ANN ARBOR, Mich. — If the final recruiting rankings included quarterback Shea Patterson, Michigan would have moved up the charts.
However, that addition alone wouldn’t have helped the Wolverines return to the top 10 in the national recruiting rankings.
“If we add [Utah transfer and defensive back Casey] Hughes and Patterson to Michigan’s class without adding transfers for any other school, and if we still assume that Shea Patterson is a 5-star level talent like we had him graded as a high schooler, Michigan still would only move up to No. 19, jumping Tennessee and South Carolina,” Barton Simmons, 247Sports director of football scouting, told Land of 10. “So while the addition of Patterson in particular is huge, I still think this Michigan class comes up short.”
247Sports ranked Michigan’s 2018 class at No. 21. Landing a 5-star player such as tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere or a 4-star player such as Otis Reese would have catapulted Michigan into the top 15. Petit-Frere committed to Ohio State and Reese flipped to Georgia on National Signing Day.
The rankings, however, shouldn’t be the only factor that determines this year’s class.
“With the standard at Michigan, obviously, you look at that No. 21 ranking and think, ‘meh,’ ” said Steve Wiltfong, 247Sports national recruiting director. “But they still got some really good players who will help them. Some of those guys will be impact players in Year 1, and Michigan, in my mind, is a playoff contender going into the season.
“But if you’re Michigan, or any program, you’re doing your own evaluation and focusing on landing your top targets. You’re making sure that your roster doesn’t have holes in it, and that you have depth at each position.”
This fall is when coach Jim Harbaugh’s previous recruiting classes need to come to fruition. His first full recruiting class in 2016 (ranked No. 8 by 247Sports) will be in its third season at Michigan.
One wild card remains for this season: Patterson. He and Michigan are pursuing an eligibility waiver that would allow him to immediately play, rather than sit out a year, according to NCAA guidelines.
“If Shea Patterson can play this year, then Michigan has the best quarterback in the Big Ten,” said Chris Childers, the host of ESPNU Radio’s Full Ride. “You can’t say its anyone at Ohio State, and Brian Lewerke [at Michigan State] is as average as the day is long. Trace McSorley could be among the better ones, but with his NFL upside, Shea Patterson, he’s the guy.
“He’s a big-time player, and as good of a recruit as we’ve seen in recent years. He has every intangible known to man. He wants to compete, and he wants to win championships.”
One recruiting analyst sees the potential addition of Patterson as a move that will pay dividends for the Wolverines.
“He’s going to go pro if he’s ready [after 2018], but getting a good year from him can help Michigan become an even better program,” CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said. “If they get Shea Patterson eligible, they could make a run for the Big Ten title.”