Michigan’s 2018 class is set to be the smallest recruiting class since Jim Harbaugh’s first full class in 2016. By adding more than 25 recruits the past two cycles, the Wolverines have limited space and scholarships for this year’s class.
That means that some positions will have limited numbers. Some might even have zero. The Wolverines would be lucky to walk away having signed more than 16 recruits in the class.
With that, every week, we are looking at a position group that we think might be set for Michigan and asking the question: Should it add another commitment?
At offensive line, Michigan already claims pledges from three 247Sports composite 4-star recruits in Traverse City (Mich.) West OT Ryan Hayes, Grand Rapids (Mich.) Catholic 4-star OT Jalen Mayfield and Indianapolis Cathedral 4-star OG Emil Ekiyor.
With two tackles and a guard in place, the Wolverines could walk away comfortably with three solid commitments that concentrate on two positions within the offensive line.
But it still sounds as if the Wolverines will add another player at the position.
A team can never have too many offensive linemen. We saw in 2016 what can happen when injuries happen to starters on the line, such as when Michigan lost starting left tackle Grant Newsome. The lack of depth behind him left a hole at the position that backup Juwann Bushell-Beatty struggled to fill.
The hope of adding more offensive linemen – again, the Wolverines added five in the 2017 class – comes with the hope that the reinforcements will bolster Michigan’s depth at the position.
With that in mind, expect the Wolverines to try to add one more. Here’s a look at the two recruits the Wolverines have a realistic shot at adding to the class.
Apopka (Fla.) 4-star OT William Barnes
Arguably one of the best tackles in the country, William Barnes participated in the satellite camp at Florida Atlantic on June 5. There, he got valuable face-to-face time with the Wolverines staff.
As the No. 49 overall prospect nationally, Barnes is a hot commodity. Despite the recent gains for Michigan in this race, it’s still one that the in-state Florida Gators control, possessing 16 Crystal Ball predictions.
Barnes is expected to take a trip to Ann Arbor. That trip will determine how serious, or not serious, the Wolverines are in the race for the country’s No. 4 overall tackle.
He has a good relationship with fellow Floridian, and Michigan commit, Joe Milton. The two traded tweets that referenced the Wolverines.
— ➕W🅱️➕®☄️ (@barneswilliam7) June 11, 2017
The Wolverines have a better shot than ever imagined with Barnes, all thanks to a satellite camp in Boca Raton, Fla.
Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy 3-star OT Daniel Faalele
The recruit nearly everybody knows about, Daniel Faalele is widely recognized for his story. He’s an Australia native who moved to the United States last year after the Michigan staff discovered him at their satellite camp in Melbourne, Australia, last summer.
He’s never played in a football game that counted before, with his only experience coming in IMG’s spring game earlier this year. But, with his potential, he has a shot to be better than any offensive lineman in this class.
— Daniel Faalele (@DanielFaalele_) May 20, 2017
He’s 6-foot-8, 400 pounds and one of the scariest prospects you’ll come across. With less than a year of football training, Faalele still needs to work on his mechanics, but the team that signs him ultimately could benefit from an abundance of untapped potential.
The Wolverines have an edge that no other team has, though. They discovered him and built a history with him before he became a household name in recruiting.