The final edition of the Rivals250 prospect rankings for the Class of 2016 is here, and players who are bound to be Wolverines – or could still give their commitments – saw both sides of the coin in their movement through the rankings.
The big faller from a Michigan perspective was early enrolled running back Kareem Walker. The graduate of Wayne (N.J.) DePaul Catholic slid from No. 41 nationally to No. 181 following a late fade in his senior year capped by a fumble-prone and tentative performance in the Under Armour All-America Game.
It was a prettier story among the players who will be blocking for Walker during his college career (and talent up front could be just the confidence booster he needs to get back to the form of his earlier years). Detroit Cass Tech guard Michael Onwenu climbed from No. 157 to No. 147, while Hartland (Wisc.) Arrowhead tackle Ben Bredeson replaced Walker as the top player in the class while climbing five spots to No. 60 overall.
Many of Michigan’s commits saw slight slides of two or three places in the national rankings – a natural product of others proving themselves and moving up past those players.
It was mostly good news for potential future Wolverines, as well. No news was good news for Paramus (N.J.) Catholic defensive tackle Rashan Gary, who didn’t see any change to his ranking as he remained the top player in the country. Gary plans to take his fifth total trip of the recruiting process to Ann Arbor this weekend, and the Maize and Blue may be feeling rosy about their chances to reel him in come national signing day Feb. 3, which is when he plans to announce his decision.
They may not have to wait that long for the next commitment, though. Los Angeles Loyola cornerback David Long plans to announce between Michigan and Washington on Thursday, with the Wolverines his perceived leader. He got good news of his own in the rankings update, climbing from No. 94 overall thirteen places to No. 81.
Overall, thanks in large part to Walker’s tumble (but also due to Ohio State picking up several commitments Monday), the Michigan class dropped from No. 3 nationally to No. 6. Ohio State, LSU, Ole Miss, Notre Dame and Florida are ahead of the Maize and Blue – but there’s a good chance to start the climb back toward the top soon.
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.