Answer: Hard tick larvae, engorged
Based on the level of detail shown in the photos, it's hard to tell what genus these ticks belong to. However, we happen to know that the proud mamma was indeed an Ixodes scapularis since these ticks were raised under controlled conditions by Graham. Note that you can just make out the scutum in some of these ticks. That feature, as well as the mouth parts that are visible from the dorsal surface are consistent with a hard tick rather than a soft tick. Meanwhile, the presence of only 6 legs rather than 8 mean that these are larvae. This is also supported by their very small size.