The 2023 college football recruiting class is all wrapped up for all intents and purposes and here are the five biggest surprises — positive and negative.
Looking back, the 2023 college football recruiting class was unlike any other as the full impact of NIL was felt on the trail.
It made a major impact. Some schools have been more active with it and have essentially started using it as a pay-for-play tool. That’s not the intent, but it’s nothing new.
NIL is also one reason why some teams should have recruited better but didn’t. Michigan is one of those teams and in our look at the biggest surprises of the 2023 class, in terms of the team rankings, we start with Michigan football and its 18th-ranked class.
Michigan football is outside the top 15
The Wolverines have won back-to-back Big Ten titles and made the College Football Playoff in consecutive seasons, however, their recruiting ranking dropped from 2022 and is down to 18th.
It should keep in the top 10 if not the top five based on the on-field results. The fact that Jim Harbaugh has flirted with the NFL in each of the past two seasons hasn’t helped. Neither has the school’s unwillingness to adopt a more forward-thinking NIL plan.
Michigan football signed 10 four-star recruits out of 24 but none of them were ranked in the top 100. Some of that is Harbaugh, and some of it is NIL, but either way, it puts a lot of pressure on the coaching staff to take raw talents and develop them into NFL-caliber players who are successful in college.
Harbaugh’s staff has excelled at that. However, it’s going to be difficult to sustain the playoff appearances with classes ranked 18th.