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 class sleepers from 2018, how the disappointment of not signing some top-ranked players shouldn’t diminish the players signed, and which 2018 freshmen can see the field.
Q: Sleeper of the 2018 class ? — Matthew P. Malin via Facebook
The defensive backs from DeSoto, Texas, are rated as 3-star prospects, and there’s a good chance one or both of them will end up redshirting in 2018. German, who is the younger of the two by 6 minutes, is a little taller — closer to 6-foot-3 — than Ge’mon. They’ll each benefit from a year in the weight room, and a year learning from a talented group that is already in the room. Michigan signed a combined nine defensive backs in the 2016 and 2017 classes. David Long, Lavert Hill, Josh Metellus and Khaleke Hudson all started last season as sophomores, while Ambry Thomas, Benjamin St-Juste, Jaylen Kelly-Powell, J’Marick Woods and Brad Hawkins played reserve roles as freshmen.
The reason I like the twins as prospects in the future is they fit exactly into the mold defensive coordinator Don Brown wants in his DBs. They’re tall and have good arm length, and they are already well-versed in playing man coverage. It’s what they were asked to do at DeSoto, where they helped the team win a Texas state title as juniors. They play aggressively, which is a must for Brown.
Q: How disconcerting is it that a coveted program like Michigan did not get one single recruit in top 100? — CJ Reed via Facebook
A: In terms of the 247Sports composite, it’s true that the Wolverines didn’t sign any players within the top 100, but look around and you can find some differences of opinion. Defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, a 4-star signee from Dearborn, Mich., tops Michigan’s class at No. 112 in the composite rankings, followed by linebacker Cameron McGrone at No. 118, tight end Mustapha Muhammad at No. 168 and cornerback Myles Sims at No. 170.
The rankings of each by individual recruiting sites and services is where the difference lies. 247Sports rates McGrone a 5-star prospect and ranks him No. 24 in the country. It has Hutchinson at No. 88, but drops Muhammad down to No. 227 and Sims at No. 517. Rivals doesn’t rank any of them in its top 100 but rates Ge’mon Green a 4-star prospect instead of a 3-star. ESPN ranks five Michigan players in its list of top 300 players: Muhammad (42), quarterback Joe Milton (119), Sims (137), Hutchinson (193) and McGrone (206).
I get your point, especially when the Wolverines missed on a number of top-rated players in the final weeks leading up to National Signing Day, but I wouldn’t be overly concerned yet. Now, if you’re asking the same question this time next year…
RELATED: 2019 Michigan recruiting big board
Q: Do u think this class was more about developing and plugging in a few guys in spots more than a need class due to what’s coming back? — Zo Eastwood via Facebook
A: This question piggybacks on the previous one. Michigan signed 56 players between the 2016 and 2017 classes, and 51 of them are still on roster, so there’s no doubt those recruits are the foundation of the 2018 team. This class was never going to be a big one in terms of total numbers, but there is disappointment in not getting some higher-level players. That doesn’t diminish the players it did sign. It’s not fair to compare them individually with those other two classes because of who Michigan didn’t sign.
This is a good class, but if Michigan wants to be better at closing with the high-level players it needs to show improvement on the field.
Q: How is the depth at LB now that we lost [Otis] Reese ? ― Jason Edwards via Facebook
A: Otis Reese, a 4-star linebacker from Leesburg, Ga., was one of the most notable non-signees by the Wolverines. Reese flipped his commitment from Michigan to Georgia on National Signing Day. Don Brown was recruiting him to play the viper position, the hybrid linebacker/safety role he uses in his defensive scheme.
The Wolverines have good depth at linebacker, thanks to the last two recruiting classes. Fifth-year senior Noah Furbush is the only senior in the position group. Junior Devin Bush returns at middle linebacker. Mike McCray has to be replaced at outside linebacker but Josh Uche and Devin Gil got experience last season. I’d also be excited to see the three linebackers from the 2017 class — Josh Ross, Jordan Anthony and Drew Singleton — expand their roles. Ross was mainly a special teams contributor, while Anthony and Singleton redshirted.
Q: What 2018 recruits might we see getting some playing time as freshmen? ― Jason Coleman via Facebook
A: I didn’t mention McGrone in the previous answer because I knew I was going to use him here. He returned from a torn ACL late in his junior season at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis to have a standout senior season. McGrone also played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January.
I liked your question, Jason, for another reason: It allows me to link to a story I did this past week answering the query. You can find it and see the four players I name along with McGrone here.
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.
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