Isaiah Hole/247Sports
Christopher Hinton is the top-ranked defensive end in the 2019 class. He is committed to Michigan.

Michigan recruiting mailbag: Closing out 2018 class; how 2019 shaping up for Wolverines

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, Land of 10 looks at how the Wolverines are wrapping up the 2018 class, how they are putting together the class of 2019, and how 2017 affected both classes. 

Q: How do you think Michigan will close out the ’18 recruiting class?  Grad transfers included? — from Urban Pirate @20roar

A: The class currently has 16 players signed — eight on offense, eight on defense — but add transfer quarterback Shea Patterson and this Michigan class has a solid foundation as a follow-up to the much-heralded 2016 and 2017 groups. It has a real opportunity to strengthen this class with as many as six or seven more players, including two or three players ranked among the top 100 in the country.

Quarterback Kevin Doyle and wide receiver Ronnie Bell are commits expected to sign on Feb. 7, National Signing Day. Michigan is working to solidify the commitment linebacker/safety Otis Reese gave them in June 2016. Reese is rated a 4-star prospect by the 247Sports composite and ranked as the No. 93 player in the country. There is a lot of talk about him flipping to Georgia, but I’m thinking that the re-signing of assistant coach Chris Partridge will do a lot to keep Reese with the Wolverines.

The position group getting the most attention is the offensive line. The Wolverines are pursing Rice grad transfer Calvin Anderson, who has started at left tackle the last three seasons, as well as 2018 prospects Nicholas Petit-Frere and Jarrett Patterson. Petite-Frere is rated as a 5-star player and is the No. 3 tackle in the 2018 class. Patterson is a 4-star prospect. Anderson would provide immediate stability at left tackle, where the Wolverines must replace Mason Cole. Also, the return of Grant Newsome is no certainty. They may not get all three, but signing two of the three is a distinct possibility.

Michigan will find out this week if it can add defensive lineman Tyler Friday to its commit list. Friday, a 4-star athlete ranked as the No. 85 player in the country, plans to announce his choice between the Wolverines, Ohio State and Alabama at 2 p.m. ET Friday.

Q: How did this season affect recruiting? Positives and negatives? ― Terry Villereal via Facebook

A: It certainly didn’t add to the hype and energy that Jim Harbaugh built in his first two years on the job. Back-to-back 10-win seasons and the prospect of several players recruited by Brady Hoke graduating from the program gave Harbaugh and Michigan plenty of material for recruiting sales pitches. He’s a coach who has been successful everywhere he’s been, including a Super Bowl appearance with the San Francisco 49ers. That holds a lot of weight with kids. They know he knows what it takes to play in the NFL, and he has assistants on his staff with that kind of experience.

Harbaugh was also able to offer arly playing time as the players he inherited from Hoke moved on. That part of the sales pitch won’t be as readily available for the 2018 class because of the size and talent levels of the 2016 and 2017 classes. But Harbaugh has always been good about being upfront and honest with players and their parents. One word I hear a lot when talking to recruits and their parents in regard to Harbaugh is “genuine”. He talks a lot about his system of meritocracy and how the best players will play; it’s a reason he gives for not having a weekly depth chart. There are a lot of recruits who resonate with that approach.

The 2017 season won’t be a boon for Michigan recruiting, but I don’t think it’s as big of a detriment to recruiting as you might think.

Q: How good could the 2019 class be? Hearing the #1 & #2 recruits are both very high on us, plus the ones we already have? ― Mike Hart via Facebook 

A: The 2019 class is off to a good start with commitments from 5-star defensive end Christopher Hinton, 4-star defensive end Stephen Herron Jr., 4-star offensive tackle Nolan Rumler and 4-star linebacker Charles Thomas. It’s obviously early in the process, but the 247Sports composite ranks Michigan’s class No. 8 nationally and No. 1 in the Big Ten. Schools ranked in the top 10 have between four and eight players committed at this point, but Michigan likes where it is headed with the class.

RELATED: 2018 Michigan recruiting big board

The two top-ranked players in the 2019 class are defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux and defensive tackle Ishmael Sopsher. You’re correct that both have spoken about their interest in Michigan, but that’s about where things stand at this point.

The Wolverines are in the mix for 5-star running back Quavaris Crouch and his St. Louis (Mo.) Trinity Catholic teammates Isaiah Williams and Marcus Washington. Williams is a 5-star athlete who played quarterback in high school, while Washington is a wide receiver. They are also pursing two teammates of 2018 running back signee Christian Turner: offensive tackle Harry Miller and running back Derrian Brown.

Q: Is there any big recruit we could steal on signing day? ― Mario Cook via Facebook

A: I don’t know if they can “steal” their own commit, but keeping Otis Reese is a major priority for the Wolverines. So many recruiting analysts have predicted that Reese will go to Georgia, it almost feels that way. This has a familiar feel to last year when Michigan was recruiting defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon, who was Reese’s teammate at Lee County High School in Leesburg, Ga. Solomon’s recruitment was a roller coaster throughout, but it ended with him signing with the Wolverines and playing a significant role as a freshman.

Michigan is hopeful to have a similar outcome with Reese.

Q: Have you heard of any preferred walk-ons for this coming season? — Cy Young via Facebook

A: One name I’ve heard in terms of preferred walk-ons is quarterback Kyle Grady from San Diego. Grady announced last August that he is going to be attending Michigan. The Wolverines also offered a PWO spot to offensive lineman Kraig Correll of Blair Academy in New Jersey. Correll’s older brother J.T. is a wrestler for the Wolverines.

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.