Michigan recruiting mailbag: Wolverines focus on key offensive, defensive line visits this weekend
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 recruiting in-state players, the offensive line and whether any former Tennessee commits have interest in Michigan.
Q: Do we land the OT visiting for the team down south game? — Jason Milliman via Facebook
A: Nicholas Petit-Frere is the player Jason is asking about, and, yes, I think Michigan has an excellent shot at signing the 6-foot-6, 272-pound player. Petit-Frere is considered a 4-star player and ranked No. 42 overall in the country on the 247Sports composite. He is scheduled to visit the Wolverines this weekend.
Michigan has a couple of factors in its favor for Petit-Frere: academics and playing time potential. Distance to a school isn’t a detriment, and the coaching change happening at Florida is likely to hurt the Gators in trying to keep Petit-Frere in state. Senior left tackle Mason Cole is the only offensive lineman in program history to start the opener of his freshman season. So to say a freshman starts next season is far from a certainty, but as this season has shown, there will be jobs open for competition next year. The offensive line has been the most inconsistent of the position groups this season.
Q: Do you think we get any 5-stars for next year? ― Zach Cortright via Facebook
A: This question, and it comes from many fans, always make me wonder if people realize what it means to be a 5-star player. NFL teams are always searching for an “elite” quarterback to carry their franchise. Why? Because there are so few of them. The terms “elite” and “5-star” imply the person is the best of the best an in the small minority of the population at the top of their skill set.
There are only 25 players in the 2018 class who are considered 5-star prospects by the 247Sports composite ratings. That’s a tiny portion of the total number of high school players.
Michigan has interest in several players in that group but there isn’t much interest in return, not enough to say the Wolverines will sign any of them. Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown has been on campus for a visit but most analysts project him going to either Southern California or Notre Dame, where his brother plays. Don’t fret, however. Michigan already has commitments from two 5-star prospects in the 2019 class: defensive ends Christopher Hinton and Stephen Herron Jr.
Q: How many commits does Michigan have that are in the Top 100 next year? ― Matt Wilson via Facebook
A: This is a follow-up to the previous question regarding 5-star recruits. At this point, on Nov. 22, 2017, the eve of Thanksgiving, Michigan has no player committed for 2018 who is in the top 100 of the 247Sports composite ratings. The Wolverines have 15 players in this commit class, with 4-star tight end Mustapha Muhammad being the highest-rated of the group at No. 109 overall. Muhammad is rated as the fifth-best tight end in the country. Eight of the players are rated within the top 300. There is expected to be room for 22 to 24 players in this class, depending on roster attrition, so the Wolverines will have opportunities to add players rated in the top 100.
Q: Any positive news on (Taylor) Upshaw from a recruiting standpoint? ― Tony Harden via Facebook
A: I would say there is a lot of positive talk regarding Upshaw, a 3-star defensive end prospect from Bradenton, Fla., who is the son of former NFL player Regan Upshaw. Upshaw (6-5, 240) is a Florida commit but with the coaching change in Gainesville, that commitment is tenuous. The fact that Upshaw’s father played in the NFL and Michigan defensive line coach Greg Mattison has plenty of NFL experience can’t hurt the situation.
Michigan is pushing for defensive linemen, both interior and on the end, in this class that has only 4-star Aidan Hutchinson committed. The Wolverines will host Upshaw and four other defensive linemen this weekend: tackles Alim McNeill and Rick Sandidge, and ends Eyabi Anoma and Jayson Oweh.
Q: The QB situation has been our issue. It needs to be addressed as a top priority in recruiting. ― Josh Sherrouse via Facebook
A: Michigan won’t be lacking quarterbacks, and quality ones at that, on its future rosters. Brandon Peters was a 4-star recruit and he returns next season. Dylan McCaffrey, a 4-star 2017 freshman, is going to be redshirted this season barring unforeseen circumstances in the regular-season finale against Ohio State and whatever bowl game selects the Wolverines.
The 2018 class has two quarterback commits in 4-star Joe Milton of Orlando, Fla., and 3-star Kevin Doyle of Washington, D.C. Milton has said he plans to enroll early to get himself prepared for competition in 2018. Doyle is coming off a fabulous senior season in which he led St. John’s College High School to its first Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship since 1989. He transferred to St. John’s from Virginia to play against some of the best competition in the country, and he responded by completing 171 of 280 passes for 2,635 yards, 22 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.
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