Which recruits are left on Michigan’s big board? What’s the latest on their recruitment? What are Michigan’s chances in signing them? Land of 10 gives you a rundown on where the Wolverines stand with these prospects as open recruiting resumes on Friday, Jan. 12.
Michigan signed 16 players to its 2018 recruiting class last month during the new early signing period as it looks to follow up the successes of the 2016 and 2017 classes that were ranked in the top 10 by the 247Sports composite. The Wolverines signed eight players on offense and eight on defense, including seven players who were rated as 4-star prospects.
National Signing Day is Feb. 7 and is when the class will be completed.
The class is currently ranked No. 14 nationally by the 247Sports, led by tight end Mustapha Muhammad, cornerback Myles Sims and quarterback Joe Milton. It includes four players from the the state of Michigan: offensive tackles Jalen Mayfield and Ryan Hayes, defensive end Aidan Hutchinson and athlete Ben VanSumeren. Three of the players — Sims, Milton and defensive end Taylor Upshaw — are already enrolled in classes and ready to take part in offseason conditioning and spring practices. The class even includes the first European player ever signed by Michigan in defensive end Julius Welschof of Germany.
There are three players who have committed to the Wolverines but didn’t sign in December: quarterback Kevin Doyle, wide receiver Ronnie Bell and linebacker/safety Otis Reese. Doyle is waiting to sign with the rest of his teammates at St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C. Bell wasn’t allowed to sign because he had previously signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Missouri State and, even though Missouri State released him from that agreement, the NCAA rules only allow athletes to sign one letter of intent per calendar year.
They are expected to sign in February. Reese is another story, one we will get to momentarily.
With four weeks to go until National Signing Day, here is a look at the players still being recruited by the Wolverines and where Michigan stands with those players.
*Note: players are listed in order of their national ranking by the 247Sports composite
5-star OT Nicholas Petit-Frere; Tampa, Fla.; Berkeley Prep
Other top schools: Notre Dame, Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, Florida
Nicholas Petit-Frere, a 6-foot-6, 273-pound tackle, is ranked the No. 17 player overall in the country and the No. 3 player at his position. He visited Michigan on Nov. 25 and was in attendance for a team practice prior to the Outback Bowl when it worked out at Berkeley Prep in Tampa. Notre Dame is the only other school Petit-Frere has visited, but he has said he will do his due diligence and research fully the other contending schools. Michigan’s academic standing is a plus, but the recent loss of assistant coach Greg Frey to Florida State could be a setback.
Outlook: Michigan has as good of a shot as any school for Petit-Frere, and better than most.
4-star CB Olaijah Griffin; Mission Viejo, Calif.; Mission Viejo
Other top schools: Tennessee, Southern California, Clemson, Florida State
Olaijah Griffin was committed to UCLA but recently de-committed from the Bruins and told reporters during last week at the Under Armour All-America Game festivities that he was open to leaving the West Coast for schools to the east, and Michigan was one of the schools he mentioned. According to mwolverine.com, Griffin will make an official visit to Ann Arbor on the weekend of Jan. 19-21. He is the No. 31-ranked player in the country and the No. 4 cornerback. Michigan is a late-comer to Griffin’s recruitment but better late than never.
Outlook: The Wolverines are far from the favorite to land Griffin, but getting him on campus for a visit puts them in the running.
4-star WR Ja’Marr Chase; Metairie, La.; Archbishop Rummel
Other top schools: LSU, Auburn, TCU, Florida
When all the coaching chaos at Florida surrounding Jim McElwain began heating up in October, Michigan was one of the first schools to reach out to Ja’Marr Chase, who was then committed to the Gators. He has been on campus for an official visit and told reporters at the Under Armour Game that Michigan, LSU and Auburn are his top choices. Michigan passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton went for an in-home visit a few days after Chase’s trip to Ann Arbor. As moribund as Michigan’s passing attack was in 2017, adding the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Chase, who is ranked the No. 75 player in the country, would be an noticeable help.
