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Meet The Commits: Michigan's 2025 class littered with four-star talent

clayton-sayfieby:Clayton Sayfie07/08/24


Michigan Lands Huge Commitment From Top 100 Te Andrew Olesh Out Of Pennsylvania I #Goblue

Michigan Wolverines football is filling up its 2025 class, which now has 15 members. The Maize and Blue rank No. 11 in the national recruiting rankings and No. 3 among Big Ten schools, following the additions of Winter Garden (Fla.) West Orange four-star safety Ivan Taylor and Center Valley (Pa.) Southern Lehigh four-star tight end Andrew Olesh, both of whom are top-100 prospects.

Here’s an overview of the Wolverines’ 2025 class.

Top 100 EDGE Nate Marshall

Commitment Date: April 22, 2024
Hometown: Oak Park, Illinois
School: Fenwick High 
Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 265lbs
Industry Ranking: No. 54 Overall, No. 5 Defensive Lineman, No. 3 in Illinois
Other Notable Offers: Alabama, Auburn, Miami, Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC
How We Got Here: Nate Marshall‘s His third unofficial visit to Michigan in late April for the spring game led him to announce a commitment that wasn’t foreseen. Marshall’s pledge marks the seventh straight recruiting cycle in which U-M has landed at least one commit from Chicagoland. New defensive line coach Lou Esposito holds significant recruiting ties in the region.
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Top 100 S Ivan Taylor

Commitment Date: July 8, 2024
Hometown: Winter Garden, Florida
School: West Orange
Height: 6-foot-0.5
Weight: 180 lbs
Industry Ranking: No. 58 Overall, No. 6 Safety, No. 8 in Florida
Other Notable Offers: Notre Dame, Alabama, Florida State, Wisconsin, Penn State, USC, Miami, Tennessee, Ole Miss
How We Got Here: Taylor flipped his commitment from Notre Dame to Michigan, after visiting both the Wolverines and Alabama in the month of June. Taylor values the academics and football culture at U-M, and defensive backs coach LaMar Morgan was key in making sure Michigan was indeed the pick. Morgan and Co. view Taylor as a true safety, and an elite one at that.
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Top 100 TE Andrew Olesh

Commitment Date: July 8, 2024
Hometown: Center Valley, Pennsylvania
School: Southern Lehigh
Height: 6-5
Weight: 215 lbs
Industry Ranking: No. 93 Overall, No. 3 Tight End, No. 4 in Pennsylvania
Other Notable Offers: Alabama, Florida, Penn State, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Miami, Tennessee
How We Got Here: Penn State was considered the leader for Olesh for the majority of the recruiting process, but Michigan picked up steam beginning in the spring and made a big impact on him during his unofficial visit. He took an official trip to Ann Arbor in June, which cemented his desire to head to the Wolverines. Alabama and Florida pushed late, but the Wolverines won out. Tight ends coach Steve Casula was a major player here.
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Four-star DB Kainoa Winston

Commitment Date: June 14, 2024
Hometown: Washington D.C.
School: Gonzaga College
Height: 5-foot-10.5
Weight: 184 lbs
Industry Ranking: No. 101 Overall, No. 10 Safety, No. 1 in Washington D.C.
Other Notable Offers: Penn State, Oregon , UNC, Ohio State, LSU, USC
How We Got Here: Kainoa Winston was considered to be a Penn State lean leading up to his June official visit schedule, which had Michigan first on the docket. But the Wolverines sold Winston and his family on the cultural aspect of the program and overall scheme fit. Winston is projected as a nickel at the next level. New defensive backs coach LaMar Morgan did an excellent job of building a relationship with Winston this offseason.
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On300 QB Carter Smith

Commitment Date: November 14, 2023
Hometown: Ft. Myers, Florida
School: Bishop Verot
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 175 lbs
Industry Ranking: No. 194 Overall, No. 15 Quarterback, No. 30 in Florida
Other Notable Offers: Florida, Miami, Florida State, Penn State, Texas A&M, Ole Miss
How We Got Here: Carter Smith first flew to Ann Arbor in November to watch the night game against Purdue. On the multi-day wekeend visit, Michigan quarterbacks coach Kirk Campbell issued an offer. Less than two weeks later, the reigning Gatorade Player of the Year for Florida shut down his recruitment. Lauded for his dual-threat ability, Smith has spent the last several months leading peer-recruiting efforts.
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Four-star EDGE Jaylen Williams

Commitment Date: June 10, 2024
Hometown: Palatine, Illinois
School: Palatine High
Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 238lbs
Industry Ranking: No. 215 Overall, No. 19 Defensive Lineman, No. 6 in Illinois
Other Notable Offers: Nebraska, Iowa, Texas A&M, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio State, USC
How We Got Here: Jaylen Williams‘ last return to Michigan before the official visit on June 7-9 was in late November for the Ohio State game. Replacing two defensive line coaches this offseason caused the Wolverines to push towards regaining momentum that was at an all-time high several months ago. But Esposito and Moore worked effortlessly to bring Williams back on campus for the official and seal the deal.
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Four-star OL Avery Gach

Commitment Date: May 3, 2024
Hometown: Birmingham, Michigan
School: Groves High
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 290lbs
Industry Ranking: No. 263 Overall, No. 20 Interior Offensive Lineman, No. 2 in Michigan
Other Notable Offers: Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Penn State, Georgia, USC
How We Got Here: Avery Gach became the second in-state 2025 prospect to commit to Michigan following a trio of spring returns, with the final appearance in Ann Arbor coming for the intrasquad scrimmage. Head coach Sherrone Moore and Newsome were instrumental in keeping the priority mauler close to home. Since the 2022 season, when Gach first stepped foot on campus, he’s taken a total of 10 unofficial visits to U-M.
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Four-star WR Jacob Washington

