arbor two weeks ago. He will visit Iowa on Saturday, and guess who the Hawkeyes are up against? Michigan. Maybe that could sway his decision if the Wolverines cover the spread inside Kinnick. Prediction: Iowa
Three recruits to worry about
A couple of times a month, I’ll gather three commits or targets that I think are flirting with other schools a little more than you would like. But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean they’re as good as gone, so tap the brakes and enjoy!
1. Alex Leatherwood, 5-star OT
I wanna see Alabama ? vs Michigan 〽️…
— Alex Leatherwood (@Alskee_) November 7, 2016
Michigan had a lot of momentum after Leatherwood’s official visit on Oct. 1. He’s still active on Twitter to talk about Michigan, and he even said he’d like to see Alabama – the school he’s committed to – play Michigan this season. As an early enrollee, the clock is ticking and time is not on Michigan’s side like it once was.
2. J’Marick Woods, 3-star S
— J'Marick Woods (@JL_Woods1) October 9, 2016
Woods has been committed to the Wolverines since February 2016. But the Alabama product visited Arkansas recently, and word is that the Razorbacks have been hitting the gas hard. In the end, I still think Michigan keeps him, assuming it wants to. If he were to leave the class, though, Michigan would have to search for a good free safety late, but there’s no reason to debunk the possibility of getting an upgrade over Woods. Still, I think he stays.
3. Ambry Thomas, 4-star CB
My colleague, Luke Srodulski, took the liberty of putting Thomas in his projected recruiting class. The only problem with that is Luke covers Michigan State. So that puts things at a standstill, because I also put Thomas in my projected class – but for Michigan. Two months ago I thought Thomas was 100 percent Michigan. But now? He and Kelly-Powell don’t seem as gung-ho on playing together at the next level and have even stated that it’s now “whatever is best for them, even if it’s apart.” Even though I still think Thomas inevitably chooses Michigan, this one is much tighter than it once was.
All ratings are from 247Sports.com’s composite rating system, unless otherwise noted.