Outlook: It will be hard to get Chase out of the SEC, with LSU seen as the favorite, but Michigan is very much in this race.
4-star DT Tyler Friday; Ramsey, N.J.; Don Bosco Prep
Other top schools: Alabama, Ohio State
Michigan has put a lot of time and effort into recruiting Tyler Friday, who was offered when he was a sophomore. Assistant Chris Partridge’s connection in New Jersey have helped build a strong relationship that for a long time had most analysts believing Friday, the No. 85-ranked player in the country, would add to the pipeline Michigan has built to the state. He has played a lot of defensive tackle for Don Bosco but is viewed as a defensive end at the college level with his 6-foot-3, 263-pound frame. Friday is expected to make his commitment announcement this week.
Outlook: All those analysts who for so long had Michigan as the favorites have switched their thinking to Ohio State. This would be a tough loss for the Wolverines.
4-star LB Otis Reese; Leesburg, Ga.; Lee County
Other top schools: Georgia, Clemson, LSU
Michigan got its commitment from Otis Reese in June 2016 shortly after holding a satellite camp at Lee County, where it was recruiting defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon. The commitment has never wavered on the part of the Wolverines, but Reese hasn’t been to Ann Arbor since the spring game last April. He was named the Georgia Class 6A defensive player of the year and helped lead Lee County to its first-ever state championship. Partridge and defensive coordinator Don Brown were at that state title game, again showing how much a priority they deem Reese. He has been on multiple visits to Georgia this season.
Outlook: Reese has Michigan on his lists of schools he will visit in January. This has the feel of the Wolverines losing out to Georgia, but a lot of people didn’t think they would sign Solomon last year.
4-star WR Chris Olave; San Marcos, Calif.; Mission Hills
Other top schools: Ohio State, UCLA, Utah, Nebraska
A standout senior season gave traction to Chris Olave’s recruitment. He was scheduled to make an official visit to Michigan last month but had to cancel it for personal matters. There has been no word on him rescheduling the visit yet.
Outlook: Olave is a longer shot to sign with Michigan than others.
4-star OT Jarrett Patterson; Mission Viejo, Calif.; Mission Viejo
Other top schools: UCLA, Notre Dame
Jarrett Patterson had a good visit to Michigan on Dec. 9 when he got to take in the Wolverines basketball team rallying to beat UCLA in overtime. He was originally committed to Arizona State, but de-committed from the Sun Devils. Patterson is 6-foot-5, 285 pounds, and has good athleticism to eventually compete for a starting job with Michigan.
Outlook: It wouldn’t be the same rally for Michigan to win this recruiting battle with the Bruins or newcomer Notre Dame, which just offered Patterson this week, but neither are they significantly in the lead.
3-star CB Vincent Gray; Rochester, Mich.; Adams
Other top schools: West Virginia, Duke, California
Vincent Gray was committed to Missouri but backed away from that decision. Analysts believed he was going to sign with West Virginia before getting an offer from Michigan on Dec. 18. He fits the physical profile Michigan is looking for in its cornerbacks. Gray is 6-foot-2, 180 pounds and has good speed and man-coverage skills. He is scheduled to visit Michigan this weekend.
Outlook: It will be hard to say no to the in-state Wolverines, but the emergence of Griffin as a viable signee would put Gray on the outside of signing with Michigan.
3-star ATH Michael Barrett; Valdosta, Ga.; Lowdnes
Other top schools: Georgia Tech, Nebraska
Michael Barrett (5-foot-11, 215 pounds) played quarterback in high school but that won’t be his position in college if he comes to Michigan, where he is more likely to end up as a running back or slot receiver. He was named the Georgia Class 7A offensive player of the year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was among those who made official visits on Dec. 9.
Outlook: If Barrett wants to play quarterback, Georgia Tech or Nebraska would be better fits for him.