Commitment Date: June 24, 2024
Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana
School: Archbishop Shaw
Height: 6-3
Weight: 180 lbs
Industry Ranking: No. 277 Overall, No. 42 Wide Receiver, No. 8 in Louisiana
Other Notable Offers: Baylor, Georgia Tech, Missouri, Miami, Penn State, Ole Miss, Florida State
How We Got Here: Jacob Washington pulled the trigger on his commitment the Monday after Michigan’s big Victors Weekend when he took his official visit. He also saw the Wolverines in the spring, attending a practice, and was enamored by the energy in the building and on the field. Michigan wide receivers coach Ron Bellamy, a fellow Louisiana native, has been key in this recruitment.
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Four-star EDGE Julius Holly

Commitment Date: June 29
Hometown: Alpharetta, Georgia
School: Alpharetta High
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 230 lbs
Industry Ranking: No. 289 Overall, No. 27 EDGE, No. 36 in Georgia
Other Notable Offers: Georgia, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Penn State, Alabama, Oklahoma, USC, Michigan State, Indiana
How We Got Here: Julius Holly made an official visit to Michigan in early June and was blown away by his experience. The academics and his relationships with the coaches — including defensive line coach Lou Esposito — were key reasons why he sided with the Maize and Blue. Holly grew up in New Jersey, the same state that Esposito is from.
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Four-star RB Donovan Johnson

Commitment Date: June 23, 2024
Hometown: Savannah, Georgia
School: Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy
Height: 6-foot-0.5
Weight: 210 lbs
Industry Ranking: No. 316 Overall, No. 24 Running Back, No. 43 in Florida
Other Notable Offers: Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, USC
How We Got Here: Donovan Johnson committed to Michigan on the heels of a June 19 unofficial visit. He’s built a strong bond with running backs coach Tony Alford and got to meet head coach Sherrone Moore for the first time while in Ann Arbor, with the two hitting it off.
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Four-star RB Jasper Parker

Commitment Date: June 15, 2024
Hometown: Marrero, Louisiana
School: Archbishop Shaw
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 200lbs
Industry Ranking: No. 344 Overall, No. 28 Running Back, No. 10 in Louisiana
Other Notable Offers: Oklahoma State, UNC, Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, USC
How We Got Here: Jasper Parker shut down his recruitment while on his official visit to Michigan June 15. He first made the trip to Ann Arbor two months ago, where he connected well with new running backs coach Tony Alford, who made the junior a key target throughout the spring. Area recruiter Ron Bellamy has strong ties in the New Orleans area and graduated from the same school that Parker currently attends.
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Four-star DL Bobby Kanka

Commitment Date: August 1, 2023
Hometown: Howell, Michigan
School: Fenwick High 
Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 265lbs
Industry Ranking: No. 391 Overall, No. 34 Defensive Lineman, No. 5 in Michigan
Other Notable Offers: Penn State, Michigan State, Tennessee, Syracuse, Kansas, Minnesota
How We Got Here: Bobby Kanka is the longest serving 2025 commit for Michigan. He eclipsed the double-digit mark in visits to Ann Arbor on his late July BBQ at The Big House appearance last year, which led to him deciding to don the maize and blue at the next level. Mike Elston was previously Kanka’s lead recruiter, but the junior has connected with Esposito this offseason, and his relationship with Moore first developed a couple of years ago.
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Three-star OL Kaden Strayhorn

Commitment Date: June 23, 2024
Hometown: Novi, Michigan
School: Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy
Height: 6-foot-2.5
Weight: 285 lbs
Industry Ranking: No. 478 Overall, No. 40 Interior Offensive Lineman, No. 65 in Florida
Other Notable Offers: Ohio State, Alabama, Miami, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida State, LSU, USC, Penn State
How We Got Here: Kaden Strayhorn is a Michigan State legacy, but he’s headed to Ann Arbor. The main reason: new head coach Sherrone Moore, who’s built a great relationship with Strayhorn over the past couple years. New offensive line coach Grant Newsome was also a big factor. Strayhorn and his family had seen enough following their visit for Victors Weekend and decided to make it official. Strayhorn is one of the centers of the future for the Maize and Blue.
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Three-star TE Eli Owens

Commitment Date: January 4, 2024
Hometown: Alcoa, Tennessee
School: Alcoa High
Height: 6-foot-1.5
Weight: 230lbs
Industry Ranking: No. 492 Overall, No. 30 Tight End, No. 15 in Tennessee
Other Notable Offers: Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio State, Cincinnati, Alabama, Mississippi State
How We Got Here: Eli Owens publicly announced his pledge to the Wolverines three days after the team took down Alabama in the Rose Bowl. Projected as an H-back, Owens has built a rapport with new tight ends coach Steve Casula this spring, and continues to be a staunch supporter of Moore succeeding Jim Harbaugh as head coach.
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Three-star LB Chase Taylor

Commitment Date: June 24, 2024
Hometown: Stockbridge, Georgia
School: Stockbridge High
Height: 6-foot-2.5
Weight: 201 lbs
Industry Ranking: No. 624 Overall, No. 66 Linebacker, No. 66 in Georgia
Other Notable Offers: USC, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Florida State, LSU, Clemson, Kentucky
How We Got Here: Chase Taylor picked Michigan over finalists Georgia Tech and USC, with defensive coordinator Wink Martindale and position coach Brian Jean-Mary playing major roles. Development at the linebacker position was also something that stood out to Taylor.
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