Michigan is trying to expand its recruiting footprint in Ohio. It has two commits from Ohio for 2019 and is pursuing 5-star defensive end Zach Harrison from Lewis Center, which is just north of Columbus.

Michigan recruiting mailbag: Wolverines have 2 2019 commits from Ohio, working for more

Kevin Goheen

Have Michigan football recruiting questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every Wednesday for the Land of 10 Michigan recruiting mailbag to discuss Wolverines recruiting. This week we look at how Michigan is faring when it comes to recruiting in Buckeye Land, an area that has been good to the Wolverines in the past. Can it be again? 

Q: Is Michigan recruiting Ohio? It does not seem to be a priority area for them. — Travis Porter via Facebook

A: I think Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines are creeping back into the state down south. It’s difficult with Ohio State and Urban Meyer having a strong hold on the state, but defensive end Gabe Newburg of Clayton Northmont in suburban Dayton committed to Michigan this week, giving the Wolverines their second 2019 commit from Ohio.

Offensive lineman Nolan Rumler announced his commitment last summer. Rumler is rated a 4-star prospect and ranked No. 94 in the country overall in the 2019 class by the 247Sports composite. Newburg is rated a 3-star prospect.

The addition of Al Washington as a defensive assistant coach should be helpful in this area. Washington is a Columbus native who coached previously at Boston College (his alma mater) and spent one season at Cincinnati. BC has been successful recruiting Ohio; NFL All-Pro linebacker and former BC player Luke Kuechly is from Cincinnati. Michigan is pursuing defensive end Zach Harrison of Lewis Center Olentangy Orange, the No. 3 player in the class, among others.

Ohio has been a good recruiting area for Michigan in the past. Former tight end Jake Butt and defensive end Chris Wormley are recent notable players who came from Ohio. Starting safety Tyree Kinnel is from the Dayton area and Michigan signed three players from Ohio in 2017: tackle James Hudson, tackle Joel Honigford and punter Brad Robbins.

RELATED: 2019 Michigan recruiting big board  

Q: Do you think recruiting 2019 needs to focus on DT? To me, we must replenish the D line. What you thinkGeorge Felekidis via Facebook

A:  I’m a big believer in building teams from the line of scrimmage out, so I agree with you, George. More than just the defensive line as a whole, defensive tackle has to be addressed in 2019. Michigan didn’t sign any tackles in the 2018 class but has a good group this season in junior Michael Dwumfour and sophomores Aubrey Solomon, Phillip Paea and Donovan Jeter. Fifth-year seniors Bryan Mone and Lawrence Marshall will be gone after this season.

Dwumfour and Solomon progressed well as last season went along and could have breakout seasons in 2018. Jeter missed last season with an injury that, while never specified by Michigan, did require surgery. Defensive line coach Greg Mattison has mentioned Paea as a player who has shown improvement this spring.

There is depth at the position this year, so not signing a player in 2018 shouldn’t be worrisome. But you are correct that it needs to be addressed in 2019. The three defensive line commits Michigan has in this cycle are ends: Newburg, 5-star Christopher Hinton and 4-star Stephen Herron Jr.

Q: Any news on Michigan recruiting 2019 small forward Romeo Weems? — Kevin Gibson via Facebook

A: Michigan’s run to the NCAA Tournament title game limited John Beilein and his staff when it came to recruiting in March. Weems is one of the top players in the country, a 6-foot-7 power forward from New Haven, Mich., who led his team to the Class B state semifinals. He is rated as a 4-star prospect and is ranked as the 2019 top player in the state. Early analyst predictions have Weems leaning to Michigan State, but he has not committed.

A lot of predictions had Brandon Johns heading to the Spartans, but the power forward from East Lansing chose to sign with Michigan as part of the 2018 class.

The Wolverines have a lot of momentum with back-to-back Big Ten Tournament championships and the national runner-up performance this season. Beilein doesn’t worry about star ratings when he recruits. He’s looking for the right fit for his program. When it comes to Weems, it’s a waiting game.

Have a question about Michigan recruiting? Tweet us @Landof10MICH or follow on the Land of 10/Michigan Facebook page and ask us there. We’ll try to answer in a future mailbag. Check to see if your issue already was addressed by reading previous Michigan recruiting mailbags here.