Michigan basketball made a loud statement in the recruiting game Thursday as East Lansing forward Brandon Johns chose the Wolverines.
Johns, the top player in the 2018 class, made the announcement on Twitter, thanking his high school coaches and friends.
"Every college taught me something unique about them and I appreciate them all," Johns tweeted. "This was definitely the hardest decision I've ever had to make, but without further ado I'd like to announce that I'm continuing my academic and basketball career at ... The University of Michigan!! Thank you to everyone again who's been supporting me through this process! Please respect my decision. #GoBlue"
Johns' commitment was a major boost for the Wolverines, who have the state's top player in the 247Sports Composite rankings for the first time since 2006.
Every top player since then -- virtually the entire John Beilein era -- has gone to Michigan State or another school.
"He's kind of what John Beilein looks for in a power forward," Scout.com national recruiting analyst Brian Snow said. "A guy who can stretch the court with also giving enough rebounding and defense down low. He'll try to be a stretch-four man who slides the the wing some."
Johns joins East English Village guard David DeJulius, a three-star prospect, in the U-M class.
For Michigan to get the commitment at a time without two assistant coaches shows Johns' belief in who the Wolverines have left. U-M coach John Beilein and assistant Saddi Washington have increased the Wolverines' in-state presence since Washington joined the staff a year ago.
Washington, a former Oakland assistant, is a Lansing native with a history of major success getting talented players out of Detroit and Lansing. U-M has four in-state commits, including Isaiah Livers of Kalamazoo Central in the 2017 class and Taylor Currie of Clarkston in 2019, since Washington was hired last spring.
This will be U-M's first recruiting class with multiple in-state scholarship players since 2007, when Manny Harris and Kelvin Grady signed in Beilein's first year at U-M. The groundwork for both came from predecessor Tommy Amaker's staff.
Johns, who averaged 20.6 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.2 blocks last season, is a 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward ranked as the No. 54 overall player in the 2018 class.
"It's a combination of size, athleticism and an ability to make shots," Snow said. "He's a good catch and shoot guy from three and vertically he's a really good athlete which allows him to finish around the rim."
Another primary U-M target in the class, four-star forward Pete Nance, committed to Northwestern a few hours after Johns. He tweeted his commitment in a photo that also included new Northwestern assistant Billy Donlon, who left his post on the Michigan staff earlier this week.
Gastonia, N.C. forward Hunter Tyson is scheduled to visit U-M for an unofficial visit this weekend, according to multiple reports.
247Sports composite rankings of Michigan’s top recruits
2018 Brandon Johns Michigan (commit)
2017 Xavier Tillman Michigan State
2016 Josh Jackson (left state)/Cassius Winston Kansas/Michigan State
2015 Deyonta Davis Michigan State
2014 Jaylen Johnson Louisville
2013 James Young Kentucky
2012 Matt Costello Michigan State
2011 Amir Williams Ohio State
2010 Ray McCallum Detroit Mercy
2009 Derrick Nix Michigan State
2008 Draymond Green Michigan State
2007 Kalin Lucas Michigan State
2006 DeShawn Sims Michigan
2005 Wilson Chandler DePaul
2004 Malik Hairston Oregon
2003 Dion Harris Michigan