After the decommitment of Michigan's highest rated 2023 prospect, some within the Michigan fan base are starting to wonder if there's an issue when it comes to recruiting and NIL.
With the loss of Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln four-star linebacker Raylen Wilson yesterday, the Wolverines are currently sitting at No. 13 in the Big Ten conference in recruiting rankings for 2023. While being nearly dead last in the conference following a championship year is concerning, things don't get much better on a national level for the Wolverines - as Michigan currently sits at No. 55 overall in 2023 recruiting rankings.
While there are several reasons that are likely contributing to Michigan's lackluster recruiting momentum so far, most are pointing to U-M's NIL philosophy as the primary reasons. Earlier this year, Michigan Basketball's Hunter Dickinson said that U-M's NIL approach would eventually cause the University to lose out on a ton of talent if they didn't step up.
"They're going to lose out on so many players if they don't start stepping up to the plate," Dickinson said during an appearance on WTKA radio. "I feel bad for Coach Juwan and Coach Harbaugh because they're trying. It's just not their fault. The coaches are trying for sure."
"The NIL process is pretty difficult, I'm not going to lie. Especially during the season, it can be overwhelming because you've got contracts that you're trying to sign, you've got to be aware of the obligations that the companies are holding you up to, because it's like, you've got to post something or something like that. I remember I had to post something the night before a game - before the Villanova game, a company hit me up the day before, early the day before the game."
As some have pointed out, it's still only June and there's plenty of time for Michigan to make up ground on the recruiting trail. What makes this year different, however, is that Michigan is coming off of one of its most successful seasons in program history - and it doesn't seem to be making an impact on the trail just yet. Worse yet, Michigan's two main rivals - Ohio State and Michigan State - are both experience early success on the trail as a result of NIL opportunities.
Speaking at a football camp hosted by Ferris State over the summer, Harbaugh discussed his perspective when it comes to NIL.
"Our philosophy is that coming to the University of Michigan is going to be a transformational experience rather than a transactional experience," Harbaugh said. "I've always been for student-athletes being able to profit off of their name, image and likeness. It just makes sense...I think we can all agree that's something that's fair and right."