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Big Ten Football: Michigan Wolverines 2017 Class Key to Turn Around on Offense
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12 Feb 2018 02:01 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Michigan Wolverines wide out Donovan Peoples-Jones returns punt. (Image Source: Leon Halip/Getty Images)

We continue to look back at Jim Harbaugh’s recruiting classes at Michigan with the heralded 2017 group. With 30 players, Harbaugh’s third recruiting class is his biggest to date and will probably be the largest of his tenure. Of the 13 from the offensive side of the ball, seven were in the top 200 nationally and they will be critical to Michigan’s offensive improvement this upcoming season.

Links: 2015 Class | 2016 Offense2016 Defense |

WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (247 Composite Ranking: 12): Still raw, the uber-talented Peoples-Jones had flashes as a receiver and a punt returner. With better quarterback play DPJ will be a prime breakout candidate for 2018.

C Cesar Ruiz (247 Composite Ranking: 47): An injury opened the door for Ruiz to step into the starting lineup and he was up to the task. He started the final five games at right guard and is the favorite to take over at center as a sophomore. 

OT Chuck Filiaga (247 Composite Ranking: 112): He didn’t see any action as a true freshman but will be the highest-rated recruit that will be competing for playing time at offensive tackle where both spots are up for grabs.

WR Tarik Black (247 Composite Ranking: 116): With a strong start—11 catches for 149 yards through three games—it appeared Black might be Michigan’s most productive true freshman, however an injury ended his season prematurely.

QB Dylan McCaffrey (247 Composite Ranking: 123): Down on the depth chart, McCaffrey played well enough in practice to earn the 2017 Scout Team Player of the Year Award. Expected to compete for the backup role behind Shea Patterson.

WR Nico Collins (247 Composite Ranking: 138): Another big-bodied receiver saw his playing time increase when Brandon Peters took over at quarterback but an injury limited his opportunities down the stretch of the season.

WR Oliver Martin (247 Composite Ranking: 181): The only one of Michigan’s four big recruits at receiver who didn’t see any playing time in 2017. Don’t count out Martin this upcoming season as a potential slot receiver.

RB O’Maury Samuels (247 Composite Ranking: 269): Playing behind a three-headed backfield of established runners, Samuels only had eight carries as a true freshman and will be challenged to crack the rotation as a sophomore.

OT JaRaymond Hall (247 Composite Ranking: 301): The Detroit native sat out his freshman season and will never see a snap wearing the Maize and Blue. Hall decided to transfer to Central Michigan in the offseason.

OT Andrew Stueber (247 Composite Ranking: 365): As a true freshman, Stueber got in on special teams in the season opener, but sat out the rest of 2017. Among the many offensive tackles expected to be in the mix in 2018.

WR Brad Hawkins (247 Composite Ranking: 425): Originally part of the 2016 recruiting class, his arrival was pushed back by one year. Recruited as a wide out, Hawkins has switched to defense. He played eight games on special teams. 

OT Joel Honigford (247 Composite Ranking: 441): Another offensive tackle who redshirted his freshman season and hopes to compete for a role during his second year in Ann Arbor. More likely as a backup.

RB Kurt Taylor (247 Composite Ranking: 918): Harbaugh loves to dip into the state of Georgia and that’s where he found Taylor, who didn’t play as a true freshman. He faces an uphill battle to get any touches this upcoming season.

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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