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Ranked No. 41, where is Michigan’s championship bump? Wolverines lead top football recruiting storylines

College football diehards have had the upcoming May 31-June 2 weekend circled on their calendars for a while now. School is out, summer is here, and that means an extremely busy months of visits is about to kick off. And visits mean commitments. 

To lock into the top storylines in the Class of 2025 — and to further preview what’s going to be a great weekend — 247Sports Director of Scouting Andrew Ivins and national analyst Tom Loy break down a five-pack of storylines that appeal to a national audience.

Let’s start with the champs. 

When does Michigan’s get its championship bump? 

Heading into the weekend, Michigan ranks No. 41  in the 247Sports Composite Team Rankings. That makes it twelfth in the new-look Big Ten and behind NorthwesternRutgers, and Indiana.

A slight drop-off was expected for the defending national champions after Jim Harbaugh left for the NFL, but one of the main reasons why Sherrone Moore was tabbed as Harbaugh’s replacement was to keep some continuity in Ann Arbor.

To be fair, the Wolverines have always been a player developmental program that constantly proves our rankings to be wrong as they turn three-star recruits into NFL Draft picks like few others, but shouldn’t more blue-chip prospects be jumping in the boat for the maize and blue?

Year National Champion Recruiting Rank Next Cycle Blue Chip Recruits
2013 Florida State 3rd 14
2014 Ohio State 4th 18
2015 Alabama 1st 24
2016 Clemson 7th 12
2017 Alabama 1st 26
2018 Clemson 3rd 19
2019 LSU 3rd 18
2020 Alabama 2nd 24
2021 Georgia 2nd 22
2022 Georgia 1st 24
2023 Michigan 41st 5*

*Five commits in Class of 2025 as of May 31, 2024

A quick glance at this weekend’s visitors list for Michigan suggests that some of the nation’s best are at least open to the idea. The Wolverines will welcome five-star wide receiver Derek Meadows to campus along with a battering ram of a safety in Kainoa Winston and a space-eating nose tackle in DJ Sanders. Moore will also get a chance to entertain one of the top offensive linemen west of the Mississippi in Douglas Utu. Michigan might not lead for any of those four prospects at the moment, but the Wolverines are going to have a chance to change the narrative in each recruitment.

Tom’s take on the Wolverines: This could be a weekend that results in a big payoff for Michigan recruiting down the road, but there is absolutely a possibility they whiff with the five expected visitors headed to campus. My intel suggests that the Wolverines do not lead outright for any of the five, but there is potential for change. I went more in-depth on that for subscribers on TheMichiganInsider.com. 

Alabama could solve looming QB issue

Kalen DeBoer has had to learn on the fly since taking over for Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa. Plenty of work remains as he prepares for his inaugural season at Alabama, but one long-term roster question that hasn’t been discussed much on a national level is, what is the Crimson Tide’s plan next season at quarterback after Jalen Milroe departs?

Remember five-star quarterback signee Julian Sayin transferred to Ohio State just a few weeks after DeBoer was hired. DeBoer did bring a budding signal caller with him to Alabama in Washington transfer Austin Mack, but the Crimson Tide and DeBoer’s new-look staff have yet to secure a commitment from a high school quarterback.

That’s where SMU commit Keelon Russell enters the mix. Some might laugh at the idea of the almighty Alabama trying to steal a player from the Mustangs (who, by the way, move to the ACC this year), but Russell is an elite playmaker for the position that has proven to be an extremely efficient passer. Over the past two years, Russell has posted a 29-1 record and led Duncanville to back-to-back Texas 6A D-1 titles. More notably, his 69.6 career completion percentage ranks best among the quarterbacks inside the Top247.

Ole Miss, Florida, and Oregon have all tried to get involved with Russell, but it’s Alabama that will get the first crack at him this weekend as he spearheads a loaded list of official visitors

Tom’s take on the Crimson Tide: I’m very close to putting in a 247Sports Crystal Ball for the Crimson Tide to land the No. 39 overall player in the country. Russell may be committed to SMU, but Alabama has more than grabbed his attention. The prior success DeBoer and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Nick Sheridan have had with quarterbacks and the incredible tradition of everything Alabama stands for are clearly hitting home with Russell. 

A make-or-break weekend for Clemson

We all know Dabo Swinney doesn’t believe in the transfer portal. That’s in turn what makes this upcoming weekend a make-or-break one for Clemson, which is also a bit ironic because it wasn’t too long ago that Swinney was opposed to conducting summer official visits.

The Tigers are set to entertain close to 30 prospects over the next few days for what will all but surely be the program’s lone official visit weekend before July’s dead period. The group includes more than a dozen prospects ranked in the Top247. Clemson is already off to an impressive start to the 2025 cycle with a class that ranks No. 1 in the ACC, but history shows that if the Tigers can’t lock up some of their priority targets in the immediate future, then a slide in the rankings will be hard to overcome as the staff pivots to second-tier options.

