State Rankings: Michigan
Aaron Burbridge
Aaron Burbridge
National Recruiting Analyst
Posted Jan 27, 2012

The state of Michigan was particuarly strong and deep this year and the state will likely eclipse 70 Division-1 signees. Here is our final look at the best of the Great Lakes.


  A Quiet Number One
The debate will always go on after these rankings come out as to, who was truly the state's top prospect. This year, there were many deserving candidates. I believe the state has 15-20 guys that will make legitimate college impacts, but the guy, to us, that has the best chance to make the biggest impact is Farmington Hills Harrison's Aaron Burbridge. Because Harrison was upset in the playoffs and he did not play in any All-Star games, he hasn't gotten the national attention he deserves, but given the opening at receiver and his talent, do not be surprised if he's making big plays in East Lansing next year.

  Wolverines Keep Them at Home
Michigan is set to sign eight players from inside the state, including three of the top five. That's the highest number of in-state guys the Wolverines have signed in some time. Last season, a partial year for new head coach Brady Hoke, the Wolverines signed six. They signed four in 2010, four in 2009, five in 2008 and five in 2007. Part of this is due to an emphasis on in-state recruiting and another part is, this was a talented year in the state. Several of last year's in-state guys, Desmond Morgan, Thomas Rawls, Raymon Morgan and Delonte Hollowell saw the field, so there's a good chance you'll see some Michiganders out there next year.

  Diamonds in the Rough
Each year, the state produces guys who don't sign with BCS or even D1 schools that end up making it to the NFL. Bart Scott, Brandon Carr and others are good examples. This year, there are a number of players, who, for various reasons other than talent, will likely end up at non-D1 schools, that we think are very good prospects. The highest rated of the bunch is Detroit Loyola's impressive big man Stephon Hall (34). Dan Gibbs (37) is considering Ivy League and walk-on opportunities. Nathan Ricketts (40) has an offer from GVSU and walk-on options at CMU and MSU. And a couple guys who had strong senior years, Donte Fox (61) and Theron Wilson (62) are still looking for homes.

  Remember the Names
Here are a few outside the top 10-15 that I like. Redford Thurston's Eric Wilson was a great find for Northwestern. I think he can make an impact at either wide receiver or safety for the Wildcats. Late offers from Oregon and Northwestern show others were paying attention too. Prescott Line should be successful at SMU, like his brother Zach has been. I think Lester Liston (Cincinnati), Brian Blackburn (Toledo), Juwan Lewis (EMU), all found great situations that should allow them to flourish. One guy that definitely doesn't get enough mention is CMU commit Saylor Lavallii, who had big junior and senior seasons.

Four-Stars in Michigan:
Three-Stars: 30
BCS Commitments: 25
School With Most Commits: Central Michigan (16)
High School With Most on List: Detroit Cass Tech (6), Plymouth, Farmington Hills Harrison, Southfield, Birmingham Seaholm, Birmingham Brother Rice (3)
NOTES: Our top 11 remain unchanged as far as who was in it from start to finish, although the order did change. Only one player, Southfield-Lathrup's Jamal Lyles, moved from three to four stars during the year.

Looking Back

1. Ronald Johnson - Muskegon (USC)
Drafted last year by 49ers in the 6th Round, but was cut before the season..
2. Joseph Barksdale - Cass Tech (LSU)
Drafted in the 3rd Round by the Oakland Raiders and appeared in all 16 games with 0 starts.
3. Ryan Van Bergen - Whitehall (Michigan)
All Big Ten selection as a senior and projected late round pick in this year's draft.
4. Dionte Allen - OLSM (Florida State)
Had 17 tackles at FSU before transferring to Ohio State to finish his career .
5. Martell Webb - Pontiac Northern (Michigan)
Played out his Michigan career and recently signed with the Arizona Cardinals.

OTHER NOTABLES: Steve Threet (12), Keith Nichol (13), Mark Huyge (19), Kirk Cousins (NR), Justin Siller (22)

1. Nick Perry - Detroit King (USC)
Is projected as an early round draft choice this year .
2. Boubacar Cissoko - Cass Tech (Michigan)
Played early at Michigan, but had struggles, was dismissed from the team and is currently in prison for multiple robberies.
3. Dan O'Neil - Grand Haven (Michigan)
Transferred to Western Michigan and made two starts during his Bronco career .
4. Fred Smith - Det Southeastern (MSU)
Was moved to fullback and played primarily special teams before leaving the team.
5. Mike Martin - DCC (Michigan)
All Big Ten selection as a senior and projected as a middle round draft pick this year.

OTHER NOTABLES: Jonas Gray (6), Mark Ingram (10), Keshawn Martin (25)

1. William Campbell - Cass Tech (Michigan)
14 tackles (2.5 for loss), two sacks and a fumble recovery in 2011 .
2. Chris Norman - Renaissance (MSU)
Big Ten Honorable Mention in 2011 and has 22 starts in his Spartan career .
3. Edwin Baker - Oak Park (MSU)
Rushed for  2,293 yards in three years and declared early for the NFL Draft this year .
4. Dion Sims - OLSM (MSU)
Has 23 receptions and three touchdowns in two years at MSU. Redshirted in 2010.
5. Larry Caper - Battle Creek Central (MSU)
Started five games as a true freshman in '09 and has 728 career yards and nine touchdowns.

OTHER NOTABLES: Reid Fragel (7), Cameron Gordon (10), Thomas Gordon (21)

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WR Aaron Burbridge (profile)
OT Dan Gibbs (profile)
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