Allen Trieu breaks down Michigan’s 2019 recruiting class

By Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News

Allen Trieu of 247Sports breaks down Michigan's 2019 recruiting class so far for The Detroit News:

Mazi Smith, a four-star defensive tackle out of East Kentwood, signed with Michigan.

Top-ranked recruits

Daxton Hill, S, Tulsa (Okla.) Washington

Michigan flipped the five-star safety back after he briefly left the Wolverines class in favor of Alabama. He is considered a complete safety prospect with the speed to cover ground, but the physicality to play the run. Smart and instinctive, he is a potential game-changer in the secondary.

Zach Charbonnet, RB, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian

As a senior, Charbonnet rose quickly in the rankings, posting big statistics against what was a schedule full of top competition. He is a big back at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, but is also a kid with enough wiggle and speed to not just be a between-the-tackles runner. He is also an excellent pass receiver who figures to challenge early in his Wolverine career, and has been earmarked as a future star.

Chris Hinton, DT, Norcross (Ga.) Greater Atlanta Christian

Hinton could play anchor or three-technique at Michigan. There is also the thought out there that he could be an outstanding offensive lineman, but he always has been considered a defensive recruit for the Wolverines. An impact guy on the varsity since early in his high school career, he has smarts and excellent bloodlines as his dad was an NFL first-round draft choice.

Mazi Smith, DT, East Kentwood

Smith has a great set of tools. He is described by his high school coaches as “built like a refrigerator.” 6-foot-3, 305 pounds and recently posting some outstanding speed and agility testing numbers for a kid of that size, he turned in some dominant outings against good competition in high school. Consistency is the key for him, but he upside is tremendous.

Nolan Rumler, G, Akron (Ohio) Hoban

Of all the top guys in the class, Rumler might be one of the safest bets. A four-year varsity starter at a great program, this kid does his job and does it well. He is very strong, technically sound, and plays with a great deal of intensity. He could play center or guard, but at either spot, we expect him to start a lot of games in Ann Arbor.

Zach Charbonnet, a four-star running back out of California, profiles as a lead back. He signed with Michigan.

Strength of the class

The skill positions. Charbonnet and slot Giles Jackson both come in from California as potential game-breakers at their respective positions. Charbonnet is a true lead back and Jackson is as exciting an open-field threat as the Wolverines have signed recently.

On Signing Day, the Wolverines added Cornelius Johnson, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound outside receiver who brings needed size to the receiver class. There are some who believe wide receiver Quintel Kent, who had a great senior season at Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward, is one of the top sleepers in the class. If it is not him, others have named Florida native George Johnson, another skilled wideout, as a sleeper of the group.

George Johnson did not sign on Wednesday.


At this time last year, Leawood (Kans.) Blue Valley North’s Amauri Pesek-Hickson was not even playing football as he was a basketball recruit. He was convinced to try it, and by the time midseason rolled around, he was posting big statistics on offense and catching the eyes of schools who just wanted to see more film.

Michigan jumped in with an offer and beat everyone to it. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Pesek-Hickson projects as a defensive player (safety or linebacker) for the Wolverines. He is somewhat of a wild card with only one year of high school football, but he showed great athleticism on the basketball court and was a quick study during his senior season. He is committed to the Wolverines, but did not sign Wednesday.

Early impact

Hill is going to be the popular pick here as there will be an open competition for Tyree Kinnel’s safety spot. The Wolverines do return some young bodies with experience there, but Hill figures to be in the thick of that race.

With some attrition on the defensive line, especially on the interior, Hinton and Smith stand as two recruits who can come in and get into the rotation.

With Karan Higdon graduating and O’Maury Samuels’ recent dismissal, the door is also open for Charbonnet to quickly see carries along with returnees Chris Evans and Tru Wilson.

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