The Greatest Recruiting Class of All Time

Juwan Howard 6-9 Center Chicago Vocational (Chicago) 

Howard was Michigan’s first commitment from the prep class of 1991, choosing the Wolverines over Arizona State, Dayton, DePaul, Illinois, and Pittsburgh.  Of Howard, who emerged a consensus top 10 recruit after dazzling on the summer circuit as a rising senior, talent evaluator Bob Gibbons said: “Howard has the size and heft to successfully play on the block at the collegiate level. He is an excellent inside-outside scorer and has a soft, accurate shooting touch with true three-point range. He is very mobile and runs the court extremely well.” He was a Parade All-American first-team honoree in 1991.

Jimmy King  6-5 Guard Plano East (Plano, Texas) 

In football-crazed Plano, King brought attention to the hardwood. Prep talent evaluator Bob Gibbons called King the “nation’s premier off-guard prospect.” Ranked the #12 national prospect by Gibbons and a consensus top three guard in the class of 1991, the explosive King won the dunk contest crown at the 1991 McDonald’s All-American game. King moved to Plano from South Bend, Indiana, and once seemed destined for Notre Dame. Ultimately, the high-flying guard ended up selecting Michigan over the Fighting Irish, Georgetown, and Kansas. He joined Howard as the second recruit in Michigan’s 1991 recruiting class. 

Ray Jackson 6-6 Forward Lyndon Johnson (Austin, Texas) 

Michigan’s third early signee from the class of 1991, Jackson chose the Wolverines over Arkansas, Georgetown, and Oklahoma after averaging 24 points and 12 rebounds as a junior at LBJ. A top-100 recruit, the Texas High School Scouting Report praised Jackson’s all-around game: “He can go out on the floor and hit the three. … [He] plays hard and is very unselfish with good passing skills.” Jackson also flashed supreme confidence in his game. After signing with Michigan, he said, “I haven’t really thought about when I might be able to start, [but] I’m going in to try to start as a freshman.” 

Jalen Rose 6-8 Guard Southwestern (Detroit) 

Alongside Minnesota signee Vashon Leonard, Rose led Southwestern to back-to-back state titles in Michigan as well as a #1 national ranking in 1991. As a senior, Rose averaged 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists. Talent evaluator Bob Gibbons, who had Rose rated the nation’s #9 prep prospect in 1991, said the “lithe lefty” was among the nation’s premier swingmen and three-point shooters. “Rose is very adept at squaring up quickly and firing three-point shots off his dribble,” Gibbons noted. “He is very proficient in all the fundamentals and is an outstanding ballhandler and passer.” Rose selected Michigan over Syracuse, Michigan State, and UNLV. His high school coach, Perry Watson, joined him in Ann Arbor, too, after accepting a position on Michigan coach Steve Fisher’s staff.  

Chris Webber 6-9 Power Forward Detroit Country Day (Birmingham, Michigan) 

Regarded as Michigan’s top high school basketball prospect since Magic Johnson starred for Lansing’s Everett High, Webber was widely hailed as the nation’s top recruit. Only Purdue signee Glenn Robinson challenged Webber for the top spot. “Everyone’s preseason choice as the No. 1 player in the class of 1991,” one talent evaluator wrote after Webber’s performance at the Nike-ABCD camp in July 1990. “Exceptional athlete with superb coordination, timing, agility, and reach for his size. Scores effectively inside or out. Versatility allows him to be able to play every position.” Though Webber flirted with offers from Michigan State, Minnesota, the University of Detroit, and Duke, he ultimately committed to Michigan and solidified a five-member recruiting class that many college basketball observers considered the finest ever assembled.