Michigan went 2-for-4 on National Signing Day. Batting .500 on the final day is a solid performance.
But, regardless, Michigan would have liked to have added the other two. It landed Aubrey Solomon and Nico Collins, while missing on Willie Gay and Mekhi Becton.
Here’s a breakdown on how the two misses affect the 2017 roster, and how it will affect the 2018 class needs.
Willie Gay, 4-star LB
Going into National Signing Day, Michigan already had four linebacker commits. As the nation’s No. 73 overall player, according to the 247Sports Composite, Gay would have been the top-ranked linebacker commitment in the class.
Think of Gay as a luxury, rather than a need. Michigan wanted Gay due to his freakish athleticism, and how good of a fit he was in defensive coordinator Don Brown’s aggressive scheme.
So, Gay doesn’t have much of an effect on the 2018 class since Michigan already had four linebacker commitments. It will likely add that amount again next cycle.
As for the 2017 roster, Gay had as good of an opportunity as anybody to crack the lineup, or, at least the rotation. There were rumblings that Gay was going to play the same “viper” position that Jabrill Peppers had played.
This was a tough miss for the staff, talent-wise. But it doesn’t leave a hole in Michigan’s class, or roster.
Mekhi Becton, 3-star OT
After Michigan 5-star OT Isaiah Wilson instead chose Georgia and former OT commit Kai-Leon Herbert flipped to Miami, the Wolverines needed a replacement for two tackles expected to be a part of the class.
Becton had been the final target on that list heading into the final weeks of January. The Wolverines wanted a large tackle such as the 6-foot-8 Wilson. Becton, at 6 feet 7, 345-pounds, is the prototype tackle that the Wolverines wanted. He inevitably picked Louisville on Signing Day.
Michigan originally wanted eight offensive linemen in this class, three fewer than it signed. Of its five, three are rated as 4-stars, and two are 3-stars. The Wolverines are thin on the line with high-ceiling talent: sophomore Grant Newsome could be out indefinitely after a knee injury during the 2016 season, three starters graduated, and a couple more transferred.
Losing Becton doesn’t affect the 2017 roster because he was seen as a project that the offensive line staff wanted to make into a superstar with his large frame.
As for the 2018 class, it has a big affect. Michigan will definitely go after a large-frame tackle again in 2018.
A possibility: Darrell Simpson, a 4-star 2018 recruit from Justin (Texas). At 6 feet 7, 330 pounds, he has the frame of Becton with a talent like Michigan signee Chuck Filiaga. He’s ranked as the No. 58 overall prospect in 2018. He’s a Texas A&M favorite for now, but it’s as early as it gets so expect the Wolverines to be talking with him soon.