ANN ARBOR, Mich. – It was a busy National Signing Day with plenty of highs and lows for Michigan football, and when the dust finally settled, the program had won four important battles and suffered a pair of major blows.
The day got off to a rough start, with four-star linebacker Branden Jennings and four-star defensive end Quintin Somerville signing with Maryland and UCLA, respectively, despite beginning the day committed to the Wolverines.
While neither move was a surprise, Michigan’s lack of depth at both linebacker and defensive line made the announcements even more painful. For a defense that struggled throughout 2020, Jennings and Somerville would have been welcomed additions.
But the bad news stopped there, as the biggest announcement of the day went in Michigan’s favor.
Four-star running back Donovan Edwards, of West Bloomfield High School, chose Michigan over Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio State and dozens of other offers. His commitment put Michigan back on track and set the tone for an evening of pleasant surprises.
Joining Edwards on the offensive side of the ball will be lightning-fast wide receiver Xavier Worthy, who seemed to be leaning toward flipping to Alabama over the last month.
When Michigan was in the midst of losing four out of five games this season, Worthy visited the Alabama campus to see the Crimson Tide beat up on Auburn in the Iron Bowl.
Not many recruiting battles with Alabama have gone Michigan’s way, so considering what was happening on the field, this one didn’t look promising, either.
But Worthy stuck with Michigan, and has now officially signed with the Wolverines.
The biggest surprise of the night came from linebacker Jaydon Hood, who was reportedly going to push his final decision back until the late signing period in February to consider all his options. That would not have been good news for Michigan, especially since a new defensive staff is likely to take over.
But he jumped on Twitter and announced he was not only sticking with Michigan, but putting pen to paper and making it official. That was a major victory for Jim Harbaugh, as he hands onto the dynamic freshman linebacker duo of Hood and Junior Colson.
Finally, three-star cornerback Ja’Den McBurrows went on Instagram Live and chose Michigan over hometown Miami. The Hurricanes made a strong push for McBurrows this month, and there were rumblings that he was likely to flip.
Miami went 8-2 this season while Michigan was floundering, so it was a relief for Michigan to hold onto him despite the on-field momentum working in Miami’s favor.
Not only does McBurrows play at a position of great need for Michigan, he also has an offer sheet that greatly outshines his star ranking. McBurrows had scholarship offers from Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Penn State, Florida State, Miami and many others.
To recap, Michigan’s 2021 class lost two four-stars in Jennings and Somerville, but made up ground by landing Edwards and holding onto Worthy, Hood and McBurrows.
There’s a major hole on the defensive line -- especially inside -- but overall, it’s hard not to consider Wednesday a win for the program, considering all the obstacles.