Michigan has had mostly good news in its 26-man 2017 recruiting class.
Along with significant moments of prosperity there have been tough defeats. Here’s a timeline of the good and the bad during the Wolverines’ pursuit of their 2017 class.
Oct. 16, 2015: Kurt Taylor becomes first commit
Grayson (Ga.) 3-star RB Kurt Taylor was the first commit of Michigan’s 2017 class. Despite late offers from Hawaii and Michigan State, Taylor seems firm on his lengthy pledge to the Wolverines.
Feb. 2, 2016: Jeremiah Holloman becomes first de-commit
A former teammate of Taylor’s when they both played at Newton (Ga.), 4-star WR Jeremiah Holloman originally committed to the Wolverines when he was a 3-star player. He is now a Georgia commit. After leaving Michigan’s class, he enjoyed a strong camp and senior seasons. Michigan might look back and regret backing off Holloman’s recruitment. The Wolverines still are trying to add one of two receivers in Nico Collins and Oliver Martin, and Holloman is highly-ranked as the nation’s No. 125 prospect.
Feb. 15, 2016: Michigan gets its quarterback in Dylan McCaffrey
Michigan had one name on its mind when targeting 2017 QB prospects: Valor Christian (Colo.) 4-star QB Dylan McCaffrey. He was, at the time, a 5-star, and a huge addition to the class. He remains as such, despite one less star in his ranking.
— Dylan McCaffrey (@dcaf20) February 16, 2016
June 18, 2016: Aubrey Solomon and Otis Reese commit to Michigan
When Lee County (Ga.) teammates Aubrey Solomon and Otis Reese committed to Michigan during their official visit, it took everyone by surprise. A 2018 safety prospect, Reese remains firmly committed to the Wolverines. But we all know that things went south with the 5-star DT Solomon, which led to him making another decision that we’ll get to in a minute.
Aug. 6, 2016: Michigan hosts annual BBQ, Najee Harris attends
Harris wasn’t the only 5-star to attend the event – Isaiah Wilson and Donovan Peoples-Jones were there, too – but this was the beginning of the Harris/Michigan interest becoming legitimate. Or, the first time Alabama got some competition for its running back recruit.
Aug. 22, 2016: Solomon de-commits from Michigan
Two months after committing to Michigan, Solomon backed off his pledge. Michigan sent him a letter that spelled his name wrong and thanked him for being at an event he didn’t attend. Things have been all the way up and all the way down in this roller-coaster recruitment. As for now, the Wolverines are the favorite, but Alabama and USC won’t be backing down without a fight.
Oct. 1, 2016: The ‘Fab Five’ visit Michigan
During its game against Wisconsin, Michigan hosted a huge group in what was later dubbed as the “Fab Five.”
— Fake Sports Reporter (@MichNasty86) October 5, 2016
The five offensive linemen on campus were 5-star recruits Isaiah Wilson and Alex Leatherwood, along with 4-star prospects Chuck Filiaga, Cesar Ruiz and Jedrick Wills.
The Wolverines went on to finish second for Wilson, Leatherwood and Wills. Filiaga and Ruiz later committed, and Ruiz is enrolled early.
Going 2 of 5 isn’t as bad as it sounds, especially given how close Michigan got on the three it missed. The most important part of the visit was that the Wolverines climbed from the bottom in Filiaga’s recruitment to eventually land him.
Dec. 10, 2016: Harris visits again, along with Donovan Peoples-Jones and others
Nearly every Michigan commit was in the house for the final Harris visit to Michigan, including Tarik Black, who committed two days later. While this visit was construed as more interest from (and for) Harris, the bigger focus really was on 5-star WR Donovan Peoples-Jones.
Dec. 15, 2016: Peoples-Jones becomes face of ‘Commitmas Week’
Michigan had a week in December when it landed five commitments out of its six in the entire month. The highlight was landing its biggest target, who was on the Wolverines’ radar for years, Detroit Cass Tech 5-star WR Peoples-Jones.
YEEEEEAAHHHHH LETS GOOOO THATS MY ROOMMATE 〽️〽️〽️ pic.twitter.com/QwoDxyMwyN
— Tarik Black (@LetmeRockk_) December 16, 2016
Jan. 2, 2017: Army Bowl week begins, Harris saga becomes most interesting recruitment of all time
This isn’t hyperbole. During the Army All-American Bowl practices, no one could pay much attention to anything but what 5-star RB Harris was going to do. He was down to Alabama and Michigan. Reports surfaced he would make his decision that week. Then he said he won’t announce any decision, and that he will simply show up at a school.
He lived up to his promise – we’ll get to that soon.
Jan. 7, 2017: Michigan gets first commit of 2017, and a huge one in that
When Michigan landed Aledo (Texas) 4-star OT Filiaga, it was huge for many reasons. Michigan hit a home run with him in October, as noted above, which led to the Wolverines bypassing all of the competition. Filiaga is seen as one of the best tackles in the class and could get some playing time at Michigan as soon as this fall.
4? OL Chuck Filiaga commits to Michigan https://t.co/soCoyGZpBX
— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) January 7, 2017
Jan. 8, 2017: Harris shows up at Alabama
The manhunt came to a close when Michigan’s top target was spotted at the Birmingham, Ala., airport. A whole lot of drama, but he stuck with his two-year commitment in the end.
It's Official! Najee Harris is at the Birmingham International Airport! He's Alabama all the way! pic.twitter.com/erHmvTlhk9
— $uth♠n_Gritz (@ewhigham) January 8, 2017
Jan. 16, 2017: Tyrone Wheatley heads back to the NFL
Michigan’s best recruiter, according to the 247Sports recruiter rankings, went back to the NFL, accepting the same running backs coach position with the Jaguars. Wheatley was ranked as the No. 6 recruiter in the country. This impacted the recruitment of many, but mostly that of Pinson (Ala.) 4-star WR Nico Collins, a longtime Michigan favorite now leaning to Georgia.
We’ll update the timeline as events warrant.