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Happy holidays to all, Ho Ho Ho, and all that good stuff.
Michigan got a peek at its 2018 recruiting class when it got national letters of intent from 16 players last week during the early signing period. There will be more to come on National Signing Day on Feb. 7, but for now the Wolverines have a good base for the class. The class is ranked No. 14 nationally by the 247Sports composite, which includes three players committed to Michigan but who have not yet signed their letters of intent.
The Wolverines’ last two recruiting classes have been ranked No. 8 (2016) and No. 5 (2017) nationally and those players are going to comprise the foundation of the team for the next couple of seasons. This 2018 class is not going to be counted on to play as significant a role as immediately as those two classes were, but there are still several players who will contribute as a freshman and who will play prominent roles in the years to follow.
RELATED: 2018 Michigan recruiting big board
Land of 10 Michigan takes a look at three players it finds the most intriguing in this class so far:
QB Joe Milton
Hometown: Orlando, Fla.
High school: Olympia
Quarterbacks always draw the brightest spotlight, and Joe Milton doesn’t shy away from it. He’s going to be an early enrollee and get to participate in offseason workouts and spring practices. The likelihood is that Milton ends up redshirting with Brandon Peters and Dylan McCaffrey returning and the transfer of Shea Patterson from Mississippi, but he is going to give himself every opportunity to be ready if he gets the chance to play. The NCAA has yet to rule on the issue of Patterson’s petition for immediate eligibility. If Patterson has to sit out a transfer season, then Milton’s potential role on the team becomes even more important.
Milton has the size, arm strength and athleticism that attract coaches and scouts from all around. His evaluation on 247Sports says: “Milton is a bouncy athlete who is light on his feet, so you have to like his ability to evade pressure and extend plays with his legs.” When I hear that, I immediately think Ben Roethlisberger.
Hometown: Grand Rapids, Mich.
High school: Catholic Central
The offensive line is an area of top priority for Michigan and Jalen Mayfield offers the type of athleticism teams are looking for at tackle these days. A couple of years ago he envisioned himself being the next Rob Gronkowkski/Tony Gonzalez-type mismatch of a tight end but his coaches at Catholic Central knew better. They saw his potential as an elite tackle and what that means in today’s game where defensive ends are becoming faster and tougher to handle one-on-one.
Mason Cole is the only player in the history of Michigan to ever start a season opener on the offensive line as a freshman. It’s asking a lot to project any lineman to come in and play right away but Mayfield is someone to watch during his Wolverines career. The highlight video below is from Catholic Central’s 42-31 victory against Edwardsburg in the Division 4 state title game. Mayfield was dominant on both sides of the line of scrimmage. It gives you a taste of what could be in Ann Arbor.
Hometown: Indianapolis, Ind.
High school: Lawrence Central
Cameron McGrone wasn’t on Michigan’s radar until his good friend Emil Ekiyor suggested to coaches that they take a look at him. That’s when Ekiyor was a Michigan commit. He has since signed with Alabama but McGrone is no consolation prize. He’s got the size, speed and strength to play any of the linebacker positions. McGrone worked his way back from an ACL injury his junior season to be named a U.S. Army All-American Bowl player this season.
Linebacker is a position of depth for Michigan, so McGrone will get a chance to learn without having to be on the field immediately. That doesn’t mean he can’t get on the field as a freshman. What he can become during his Michigan career should be even more enticing to Wolverines fans.
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