Signing of the Stars Brings U-M Highest-Rated Class in Modern Era

Feb. 1, 2017

Signing Day Central

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- A pair of five-star athletes and eight top-ranked players in their respective states led a class of 29 student-athletes who signed National Letters of Intent to join the University of Michigan football program on Wednesday (Feb. 1). The Wolverines' 2017 signing class is projected by 247's composite national recruiting service to finish the signing period as the No. 5-ranked signing day class once all rankings are finalized later Wednesday, and the unit is almost unanimously recognized as a top-five class.

According to 247Sports, which uses a composite ranking system compiling measurements from the top recruiting services, this unit ranks as Michigan's highest-rated class in the modern recruiting services era (since 2000) with respect to total points. Overall, the class features an average player rating of .9155, the highest average in modern U-M history.

The announcements for many of the Class of 2017 signees were made during the "Signing of the Stars" event at Crisler Center, a celebration of these future Wolverines to benefit the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS). Harbaugh and a variety of sports figures central to the Michigan Athletics community introduced the student-athletes who signed NLIs to attend U-M and don the winged helmet this fall.

This year's class includes 11 early enrollees already attending classes at the University of Michigan: wide receiver Tarik Black, offensive lineman Ja'Raymond Hall, defensive tackle Donovan Jeter, defensive back Jaylen Kelly-Powell, defensive end Corey Malone-Hatcher, linebacker Ben Mason, wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz, and defensive backs Benjamin St-Juste, J'Marick Woods and Ambry Thomas.

Michigan added a pair of 247Sports five-star prospects today: Peoples-Jones and Solomon, and U-M signed a total of 19 four-star prospects according to 247Sports Composite rankings, adding eight three-star athletes as well.

Peoples-Jones, hailed as the top wide receiver by two of three lead recruiting services, and Solomon, a consensus top defensive lineman among the nation's best players overall, are the five-star athletes headlining a group of 18 total Wolverines listed among the ESPN300.

Note: Brad Robbins, a punter from Westerville, Ohio, joined the group when he signed his NLI Feb. 6.

2017 Michigan Football Signees
As of 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 6
* Enrolled at Michigan in January
Click on player name for bio

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (High School) Coach
Jordan Anthony LB 6-0 235 Silver Spring, Md. (IMG Academy, Fla.) Kevin Wright
Tarik Black* WR 6-4 206 Hamden, Conn. (Cheshire Academy) David Dykeman
Nico Collins WR 6-4 201 Birmingham, Ala. (Clay-Chalkville) Jerry Hood
Chuck Filiaga OL 6-6 340 Aledo, Texas (Aledo) Steve Wood
Ja'Raymond Hall* OL 6-5 272 Detroit, Mich. (Oak Park) Greg Carter
Brad Hawkins WR 6-2 205 Camden, N.J. (Suffield Academy, Conn.) Drew Gamere
Joel Honigford OL 6-6 273 Sugarcreek, Ohio (Garaway) Jason Wallick
James Hudson DE 6-5 294 Toledo, Ohio (Central Catholic) Greg Dempsey
Deron Irving-Bey DE 6-5 271 Flint, Mich. (Southwestern Academy) Chane Clingman
Donovan Jeter* DT 6-3 260 Beaver Falls, Pa. (Beaver Falls) Ryan Matsook
Jaylen Kelly-Powell* DB 6-0 175 Detroit, Mich. (Cass Technical) Thomas Wilcher
Corey Malone-Hatcher* DE 6-3 245 St. Joseph, Mich. (St. Joseph) Gandalf Church
Oliver Martin WR 6-1 189 Coralville, Iowa (West Senior) Garrett Hartwig
Ben Mason* LB 6-3 247 Newtown, Conn. (Newtown) Steve George
Dylan McCaffrey QB 6-5 197 Castle Rock, Colo. (Valor Christian) Rod Sherman
Phillip Paea DL 6-4 280 Berrien Spring, Mich. (Berrien Springs) Bill Bergan
Kwity Paye DE 6-4 234 Providence, R.I. (Bishop Hendricken) Keith Croft
Donovan Peoples-Jones* WR 6-2 190 Southfield, Mich. (Cass Technical) Thomas Wilcher
Brad Robbins P 6-2 180 Westerville, Ohio (Westerville South) Kyle Stout
Josh Ross LB 6-2 221 Southfield, Mich. (St. Mary's Preparatory) George Porritt
Cesar Ruiz* OL 6-4 336 Camden, N.J. (IMG Academy, Fla.) Kevin Wright
Benjamin St-Juste* DB 6-3 188 Rosemere, Quebec (Cegep du Vieux Montreal) Cherif Nicolas
O'Maury Samuels RB 5-10 192 Los Lunas, N.M. (Los Lunas) Terrell Trantham
Drew Singleton LB 6-2 213 Union, N.J. (Paramus Catholic) Dan Sabella
Aubrey Solomon DL 6-3 305 Leesburg, Ga. (Lee County) Dean Fabrizio
Andrew Stueber OL 6-7 290 Darien, Conn. (Darien) Rob Trifone
Kurt Taylor RB 5-8 197 Covington, Ga. (Grayson) Jeff Herron
Ambry Thomas* DB 6-0 170 Detroit, Mich. (Martin Luther King) Tyrone Spencer
Luiji Vilain DE 6-4 238 Ottawa, Ontario (Episcopal, Virginia) Panos Voulgaris
J'Marick Woods* DB 6-3 205 Florence, Ala. (Florence) Jason Wallace


• This year's class ranks as Michigan's best in the modern recruiting services era (since 2000), with the highest point total of any U-M signing class in that time span. The average athlete rating of .9155 on a 1.000-point scale also ranks as the best for Michigan in the modern recruiting services era.

• The 21 four- or five-star athletes who are part of this year's class rank second only to Alabama's 24.

• Nationally recognized athletes include six U.S. Army All-American Game Participants (Black, Martin, McCaffrey, Peoples-Jones, Solomon, Thomas), five Under Armour All-Americans (Kelly-Powell, Peoples-Jones, Ruiz, Singleton, Villain) and one Semper Fidelis All-American (Hawkins).

• The class includes four Gatorade Players of the Year in their home states: Ben Mason (Connecticut), Oliver Martin (Iowa), Dylan McCaffrey (Colorado) and Donovan Peoples-Jones (Michigan).

• The Wolverines will also add four other athletes who are ranked No. 1 or among the top-ranked players in their respective states: Aubrey Solomon (Georgia), O'Maury Samuels (New Mexico), Drew Singleton (New Jersey) and Kwity Paye (Rhode Island).

• The offensive breakdown by position includes: quarterback (1), wide receiver (5), running back (2), offensive line (4) and punter (1).

• The defensive breakdown by position includes: defensive line (10), defensive back (4) and linebacker (4).

• This year's class of signees represent 13 different states, plus Canada: Alabama (2), Canada (2), Connecticut (3), Colorado (1), Georgia (2), Iowa (1), Maryland (1), Michigan (8), New Jersey (3), New Mexico (1), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (1), Rhode Island (1) and Texas (1).

Communications Contact: Dave Ablauf, Chad Shepard

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