Commentary

ESPN 150 full of Wolverines

Michigan leads the nation with 11 ESPN 150 commits, and it's only April

Updated: April 17, 2012, 1:15 PM ET
By Tom VanHaaren | WolverineNation

Michigan's success on the recruiting trail has given its fans much anticipation for the release of the ESPN 150. Speculation and guessing as to how many prospects the Wolverines will have within the top 150 recruits in the country has come to an end, as the list is finally here.

As expected, the Wolverines are all over the list, with 11 total commitments so far in the ESPN 150. To give some perspective as to how impressive that is, the 2012 class had four total commitments on the list. It's only April and Michigan already has 11, which is remarkable.

What makes that number even more impressive is that Alabama had the highest ranked class in 2012, with 13 of its 26 commitments in the ESPN 150. Florida State had the second ranked class with 10 of its 19 commitments in the ESPN 150, which gives a good barometer for just how good this Michigan class can be.

The class, of course, is headlined by quarterback Shane Morris (Warren, Mich./DeLaSalle) who checks in at No. 37 overall in the country and is ranked as the fifth best quarterback in the class. Morris finds himself behind Texas commit Tyrone Swoopes (Whitewright, Texas/Whitewright), Penn State commit Christian Hackenberg (Richmond, Va./Fork Union), USC commit Max Browne (Sammamish, Wa./Skyline) and Stanford commit Ryan Burns (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge).

Morris should be excited not just by his ranking, but by the fact all five of Michigan's offensive line commits are ranked in the ESPN 150, the highest ranked lineman being David Dawson (Detroit/Cass Tech) at No. 92 overall. Logan Tuley-Tillman (Peoria, Ill./Manual) follows closely behind at No. 97, Chris Fox (Parker, Co./Ponderosa) is at No. 105, Kyle Bosch (Wheaton, Ill./St. Francis) checks in at No. 112 and rounding out the offensive linemen is Patrick Kugler (Wexford, Pa./North Allegheny Sr.) at No. 121.

Kugler happens to be the lowest ranked of the 11 that made it in the ESPN 150, which is pretty impressive since he's still 29 spots above the final spot on the list.

Much like the offensive linemen, all of Michigan's defensive backs find themselves on the coveted list as well. What might be a surprise to some fans, cornerback Gareon Conley (Massilon, Ohio/Washington) is the second highest ranked prospect in the class, coming in at No. 63 overall. Conley is also ranked as the sixth best cornerback prospect in the entire country, behind names such as Kendall Fuller (Olney, Md./Good Counsel), Cam Burrows (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison) and Vernon Hargreaves III (Tampa/Wharton).

Not too far behind are Michigan's other defensive back commitments, safety Dymonte Thomas (Alliance, Ohio/Marlington) at No. 98 and Jourdan Lewis (Detroit/Cass Tech) at No. 107 overall.

[+] EnlargeShane Morris
Steve Johnson/ESPNHSMichigan quarterback commit Shane Morris is ranked No. 37 in the initial ESPN 150.
To stay on the defensive side, Michigan also has the No. 75 ranked prospect with linebacker Mike McCray (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison), and the No. 115 ranked recruit with defensive end Taco Charlton (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North).

Not only is it impressive to have this many commitments in the top list, but to give another comparison, Michigan's highest ranked player in the 2012 class was cornerback Terry Richardson, who checked in at No. 68 overall, followed by linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone at No. 113. Michigan has nine prospects within the top 113 for this class.

To say that this class is well put together would be an understatement. The class fills holes, will help with depth and now proves that it's full of top-ranked talent.

There are 74 total prospects within the ESPN 150 that have made their verbal commitments thus far, which means that Michigan holds 14.8 percent of the committed prospects within the top list prior to the summer. The 11 ESPN 150 commitments are also the most in the Big Ten, as Ohio State has four and Penn State three. No other team in the Big Ten currently has any commitments within the top list.

Michigan's 11 commitments also tops the national rankings, as the next closest programs are Florida and Texas, who each have seven commitments on the list.