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Michigan moves on after losing top commit
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh found out Wednesday morning he wouldn’t be getting a national letter of intent from 4-star linebacker Otis Reese. Reese had been committed to the Wolverines since June 18, 2016, but changed his mind and decided to sign with Georgia on National Signing Day.
“I wouldn’t say we were caught off guard. We understood that was a possibility,” said Harbaugh at a press conference to discuss Michigan’s 2018 recruiting class.
Athletes changing their mind and flipping commitments from one school to another is nothing new in college recruiting. It happens every year. Michigan was the beneficiary of a flip in this class when defensive end Julius Welschof changed his mind about signing with Georgia Tech in the new December early signing period.
Were there fewer flips this recruiting cycle, however, because there were fewer players to flip on National Signing Day?
RELATED: 2018 Michigan recruiting big board
College football’s first experience with two signing periods in the same cycle showed that teams are going to do the bulk of their work in the early period
Michigan signed three players Wednesday to add to the 16 it signed in December. It would have made room for a couple of more players, namely Reese and 5-star tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere, to fit into the class but the ratio of players signed in December vs. those signed Wednesday were in line with the rest of college football.
A story by Richard Johnson of SBNation last month stated that 279 of the 369 players (75.6 percent) rated as 5-star or 4-star prospects by the 247Sports composite signed in December.
“I don’t know exactly what the numbers will be but it seemed like about 80 percent signed on the first signing day,” Harbaugh said. “I think there was a priority for youngsters to sign on the first signing day. I think that’s the biggest thing.
“I understand it and feel good about it. I know a lot of families that felt really good about it. Those that didn’t had the ability to wait and make their decision or take more visits until they ultimately signed on the second signing day. I feel like I understand it and understand the motivations for it.”
Seven of eight players who were rated 4-star prospects and were committed to Michigan signed with the Wolverines early. Reese was the only one who didn’t.
Signees find motivation
Michigan ended up ranked No. 21 nationally in the 247Sports composite, down from its back-to-back Top 10 finishes of the last two cycles.
That was a disappointment to many Michigan fans, especially given the lofty status of Big Ten rivals Ohio State at No. 2 and Penn State at No. 5. It may prove to be motivation for several of the 2018 class members. Here are some of their reactions on Twitter
“Those Who Stay Will Be Champions”
We Good Y’all#GoBlue 〽️
— Cam McGrone 💪🏽™️ (@McGrone_Strong) February 7, 2018
— Ryan💸 (@Ryan_Hanna33) February 7, 2018
Haters gonna hate…
— Jalen Mayfield (@jay_may_11) February 7, 2018
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