Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh and athletic director Warde Manuel shoot down NFL rumors on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, at Crisler Center.
Nick Baumgardner, Freep
Michigan’s 2019 recruiting class isn’t finalized and might not be by the end of this week.
But the early signing period begins Wednesday. As of Tuesday morning, the Wolverines had 25 public commitments and the No. 9-ranked class nationally, per 247sports.
Michigan currently has 10 prospects committed who are ranked inside 247’s top 300, two in the top 50 and eight in the top 200. Overall, the Wolverines have commitments from 14 4-star players and 11 3-star players.
Here’s an analytical look at some of the top spots currently inside Michigan’s 2019 class.
Nick’s top five
RB Zach Charbonnet (Westlake Village, California)
247 rank: No. 42 overall (No. 3 RB)
One of the top-rated running backs in the class, Charbonnet is a unique combination of size, wiggle and speed. He’s an upright runner who typically runs away from contact, but can absolutely be a one-cut back who runs with power in college at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds. Reports have him closer to 225 at this point in his career.
Charbonnet’s vision in traffic is elite. He’s a run-to-daylight back, which means his head is always up, his vision is very good and when he finds a crease he attacks it and finishes. More often than not, he ran away from the pack in high school.
He could be a terrific back at the college level, especially in a zone scheme with his ability to be a one-cut player. If he rounds off some of the edges, he could be very dangerous in the Big Ten.
DL Chris Hinton (Norcross, Georgia)
247 composite: No. 49 (No. 5 DT)
The son of former All-Pro offensive lineman Chris Hinton Sr., Hinton Jr. is an explosive versatile talent who is probably best suited on the defensive line. Most likely inside as an upfield rushing defensive tackle who also has the ability to defend the run.
He’s 6-foot-4, 280 pounds. He could, in some situations, be a defensive end. But his football IQ and overall explosiveness could make him a big-time player inside at tackle. Hinton’s hyper-athletic for a player his size, but he also understands football.
Some of the best clips on his highlight reel aren’t of him making a tackle or a sack. It’s of him owning a gap against a double team, completely stuffing something on his own while a teammate cleans up the play. He’s incredibly fast off the ball, he’s physically ready to contribute right now.
OL Nolan Rumler (Akron, Ohio)
247 composite: No. 146 (No. 9 OG)
He played inside and out in high school, but he’s an interior lineman (6-4, 290) all the way in college and a very good prospect who comes from a terrific high school program. He’s well-coached, he plays with great leverage and effort. He’s not stiff, he moves well.
This is, overall, a nice offensive line class for Michigan. And Rumler’s an example of a player who moves well enough to be a factor in Michigan’s zone running game.
His upper body strength as a high school senior looked great, as he consistently showed an ability to lock into a defensive lineman and maul his opponent to the ground. Give him a year or so in the strength program and he could be ready to compete sooner rather than later.
OT Trente Jones (Loganville, Georgia)
247 composite: No. 164 (No. 18 offensive tackle)
The best tackle in Michigan’s class, in my opinion. Jones has a great frame at 6-foot-6, 282, he has room to fill out with more actionable muscle. He has great feet, he played high school football in a sophisticated run system. He showed an ability to move very well at right tackle in outside zone and pin-pull plays in high school.
His pass protection, like all high school tackles, will be a work in progress. But he has the look of a very athletic right tackle in Michigan’s system.
DT Mazi Smith (Grand Rapids)
247 composite: No. 137 (No. 9 defensive tackle)
Smith’s still pretty raw with regard to his fundamentals, but he’s another explosive interior lineman who seems to have a lot of good football still in front of him. Good hands, good explosiveness. Can rush upfield from the inside, which is so important in today’s game.
Time will tell how quickly he adapts to the college game, but once he gets all his fundamentals and gap discipline down, Smith should be a factor up front for Michigan.
WR Giles Jackson (Oakley, California)
247 composite: No. 298 (No 43 WR)
This is the type of explosive, offensive-space player Michigan doesn’t really have right now. And it’ll be important for Jim Harbaugh’s offensive staff to make sure he becomes a fixture in this offense and not just a gimmick player. Because that’d be a waste.
Jackson (5-8, 175) is terrific in space, with great feet and 4.4 40-yard dash speed. He’s a dangerous slot receiver who still needs work with his route running (norm for high school players), but he could be a difference-maker in the right situation.
Michigan has to find it.
ATH George Johnson III (Stuart, Florida)
247 composite: No. 850 (No. 58 ATH)
A ridiculous athlete who played wide receiver and quarterback at 5-foot-11, 180 in high school. He’s not a quarterback in college, but he’s one of a few players in this Michigan class who has some serious potential with regard to athleticism and lateral quickness.
Again, Michigan has to round off some technical edges and teach him to be a wide receiver. But he could be a serious find for this class if he’s given an opportunity to grow and put in situations where his athleticism shines.
CB/WR Mike Sainristil
247 composite: No. 704 (No. 64 CB)
This is an east coast version of Giles Jackson. He’s 5-foot-10, 175. Michigan recruited him as a cornerback, but it might be hard to leave a guy like this on the defensive side of the ball. This could be a situation where his talent dictates where he plays. The overall depth chart balance could be a factor, too.
But he’s a tremendous athlete. Michigan needed guys like this in this class. This past year’s roster lacked them.