The long 2023 offseason is starting to wrap up for the Wolverines, though there are still some lingering offseason storylines that I continue to see coming across my figurative desk. One of the major storylines that many fans follow is Michigan football recruiting, which got hot during the spring, though it has since cooled off — it now appears that everything is back to normal in Ann Arbor. For Jim Harbaugh and his 2024 recruiting class, the goal is to beat the Ohio State Buckeyes and win the Big Ten title; the rankings on paper matter less than who Harbaugh is actually putting in the room.
Michigan football recruiting prioritizes potential and system over stars
For many fans, especially those who root for the Ohio State Buckeyes, getting blown out in back-to-back seasons was not enough to realize that times have changed, and so has Michigan football. Sure, Ohio State has Michigan beat on paper. The Buckeyes have way more “talent” (on paper) than the Wolverines do this year and in years to come. However, it has been a very long time since the Wolverines have recruited anywhere near that caliber, yet Michigan remains the team to beat in the Big Ten right now.
Jim Harbaugh has a method that works to beat the Buckeyes and win a Big Ten title
Jim Harbaugh has been putting emphasis on the individual players he signs, not on how many stars they have. Take Hassan Haskins, for example, who was a three-star prospect out of high school, yet rushed for five touchdowns against Ohio State in Michigan’s 42-27 victory over the Buckeyes two years ago. Another example is Ronnie Bell, who was JJ McCarthy’s favorite target last year, or Zak Zinter, who is one of the top linemen in the sport. Both of them were three-star prospects.
The list goes on, but you get the point. So yes, Ohio State recruits better talent on paper, but as long as Michigan football recruiting can find the diamonds in the rough who have the mental and physical toughness to take down the Buckeyes and win the Big Ten, the Wolverines should be just fine.
The 2024 recruiting class will be just fine
When it comes to the 2024 recruiting class, Jim Harbaugh has leaders like Jadyn Davis and many others paving their own way. After losing his five-star status during the spring, Davis came out in Week 1 last Friday and threw for over 450 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions — that is the type of player that Michigan football needs on its roster in the future. The same can be said of three-star RB Micah Kaapana, who rushed for over 200 yards and a trio of touchdowns on Friday despite being a less-known recruit.
Recruiting matters a great deal, but stars are not everything when it comes to beating Ohio State and winning the Big Ten title, which is important to remember as recruiting once again takes a backseat to actual football this fall.
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