Michigan pursued Missouri City (Tex.) Ridge Point tight end Mustapha Muhammad for nearly two years before he made his commitment to the Wolverines public last Friday. The 6-foot-4, 231-pound senior already had made his intentions known to the coaches in the spring.
Muhammad played varsity basketball at Ridge Point as a freshman, and there was buzz he could be a high-level basketball recruit. Once he played heavy minutes on the varsity football team as a sophomore, however, the basketball talk began to dissipate as it became clear he was a considerable talent on the gridiron.
Toward the end of that sophomore season, in which he caught 19 passes for 321 yards and five touchdowns, Muhammad’s coaches sent out his film. Houston quickly offered and several schools, including Texas A&M, would follow before the end of that fall.
He visited A&M that November. It appeared at that early juncture it may be an in-state battle for Muhammad between the Aggies and the Texas Longhorns. Muhammad’s mother went to Texas and he grew up a fan of the Longhorns.
Michigan made contact that winter. Current running-backs coach Jay Harbaugh was the tight ends coach at that time and served as the point man in Muhammad’s recruitment. Following his conversations with Harbaugh, Muhammad set up a visit to Michigan for the 2016 spring game with his father. He returned in June for one of Michigan’s camps with his mother.
Harbaugh made it clear to Muhammad he was Michigan’s top target at the position. After visiting schools around the country, including as far west as UCLA and as far south as Miami, Florida State and Florida, Michigan continued to be the standout school for him.
Initially, Muhammad wanted to silently commit to the coaching staff and wait to make his announcement in February on National Signing Day. He said the hectic nature of recruiting was a big reason he moved the announcement up.
“(Michigan) is just a really great fit for not only me, but my family as well,” he said. “It’s a place where I’m really comfortable and have a really good relationship with the coaches. The business school is a place where I can see myself thriving and earning my Master’s in business administration. There are many other reasons as well. I’m comfortable with Coach Frey, Coach Partridge, and Coach Pep Hamilton, and all the other coaches. They have a lot of pro experience and that definitely helps with my dreams of making it to the NFL.”
Muhammad is ranked as a top-five tight end in the country on the 247Sports Composite.
His combination of size and athleticism is expected to create mismatches for a Wolverine offense which features the tight end. That potential for targets and emphasis within the scheme was another deciding factor for Muhammad.
“It’s rare that you see a guy from down here with all the regional offers like Texas, Texas A&M, LSU, Oklahoma, go north,” Scout’s Midlands analyst Greg Powers said. “But he was a long-time Michigan lean. I think he fits that scheme really well.
“He’s a guy who can be an inline guy or flex out wide, so he’s very versatile. He’s one of the highest rated tight ends that I’ve covered.”
Muhammad is Michigan’s 15th commitment for the 2018 class. He is the second tight end in the class, joining Connecticut native Luke Schoonmaker. He also is Michigan’s third commitment in the class from the state of Texas.
FIVE-STAR DE SET TO VISIT UM
According to The Michigan Insider’s Brice Marich, Michigan will have five-star defensive end commit Chris Hinton on campus Saturday for the Wolverines’ home game against Rutgers.
Hinton, a junior at Greater Atlanta Christian, is a top-five prospect in the country.
He will be joined by his younger brother, Myles Hinton, a 6-6, 325-pound sophomore offensive tackle whom the Wolverines have offered. Michigan leads for Hinton on the 247Sports Crystal Ball.
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.