Michigan received a commitment from five-star safety Daxton Hill on Tuesday night. The Tulsa (Okla.) Booker T. Washington senior announced his decision after taking an official visit to Ann Arbor over the weekend.
The Wolverines had long been rumored to be moving out front in the race, but Michigan fans have also become accustomed to those rumors not coming to fruition in other recruitments. Not in this case though, as Michigan’s staff closed it out in what feels like one of the best gets in the Jim Harbaugh era.
Here is the impact of Hill's pledge to the Wolverines:
► For all the five-stars and other All-Americans Michigan has gotten in recruiting in the last 10 years, elite safeties have seemed to largely elude them, save former fellow No. 1 safety prospect Jabrill Peppers. Hill gives the Wolverines a guy who can cover in the deep part of the secondary with his 4.3 speed and 43-inch vertical jump. He is also physical and can come closer to the line and play man to man on backs and tight ends. He even lines up wide as a cornerback at times on his junior tape.
As 247Sports Director of Recruiting Steve Wiltfong put it, “On Friday nights he's clearly moving at a different speed than his peers. He excels in coverage, breaking quickly when the ball is in his region and turns into a receiver when he can make a play. The change of direction quickness is off the charts.”
► In terms of past recruiting rankings, the safety position is one where the industry has seemed to hit on quite frequently. Former five-star safeties playing in the NFL include Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Landon Collins, Shaq Thompson, Sua Cravens, Vonn Bell, Jamal Adams and Derwin James. And several former five-stars who were ranked as cornerbacks or athletes like Peppers and Eric Berry are playing the position in the pros. Two other former five-star safeties, Matt Elam and Kenny Phillips, were first-round picks, but are no longer in the NFL.
► In terms of a pure recruiting win, this is up there in Michigan’s recent history. Rashan Gary and Peppers were ranked higher, but Michigan always appeared to be the front-runners, at least until Clemson made a very late play at Gary. With Hill, Michigan had to win the battle. This feels closer to an Aubrey Solomon recruitment where Michigan did not have a local advantage and rose from dark horse to real contender to leader.
► This is a feather in the cap of Sherrone Moore. Moore and Al Washington hit the ground running quickly in recruiting, something they both were known for doing well at their pre-Michigan stops, but this is a further indicator that Moore is going to be an extremely strong recruiter. Chris Partridge and the rest of the staff (along with the academic staff) certainly did their share of the lifting on Hill as well, but Moore, a native Oklahoman, deserves to take a bow on this one.
► Maybe it will help recruiting with the rest of the class. It certainly will not hurt. There is some myth among fans that because one five-star commits, more will begin falling out of the sky, but at the same time, momentum in recruiting is real and top players do tend to want to play with other top players. It is hard to imagine someone like five-star defensive end Zach Harrison, who has an extremely measured approach to recruiting, choosing Michigan just because another kid decided to go there. But the impact of this recruitment could create ripples that help the Wolverines close out in the 2019 class strong.
Four-star visitor this weekend
Another big-time safety is visiting Michigan. Lewis Cine from Cedar Hill (Texas) Trinity Christian will visit for Saturday’s game against Nebraska.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Cine is not far behind Hill, as he is ranked by the 247Sports Composite as the No. 3 senior safety in the country.
Michigan is looking to beat out the likes of Georgia, Texas, Penn State and others for Cine.
He already took an official visit with the Wolverines but is returning for an unofficial visit.
Allen Trieu covers Midwest football recruiting for 247Sports. 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.