Michigan football recruiting: Wolverines hosting elite athletes for Notre Dame game

Gregory Shamus

Brady Hoke's staff continues to reel in talent from all over the country.

The Michigan Wolverines always seem to hit the recruiting trail hard, and that has been the case once again with the 2014 class.

With a total of 16 players now committed, including one five-star prospect and seven four-star prospects, 24/7 Sports' composite team rankings has the Wolverines' class ranked No. 8 nationally. That's good for second-best in the Big Ten conference behind only the Ohio State Buckeyes, who are now ranked second overall. The rest of the conference isn't doing as well; the next two Big Ten schools in the rankings are Michigan State and Penn State at No. 29 and No. 30, respectively. There's still plenty of time to make up ground with uncommitted recruits, though the Wolverines and Buckeyes clearly hold the early edge.

Top Wolverines

The Michigan coaching staff primarily loaded up on their current class during the spring months, though a handful of commitments during the past month have moved them up the leaderboard. Michael Ferns, a four-star inside linebacker out of Ohio, gave him pledge on Aug. 8. At 6'3 and 238 pounds, Ferns should see plenty of early playing time, especially on the special teams unit. Jared Wangler, a three-star safety who currently plays right down the road in Warren, Michigan, committed a day after Ferns did. Noah Furbush gave his pledge to the staff in early July. A three-star linebacker who has a reputation of being a big hitter in open space, he could be an under-the-radar prospect to keep an eye on the next few years.

Michigan's class is headlined by consensus top-10 athlete Jabrill Peppers. Ranked by 24/7 Sports as the third-best player of the 2014 class, Peppers is a physical specimen who could play running back or safety at the next level. Fringe five-star wide receiver Drake Harris out of Grand Rapids is another elite prospect for the Wolverines. At 6'4 and 180 pounds, Harris has the size and speed to make an instant impact in the Big Ten next season. Mason Cole, a four-star guard, will leave his home state of Florida for Ann Arbor. Pulling a recruit out of SEC country is never easy, but the Wolverines were able to pull it off.

On the defensive side of the ball, four-star defensive tackle Bryan Mone is Michigan's top-ranked recruit. He is regarded as the fifth-best player at his position by 24/7 Sports, and at 6'4 and 338 pounds, Mone has the strength to blast through the offensive line and stop the run with ease.

Visitors for the Notre Dame game

The weather should be fantastic Saturday, and Michigan has smartly invited a lot of top prospects to take in a game in which the Wolverines are favored over a major program.

In addition to Settle and Burrell, the Wolverines are also expecting 2014 five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand, of Virginia, and four-star defensive tackle Malik McDowell, of Detroit.

Michigan is in decent shape for hand, and in tremendous shape for McDowell.

And some members of the class of 2016 will attend, as well.

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