Michigan’s 2017 signing class has a lot of hype surrounding it.
Names like Donovan Peoples-Jones, Tarik Black and Cesar Ruiz already have spent a semester at Michigan as January enrollees, and they are candidates for serious playing time in their freshman seasons.
With all of the noise surrounding the early enrollees, it’s easy to forget about the rest of this deep class. So, outside of that group, which freshmen can make an impact in their first year on campus at Michigan?
Here are three.
Tackle Chuck Filiaga
One of the biggest recruiting wins of the 2017 class was Michigan’s pursuit of Filiaga, as it beat out teams like Oklahoma and Oregon.
Filiaga’s frame is frightening to opposing linemen. At 6-foot-6, 335 pounds, he’s an on-paper-ready prospect. His technique and mechanics are all there, too.
But there’s no question he needs to strengthen his upper and lower body.
With questions at the tackle position, because of Grant Newsome’s right knee injury and the loss of Erik Magnuson, Filiaga steps into a great situation that could allow him to start early, similar to sophomore Ben Bredeson in 2016.
Defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon
This is the easiest name to list, as Solomon is Michigan’s most intriguing prospect in this class.
His film is scary good. His raw strength allows him to stuff the run and get to the quarterback, disrupting nearly every play in some way.
It’ll be tough to crack a starting lineup right away with Michigan’s high-strength defensive line, but look for Solomon to have a season similar to Rashan Gary’s last season, with a little less playing time.
It’d be surprising to not see Solomon in the rotation every game this season.
Wide receiver Oliver Martin
This one is a wild-card choice, but the former 4-star recruit has some serious potential that could be tapped into this season.
His 6-foot frame fits perfectly into the slot, and he has one of the strongest bodies in a slot receiver we’ve seen the past few years among high school players.
The comparison to Clemson WR Hunter Renfrow can easily be made, but Martin is a receiver that can be even better.
We mentioned his name early in the fall of 2016 as a guy that Michigan wasn’t focusing much on, but that it should focus on.
If not for Peoples-Jones and Black, Martin would be the No. 1 receiver to watch in this class.
But don’t let those two big names cloud over the super potential that this Iowa City, Iowa, native brings to Ann Arbor.
He won’t start Year 1, but expect him to see time in the rotation at some point.