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Big Ten Football: A Look Back at Jim Harbaugh's First Recruiting Class in 2015
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10 Feb 2019 01:25 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Michigan Wolverines tight end Zach Gentry. (Image Source: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

With the national signing period for the Class of 2019 officially complete, it’s the appropriate time to look back at Jim Harbaugh’s first four signing classes, starting with 2015:

ATH Brian Cole (247 Composite Ranking: 72): He transferred after one season and just one reception. Cole spent a year at East Mississippi C.C. before he landed at Mississippi State, where he recorded 11 tackles, three TFLs, and an INT as a safety.

QB Zach Gentry (247 Composite Ranking: 174): The 6’7” former passer found a home at tight end. He averaged an impressive 17.8 yards per catch average as a sophomore and 16.1 YPC last season, which led him to declare for the NFL Draft.

S Tyree Kinnel (247 Composite Ranking: 189): In his last two seasons, Kinnel finished with 142 tackles, nine pass breakups, and two interceptions from his free safety position. The Ohio native was a key cog to one of the nation’s best defenses.

OT Grant Newsome (247 Composite Ranking: 217): As a sophomore, Newsome showed great promise early on, however he dislocated his knee and nearly lost his leg. There was hope he could return for 2018 but Newsome was forced to retire.

QB Alex Malzone (247 Composite Ranking: 299): Despite injuries and issues at quarterback in 2017, Malzone was never in the mix. He transferred to Miami (Ohio) where he attempted just four passes in three games in a backup role in 2018.

TE Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. (247 Composite Ranking: 312): After three seasons in Ann Arbor where Wheatley, Jr. was primarily a blocker, he transferred to Stony Brook. In 11 games, including eight starts, he caught six passes for 36 yards.

DE Shelton Johnson (247 Composite Ranking: 359): Gone before the start of the 2017 season, Johnson did not see any action in his first two seasons in Ann Arbor. The only time he made news was when he was suspended in 2016.

RB Karan Higdon (247 Composite Ranking: 484): The best player in this class, Higdon led the Wolverines in rushing with 1,178 rushing yards including eight 100-yard games to give him 2,616 yards in his career. A true three-star gem.

DE Reuben Jones (247 Composite Ranking: 786): After sitting out 2015, Jones has played in 14 games over the past three seasons. Jones recorded five tackles, including a tackle for loss this past season. He’s entered the transfer portal.

WR Grant Perry (247 Composite Ranking: 879): After he showed flashes as a true freshman in 2015 Perry leveled off. The slot receiver caught 45 passes in the past two seasons but averaged just 7.3 yards per catch as a senior.

ATH Keith Washington (247 Composite Ranking: 966): After he was switched from cornerback to safety, he announced he would transfer. Washington earned All-Big 12 honorable mention as a cornerback for West Virginia with three INTs.

OT Jon Runyan, Jr. (247 Composite Ranking: NA): The most-improved player in this class, Runyan, Jr. went from being a non-descript backup to a key piece of the O-line at left tackle, as he was named first team All-Big Ten by the coaches

OT Nolan Ulizio (247 Composite Ranking: NA): After starting the first five games in 2017, Ulizio was benched. His role this past season was much diminished so his transfer wasn’t a surprise. Ulizio will finish his college career at Pittsburgh.

K Andrew David (247 Composite Ranking: NA): After one season, David transferred to TCU, where he became a punter. David averaged 42.8 yards on six punts for the Horned Frogs in 2017, but only 37.03 on 29 punts in 2018.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email:                        

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