National Signing Day 2018 is on Wednesday. It will be a calmer version this year after the implementation of an early signing period in December, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be action or drama.
Land of 10 Michigan gives you a rundown of the players the Wolverines have been involved with through the 2018 recruiting process and predicts what will happen on Wednesday:
*Note: All player ratings and rankings are based on the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
5-star T Nicholas Petit-Frere (Tampa, Fla.) — Michigan, Alabama, Ohio State, Florida, Notre Dame
The recruiting process for Nicholas Petit-Frere, the nation’s top-ranked tackle and the No. 7 player overall, has been thorough and patient. Michigan got him to Ann Arbor for a visit on Nov. 25, a month after he visited Notre Dame, plus got a chance to practice in front of him during its preparations for the Outback Bowl when the team worked out at his high school, Berkeley Prep. He visited the other three schools in the last month, finishing with a trip to Ohio State last weekend. Dominick Ciao, his high school coach, has said all the schools have remained an option during the process and there hasn’t been a favorite. New Florida coach Dan Mullen has made a strong push to keep one of the best players in the country home.
4-star WR Ja’Marr Chase (Metairie, La.) — Michigan, LSU, Auburn, TCU
Ja’Marr Chase was committed to Florida but changed his mind as the Gators were in the process of firing Jim McElwain midseason. Michigan jumped in on his recruitment eagerly, getting him on campus for a visit on Nov. 25 and following up with in-home visits. Chase, who is ranked No. 84 overall and the No. 15 wide receiver, put the Wolverines in his final three choices, but all indications are he is staying close to home.
4-star LB Otis Reese (Leesburg, Ga.) — Michigan, Georgia
Otis Reese announced his commitment to Michigan on June 18, 2016. He hasn’t changed that commitment, but neither has he truly affirmed it. Reese, the No. 87 overall player and No. 5 outside linebacker, took his official visit to Michigan on Jan. 19 and then officially visited Georgia on Jan. 26. It was the latest in a number of trips he has taken to Athens, where the Bulldogs and coach Kirby Smart are rolling in momentum on and off the field. Reese chose not to sign in December because he was focused on leading his Lee County team to its first Georgia state championship and didn’t want to take time away for official visits. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Class 6A Defensive Player of the Year has been mum publicly about his recruitment aside from the occasional tweet about where he is.
This is an absolute toss-up that could go either way. Reese would be the top-ranked recruit in the Wolverines class and has a strong relationship with the coaching staff. Georgia is closer to home, and its future as a perennial national title contender isn’t going away anytime soon.
4-star T Jarrett Patterson (Mission Viejo, Calif.) — Michigan, UCLA, Notre Dame
Michigan ramped up its interest in Jarrett Patterson in October, before he de-committed from Arizona State. It was able to get him to campus for an official visit on Dec. 9, and all seemed to be going well with the relationship. UCLA became a greater factor after Chip Kelly was hired as coach, replacing Jim Mora, and Notre Dame came in with its offer in January. The contest for Patterson reportedly is down to those two programs.
3-star CB Vincent Gray (Rochester, Mich.) — Michigan
Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown loves his defensive backs to be tall with long arms and who aren’t afraid to cover in man-to-man situations. Vincent Gray was a late offer by the Wolverines, receiving one a few days prior to the start of the December early signing period, but he fits that profile. Gray (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) had a standout senior season, a season that upped his recruiting profile. He had committed to Missouri in the summer of 2017 but was leaning to switching to West Virginia before getting the Michigan offer. He announced his commitment to the Wolverines on Jan. 21.
3-star ATH Michael Barrett (Valdosta, Ga.) — Michigan
Michigan got a commitment from Michael Barrett, the AJC’s Georgia Class 7A Offensive Player of the Year, on Jan. 23. Barrett was a quarterback at Lowndes High School who accounted for nearly 7,300 yards of offense in three seasons, according to stats on MaxPreps.com. He threw for 45 touchdowns with 8 interceptions, and rushed for another 38 touchdowns.
The plan is for Barrett (5-11 1/2, 215 pounds) to play running back for the Wolverines, but he is versatile enough to be moved to wide receiver or to defense.
3-star WR Ronnie Bell (Kansas City, Mo.) — Michigan
Ronnie Bell’s wait is almost over. Bell was ready to sign a national letter of intent with Michigan in December, but because he previously had signed a national letter of intent with Missouri State for basketball, and the NCAA has a rule against signing more than one national letter of intent per calendar year, he had to hold tight. Bell is set to become the lone wide receiver in Michigan’s 2018 class. He wasn’t getting many offers to play football, which is why he took Missouri State up on its offer to play Division I hoops.
Bell caught 89 passes for 1,605 yards and 21 of the 25 touchdowns he scored as a senior in leading Park Hill High School to the Class 6 state semifinals. He was named first-team all-state and eventually had a change of heart about which sport he wanted to play in college. Missouri State was good enough to release him from the national letter of intent. His signature should stick this time.