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 the history of transfers at Michigan, how Shea Patterson affects recruiting, and adding players to protect all those quarterbacks.
Q: Before Jim Harbaugh, Michigan didn’t bring in many transfers. Is this Michigan adapting to current landscape or a product of Brady Hoke’s uneven recruiting? — Steven Francisco Callejas via Facebook
A: Michigan’s storied history has not seen many transfers come into the program, but you are correct in saying that has changed in the Jim Harbaugh era. Quarterback Jake Ruddock played as a grad transfer from Iowa in 2015, his one and only season with the Wolverines. Quarterback John O’Korn (Houston) and running back Ty Isaac (Southern California) are two other players who have come to program from elsewhere in the last three years.
Shea Patterson transferring from Mississippi may very well be the most notable transfer in Michigan football history. As I started doing some digging into this question, I found an interesting thread on the message boards of mgoblog.com from 2012 that looked into the subject. Whether Patterson is the most impactful transfer is to be determined.
I believe this is more a product of the current nature of college sports as opposed to anything related to recruiting under Brady Hoke. His recruiting classes were highly rated (three of them were top 20, including two top-10 classes, according to the 247Sports composite) so talent wasn’t an issue. Harbaugh knows that 8-4 isn’t good enough. If he can bring in better players within the scope of the university’s requirements, he’s going to do so.
Q: Any big offensive line recruits? ― Curtis Schepers via Facebook
A: Michigan has a pair of in-state linemen — Jalen Mayfield of Grand Rapids Catholic Central and Ryan Hayes of Traverse City West — coming in the 2018 class. Mayfield (6-foot-5, 273 pounds) had an excellent season playing offensive tackle and defensive end for GRCC, which won a second consecutive Michigan Division 4 state championship. Michigan coaches really like his athleticism and footwork. Hayes (6-7, 252) is expected to grow into the role of a tackle. He was used as a tight end and receiver in high school because he’s that good of an athlete. There’s a chance Michigan gives him an opportunity to play tight end next season, but they are recruiting him as a future offensive tackle.
The Wolverines are pursuing two other tackles: Jarrett Patterson of Mission Viejo, Calif., and Nicholas Petit-Frere of Tampa. Petit-Frere is ranked the No. 17 player overall in the 2018 class and the No. 3 offensive tackle. He visited Ann Arbor on Nov. 25 and offensive coordinator/line coach Tim Drevno followed that up with an in-home visit a couple days later. The Wolverines are in the mix with Notre Dame and Alabama. Patterson visited Michigan last weekend and is set to visit UCLA this weekend before making a decision.
Patterson and Petit-Frere are expected to wait on signing until National Signing Day on Feb. 7 instead of utilizing the early signing period from Dec. 20-22.
Q: Do you think bringing in [Shea] Patterson will make us lose some other commit and some other people we already have in place? ― Mike Rose via Facebook
A: I do not. Joe Milton has told me directly that he has not changed his plans to sign on Dec. 20 and be on campus Dec. 31. Kevin Doyle has given no indication that he’s changed his mind, either. They are the two quarterbacks committed to Michigan in the 2018 class.
I spoke with offensive tackle Grant Newsome this week at the National Football Foundation State of Michigan chapter’s annual awards banquet and asked him about how players react to news of transfers and other players joining the team. His answer was that they welcomed it; they welcome the challenge and they welcome the opportunity to make the team better. Jim Harbaugh preaches competition and meritocracy throughout the roster, so he’s not blindsiding anyone. He’s straight-forward with recruits and players. Players you see transferring to other programs, i.e. Wilton Speight, are doing so as graduate transfers, for the most part.
Q: Do they keep Otis Reese? ― Shane Michael via Facebook
A: After losing offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor to Alabama in late October, Michigan is pursing Reese hard. The safety from Lee County (Ga.) is being recruited as a viper in defensive coordinator Don Brown’s scheme. It’s an aggressive style that most defensive players love, and it’s easy to see Reese (6-4, 205) fitting into that hybrid linebacker-safety role.
Reese has made a couple visits to Georgia and several recruiting analysts believe he will eventually flip from Michigan to Georgia. It’s a strong pull to stay in-state, a pull that defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon, a Lee County alum, resisted when he chose Michigan last February.
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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