Brice Marich/247Sports
Defensive tackle Mazi Smith of East Kentwood, Mich., is ranked No. 8 in the country at his position.

Michigan recruiting mailbag: Wolverines keep pushing for defensive tackles

Kevin Goheen

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, just where do the Wolverines stand in their pursuit of defensive tackles and cornerbacks, and what’s the recruiting ranking ceiling for 2019 commit quarterback Cade McNamara? 

Q: Any defensive tackles on the horizon? — Dorian Adams via Facebook

A: Mazi Smith of East Kentwood (Mich.) is one of the top targets for Michigan in 2019 regardless of position, but he’s become a bigger focus because he’s an in-state prospect. Smith is ranked No. 8 in the country at defensive tackle by the 247Sports composite and is the No. 4 player in Michigan. The three players ranked ahead of him — tackle (and teammate) Logan Brown, tackle Devontae Dobbs and cornerback Julian Barnett — are either committed elsewhere or have had little interaction with Michigan.

Michigan didn’t sign any defensive tackles in 2018 and doesn’t have any among its 2019 commits.

According to Rivals, the Wolverines have made offers to 2019 prospects Latrell Alexander, DeWayne Carter, Lloyd Murray Jr. and Rodas Johnson. Expect a bigger push at this position during the summer camp season.

RELATED: 2019 Michigan recruiting big board  

Q: How many CBs is Michigan looking to land in the 2019 class? — Jason Lawrence via Facebook

A: Good question, Jason. Cornerback is one of the deepest position groups for the Wolverines. They’ve signed eight corners in the last three recruiting cycles. They also have fifth-year senior Brandon Watson and grad transfer Casey Hughes, although Hughes could end up at safety.

The thing with corners is you can never have too many of them. There are so many receivers to cover in modern offenses, so the more the merrier when it comes to corners and safeties who have coverage skills. The Wolverines are high on sophomore safety Jaylen Kelly-Powell for that reason.

Te’Cory Couch of Hollywood, Fla., is the only cornerback committed for 2019. There is room for one or two more players in the group, but with the depth already present it’s not a priority.

Q: Is Cade McNamara going to shoot up the rankings due to his recent performance? — Jerrod Johnson via Facebook

A:  Cade McNamara is the No. 10-ranked pro-style quarterback in the country and the 2019 Michigan commit has a chance to impress evaluators more after earning a spot in the Elite 11 Finals. That competition brings together 24 quarterbacks from across the country to vie for 12 spots at Nike’s The Opening Finals. The Elite 11 Finals run June 1-3 in Redondo Beach, Calif.

Michigan quarterbacks Shea Patterson (2015), Brandon Peters (2015), Dylan McCaffrey (2016), and Joe Milton (2017) all competed in the Elite 11 Finals. Patterson, Peters and McCaffrey went on to The Opening Finals.

McNamara already rates high in the eyes of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton, which is the most important ranking there is for the Wolverines. His playing style is similar to Patterson’s in that he has the ability to keep plays alive with his feet while throwing accurately on the run.

Q: Sorry if I’m late, but who is Michigan targeting at running backRex Merchant via Facebook

A:  No worries, Rex. Thanks for the question. Just as is the case with cornerbacks, Michigan has a lot of depth at running back with eight scholarship players on the 2018 roster and Karan Higdon being the sole senior in the group. That group includes incoming freshmen Christian Turner, Hassan Haskins and Michael Barrett, who played quarterback in high school but will be used in a variety of roles with the Wolverines.

The top targets in the 2019 class include John Emery Jr. of Destrehan, La., Zach Charbonnet of Westlake Village, Calif., and Kyren Williams of St. Louis. Others should surface during the summer camp season. The Wolverines have had a good relationship with Quavaris Crouch of Charlotte, N.C., but he may end playing on defense in college. Michigan wouldn’t have a problem with that as Crouch, the No. 11-ranked player overall in the country, is a special talent.

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.