Day 1 of college football’s 3-day early signing period is complete. Michigan brought in 16 players for the 2018 recruiting class, eight on offense and eight on defense. The class is ranked No. 12 nationally and No. 3 in the Big Ten by the 247Sports composite.
Here are the 16 players who have signed their national letters of intent. They are listed in the order of their ranking by the 247Sports composite.
|Mustapha Muhammad||TE||6-4||235||4-star||Missouri City, Texas|
|Joe Milton||QB||6-5||230||4-star||Orlando, Fla.|
|Aidan Hutchinson||DE||6-6||260||4-star||Dearborn, Mich.|
|Jalen Mayfield||T||6-5||273||4-star||Grand Rapids, Mich.|
|Ryan Hayes||T||6-7||252||4-star||Traverse City, Mich.|
|Christian Turner||RB||5-11||187||3-star||Buford, Ga.|
|Ge’mon Green||CB||6-2||165||3-star||DeSoto, Texas|
|Sammy Faustin||CB||6-2||190||3-star||Naples, Fla.|
|Ben VanSumeren||TE||6-3||228||3-star||Essexville, Mich.|
|Taylor Upshaw||DE||6-5||240||3-star||Bradenton, Fla.|
|Julius Welschof||DE||6-6||250||3-star||Miesbach, Germany|
|Luke Schoonmaker||TE||6-6||225||3-star||Hamden, Conn.|
|Hassan Haskins||RB||6-1||202||3-star||Eureka, Mo.|
|German Green||S||6-2||168||3-star||DeSoto, Texas|
There are three players committed to the Wolverines who did not sign their letters of intent on Wednesday and are not expected to sign them during the early period.
|Otis Reese||LB||6-4||206||4-star||Leesburg, Ga.|
|Kevin Doyle||QB||6-4||210||3-star||Washington, D.C.|
|Ronnie Bell||WR||6-1||180||3-star||Kansas City, Mo.|
Let’s take a look at what happened on Wednesday, and what can be expected Thursday, Friday and the next seven weeks before National Signing Day arrives on Feb. 7.
Taking care of tight ends
Michigan used as many as five tight ends in 2017, with redshirt sophomore Sean McKeon and redshirt junior Zach Gentry emerging at the top of the rotation. There is good depth and production at the position but there is a hole in the roster that needed to be filled. The Wolverines filled it with the signings of Mustapha Muhammad, Luke Schoonmaker and Ben VanSumeren.
Michigan lost Devin Asaisi, its lone tight end recruit from the 2016 class, to transfer last offseason. It didn’t sign a tight end in the 2017 class. The three players it signed in this class offer a variety of skill sets and potential that, combined with the talent already on the roster, sets up well for the future.
Julius Welschof has been playing football for only three years, but the native of Germany has picked up the game quickly. He gained a lot of attention last summer when he toured various college camps with Premier Players International, an organization set up to help European players develop and have a shot at playing in college. Welschof stood out at the Michigan camp he attended for more than just being 6-foot-6, 250 pounds. He is going to be more of a long-term project; Welschof is likely to redshirt as a freshman because of his lack of experience against top competition, but Michigan coaches like the potential upside he has. The depth Michigan has built in the last two recruiting classes allows it this opportunity.
— juliuswelschof (@JuliusWelschof) December 20, 2017
Joe Milton is signed, sealed and soon to be delivered
Everyone can now stop asking Joe Milton about his commitment to Michigan. The quarterback from Orlando repeatedly affirmed his choice of the Wolverines when Kevin Doyle committed to the class and when the news of Shea Patterson transferring to Michigan broke. Milton will be one of three early enrollees in the class, along with cornerback Myles Sims and defensive end Taylor Upshaw. When Doyle signs on Feb. 7, Michigan will a strong two-quarterback class.
Michigan signed four players from in-state on Wednesday: offensive tackles Jalen Mayfield and Ryan Hayes, defensive end Aidan Hutchinson and VanSumeren, who could end up as a jack-of-all-trades player on offense. He’s already received favorable comparisons to freshman fullback Ben Mason, who arrived on campus last January as a early enrollee linebacker before coaches saw a brighter future for him in the offensive backfield.
The Wolverines signed seven of the top eight players in the state in 2017. Hutchinson, Mayfield and Hayes are ranked 3-4-5 in the state in this class, and all three were members of the Detroit Free Press Dream Team and the Detroit News’ Dream Team. VanSumeren was on the Detroit News’ Dream Team and was voted the top player in the state for Divisions 5-6 by the Associated Press.
The foundation of the class has been laid, and Michigan is off to a good start. There are seven weeks left before the rest of the class is filled out. It could end up with as many as 25 players. There isn’t the expectation for any more signings in the next couple of days, so Michigan will continue its bowl preparation and focus on a few key players it wants to add to the class.
- Keeping Otis Reese is a high priority. Michigan has had a long and good relationship with the linebacker/safety from Leesburg, Ga., but he’s also considering Georgia and has made a few trips to Athens this season.
- Tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere would give this class a boost in the rankings, but more importantly, give the offensive line a potential anchor for the future. He’s a 5-star prospect from Berkeley Prep in Tampa, Fla. That happens to be where Michigan is playing in the Outback Bowl. There have been reports that they are to practice at Berkley Prep but the Outback Bowl itinerary has them scheduled to practice at Tampa Jesuit High School.
- Defensive lineman Tyler Friday long has been thought to be leaning toward Michigan, but Ohio State and Alabama are also pursuing the Don Bosco Prep (N.J.) 4-star prospect. He is expected to make his announcement next month.
- The Wolverines have just one wide receiver committed to this class so far, Ronnie Bell. Ja’Marr Chase, a 4-star receiver from Louisiana, was once a Florida commit, and Michigan has pursued him intensely. It will have to beat out TCU, LSU and others, but there is definitely room for Chase or another wide receiver in this class.