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National Signing Day Preview: Who’s In, Who’s Up For Grabs

National Signing Day is just under a week away and Michigan is still in on some very talented players.

With a rough 2020 season nearly in the rearview mirror, and no end currently in sight for the Jim Harbaugh contract saga, many of the Wolverine faithful are anxious for some good news to come in the form of national signing day just one week from today. Obviously there is no such thing as a ‘sure thing’ when it comes to recruiting, but here’s how it looks with some noteworthy recruits as we head into national signing day on December 16th.

Who’s In:

Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy pro-style quarterback JJ McCarthy

JJ McCarthy is the crown jewel of the 2021 class, one of the top quarterback recruits in the nation, and is all-in on Michigan. Even with all of the uncertainty currently surrounding Michigan’s coaching situation, McCarthy remains 100% committed to becoming a Michigan man on December 16th.

East Lansing (Mich.) High wide receiver Andrel Anthony, WR

Things became a little iffy during the month of November as Michigan was handed one painful loss after another. Following Michigan’s embarrassing loss to Michigan State in late October, Anthony, an East Lansing native, was quoted as saying that the game “opened a lot of eyes”. This led many to speculate that the Spartans would be able to lure the top wide receiver recruit in the state of Michigan away from Ann Arbor. Anthony put those fears to bed when he announced last week via social media that he would indeed be signing with Michigan on signing day.

Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei wide receiver Cristian Dixon

The highly rated wide receiver out of Los Angeles committed to the Wolverines over the summer and has been solid in his commitment ever since. There’s been no news of Dixon continuing to explore other opportunities, and that’s good news for Michigan.

Clayton (Ohio) Northmont safety Rod Moore

The prospect out of Clayton (Ohio) Northmont saw his rating increase after committing to the Wolverines in late spring earlier this year. If you follow Moore on social media, you likely noticed that he continued to share gratitude for all of the offers he had rolling even after his commitment to Michigan. As social media goes, this led many to speculate as to whether or not Moore was solid with his commitment. Late last week, Moore put any remaining speculation to bed with he tweeted his intent to sign with Michigan on December 16th.

Sterling Heights (Mich.) Adlai Stevenson offensive tackle Giovanni El-Hadi

As one of the top-rated offensive tackle recruits in the nation, Giovanni El-Hadi has remained solid in his commitment to Michigan ever since he announced he would accept a scholarship offer back in 2019. El-Hadi is a Michigan native and has developed a solid relationship with JJ McCarthy as two of the earliest commits in the 2021 class. Count on El-Hadi making it official one week from today.

Detroit Cass Tech offensive center Raheem Anderson II

As a top-five rated center, Raheem Anderson II had no shortage of offers. Programs like Georgia and LSU sought after the highly rated Cass Tech prospect, but Anderson opted to remain home and play his college ball in Ann Arbor. Earlier today, Anderson announced that he would be signing with Michigan on national signing day and enrolling in January.

Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro strongside defensive end Quintin Somerville

While I placed Somerville on the “who’s in” list, he’s a guy that could prove to be a wildcard given the current coaching situation at Michigan. The highly rated defensive end prospect held offers from programs like Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, but made his commitment to Michigan official over the summer. His relationship with Michigan defensive line coach Shaun Nua is well documented and could play a factor in Somerville sticking with Michigan if Nua doesn’t return in 2021. Even so, Somerville also has a strong relationship with JJ McCarthy and there hasn’t been any indication from Somerville that he may be rethinking his commitment to Michigan.

Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy offensive center Greg Crippen

This one will be fairly short and sweet. Not only is Crippen a top-ten rated offensive lineman nationally, he’s also the teammate of JJ McCarthy at IMG Academy. Crippen committed to the Wolverines during the spring and has been rock solid in his commitment ever since.

Brentwood (Tenn.) Ravenwood outside linebacker Junior Colson

The highly rated linebacker out of Brentwood (Tenn) Ravenwood held offers from some of the top programs around the country. With offers from LSU, USC, Oklahoma, Penn State, and Wisconsin on the table, Colson opted to call Ann Arbor home and commit to Michigan. If there was any doubt of his commitment, he reassured everyone last week that he would be making his commitment official on national signing day.

Who’s reportedly up for grabs:

West Bloomfield (Mich.) High running back Donovan Edwards

Biggest Competition: Georgia, Oklahoma, Notre Dame

Arguably the top running back prospect in the 2021 class, Donovan Edwards holds offers from pretty much everyone. While it seems like Michigan is currently the favorite to land the West Bloomfield product, Edwards has remained largely silent with signing day right around the corner. Fortunately for Michigan, it appears that Edwards and JJ McCarthy have developed a solid relationship that could play a factor on signing day. Additionally, Edwards’ high school football coach (Ron Bellamy) recently said that Edwards has told him for years that he would be a “player for Michigan, not for a particular coach”.

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Fresno (Calif.) Central East wide receiver Xavier Worthy

Biggest Competition: Alabama

This one comes down to two schools, and Xavier Worthy has indicated he will make his decision official on December 16th when he signs with either Michigan or Alabama. Worthy committed to Michigan over the summer and reopened his recruitment during the fall. On the day that Michigan lost to 0-5 Penn State, Worthy was in Tuscaloosa watching No. 1 Alabama destroy rival Auburn. Don’t be surprised if Worthy is rocking Crimson Tide gear on signing day.

Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood outside linebacker Branden Jennings

Biggest Competition: Maryland

A former Florida State commit, Branden Jennings flipped his commitment from FSU to Michigan in mid-October. Over the last week, there’s been some reporting to suggest that Jennings may be keeping his options open and that Maryland is one of the programs making a late run for his services. I still think Michigan has the best shot at getting a signature from Jennings on December 16th, but I wouldn’t say it’s a sure thing at this point.

Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas inside linebacker Jaydon Hood

Biggest Competition: Miami, Minnesota

The commitment to Michigan by Jaydon Hood during the spring of 2020 was shaky. Hood was open about the fact that, though he was committed to Michigan, nothing had been signed and that he would take a “business-like” approach to his recruitment. As a result, Hood continued to have discussions with other programs - primarily Miami and Minnesota. The struggles by Michigan during the 2020 season certainly didn’t help, and the uncertainty with the coaching staff is definitely making matters worse. I’d be shocked to see Hood honor his commitment to Michigan on signing day.

Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peters Prep defensive tackle George Rooks

Biggest Competition: Boston College, Penn State

Michigan was the first program to offer Rooks back in 2019 and they desperately need to add interior defensive lineman to the 2021 class. Michigan and Penn State appeared to be the leaders to land Rooks (with a slight edge to Michigan), but Boston College has recently emerged as a contender as well. This one could still end in Michigan’s favor, but it’s definitely not a sure thing.

Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas cornerback Ja’den Mcburrows

Biggest Competition: Miami

After committing to Michigan back in April, McBurrows’ commitment to Michigan seemed fairly solid throughout the year. The wildcard here is Miami, as the Hurricanes are currently making an all-out last minute effort to keep the Florida native home

Los Angeles Loyola wide receiver Ceyair Wright

Biggest Competition: USC, Notre Dame

This is a top rated cornerback that Michigan might be able to steal from out west. Wright made his visit to Ann Arbor during the Michigan/Wisconsin game and, surprisingly, walked away impressed with what Michigan had to offer. It still looks like USC is in the lead for his services, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see Wright make the move to Ann Arbor with the prospect of early playing time being a very real possibility.