CLOSING

Juvan Howard introduced himself as the head basketball coach of Michigan on Thursday, May 30, 2019 in Ann Arbor.
Nick Baumgardner, Freep

In the five months since he became head basketball coach at Michigan, Juan Howard has been striving to make a splash down the aisle.

He spent the summer traveling the country to recruit blue-chip prospects who did not comply with the Wolverines. When the fall began, Howard and his staff hosted many of the most important goals for official visits, hoping to persuade them to engage with Michigan.

Howard's hard work begins to pay off.

Isaiah Todd, a 5-star prospect in the Class of 2020, committed to UM over Kansas during Thursday's announcement ceremony, marking Howard's first major victory.

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Todd, 6-foot-10, 195-pounds forward by Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina , is the No. 12 overall prospect in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings – and is the type of recruitment that Howard directed when he started work in Michigan, when he was sending up noise from top-ranked prospects.

[Juwan Howard has the best prospects. Here's his challenge]

If his ranking holds, Todd will be the most ranked player to sign with the Wolverines in the current recruiting era.

Todd is a skilled, athletic candidate who has proven himself at the highest level of the AAU circuit. This year he averaged 18.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while playing with Nightrydas Elite (Fla.) Along the Nike EYBL circuit. In Sweet Peaches in North Augusta, South Carolina, in July, he averaged 16.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks.

Todd was not a Michigan target under former coach John Baillen. That quickly changed when Howard became a coach. After watching Todd at Peach Jam, Howard offered him a scholarship and took over as a top recruiter.

[ Meet Juwan Howard, the recruiter: ‘I feel like he’s a real genuine guy’ ]

When Todd revealed his top 10 list last spring, the Werewolves were not in it. But by the time he pulled out his list of two in early October (shortly after an official visit to Ann Arbor), UM had all the momentum.

On Big Ten Media Day this month, Howard told reporters that recruits were "really excited about the new vision and what we have in store." He said he was looking for only one recruiter to take on – expressing conviction its that if that happens, it can have a domino effect.

Howard, formerly a blue chip hire, is the first member of the famed Fab Five to select Michigan. For the past five months, he's been looking for someone to do the same.

lines and bet on yourself first? "

Todd became this player on Thursday night.

Contact Orion Sang at osang@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @orion_sang . Read more on Michigan Wolverines and sign up for our Wolverines Newsletter.