Just last week, Juwan Howard signed the top recruiting class in the Big Ten and eighth-best in the country. He’s aiming even higher for next year.
Michigan has reportedly offered scholarships to at least eight of the top 10 prospects in the 2021 class and several more inside the top-100.
Most 2021 prospects remain uncommitted. One, Detroit guard Pierre Brooks, will announce his college choice on Wednesday. Brooks, ranked No. 96 in the country, has Michigan among his final three.
Howard swung big with his inaugural class, and while he missed out on a couple of five-star talents, he still landed three top-100 players. It showed the first-year coach would be aggressive in pursuing the country’s elite prospects.
Howard has continued on that path for the 2021 class, though it’s worth noting some of these prospects received scholarship offers from Michigan in 2019.
Jonathan Kuminga, ranked No. 1 overall, is among them. The 6-foot-8 forward who grew up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and attends The Patrick School in New Jersey, listed Michigan among his top-10 in November. Last week he tweeted that a top-five was “coming soon.”
(The rankings above and below refer to the 247sports composite; 247sports also lists which players a school has offered, though those lists are not necessarily exhaustive. External reports are linked when applicable.)
Michigan has also offered a pair of 6-foot-9 forward: Wisconsin’s Patrick Baldwin, the third-ranked player for 2021, and Seattle’s Paolo Banchero, ranked fourth. Same with the No. 6 player, Jaden Hardy, a 6-foot-4 guard out of Nevada.
Many of these players have drawn interest from blue-blood programs such as Duke, Kansas, and Kentucky. In fact, one of the players Michigan had offered — A.J. Griffin, No. 7 in the class — has since committed to Duke.
While the top of the class is loaded with forwards and centers from all over the country, Michigan has offered a pair of in-state guards: the aforementioned Brooks and Farmington’s Jaden Akins, ranked No. 99.
The 6-foot-6 Brooks, a high-flyer with deep range, played for Douglass Academy. Along with the Wolverines, he is also considering Michigan State and Xavier. The Spartans have offered Akins as well.
At his introductory press conference in May, Howard was asked about his “recruiting priorities” in regards to the Michigan State rivalry.
“Got to give Coach (Tom) Izzo a lot of credit,” Howard said. “His program has done a fantastic job over the years. I have a lot of respect for Coach Izzo.
“From a recruiting aspect, I know there’s a lot of special talent located here in the state. Michigan has a lot of great, talented players at the high school level. I’m looking forward to going out there recruiting and seeing what we can do to help continue what Coach (John) Beilein and his staff has done throughout the years.”
In his first crack at recruiting, Howard fared well. He built on previous relationships and established new ones. He wasn’t afraid to wade into the deep waters — his very first offer went to a top-10 prospect. So far, he’s taken a similar approach for the future.
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