In the past few days, Michigan recruiting has continued its rampage on the recruiting trail and added another four elite talents to its 2019 and 2020 recruiting classes.
It all began on July 1st with the commitment from four-star running back Eric Gray — the nation’s top-ranked all-purpose back. Picking Michigan over Alabama, Penn State, Texas A&M and others, Gray looks to become a lethal weapon in Wolverine coach Jim Harbaugh’s traditional offense.
The Memphis, Tenn. native was smitten with Michigan after his official visit. When he was in Ann Arbor, Gray got to stay with quarterback Shea Patterson and met with current running backs senior Karan Higdon and junior Chris Evans.
But what really put Gray over the top was the encouraging words from Harbaugh himself.
“You’re talking to coach Harbaugh and he’s telling you how good you are,” Gray told The Michigan Insider. “He’s been on a championship team. He’s been to the Super Bowl. And for him, having been to the Super Bowl, coached at the 49ers, to tell me how good I was — that I can come in and make a big impact — it blew my mind to say that.”
After Gray’s surefire commitment, the next two dominoes to fall were three-star strong-side defensive end David Ajabo and four-star defensive tackle Denver Warren. Ajabo adds to a fast-growing and heavy-hitting 2019 class while the Wolverine faithful will have to bide their time before seeing Warren at the Big House after his 2020 graduation date.
Born in Nigeria and raised in Scotland, Ajabo has only played football for one year—but already is showing elite athleticism that will make him a versatile piece of any defense. Highlighting that athleticism, Ajabo posted a video to Twitter back in May documenting a personal-best 10.93-second 100-yard dash attempt.
Announcing his commitment on Twitter, Ajabo expressed how grateful he was that he ended up playing a sport he knew little-to-nothing about. Ajabo came to America in hopes of playing basketball, but his physicality, size and speed allowed him to quickly excel at football and now get his own locker room in Ann Arbor.
Becoming the third commit in the 2020 class, Warren is a beast at defensive end and will most certainly add to the ethos of a dominant Michigan defensive line.
At 6’3”, 300-pounds, Warren felt very confident about his future after a mid-June visit and immediately placed the Wolverines in a final group with Cincinnati, Illinois, Minnesota and Penn State. While already tagged with a four-star rating, Warren has nowhere to go but up. The big man will look to build his toolset in his upcoming junior season.
Warren’s commitment marked Michigan’s second four-star recruit in two days and a bold statement from the recruiting staff.
Rounding out the week was three-star safety Quinten Johnson.
Johnson’s commitment came as no surprise to the Wolverines, as Johnson’s place with Michigan was all but locked up after his mid-June visit. After his commitment, the Washington D.C.-native was enthusiastic about his future with the Wolverines.
“The thing that attracted me to Michigan is the university’s prestige both on and off the field,” Johnson told The Michigan Insider. “It’s truly the best university to get both big-time academics and athletics. The plan put in place both on and off the field sets me up for the rest of the life and I was able to make a lot of connections with a lot of people while I was there.”
As pundits analyze his game, Johnson was quick to draw comparisons to a former Michigan legend — Cleveland Browns safety Jabrill Peppers.
“The player that I was compared to the entire trip was Jabrill Peppers,” Johnson said. “They want me to play the same as him in the Viper position, mainly on defense and punt return, with minimum of offense and also earning playing time as a freshman.”
With Johnson’s commitment, the Wolverines’ 2019 recruiting class ranked jumped to third in the nation and first in the Big Ten — sitting only behind Alabama and Texas A&M.
Needless to say, if Michigan continues its intensity on the recruiting trail, its talent-base will continue to grow and with it even larger expectations.