Michigan must wait as 5-star commit Isaiah Todd holds off on signing letter of intent

James Hawkins
The Detroit News
Isaiah Todd

Many of the top college basketball recruits across the country made their commitment official during the early signing period.

Michigan commit and five-star forward Isaiah Todd wasn't one of them.

Todd, ranked the No. 12 overall recruit nationally in the 247Sports Composite, opted not to sign his letter of intent with the Wolverines during the eight-day period, which ended on Wednesday.

He told USA Today last week that while he “can’t wait” to play at Michigan, he wasn’t ready to sign after verbally committing on Oct. 17. Todd’s mother, Marlene Venable, also recently told ESPN and 247Sports her son is firmly committed to the Wolverines and the plan is to wait until the next signing period, which begins on April 15, 2020.

There are several factors that could be weighing into Todd’s decision. With Michigan playing only three regular-season games so far under first-year coach Juwan Howard, Todd might want to see the team play more to get a better idea of how he’d fit in Howard’s system.

He could be waiting to see what other pieces Howard adds to Michigan’s 2020 recruiting class, which has two available scholarships and one signee in four-star guard Zeb Jackson. The Wolverines are in the mix for two top-40 prospects in four-star center Hunter Dickinson and five-star guard Joshua Christopher, who is taking an official visit to Ann Arbor this weekend.

Todd also could still be deciding whether he wants to take the college route or go overseas for a year, as those rumblings than have been ongoing for quite some time. Even in that scenario, a signed letter of intent couldn’t stop him from turning pro and leaving the country.

While it might be a risk for some recruits to wait — like having the offer pulled if one suffers an injury or has an unimpressive senior season, for example — there is no rush for Todd. It’s highly unlikely Michigan would move on from a player of his caliber and recruit another prospect to take his spot, especially given the smaller pool of talent remaining after the early period.

With Todd keeping his options open, it leaves Michigan in an unenviable spot where it might have to fight off other programs from flipping him in addition to convincing him that college is the best path for his development.

Yet, Todd isn’t the only top-50 recruit who has committed to a program and held off on signing early — though he is the highest-rated player to do so. Four-star wing Earl Timberlake, the No. 29 overall recruit, and four-star guard Moses Moody, the No. 43 overall recruit who had Michigan among his final three schools, didn’t sign with Miami and Arkansas, respectively.

Howard said last week he was keeping his fingers crossed he’d receive NLIs from both 2020 commits: Jackson and Todd. But now that the signing day dust has settled, he’ll have to keep them crossed a while longer.


Twitter: @jamesbhawkins