Michigan fans have grown used to seeing their future stars line up in All-America games. Last year alone, U-M signed four U.S. Army All-Americans and an eye-popping six Under Armour All-Americans. This year, the numbers are already even more staggering. Already seven future Wolverines have committed to play in the Under Armour game, and one will play in the Army game - and there are four more months until those games for more players to be added.
There is competition between the major all-star games, and each of them selects a full roster for two teams. The USA Today All-America selections released yesterday consists of just one first-team. And five Wolverines.
Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake offensive lineman Mason Cole, Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian wide receiver Drake Harris, St. Clairsville (Ohio) linebacker Michael Ferns, and Paramus (N.J.) Catholic cornerback Jabrill Peppers are the seniors honored. The only other school with more than a single pledge on the list is Virginia, whose five-star five-star duo of in-state pledges Quin Blanding and Andrew Brown made the list.
Even a junior pledge, Cole's East Lake teammate and possible future five star wide receiver George Campbell, was named among the top 24 players in the country. Campbell was one of just two juniors on the list, joining Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco quarterback Josh Rosen.
Adding to the haulIt doesn't end there for Michigan. Five uncommitted players with outstanding Michigan offers also made the list, including some who are still considering the Wolverines. Rosen, the junior Californian signal-caller, may be a longshot, but but is U-M's top quarterback target in the 2015 class.
Michigan has already reeled in the country's No. 2 player already in Peppers, but Nos. 1 and 3 - Woodbridge (Va.) defensive end Da'Shawn Hand and New Orleans St. Augustine running back Leonard Fournette, respectively - plan to take official visits to Ann Arbor this fall, and Michigan is considered the favorite for Hand.
If the Maize and Blue can reel just one of those players, the already-impresssive work Michigan's coaches have done on the recruiting trail will earn another boost to its reputation.
Making it countPre-season awards only count for so much. At the end of the day, the only thing that truly matters is proving it on the field. The U-M commits on the list have already done so during their early years of high school football, but the spotlight will be on them to step it up this season.
When 2013 ends, all of the selected players will be All-Americans still. Cole will play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and the rest will participate in the Under Armour All-America Game (aside from the juniors). They'll have their chance - after shot on the field during the regular season and against the best in the nation to prove their abilities.
This USA Today honor is just another brick on an growing pile of evidence that Michigan's program is strongly headed in the right direction.