Michigan Footballs Defensive All-Decommit Team Of The Last Decade
Decommitments have long been a reality in college football. High school prospects pledge their verbal commitments to a school, but we all know the recruiting process doesn’t end there, it ends once pen meets paper (and, in rare cases, not even then).
Some recruitments that involve a decommitment are long, drawn out sagas (see Jordan Elliott below). Others, it’s simple — the program may not have the room it once had to honor a scholarship offer. In other circumstances, there is a mutual decision between a coaching staff and a recruit to part ways.
Here, we’ve taken the Michigan football decommits from the past 10 years and selected an ‘All-Decommit team,’ grouping together the best of those players on the defensive side of the ball. We’ve tabbed four defensive linemen, three linebackers and four defensive backs.
Players that decommitted from Michigan at some point during their recruitment, but ultimately ended up a Wolverine, were deemed ineligible to make the cut in this exercise.
Brown was recruited by the Wolverines as a defensive end in the class of 2012, but ended up flipping his commitment to Oregon as a tight end after a visit to Eugene.
He went on to play in 40 games for the Ducks, notching 70 receptions for 1,011 yards and 13 touchdowns in his career. The 6-6 245-pounder was honored as first-team All-Pac-12 in both 2014 and 2015.
Brown is currently a member of the Cleveland Browns.
Elliott’s recruitment was a saga, to say the least. Before pledging to Harbaugh and the Wolverines, he had previously committed and decommitted from both Houston and Baylor, meaning he would qualify for three schools’ ‘All-Decommit team.’ While he was a Michigan commit, rumors surfaced that he was looking around, and sure enough, he took an official visit to Texas just before signing day. Subsequently, he decommitted from Michigan, then finally inked with the Longhorns.
The drama wasn’t over. He played in six games in 2016, but transferred to Missouri following his freshman campaign.
With the Tigers, he excelled, posting 68 total tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in two seasons, earning second-team All-America honors by the AP in 2019. Elliott was selected in the third round of this past April’s NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns.
A Rivals100 standout, Roseboro committed to Michigan head coach Brady Hoke before reopening his recruitment near the tail end of Hoke’s tenure in Ann Arbor, when things were headed south.
He ended up with the NC State Wolfpack, where totaled 14.5 career sacks. He notched 114 total tackles and 31.0 tackles for loss over his four-year career.
The defensive tackle recruit turned defensive end had the chance to enter the NFL Draft after his junior season, but decided to stay in Raleigh to finish his degree due to a promise he made his late father. He spent much of his senior year banged up, and had a brief stint with the Baltimore Ravens after being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2019.
Weaver decommitted from Michigan in January of 2016 after he said Harbaugh changed his offer from a scholarship to a roster spot as a preferred walk-on. The Florida native then sided with the Pittsburgh Panthers.
At Pitt, he’s outplaying his former two-star status. He’s compiled 75 total tackles, 20.0 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. Weaver missed last season with an injury, but is looking to return to his productive ways as a redshirt senior in 2020.
Harding pledged to the Wolverines under Hoke, but after his firing and Harbaugh’s arrival, Harding didn’t feel prioritized by the staff. He decommitted and ended up signing with the Illinois Fighting Illini.
He had a stellar career for the Big Ten West club, posting 153 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and three interceptions. He was tabbed as a first-team All-Big Ten performer by the media as a senior last season. Harding went unchosen in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Kirkland was another that committed to Michigan under Hoke, but defected due to the head coach’s struggles. He later pledged to Tennessee.
The middle linebacker had a productive career in Knoxville, notching 162 total tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks and two interceptions over the course of his career. He retired from football after the 2018 season, despite having one year of eligibility left.
The Farmington (Mich.) native was committed to Michigan, and wanted to enroll early. The Wolverines didn’t have room for him to do so, wanting him to join the team during the summer. He then looked around, and ended up committing and inking with the Florida Gators when it was all said and done.
Reese finished his Florida career with 322 defensive stops, 21.0 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and one interception. This past April, Reese signed with the Carolina Panthers as an undrafted free agent.
This one stings for Michigan fans. Conley committed to Hoke, but later decommitted and chose Ohio State after being in attendance for a 2012 Buckeye win over the Wolverines in Columbus.
During his career as a Buckeye, the cornerback notched 91 total tackles, six interceptions and 15 passes defended. He was named second-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and third team by the media in 2016.
He was a first-round pick by the Oakland Raiders in 2017, and currently plays for the Houston Texans.
Here’s another that ended up at a rival school. Crawford backed off of his Michigan commitment in the summer of 2014 — just before Hoke’s final season in Ann Arbor — before pledging to Notre Dame soon thereafter.
The cornerback is having a standout career in South Bend, despite dealing with several injuries. Crawford, a Rivals100 prospect, has tallied 66 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and four interceptions in his collegiate career thus far. He has been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA due to missing two complete seasons with injury.
Taylor committed to Hoke’s program, but later began visiting other schools. He ended up committing and signing with James Franklin and Penn State.
After redshirting as a freshman, Taylor was a mainstay in the Nittany Lion secondary each of the next four seasons, totaling 84 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and one interception in his career as a safety. Shortly after the 2020 NFL Draft, Taylor signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Buffalo Bills, where he will compete for a roster spot.
Richardson was originally set to be a part of Harbaugh’s large 2016 recruiting class, but was one of 11 decommits from that cycle for the Wolverines. He later sided with the Maryland Terrapins.
In College Park, he’s notched 59 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, one interception and three passes defended. He missed all of last season with an injury, taking a medical redshirt. Richardson will be a fifth-year senior this fall.