Checking in with Michigan football’s biggest decommits since 2020

Michigan’s recruiting has taken a great deal of criticism over the past four cycles for good reason. Despite the historic success of the team, the Wolverines have not been able to sign top-rated prospects.

The causes for this are pretty simple. Michigan has failed to put a convincing name, image and likeness plan in place, and Jim Harbaugh’s annual flirting with the NFL makes it difficult for recruits to trust that he will stick with the program in the long run.

Of course, none of these losses seem important given the national title, but it’s worth looking back on what players around college football could have been taking the field for Michigan on Saturdays.

Xavier Worthy, 2021 WR (Texas)

Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Worthy was one of the craziest recruitments in recent memory. The speedster from California chose the Wolverines over Alabama and Texas on national signing day, but was released from his national letter of intent and flipped to Texas before he enrolled.

At the time, this felt like a dagger. Worthy was set to join J.J. McCarthy and Donovan Edwards as one of the best QB-RB-WR trios in the country, but he spurned the Wolverines late. Oh, what could have been.

Worthy lived up to the expectations placed on him as a top-100 player in the country. He was a major part of Texas’s offense in each of his three collegiate seasons and totaled 197 catches for 2,755 yards and 26 touchdowns in his career. Worthy would have gone down as the best receiver during Jim Harbaugh’s tenure in Ann Arbor.

Worthy has declared for the draft and is considered a late first/early second-round pick.

Alex VanSumeren, 2022 IDL (Michigan State)

2021 Essexville (<a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Michigan;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Michigan</a>) Garber athlete Alex VanSumeren
2021 Essexville (Michigan) Garber athlete Alex VanSumeren

VanSumeren hurt when he left. He was following his brother, Ben, to Michigan State, which gave Michigan’s in-state rivals a talking point for months. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive tackle was graded as the 200th player nationally and third in Michigan, so his favoritism of Sparty was tough to swallow.

The good news is this ended up being mutually beneficial. VanSumeren had just three tackles in four games this year and is fighting for playing time heading into next season. Michigan hit big on Mason Graham and Kenneth Grant, so it’s tough to imagine the in-stater would have seen much playing time for Michigan anyway.


Ethan Burke, 2022 Edge (Texas)

Tim Warner/Getty Images
Tim Warner/Getty Images

Burke was committed to Michigan for exactly 14 days before his childhood favorite Texas swooped in with an offer and stole him from Ann Arbor.

Burke was only rated as the 379th player in the class, but he has had an excellent career so far. As a true sophomore, Burke enjoyed a breakout season that saw him post 41 tackles, nine tackles for loss and a team-leading five-and-a-half sacks. Burke would have been the perfect complement to Derrick Moore as a powerful edge defender, a spot Michigan faces some uncertainty with next season.


Raylen Wilson, 2023 LB (Georgia)

Todd Kirkland/Getty Images
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Wilson was committed to Michigan for seven months before flipping to Georgia just before the 2022 season. The Florida native finished the cycle as a five-star and the 27th-ranked player in the country. His decommitment was one of the first dominoes to fall in a very disappointing 2023 class.

Simply put, Wilson is a freak. Standing at 6 feet 1 inch and weighing 225 pounds, Wilson is the kind of sideline-to-sideline defender that has thrived under Jim Harbaugh. There were comparisons to Devin Bush for good reason.

Georgia had a stacked defense this year, so Wilson saw limited action, but the expectation is he will rotate heavily in 2024. Michigan is doing well at linebacker with Ernest Haussmann, Jaishawn Barham and Jimmy Rolder, but it would not surprise me if Wilson plays better than two of those three next season. No way to get around it, this was a tough loss.


Chris Ewald, 2025 CB (uncommited)

Photo: Isaiah Hole
Photo: Isaiah Hole

This might seem premature to many, but boundary cornerback is one of the thinnest spots on the roster, and Ewald would have been a dream landing as a top-100 recruit out of South Florida.

The 2025 class has just three commits and lacks a commanding lead for any other high-level boundary cornerbacks. Ewald was set to be a vocal leader of the class for over a year in a hotbed of talent. It’s possible he could have been the difference for one or two other players from South Florida in the 2025 class.

Of course, his recruitment isn’t over yet. Michigan, Florida, Miami, Florida State and Georgia are all still in the mix. Unfortunately, Michigan has not won a single recruitment like this since name, image and likeness licensing went mainstream. Unless the Wolverines fix their organization, Ewald will likely sign elsewhere.

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire