'Best fit': West Bloomfield's Donovan Edwards, No. 2 running back in nation, picks Michigan

David Goricki
The Detroit News
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West Bloomfield – Michigan fans got their Early Signing Day wish when West Bloomfield four-star running back Donovan Edwards, taking a seat on the high school football field with snow falling down, put on a Michigan cap and announced he would play for the Wolverines.

Edwards, making his announcement on ESPN2 on Wednesday afternoon, picked UM over Alabama, Georgia, defending national champion LSU, Notre Dame and Penn State.

“I chose the program because I feel like it’s the best fit for me, it’s 40 minutes away from my house,” said Edwards. “I feel like I have great relationships with the coaching staff and the players on the team.”

Donovan Edwards puts on a Michigan hat after making his announcement on Wednesday at West Bloomfield.

Edwards said he’s confident Jim Harbaugh will stay on as Michigan coach.

“He just told me that he’s all in,” Edwards said of Harbaugh. “He played at Michigan, so I mean he’s all in with us.”

Harbaugh's contract expires after the 2021 season. Harbaugh and UM athletic director Warde Manuel have said they would discuss an extension after this season.

Edwards – ranked No. 3 on the Detroit News Blue Chip list – received the full-court press from future teammates to go to Michigan.

“I talked to him about an hour ago,” said Detroit Cass Tech four-star center Raheem Anderson, who also signed with Michigan and is No. 8 on the Blue Chip list. “I talk to Donovan every day, feel like that’s my brother and he’ll be my brother forever.

“I talked to Gio (El-Hadi) too,” Anderson added. “When we talk, we don’t really talk about football, we’re just building a brotherhood so it’s more than just football.”

Subscription: Will it be Michigan? Nation's No. 2 RB Donovan Edwards to make 'program' decision

Sterling Heights Stevenson four-star tackle Giovanni El-Hadi – No. 6 on the Blue Chip list and a four-star tackle who will one day likely be on the same UM O-line with Anderson – talked to Edwards as well, just a few days ago, trying to persuade him to stay at home.

“I said, ‘Am I’m going to be blocking for you the next four years or what?’” Ed-Hadi said. “He laughed it up, but he was wearing a Michigan hoodie.”

Edwards was first offered by Michigan prior to his sophomore year. He had 43 offers and was ranked as the nation’s No. 2 running back by 247Sports. He will graduate early and enroll at Michigan next month.

“I feel I have a very unique skill-set where I can do everything on the offensive side of the ball, feel I’m dangerous at any given point of the game and a game-changing type of player,” Edwards said later Wednesday during an interview on BTN.

Edwards rushed for 1,021 yards this season to help West Bloomfield to an 8-1 record and No. 4 ranking in The Detroit News Super 20. He scored six TDs – all in the first half – during a 63-6 district final win over No. 7 Sterling Heights Stevenson. That turned out to be his last game with Gov. Whitmer putting the season on hold.

More: Michigan loses a pair of four-star defensive recruits on Early Signing Day

West Bloomfield outscored its opponents by a 271-9 margin the last six games following a 24-21 overtime Week 3 loss to OAA Red rival Clarkston.

“What makes him special is that he’s highly competitive and he has a phenomenal work ethic, and I think the combination of those two things really kind of puts him ahead of others,” West Bloomfield coach Ron Bellamy told The News. “He’s also become a very good leader. I don’t want to dismiss that he has God-given talent, but a lot of kids lack the work ethic and the determination to take that talent and make themselves better. He’s put himself in a position where he’s learned how to do that and I’m excited to watch his future."

Bellamy played college football at Michigan and now has multiple players from West Bloomfield on the UM roster, including safety Makari Paige and linebacker Cornell Wheeler.

Bellamy wasn’t shocked Edwards picked Michigan.

Edwards was one of the top players coming out of PAL and was wanted by Detroit Cass Tech and Detroit King. But Bellamy said Edwards wanted to stay home to lead West Bloomfield “to prominence.”

West Bloomfield played in the Division 1 state championship game during Edwards’ freshman year, losing to Clarkston, 3-2, but Edwards didn’t touch the ball. West Bloomfield lost to Belleville in a regional title game the previous two years.

Three of Edwards’ West Bloomfield teammates also signed their letters of intent on Wednesday. Three-star cornerback Maxwell Hairston, No. 29 on the Blue Chip list, signed with Kentucky; safety Gavin Hardeman signed with Air Force; and linebacker Jordan Hoskins is headed to Missouri State to play for former Louisville and Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino.

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