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Lessio Backs Out on Michigan

Prized Michigan recruit Lucas Lessio has decided to sign with the Oshawa Generals of the OHL.

Lessio is one of the top players in Ontario for his age group. He was originally drafted by Niagara, and chose not to sign with them, instead committing to Michigan. But two weeks after committing to Michigan, his rights were traded to Oshawa, where general manager Chris DePiero had strong connections to Lessio's St. Mike's program.

This is another example of one of the toughest issues in actually getting a top Canadian--or sometimes American, in the case of a Pat Kane or Peter Mueller-- player onto campus, which is what to do with players whose hockey skills exceed their education in the year prior to playing college hockey. Lessio was already very good in his Canadian Tier II league last year. Another year in that league, especially in his draft year, probably would have been a waste. He was drafted in the first round of the USHL Draft by Waterloo, but while the league's reputation is growing, it still doesn't quite have the drawing power to lure players of that stature away from Canada. So Lessio didn't really have a lot of other options other than Oshawa.

This leaves Michigan in a pretty rough spot. I mentioned two weeks ago, via Twitter, that Michigan hasn't gotten a commitment from a player born in Michigan since October of 2008, in Jack Campbell, and hadn't had a Michigan-born player stick with a commitment since Kevin Lynch in August of 2007(excluding third-string goalies Shawn Hunwick and Adam Janecyk, I suppose). The Wolverines only have Alex Guptill lined up for next year, and Boo Nieves and Connor Carrick beyond that. All good players, but exactly how good remains to be seen, and definitely a very thin group. They'll have a lot of work to do, and what once seemed like an unstoppable recruiting machine is definitely showing some signs of weakness.