Upon taking the job in Ann Arbor, Jim Harbaugh and his assistants first focused on wrapping up the 2015 recruiting class. The new regime added eight commitments to the class, with a decidedly national approach. Three prospects came from Florida, one each from Alabama, New Mexico and New York. Just two Midwest prospects – Birmingham Brother Rice receiver Grant Perry and West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West offensive lineman Nolan Ulizio – joined the group.
The staff’s start to the 2016 class followed a similar path. When they arrived, three commitments (one each from Illinois, Maryland and Ohio) were in the group, with Dayton-area quarterback Messiah deWeaver leaving the fold early. The coaching staff blanketed the nation with offers, extending to players from coast to coast, particularly in hotbeds like Florida, California and Texas.
Lately, though, it’s been time to return home.
Michigan extended recent offers to Farmington’s three-star linebacker David Reese and unranked Orchard Lake St. Mary’s offensive lineman Cameron Kolwich in the past several days. Along with Farmington Hills Harrison defensive end Khalid Kareem, Southfield running back Matt Falcon (both four-stars) and three-star Farmington wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick, plus the outstanding offers from the Brady Hoke coaching staff, there are now 12 prospects from U-M’s home turf sporting offers from the Wolverines.
While Michigan clearly wants to have a national recruiting reach, it’s clear the Maize and Blue know they can’t win on the big stage unless they have homegrown players, as well. Only two of the top 13 players in the state – Detroit King running back Martell Pettaway and Harper Woods Chandler Park wide receiver Jalen Martin – are without U-M offers at this time.
Focusing within their own borders could help Michigan’s coaching staff break the seal on new commits in the 2016 class. Reese, in particular, may make the switch from his current Louisville commitment to the Wolverines, potentially opening the floodgates to a degree.
“Right now, I’ve still got to think about it,” the 6-foot-1, 226-pounder said. “I will be down at the spring game (at Michigan) this week, and I will get a chance to go over everything again, and re-evaluate my decision.”
If it leads to good news in the future, Harbaugh and his assistants will breathe a sigh of relief and kick off the 2016 class in earnest.
Tim Sullivan is the Football Recruiting Editor of The Wolverine magazine and TheWolverine.com. He is also a contributor to national football recruiting coverage on the Rivals.com network. You can follow him on Twitter @TimS_Wolverine.