Headlining the platoon of visitors is five-star offensive tackle David Sanders. Former Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke, who now coaches Clemson’s offensive line, has done an excellent job of getting the Tigers a seat at the table with the nation’s No. 1 tackle, but any traction Clemson gained a few months ago appears to have faded as off-field negotiations ramp up. Can Swinney and the Tigers flip the script and get Sanders to go all in on Clemson?

Other notable names set to meet with the Tigers include cornerback Graceson Littleton (June 3), offensive lineman Mario Nash Jr., and wide receiver Cortez Mills. Littleton is a height/weight/speed cornerback who has seen his stock explode in recent months while Nash is an athletic trench bully that could play three or four spots up front. Mills is a technical route runner out of Miami-Dade and the type of talent that Clemson has had plenty of success with over the years.

Tom’s take on the Tigers: Clemson has nearly 30 prospects on campus this weekend, and the staff is more than ready to add to the 2025 commit list. All eyes are on Sanders. Clemson prefers to land commitments early and have them shut down their process at that time. They aren’t into the “make a silent commit then take visits” mantra that other prospects like to follow. My 247Sports Crystal Ball has been on the Tigers for a while, but Ohio State, Tennessee, and others have made this much more interesting than it was months ago. 247Sports’ Anna Adams, who covers the Carolinas, really likes Tennessee for Sanders. 

Exclusively for subscribers, I detailed other recruitments for the Tigers over at Clemson247

Georgia in position to flex its muscle

To little surprise, it will be a star-studded affair at Georgia this weekend, and there’s heavy emphasis on the point of attack. A trio of five-star pass-rushers will be on hand in Zayden Walker, Justus Terry, and Isaiah Gibson along with a pair of mammoth offensive tackles in Juan Gaston and Nick Brooks, who’s coming in from Iowa. 

The buzz coming out of Athens is that Kirby Smart wants Walker and wants Walker badly, which isn’t surprising as he’s a front-seven defender that can do a little bit of everything while playing a violent brand of football. Walker is obviously going to get the red carpet treatment, but Terry and Gibson’s recruitments could shed a little more light on the current stage of college football. Both reside in the Peach State and both were viewed behind the scenes as UGA leans before they made surprising commitments to USC back in March.

As for Gaston and Brooks, they would somehow make Georgia’s o-line room even bigger. Last year, the Bulldogs signed six offensive linemen. All six were north of 6-foot-5, and the group averaged 345 pounds a pop. Both Gaston and Brooks are listed at 6-foot-7, 345 pounds, and the in-person evaluations suggest that those numbers aren’t far off. Good luck to the chefs inside UGA’s football facility if Gaston or Brooks end up at Georgia.

Tom’s take on the Bulldogs: The visitor list in Athens this weekend is absolutely loaded and it’s only a matter of time, obviously, before Georgia climbs up from its current perch of No. 14 overall in the rankings. Of 15 total prospects headed to Athens, multiple are five-stars. My eyes are on whether Georgia can flip USC’s two five-star defensive line commits in Justus Terry (Manchester, Ga.) and Isaiah Gibson (Warner Robins, Ga.). The staff is hoping to have them second-guessing their early commitments to the Trojans. And the ‘Dawgs are pretty good at getting what they want on the recruiting trail.

For subscribers at Dawgs247, I went more in-depth on how I see Georgia’s visits weekend shaking out. 

UCF looking to ride momentum — and grab a QB

UCF signed its highest-ranked recruiting class ever last cycle, and it followed it up with some splashy additions during both the winter and spring transfer portal windows. Year 1 in the Big 12 might have been a rough one when it came to the wins and losses for the Knights, who went 6-7, but this weekend’s visitors list suggests that Gus Malzahn is trying to build a winner, and he’s taking advantage of what Orlando has to offer by showing off attractions like I-Drive and Universal Studios.

Two of the expected 24 official visitors for UCF instantly jump out in four-star quarterbacks Malik Washington and Kamario Taylor, who is committed to Mississippi State. Both are dynamic athletes who punched their tickets to next month’s Elite 11 Finals after flashing enough arm talent on the offseason camp circuit. High-profile quarterbacks usually come with a hefty price tag in the NIL era, but it should be noted that UCF has a powerful collective and over 350,000 alumni in the surrounding area. Both Washington and Taylor also fit what Malzahn wants to do on offense with their dual-threat capabilities.

Tom’s take on the Knights: Calling this a huge weekend for the UCF staff might be an understatement. The list of visitors is outstanding, and the staff is working hard to make sure a few of these prospects eventually call Orlando home. UCF will do all they can to make a move Kamario Taylor, but it won’t be easy. He’s committed to Mississippi State, and the Bulldogs are going to be tough to beat. However, there is another quarterback on campus in Severn (Md.) Archbishop Spalding’s Malik Washington. The Top 247 talent has seen his stock rise in a big, big way this offseason, and UCF would love to pull him from the DMV.


247Sports is the industry leader in college football recruiting coverage at both the national and local level. For real-time updates, breaking news and analysis, join today to read more insights from experts like Tom Loy

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