Joe Milton committed to Michigan in May, but questions about his pledge linger.

Michigan recruiting mailbag: Speculation lingers about Joe Milton’s 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, we discuss the commitment of 2018 QB Joe Milton.

Q: Did Joe Milton de-commit? — Michael Van Meer via Facebook

A: Quick answer is, no, Joe Milton has not changed his commitment to Michigan. Milton is a 2018 quarterback from Orlando, Fla. He’s led his Olympia High School team to a 2-1 start, throwing for 547 yards, 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in the process.

Milton committed to Michigan on May 7. He is a 4-star prospect, according to the 247Sports composite, and is the only quarterback among the 13 players currently committed to Michigan for next season. Milton told 247Sports in August that he plans on signing during the new December signing window and possibly could be an early enrollee in January.

The question of whether Milton will stick with his commitment is constant speculation. First, look at Michigan’s QB depth chart (unofficial, of course).

  • Wilton Speight (RS Jr)
  • John O’Korn (5th Sr)
  • Brandon Peters (RS Fr)
  • Dylan McCaffrey (Fr)
  • Alex Malzone (RS So)

Speight may or may not be back next season, depending on what his NFL prospects look like. This is O’Korn’s last season of eligibility. Peters showed some flashes in the spring game and will be in the mix to start next season regardless of Speight’s future. McCaffrey is a likely redshirt this season, but he’s impressed the coaching staff with his smarts and ability to pick up the offense despite not arriving to campus until June. Malzone has been in the system for three years and was part of Harbaugh’s original recruiting class.

Players want to know that they’ll have a shot at playing time sooner than later. Milton’s comments suggest that he’s willing to come and compete for that job and not just go somewhere he’ll be appointed the heir apparent superstar or program savior. The pull of being coached by Jim Harbaugh and Pep Hamilton can have that effect on a prospect.

Commitments are just words for both sides of the recruiting equation. Players have de-committed before from schools they’ve previously announced to be their soul mate. Players have opened up their recruiting after a commitment for a variety of reasons. It happened to Aubrey Solomon and Michigan last year after Michigan mistakenly sent him a “thank you” card for attending the BBQ at the Big House that Solomon did not attend. The whole episode, and how Harbaugh and his staff responded, to Solomon and his family, actually helped make their bond stronger.

Then there is the story of Erik Swenson. He was an offensive lineman in the Class of 2016 who had committed to Michigan during Brady Hoke’s tenure as coach. When Hoke was fired after the 2014 season and Harbaugh was hired to replace him, the new staff sought to evaluate Swenson. It became a he-said, he-said situation that ended with Michigan pulling the scholarship offer before National Signing Day. Harbaugh was heavily criticized and Swenson eventually landed on his feet at Oklahoma.

Players can announce commitments all they want, but nothing is official until they sign that National Letter of Intent. They are free to back out. Schools are free to pull scholarship offers. Even when players make a commitment, other schools pursue them. Offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor of Indianapolis Cathedral is the top-rated player in this 2018 commit class for Michigan. He told Land of 10 this month that Alabama still talks to him and is still trying to get him to come for a visit.

Michigan, according to 247Sports, has been in contact with 2018 4-star QB Tyler Shough, who has committed to North Carolina. Why do that when it has Milton’s commitment? Because you never have enough good players.

Once a commitment is made, recruiting doesn’t stop. Not for the school, the player, or for others who would like to change his mind. Recruiting is about relationships.

Have a question about Michigan recruiting? Tweet us @Landof10Mich or ask your question on our Michigan Wolverines Land of 10 Facebook page and we’ll try to answer it in a future mailbag. Check to see if your issue already was addressed by reading previous Michigan recruiting mailbags here.