The Michigan Wolverines are currently preparing for a New Year’s Eve playoff showdown with Sonny Dykes and the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs, but that hasn’t stopped Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and the team’s staff from making waves on the recruiting trail.
In 2021-2022, the Wolverines hauled in an unheralded class that went on to become one of the best freshman units in the country, led by cornerback Will Johnson, tight end Colston Loveland, defensive tackle Mason Graham and others (learn more in this book we wrote on the subject).
Harbaugh has consistently shown the ability to develop three and four-star players into NFL and All-Big Ten caliber players, and now he’s got his sights set on another recruiting source altogether: the transfer portal.
As the clock ticks down on the 2022-2023 college football season, Michigan has already staked its claim to the number one spot in the nation as far as its transfer class is concerned.
The website 247Sports.com is just one of numerous sites that rank Michigan’s class first in the country based on portal recruits alone, with Michigan coming in at number one ahead of challengers Florida State, USC, Oregon and UCLA.
The following are Michigan’s seven newest transfer portal recruits, and how they could fit into the picture next season:
1. Josaiah Stewart- Ranked as a three-star prospect prior to his entry into college football and a four-star prospect as a transfer, the 6-foot-2, 235-pound edge rusher will join Michigan from the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers program next season.
Stewart may need more bulk to handle the physicality of the Big Ten. He notched 12.5 sacks total a year ago playing in the Sun Belt Conference.
Stewart had just 3.5 sacks this season, but Michigan coaches are high on his ability to contribute. If he pans out, he could become Michigan’s next great pass rusher and run stuffer off the edge in the mold of Josh Uche (currently starring with the NFL’s New England Patriots) and Jalen Harrell from this year’s team.
2. LaDarius Henderson- Another player who was a three-star coming into college and now ranks as a four-star transfer, Henderson is a 310-pound interior offensive lineman who should add depth and size at the very least to a position that needs it in 2023, depending on a series of NFL decisions from its current stars.
The Texas native has shown physicality at the point of attack, which should serve him well in Ann Arbor.
After much prayer and thought, I will be spending the last chapter of my college journey at The University of Michigan!
— LD Henderson ⁷⁷ (@ladarius77) December 6, 2022
— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) August 4, 2022
Henderson allowed just one sack last year and was the 11th-highest graded offensive guard according to Pro Football Focus.
— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) August 4, 2022
3. AJ Barner- The Big Ten has suddenly become an attractive conference for new recruits for the Wolverines as evidenced by the recruitment of Indiana Hoosiers tight end AJ Barner and teammate Jack Tuttle.
Barner, an Aurora, Ohio native, had 28 catches for 199 yards and three touchdowns last season in Bloomington and should provide another viable, experienced option right away for the Wolverines.
Barner shows a unique ability to make tough, contested catches running down the middle of the field, and could become a weapon for J.J. McCarthy at the tight end position next season.
— Michigan On BTN (@MichiganOnBTN) December 21, 2022
4. Jack Tuttle- Barner’s IU teammate has played sparingly over the course of his career, throwing 5 TDs against 6 INTs.
The 6-foot-4, 212 pound San Marcos, California native was a four-star coming out of college and is now listed as a three-star prospect.
Michigan lacks a big-time QB prospect to fill in after J.J. McCarthy’s career expires, but Tuttle, former walk-on Davis Warren and potential five-star recruit Jadyn Davis could be next in line behind center.
5. Myles Hinton- Ranked as a four-star prospect and a four-star transfer, Hinton might be the best addition in the 2022-2023 class among transfers.
Hinton is a tall, strong offensive lineman from Norcross, Georgia who should add immediate depth and talent to the offensive tackle position.
He may start next season, especially if Michigan native and starting left tackle Ryan Hayes heads to the NFL.
Hinton allowed just two sacks in 2022 at the right tackle position. If Hayes goes pro, he could become the starter on the left side in 2023.
With the addition of Stanford OL Myles Hinton, #Michigan currently has the No. 1 overall ranked transfer portal class in the 2023 Transfer Football Team Rankings.
— Brice Marich (@BriceMarich) December 18, 2022
6. Drake Nugent- A three-star portal recruit and former three-star prospect from Littleton, Colorado, Nugent will add depth to an offensive line that needs it heading into next season.
The Wolverines’ offensive line has won back-to-back Joe Moore awards for Outstanding Offensive Line Unit nationally, and next year’s team could follow in those footsteps with the new portal commits adding to the mix.
Nugent has made 24 consecutive starts in his career and was named to the Rimington (Nation’s Best Center) Award watch list for 2022.
7. Ernest Hausmann- The former Nebraska Cornhusker is heading to Ann Arbor for 2023, arriving as a four-star portal prospect and former three-star high school prospect.
Hausmann, listed at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, hails from Columbus, Nebraska.
He tallied 54 tackles last season including 36 solo on a defense that was often overmatched.
A 2023 depth chart projection released this week by Wolverines prognostication site MGoFish has Hausmann listed as the starting WILL linebacker, depending on whether Michael Barrett returns and how well Nikai Hill-Green returns from injury.
All things considered, Hausmann looks like another solid addition to e a versatile ready-to-contribute 2023 portal class, arguably the best in the country so far.
It could be a sign of things to come for Harbaugh’s program as the Wolverines look to continue their dominance of the Big Ten Conference for years to come.