Editor’s note: Chris Howard is a former running back for the University of Michigan. He was a starter for the Wolverines’ 1997 co-national championship team. Chris takes a look at the Wolverines’ top three remaining recruiting targets.
I’m not yet sure how I feel about the early signing period, but now that it’s over, I’m sure the Michigan football staff is excited that it can put all of its resources and focus into its remaining targets.
According to 247Sports, Michigan currently has the 14th-ranked recruiting class in the country and the third-ranked recruiting class in the Big Ten. Linebacker/safety Otis Reese, quarterback Kevin Doyle and wide receiver Ronnie Bell, who have yet to sign their letters of intent, are factored into the rankings.
With 19 players committed, the Wolverines’ projected class size is somewhere between 22-26 signees. Some of their top targets have come off the board, but if Michigan can reel in a few remaining targets, it could have a top-10 class.
Here is a look at my top three remaining Michigan targets.
Nicholas Petit-Frere, Berkeley Prep, Tampa, Fla.
Last week, I talked about the potential offensive tackle and early signee Jalen Mayfield brings to the table and why the search for an elite tackle was still an area of need. Nicholas Petit-Frere from Tampa, Fla., and Jarrett Patterson from Mission Viejo, Calif., are the top two tackles on Michigan’s board. I think Michigan would be happy with signing either, but for now let’s focus on Petit-Frere.
Petit-Frere is the No.17-ranked player in the country regardless of position and is the No. 3-ranked offensive tackle in the country. I watched an interview in which Frere talked about team leadership. Right off the bat, I could tell this is a high-character kid who put in the work to get where he is. Standing at 6-foot-6 and weighing 274 pounds, Frere has the length and frame that will allow him to put on another 20-30 pounds without losing his mobility. He moves well and, most importantly, he has excellent knee bend. Usually when you have a young guy with his height, he tends to play high, which makes it difficult to fire off the ball low enough to get his pads level with the defender.
Frere uses a nice, wide base when he’s pass protecting and understands how to get his hands inside the defender’s chest area, so he can control his man and steer him into whatever direction he chooses. There are some flaws in his game, which is to be expected. Sometimes when fires off low, he is too far out over his base, which could lead to the defender using a swim move to get around him. Also, he telegraphs a lot. You can tell when he’s pulling, when it’s a pass and when it’s run based off how he sits in his stance.
Could he start right away? I’m not so sure, but he’s good enough to warrant a solid look. If Frere were to commit to the Wolverines, it would be a huge pickup.
Tyler Friday, Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J.
Tyler Friday is the 85th-ranked player in the country and the No. 3-ranked defensive tackle. It’s no secret that New Jersey has been good to Michigan over the years, but it’s also been good to some of its chief rivals. Friday is being heavily recruited by Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan, and all three are about even in his recruitment.
The Wolverines have made Friday a top priority and currently do not have a true defensive tackle in this class. Maurice Hurst is playing his final game next week, so picking up an elite defensive tackle would lighten the blow to some extent.
I watched film of Friday, as a junior, give former 5-star offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson all he could handle at last year’s Rivals Camp Series in New Jersey. Friday is as good as advertised. He’s versatile enough to play inside or outside.
Friday has a stout frame, but most of his weight is carried in the lower half of his body, which he uses to either anchor down or explode off the ball. He’s aggressive at the point of attack and is relentless when chasing down a play from the backside and has excellent hand-fighting skills. Friday would be a great addition to this class.
JaMarr Chase, Archbishop Rummel, Metairie, La.
JaMarr Chase is the 75th-ranked player in the country and the No. 15-ranked wide receiver. Chase made my list because he is from my hometown and Michigan needs to recruit more from my home state. We need more dogs from the bayou.
I’ve watched several of Chase’s videos and they all make me want to go hit the gym. The kid is just so physically put together it’s insane. He’s a pure athlete. He runs excellent routes, is fluid coming out of his breaks and is under control. He loves to go up high and snatch the ball out of the air.
Chase is a physical receiver with good speed and excellent hands. Just get him the ball and watch out. If Michigan lands this kid, don’t be surprised if he also lines up at tailback. I’m just saying.