Michigan has inked a top 10 class in the early signing period, and head coach Jim Harbaugh couldn’t be happier. Harbaugh called the day “really enjoyable” starting at 7 a.m., and he witnessed several signings via Zoom throughout the day.
“It’s a big day. Just so many stories, so many things … you get to know the moms, dads, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles,” he told former U-M All-American Jon Jansen on his In The Trenches podcast. “Many of these youngsters you’ve known for years, at least a year or two, and some for four years.”
He got to know four-star receiver Andrel Anthony when he was only 12 or 13 at his youth camp and offered four-star offensive lineman Raheem Anderson as a freshman. The duo was part of a 20-man haul in the early signing period hailing from 10 different states.
“Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Florida, California, Tennessee, Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts. I think that was all,” Harbaugh said. “Guys that want to ball on the field and book in the classroom … that’s the kind of youngster we’re looking for here at the University of Michigan.
“Michigan is pretty well known across the country. The best of the best in our opinion that want that model chose Michigan today.”
Harbaugh’s comments on the class, starting on offense:
“J.J., it’s two years or so that he’s been committed to Michigan … I’ve got to term him as a real leader. Every single guy in the class … I often ask them who is your favorite player in the class, and J.J.’s name is always mentioned 1, 2 or 3. He’s done a tremendous job connecting with the class and been a real leader.
“He’s a playmaker. He’s a very exciting player. A competitor. The first thing I really liked about him was his sophomore year he played in the state championship game and had a broken bone in his left hand. He’s a hockey player … I thought, well, here’s a tough kid. He won a lot of games, was really good at 11-on-11 football. Then he just kept growing as a player. He’s very athletic, throws it extremely well. He just plays with a lot of energy.”
“Andrel Anthony, as I said, I first met him my first year here at Michigan doing a youth camp. I can pull it up on the phone, his picture. I still have it. He’s also a great competitor. I loved watching him play basketball and seeing him develop from a young kid to a tremendous, tremendous football player. He’s got great length and catch radius.
“He’s definitely one of my favorites if not my very favorite … just the connection, the friendship. He’s a tremendous, tremendous player. He lights up the room to me with his enthusiasm for other people. You see the smile and the energy, whether on the basketball court or the football field. You really see the energy, the enthusiasm and the athletic ability just pops. He was also somebody we saw in camp multiple times. I’ve known him for a very long time. He’s got a high school record of 1,971 receiving yards.
“He’s as close to a finished receiver in high school that you can be. He has a tremendous football background, as well, at East Lansing … I like everything bout Andrel Anthony.”
“They are both like Andrel, these are all really finished … I’d never say finished product of somebody as a high school football player, but as close to that as you can be. I think they are really going to thrive here at Michigan.
“Cristian Dixon is another tall, rangy, big catch radius guy, 25 catches, 611 yards, six touchdowns as a junior, an ESPN top 150 type of player. He’s a really good guy and the level of competition he played at in high school is arguably the best in the entire country. I’m super excited bout Christian.
“Xavier is also the same type of player. He is explosive, a lot of yards per catch, nearly 1,000 yards as a junior but also wasn’t able to play this fall out in California, but caught 55 balls, 992 yards, a top 100 player. He’s a very, very dynamic football player.”
“He’ll be really good. He’s a big, probably around 6-5 tight end, about 240 pounds already and not even shaving every day. He probably shaves once a week, still has some growing to do and filling out to do. He’s a top five rated tight end in the country.
“Another rare thing about him — he’s one of those four-year starters in high school. You don’t see that very often where a youngster can start for four years in high school. His senior season was canceled, but Lou Hansen is going to fit really nicely into the room because he’s the type of tight end prospect who can be an inline blocker but also can stretch the field. He has a big catch radius but can also go up and get the ball in traffic.
“He’s a tough kid. We’re excited to have him. That’s a very important position in our offense.”
“Competitive, competitive, competitive. That’s who [Donovan] is. [Coach] Ron Bellamy, that’s a trademark of all the guys he coaches. You talk about rushing yards … he’s over 1,000 yards rushing, 17 touchdowns, had a game where he scored six touchdowns before the half at some point.
“He comes from a highly successful, winning program. They were district champs before the season suspended. That kind of real mentality about Donovan, that he’s a worker … he just is. He wants to get in the weight room, wants to train, wants to run, wants to practice. He’s a real example. You and I both played and have been around guys that are like that. If somebody is sitting on the fence, all you’ve got to do is watch Donovan Edwards and watch how he’s approaching things.
“Tavierre is another very competitive, explosive running back. Really, really athletic. He very much reminds me of Hassan Haskins; a tough, tough type of runner but also has breakaway type of speed. He’s a top 15 running back in the country if you go by the ratings. Another really good state for football down in Texas, well documented. Just an outstanding football player and a really good student.
“Two tremendous running backs for our program. Also, as a senior, Tavierre rushed for 100 yards plus in eight of nine games, had 128 carries for 1,328 yards, and the thing that pops there the most is a 10.3 avg. and he also scored 20 touchdowns. He can catch, too, 20 receptions for over 200 yards and three touchdowns catching ball his junior year.
“He’s gotten it done on the field. I’m super excited to have him and Donovan. I think they’ll do huge things for our offense.”
“They’re tough guys, I would say that. They both really like football, played on both sides of the ball, too. I can remember watching them play offense and flip over to defense, and they looked pretty good on that side of the ball, too.
“They’re tough guys, have got all the size and stature, athleticism you want from a young offensive lineman, and they both love Michigan a lot. It’s really personal to them that Michigan be good.”
“They are two different players. One is the prototypal tackle, Bounds … long, athletic, basketball payer who had his senior season canceled this year due to COVID, but another guy that likes the weight room a lot and trains. Just picture that basketball playing type of long, athletic tackle.
“Greg has been playing down at IMG. They were the national champions this year. He didn’t allow a sack as junior or senior, a two-year captain at IMG. He’s very smart. He’s going to be a center most likely and directing the run game, directing protections. He’s very capable of doing that and been doing it at a high level in high school.”
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