TE Jake Butt's rise helps keep Michigan atop ESPN's football recruiting rankings
Fifteen of the Wolverines' 22 commits made the list, which narrowly beats Alabama's 14 to pace the country. USC has 13 on the list, and Florida features 12.
Michigan's tally easily edges everyone else in the Big Ten, with Ohio State the next closest at 11. Penn State follows with five, Nebraska three, Michigan State two and Wisconsin and Northwestern one.
The Wolverines' overall representation on the top 300 list didn't change since ESPN's last release, but there was some player movement. The biggest winner of all was four-star tight end Jake Butt (Pickerington, Ohio), who jumped from No. 234 to No. 171.
Butt posted a breakout performance last weekend at The Opening, a prestigious event covered by ESPN at the Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., and did so despite a deep field of impact tight ends.
"He’s a tight end who is kind of the new-age tight end, where he can flex out and play a little split, or they can line him in the slot," Scout Midwest recruiting analyst Allen Trieu told AnnArbor.com. "He can run pretty much any kind of route.
"He was running short routes over the middle, he was running wheel routes, he was running routes up the seam. Basically anything you need him to do in the passing game, he can get it done. Even though he’s a highly ranked guy, highly regarded guy, the extent to which he’s performed and stood out here is a little bit surprising."
Four-star cornerback Jourdan Lewis (Detroit Cass Tech) also made a nifty jump, rising from No. 107 to No. 92 after a strong performance on the camp circuit. Trieu said Lewis was Michigan's best player at The Opening, and that he was particularly effective against bigger receivers, which had been a concern for him.
Lewis stands only 5-foot-10, 160 pounds.
Four-star quarterback Shane Morris, the face of Michigan's recruiting class and the Wolverines' first commit for 2013, moved up from No. 32 to No. 26. He was the only top-four quarterback not to lose ground.
Morris is ranked by ESPN as the No. 4 pocket quarterback in the country. In fact, after the re-release, Michigan now has 13 recruits ranked in the top 10 at their respective positions.