Michigan recruiting mailbag: Wolverines’ next class strong despite recent de-commitment
Have Michigan football recruiting questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every Wednesday for the Land of 10 Michigan recruiting mailbag to discuss Wolverines recruiting. This week the mailbag dives into questions concerning the strength and depth of the 2019 class of commits.
Q: What has changed for Michigan’s 2019 class to get off to a great start? Is it the coaching changes and do you think they stick? — Zo Eastwood via Facebook
A: The 2019 class took a hit last weekend when cornerback Te’Cory Couch announced his de-commitment from Michigan, but the class as a whole is strong. It has 10 players committed, including 5-star defensive end Christopher Hinton of Norcross, Ga. Hinton is ranked the No. 22 player overall in the country by the 247Sports composite and the No. 2 strongside defensive end. Michigan’s class dropped to No. 14 nationally and No. 2 in the Big Ten after Couch’s announcement but there is a long way to go with the cycle.
Changes in the coaching staff haven’t hurt the Wolverines. The addition of Ed Warinner as the offensive line coach has been a benefit. While Warinner didn’t have a role in recruiting 2018 signees Jalen Mayfield and Ryan Hayes, he did have relationship with them from his time with Minnesota. Guard Nolan Rumler was already committed for 2019 but Warinner has maintained and strengthened that relationship. Michigan has received commitments from four more offensive linemen since February: tackles Trente Jones, Karsen Barnhart and Jack Stewart plus guard Zach Carpenter.
Players and schools reserve the right to change their minds, but I think most — if not all — of the 10 players committed now end up signing with the Wolverines.
RELATED: 2019 Michigan recruiting big board
Q: How many recruits can they get for 2019? — Jason Edwards via Facebook
A: The size of the class is still to be determined, but it’s likely to be closer to the total of 19 that was signed for the 2018 incoming freshman class than a larger number that came in the 2016 (26) or 2017 (30) classes.
Based on the current roster, Michigan has eight players who will be fifth-year seniors and three more seniors (Karan Higdon, Grant Perry, Tyree Kinnel) who will be in their final season of eligibility. There are seven other seniors (players signed in the 2015 class) who have used a redshirt season and could return for a fifth year in 2019. That’s a minimum of 11 spots and a maximum of 18.
The big unknown is how many juniors end up leaving early for the 2019 NFL Draft. Defensive end Rashan Gary almost certainly will take that route given projections that he will be a high first-round pick. Quarterback Shea Patterson, guard Ben Bredeson, linebacker Devin Bush and cornerbacks Lavert Hill and David Long are other players who potentially could leave early depending on how well they play this season.
Q: Is there a receiver that has serious interest in Michigan? — Tony Harden via Facebook
A: Michigan is strongly pursuing 4-star receivers Kyle Ford of Orange, Calif., and Cornelius Johnson of Greenwich, Conn., but isn’t considered by recruiting analysts to be a front-runner for either. Auburn 4-star commit George Pickens made an official visit last weekend but his commitment to the Tigers appears solid.
Face it, the struggles the Wolverines had last season throwing the ball didn’t help them on the recruiting trail. The Wolverines will need the passing game to improve if they’re going to contend for the Big Ten East title and if they want to pull in the wide receivers they are targeting. The 2017 receiver class of Donovan Peoples-Jones, Tarik Black, Nico Collins and Oliver Martin came in with a lot of hype and now must start producing on the field. The addition of Patterson at quarterback should aid in that improvement.
A couple of receivers to keep an eye on for Michigan are Jacoby Pinckney and Jaylen Ellis. Pinckney, a 3-star prospect from Roebuck, S.C., has Michigan in his final four schools along with Virginia Tech, Alabama and Georgia. Ellis is a 3-star prospect from Cedar Ridge, Texas, who is committed to Baylor but Rivals has reported that Michigan offered him last month and he’s taking the Wolverines seriously.
Have a question about Michigan recruiting? Tweet us @Landof10MICH or follow on the Land of 10/Michigan Facebook page and ask us there. We’ll try to answer in a future mailbag. Check to see if your issue already was addressed by reading previous Michigan recruiting mailbags here.