SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Paul Myerberg tells us which players to watch who could soon hear their names called at the NFL Draft.
Jim Harbaugh promised fireworks.
Daxton Hill is back.
And officially in the fold as a Michigan Wolverine.
The five-star safety from Oklahoma, who flipped from Michigan to Alabama less than two weeks ago, changed course and decided to officially send his letter of intent to Michigan on Wednesday.
Hill originally committed to Michigan after making a visit for the SMU game in September. The No. 8-ranked player in the country and the No. 1-ranked safety in the class, Hill’s pledge was a head-to-head win over most of the best programs in the country — notably Alabama.
That all changed, however, less than two weeks ago when Hill fired off one tweet via his account on Dec. 8 detailing his plans to decommit from Michigan and pledge to Alabama.
He stayed quiet from there, adding zero context to his decision publicly.
“I would like to thank the University of Michigan for their love and support throughout this time recruiting me,” Hill wrote. “Thank you to all the coaches at Michigan that took their time to come see me play or reached out to make sure everything was well with my family and I. This was a tough decision for me and my family but I have decided to de-commit from the University of Michigan and flip my commitment to the University of Alabama.”
Hill’s announcement came as a surprise to everyone, Michigan’s coaching staff included. As the bulk of the coaching staff found out about the move at the same time the rest of the recruiting world did: On Twitter.
Michigan didn’t give up on Hill, though, as the coaching staff continued to maintain communication early the following week and kept hope of pulling him back into the class.
“It caught everyone by surprise,” 247Sports recruiting analyst Steve Lorenz said last week. “Since I’ve been doing this, I’d probably accurately say that’s the first time the Michigan staff found out about a kid decommitting when we all did.
“So, when we say this was unexpected, it was legitimately unexpected.”
The Wolverines got back into the fold with Hill shortly after he announced his decision to move to Alabama’s class.
And ultimately, without much fanfare, made it official Wednesday morning.
Hill could be the top-rated player in Michigan’s 2019 class and should be the Wolverines’ highest-rated signee since No. 1-ranked Rashan Gary signed with the program in 2016.
A player with 4.3 speed in the 40-yard dash, the 6-foot, 180-pound Hill has also recorded a 43.6-inch vertical jump and a 4.22-second shuttle run.
The younger brother of Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill, Daxton Hill is expected to be physically ready to compete for time right away at Michigan next year. The Wolverines will replace captain free safety Tyree Kinnel next season. Junior starter Josh Metellus has stated he’ll do his due dilligence with the NFL Draft, but may wind up back in Ann Arbor.
Either way, Harbaugh landed a massive difference maker he almost lost.