The rumors surrounding coach Jim Harbaugh’s future at Michigan haven’t seemed to impact the Wolverines’ 2017 recruiting class.
Harbaugh, who recently denied reports that he would consider leaving college to return to the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams, landed his biggest recruit in this year’s class.
Cass Tech senior receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, a five-star prospect and the top-ranked high school player in Michigan by Rivals.com, committed to the Wolverines during a live, nationally-televised event Thursday on ESPN2.
Peoples-Jones picked Michigan over Florida, Florida State, Michigan State and Ohio State. He’s ranked the No. 13 overall recruit in the nation by Rivals.com, and the No. 2 receiver behind Alabama commit Jerry Jeudy (Deerfield Beach, Fla.). Sports247 has him rated the No. 11 overall player.
“Michigan fit every need that I wanted to come into college,” Peoples-Jones said. “First, academics. Everyone knows about Michigan academics. There is a lot that I have planned for me there and a lot that awaits me in the future. Secondly, I want to play with the best. i believe Jim Harbaugh is one of the best coaches in college football and I think he can develop me into the receiver I want to be. Third, I wanted to be in a comfortable environment. I don’t feel any college town is better than Ann Arbor.”
And Harbaugh’s reaction:
According to Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher, his standout receiver gave each of his finalists a fair chance to give their pitch during the recruiting process. Peoples-Jones went on official visits to Michigan, Florida, Florida State, Nebraska and Ohio State.
“He’s very thorough in everything he does,” Wilcher told the Free Press before the announcement. “He learned checks and balances a long time ago. He’s a thorough, intelligent young man.”
Peoples-Jones, a finalist for American Family Insurance ALL-USA Offensive Player of the Year, said every official visit was “crucial in my recruitment.”
“My last official visit to the University of Michigan pretty much sealed everything,” he said. “I have a chance to do very special things there, I believe. That was the best decision for me and my family.”
Peoples-Jones will join Cass Tech teammate and three-star defensive back Jaylen Kelly-Powell in Ann Arbor next season. Detroit King defensive back Ambry Thomas, a four-star prospect, is also committed to the Wolverines.
Despite receiving national attention during his recruitment and making his decision on live television, Peoples-Jones remained calm.
“Every time I asked how he’s doing, he’s like, ‘I’m good,’ ” Wilcher said. “For me, it’s all nerves. For him, he’s all good.”
Peoples-Jones will finish his high school career on Jan. 7 at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. He plans to enroll early at Michigan and has goals of a being a doctor.
Contributing: USA TODAY High School Sports