Allen Trieu ranks top Michigan recruits

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
Aubrey Solomon

Allen Trieu, Midwest recruiting manager for Scout.com, ranks the top players in Michigan’s 2017 recruiting class.

1. Aubrey Solomon, DT, Leesburg (Ga.) Lee County

An explosive defensive tackle, Solomon is the nation’s No. 11 overall prospect and without a doubt, a kid with the ability to compete for time early. His first step is among the best in the country and he still has technical work to do, which is scary given his dominance as a senior and during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

2. Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Detroit Cass Tech

The state of Michigan’s top recruit and the No. 1 receiver in the country, Peoples-Jones combines size (6-foot-2), speed (4.42 in the 40) and leaping ability (42.4-inch vertical), plus he came up with clutch catches during Cass Tech’s state championship run. With Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson graduating and Peoples-Jones enrolling early, expect to see him out there as a true freshman for Michigan.

3. Ambry Thomas, CB, Detroit King

Athletic, but also competitive, Thomas is a long-armed cover corner who can catch the ball like a receiver and is likely to score if he gets his hands on the football. Another early-enrollee, he figures to be heavily in the mix for the cornerback spots vacated by Jourdan Lewis and Channing Stribling.

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4. Tarik Black, WR, Cheshire (Conn.) Academy

Peoples-Jones drew a lot of headlines, but Black, who happens to be his roommate, is another early-enrollee who ranked as one of the nation’s best receivers. He’s 6-foot-3, 208 pounds and smooth, and Black and Peoples-Jones may remind Michigan fans of the year they signed David Terrell and Marquise Walker in the same class.

5. Drew Singleton, OLB, Paramus (N.J.) Catholic

From the same school that brought Michigan Rashan Gary and Jabrill Peppers, Singleton has long been a top national recruit. A speedy, instinctive linebacker, Singleton injured his ACL as a senior, so seeing him this fall is not a guarantee, but him eventually making an impact is a good bet.

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6. Cesar Ruiz, C, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy

Of all the Michigan commits, Ruiz may have had the best all-star season, dominating practices for the Under Armour All-American Game. A true center, his strength and technique, along with his early-enrollee status, have some believing he could start in the middle this season, freeing the Wolverines up to move other pieces of the offensive line around.

7. Luiji Vilain, DE, Alexandria (Va.) Episcopal

If it was not Ruiz who had the best week of practice at the Under Armour game, it was Vilain, whose athleticism as a pass rusher gave offensive tackles a tough time. A fluid athlete, expect Don Brown to find ways to get him matched up in favorable one-on-one situations.

8. Dylan McCaffrey, QB, Highlands Ranch (Colo.) Valor Christian

The son of former NFL receiver Ed McCaffrey and brother of ex-Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, Dylan is a 6-foot-5 quarterback with a history of winning at the high school level. Competitive, smart and accurate, he stands to gain strength when he gets to Ann Arbor and there is little doubt he is going to be prepared to play when his time comes because of his intangibles.

9. Chuck Filiaga, OT, Aledo (Texas)

Filiaga was an important get for Michigan. Offensive tackle was a need, and after losing Isaiah Wilson, Filiaga’s commitment was just what the Wolverines needed. He’s 6-foot-6 and 330 pounds with the ability to move his feet at that size, and the thought is that he will be able to compete for the left tackle spot, which will be an important battle for the Wolverines this offseason.

10. Jordan Anthony, OLB, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy

A fast, athletic outside backer, Anthony can change direction and move with the best of them, and chose the Wolverines over offers from Auburn, Clemson, Maryland, Kentucky, Nebraska, Penn State and more.

11. Nico Collins, WR, Clay-Chalkville (Ala.)

A long 6-foot-5 prospect with sure hands and ability to use that frame to create mismatches, Collins has drawn some comparisons to Adrian Arrington. He had Alabama come in on him during the fall and Georgia recruited him hard, so it was a good job by Michigan to get him committed and signed.

12. Josh Ross, ILB, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s

Ben Gedeon graduates and Ross may be the guy to fill that MIKE linebacker spot. He played four years of varsity for St. Mary’s, and his size (6-2, 230 pounds) and athleticism make him stand out, along with the love for contact his brother James Ross showed when he played at Michigan.


Recruits: 30

States represented: 15

Top states: Michigan (8), Connecticut (3), multiple with two

Ratings: 5-star (2), 4-star (21), 3-star (7)

Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.