Kevin Doyle‘s commitment to Michigan last September was a surprise. That was mainly because few in the recruiting world knew the quarterback from Washington D.C.’s St. John’s College High School had received a scholarship offer from the Wolverines.
Doyle’s de-commitment via Twitter on Sunday night, announced about an hour before kickoff of the Super Bowl, also came as a surprise. It was a hit to the 2018 class and to the Wolverines quarterback situation.
Thank you Coach Hamilton and Coach Harbaugh for the opportunity. I am officially decommitted from the University of Michigan. I will be signing with a new school on Wednesday, Feb 7th.
— Kevin Doyle (@Kevin_Doyle_13) February 4, 2018
Doyle had a good senior season at St. John’s, leading the Cadets to their first Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship since 1989. He transferred to St. John’s from Malvern Prep in Malvern, Pa., before last season to play against better competition.
He responded by throwing for 2,635 yards and 22 touchdowns and being named the Gatorade Player of the Year for the D.C. area. He also was The Washington Post’s Offensive Player of the Year. Doyle announced Monday on Twitter that he has received offers from Colorado State and Arizona.
What it means for the 2018 class
Michigan signed 16 players to the class during the early signing period in December, including quarterback Joe Milton. Milton, a 4-star prospect according to the 247Sports composite rankings, is taking classes and participating in conditioning workouts as an early enrollee.
Doyle, a 3-star prospect, declined to sign his national letter of intent in the early period. He said he wished to wait until National Signing Day on Feb. 7 and sign when the rest of his St. John’s teammates were signing. Doyle was one of three commits who didn’t sign his letter with the Wolverines at the time, along with 4-star linebacker Otis Reese and 3-star wide receiver Ronnie Bell.
RELATED: 2018 Michigan recruiting big board
The Wolverines have gained commitments from cornerback Vincent Gray and athlete Michael Barrett since December. Should all four commits sign with the Wolverines on Wednesday (Bell, Gray and Barrett are expected to sign, with Reese a toss-up), the 2018 class will have 20 members. That doesn’t include transfer players. Quarterback Shea Patterson is on campus and taking classes after transferring from Mississippi. Defensive back Casey Hughes of Utah announced he plans to join Michigan as a grad transfer, and the Wolverines are going all-in on the recruitment of Rice left tackle Calvin Anderson as a grad transfer.
Michigan signed 56 players combined in the 2016 and 2017 recruiting classes. Fifty-one of those players are still on the roster. NCAA rules allow 85 scholarships per team, and according to Land of 10’s unofficial count, that is exactly how many scholarships the Wolverines have accounted for heading into National Signing Day.
Doyle’s decommitment helps Michigan free up one scholarship spot for next season, but other roster changes are expected before preseason camp begins in the summer. Those changes could include more players leaving as grad transfers, as tight end Ian Bunting announced last week, or leaving the program for other reasons.
What it means for the quarterbacks
The loss of Doyle hurts Michigan’s depth at quarterback, not just for 2018, but for future seasons.
|Player||2018 year||HS class|
|Brandon Peters||RS Sophomore||2016|
|Dylan McCaffrey||RS Freshman||2017|
The Wolverines will head into 2018 with four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. Patterson’s eligibility as a transfer remains to be determined. NCAA rules require transfer players to sit out one year unless they are a grad transfer. Patterson is seeking a waiver to that rule based on Mississippi being placed on a two-year bowl ban and incurring other sanctions because of recruiting violations, but the NCAA also is considering making changes to the transfer rule.
If Patterson gains immediate eligibility, he becomes the favorite to start next season. He will have to beat out redshirt sophomore Brandon Peters, who played in six games with four starts last season, redshirt freshman Dylan McCaffrey and Milton for the job. Michigan discovered how important quarterback depth was in 2017 when Wilton Speight was lost for the season after sustaining three fractured vertebrae in his back on Sept. 23 at Purdue. Replacement John O’Korn subsequently was replaced by Peters because of ineffective play.
Speight has one year of eligibility remaining, but after the 2017 regular season ended, he announced his intentions to seek a grad transfer. He reportedly has said if Patterson doesn’t gain immediate eligibility, he would be open to returning. Former backup Alex Malzone is transferring to Miami (Ohio) as a graduate.
Michigan has offers out to several 2019 quarterbacks, including 4-star Taulia Tagovailoa, 4-star Paul Tyson of Trussville, Ala., and 4-star Wisconsin commit Graham Mertz. Tagovailoa younger brother of Alabama quarterback and National Championship Game star Tua Tagovailoa, and Tyson is the great-grandson of legendary Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.
Michigan’s recruiting focus hasn’t been as heavy at quarterback as it has in other areas, such as running back as well as the offensive and defensive lines, but that should change after Wednesday.