As National Signing Day approached, Michigan fans had already been hard at work preparing themselves for disappointment. With top targets like Donovan Edwards and Xavier Worthy eyeing offers from elite programs currently in the national championship hunt, it seemed unlikely that Michigan would be the destination of choice.
In addition to a brutal 2020 season that saw the Michigan Wolverines finish with an overall record of 2-4, including an 0-3 record at home, uncertainty surrounding Jim Harbaugh’s future with the program remained. Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel made it clear that contract talks were still ongoing and that a decision wouldn’t be reached until sometime after the season had concluded - meaning after signing day as well. Given the circumstances, it would have been completely understandable - even expected - for Michigan’s top targets to sign elsewhere.
That didn’t happen.
As signing day progressed, Michigan fans were eagerly waiting for the announcement to come from Michigan native Donovan Edwards. Rated as one of the top running back prospects in the country, Edwards held offers from programs like Alabama, Ohio State and Notre Dame - all programs that are currently in the national title picture. Sitting outdoors on the football field at West Bloomfield High School - snow falling all around him - Edwards picked up the Block M hat and put all of the questions surrounding his future to bed. The first big domino had fallen in Michigan’s favor, Edwards was a Michigan Man.
With the signing of Edwards complete, Michigan fans turned to another highly touted recruit out of California who had already committed to the Wolverines once. Xavier Worthy pledged his commitment to Michigan over the summer, but things seemed to be trending in the wrong direction as Worthy opened the door to the possibility of Alabama. On the day that Worthy traveled to Tuscaloosa to watch Alabama destroy arch rival Auburn, Michigan was back in Ann Arbor handing an 0-5 Penn State team its first win of the season. It seemed highly unlikely that Worthy, an elite talent with an opportunity to play for the No. 1 team in America, would choose Michigan on signing day. As his Instagram live feed cut out shortly before making his decision known, a video was posted to his account making the decision clear - it was Michigan.
Throughout the course of National Signing Day, the Wolverines received signatures from some of the top prospects in the nation - top 100 guys like JJ McCarthy, Edwards, Worthy, Giovanni El-Hadi, and Junior Colson. Michigan also signed top rated in-state talent like wide receiver Andrel Anthony and offensive center Raheem Anderson. With National Signing Day winding down, Michigan received a pair of late surprise commitments from the state of Florida - linebacker Jaydon Hood and cornerback Ja’Den McBurrows.
By the time National Signing Day came to a close, the Michigan Wolverines had signed one of the best recruiting classes in the nation.
In a year marked with disappointment and uncertainty, National Signing Day provided Michigan fans with a much needed reminder that the Michigan Football program is still a destination for the nation's top talent. With the right coaching staff in place, this is a football program that has all of the tools (and talent) necessary to legitimately compete for national championships.