Michigan recruiting mailbag: Most important position groups for Wolverines; eye on running backs
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 we look at the position groups we think should get the most attention in the 2019 recruiting cycle, what running backs Michigan is targeting, and how the spring game affects planned visits.
Q: What position is going to be the main focus in recruiting? — Lamont B. Simmons via Facebook
A: There are two spots that stick out to me, and they’re across the line of scrimmage from each other. I think Michigan needs to land some interior offensive line and defensive line players. It has gotten a 2019 commitment from guard Nolan Rumler of Akron (Ohio) Hoban, a 4-star prospect according to the 247Sports composite, but there are no defensive tackles yet on this cycle’s commit list of seven.
Center Cesar Ruiz is the only interior offensive lineman the Wolverines have signed in the last two recruiting classes (2017-18), although it’s possible players such as Andrew Stueber and Joel Honigford could be moved inside. No defensive tackles were signed in the 2018 class, although there is a little more leeway with Aubrey Solomon, Donovan Jeter and Phillip Paea signed in 2017.
Mazi Smith is the defensive tackle name to watch. He’s a 4-star prospect from Grand Rapids and has made multiple visits to Michigan in the last few months. Offensively, the Wolverines are pursuing William Harrod of Fort Washington, Md., and Trevor Keegan of Crystal Lake, Ill., a pair of 4-star tackles who could potentially be converted to guards.
RELATED: 2019 Michigan recruiting big board
Q: What RB do we have a good shot at in 2019? — Kent Bohler via Facebook
A: Running back is a position group in which the Wolverines are not lacking depth. They have eight scholarship running backs for 2018, and only Karan Higdon is a senior.
Quavaris Crouch of Charlotte, N.C., has been a top target for a long time. Michigan has a good relationship with the 5-star prospect and is working to get him on campus this spring for a visit. Michigan hosted 4-star John Emery Jr. of Destrehan, La., in January and made his top-8 list. Zach Charbonnet, a 4-star from Westlake Village, Calif., is also among the top targets for the Wolverines, according to the 247Sports composite.
Michigan is in a position where it doesn’t have to sign a running back in 2019. Don’t take that to mean it won’t sign a running back, but chances are good that player will be highly rated if it happens.
Q: Can we ever catch up with an Ohio [State] or Penn St., Auburn, Alabama? — Brad Stevenson via Facebook
A: Absolutely. Michigan has the facilities, the coaching staff, the tradition, school and anything else needed to recruit as well as any program in the country.
Finishing 8-5 last season cost some momentum, but Jim Harbaugh has had two 10-win seasons in his first three years. What he and the program need won’t come as a surprise to anyone: break through with a Big Ten East title. That would include wins on the field against Penn State, Michigan State and Ohio State. That’s the knock against Michigan and the narrative on the recruiting trail won’t change until the Wolverines do something about it on Saturday afternoons.
The 2016 and 2017 recruiting classes were each ranked top 10 nationally. Those players will be at the heart of this team and next season.
Q: Do you know which recruits will be attending the spring game? — Jason Lawrence via Facebook
A: I was going to run down a list for you, but as I was typing up this mailbag the game was canceled due to pending inclement weather. It was the right move for Michigan. Spring games are important in that they are another chance for players to show coaches what they can do and do it in front of a large audience. Wide receiver Nate Schoenle opened eyes in the spring game last year and he parlayed that with good practices throughout the preseason camp and regular season into a substantial role.
Linebacker Anthony Solomon (4-star), wide receiver John Dunmore (4-star), athlete Te’Cory Couch (4-star) and tight end Luke Deal (3-star) were all expected to make official visits this weekend for the spring game. It remains to be seen if they will keep that schedule or plan for another weekend.
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.