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Michigan signs Big Ten’s top class for the first time 2005

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — There’s still another signing day, and things could change. But for the first time since 2005, the Michigan football team is in position to sign the Big Ten’s best recruiting class.

Twenty-five of the Wolverines’ 27 commitments signed their national letter of intent Wednesday, including five-star safety Daxton Hill, top-50 running back Zach Charbonnet and top-50 defensive lineman Chris Hinton.

In total, Michigan boasted 16 four- or five-star signees, helping the Wolverines edge out No. 10 Penn State and No. 12 Ohio State with the nation’s seventh-ranked class.

“It was a great day,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said on the Inside Michigan Football radio show. “It was a successful class. Just a wonderful, wonderful group of players and families. … Really happy, really thankful. If I could sum it up a little bit, it’s a group of players who really want to be great for Michigan, who also want to come up here and be great for themselves.

“They’re not afraid to work, I would hang that tag on them. They’re all self-starters and not allergic to working and they like it. A really, really tremendous class — real playmakers.”

In fairness, the reason Michigan’s class beat out the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes was because it featured nine more commits than either of them. The Wolverines are only third in the conference with a 90.37 average rating.

But in a cycle where the Big Ten featured 11 teams in the top 45 of the 247Sports Composite team rankings and seven in the top 28, Michigan’s group featured breadth and depth at all positions.

“Wanted it to be a broad class where you could look and see a potential starter at each position across the entire class,” Harbaugh said. “The only exception being punter and kicker — we felt we were good in those two areas. But skill players, offensive and defensive linemen, backers, backs, et cetera, we really covered just about every position in this class.”

While Michigan reeled in top-10 recruiting classes in 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017, the Wolverines still found themselves looking up to Ohio State’s top-five classes in each of those seasons. In fact, Michigan had not previously topped the Buckeyes in 247Sports’ recruiting rankings since 2010 — one year before the last time the Wolverines last beat Ohio State on the field.

Recruiting wins mean little, and there aren’t trophies for having superior classes. But history shows that talent wins out and recruiting matters, and Michigan — who has still not won a Big Ten title since 2004 — scored a victory in the recruiting department this week.

“It’s exciting,” Harbaugh said. “It’s an exciting class. Like I said, these guys all want to work. They like to study, they like to work, they like to play football and I’m really excited about the class.”

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