Michigan suffered a significant recruiting loss Wednesday when 4-star linebacker and longtime commit Otis Reese announced he will sign with Georgia.
Reese, from Leesburg (Ga.) Lee County High School, committed to the Wolverines on June 18, 2016, not long after Michigan held a satellite camp at the school. Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown was recruiting Reese (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) to play viper, the hybrid linebacker/safety position in his scheme, but Reese has instead chosen to become part of a Georgia recruiting class that could end up as the best in the nation. Reese is rated a 4-star prospect by the 247Sports composite and listed as the No. 87 player overall in the country. He is ranked No. 5 among outside linebackers and would have been the highest-ranked player in Michigan’s class.
— DawgNation (@DawgNation) February 7, 2018
That distinction now goes to 4-star defensive end Aidan Hutchinson of Dearborn, Mich., who is ranked No. 112 overall, the No. 6 strongside defensive end and the No. 1 player in the state of Michigan. Hutchinson was one of three Wolverines who played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, along with tackle Jalen Mayfield and linebacker Cameron McGrone. Those three players were among the 16 who signed with Michigan during the early signing period in December.
Michigan’s class was ranked No. 16 in the country prior to Reese flipping. It assuredly will drop with his loss. The Wolverines’ last two classes were ranked No. 8 (2016) and No. 5 (2017). They signed 56 players combined in those two classes, and 51 of them are still on the roster.
McGrone is now the lone linebacker in the 2018 recruiting class but the Wolverines aren’t lacking for depth at the position. They signed seven linebackers in the previous two classes. Safety also is a position of depth from recent recruiting. While German Green is only safety signed for the 2018 class, Michigan signed Josh Metellus and Khaleke Hudson in 2016 and Jaylen Kelly-Powell, J’Marick Woods and Brad Hawkins last year. Hawkins originally signed as a wide receiver but switched to defense.
Grad transfer defensive back Casey Hughes of Utah also has committed to the Wolverines for the 2017 season.
While Michigan has depth at the positions Reese would’ve been playing, his loss adds to a string of recruiting misses this year.
Reese is the third player to de-commit from the Wolverines since October, and the second one Michigan has lost to a Southeastern Conference team. Guard Emil Ekiyor flipped his commitment from the Wolverines to Alabama and then signed with the Crimson Tide during the December early period. Quarterback Kevin Doyle announced his change of mind on Sunday.
Thank you Coach Hamilton and Coach Harbaugh for the opportunity. I am officially decommitted from the University of Michigan. I will be signing with a new school on Wednesday, Feb 7th.
— Kevin Doyle (@Kevin_Doyle_13) February 4, 2018
The Wolverines also lost out on a recruiting battle for No. 3-ranked defensive tackle Tyler Friday of Ramsey, N.J., who chose Ohio State over Michigan and Alabama.