College football is one week away from its first early signing period. National Signing Day is still the first Wednesday of February every year but instead of waiting for Feb. 7, 2018, to come along, teams and recruits now have the option of securing their relationships during a three-day period, Dec. 20-22.
Michigan has 16 players committed it the 2018 class, and at least 11 of them are expected to sign their national letters of intent during the early period. Cornerback Myles Sims, quarterback Joe Milton, and defensive lineman Taylor Upshaw are planning on enrolling early and participating in offseason workouts and spring practices.
Here’s a look at the commits and if they plan on signing next week or wait until February.
Michigan 2018 commits
Players committed to Michigan for the Class of 2018, listed in order of 247Sports composite ratings.
|Otis Reese||LB||4-star||Leesburg, Ga.||No|
|Mustapha Muhammad||TE||4-star||Missouri City, Texas||No|
|Aidan Hutchinson||DE||4-star||Dearborn, Mich.||Yes|
|Jalen Mayfield||OT||4-star||Grand Rapids, Mich.||Yes|
|Ryan Hayes||OT||4-star||Traverse City, Mich.||Yes|
|Christian Turner||RB||3-star||Buford, Ga.||Yes|
|Ge’mon Green||CB||3-star||DeSoto, Texas||Yes|
|Kevin Doyle||QB||3-star||Washington, D.C.||No|
|Sammy Faustin||CB||3-star||Naples, Fla.||No|
|Taylor Upshaw||DE||3-star||Bradenton, Fla.||Yes|
|Luke Schoonmaker||TE||3-star||Hamden, Conn.||Yes|
|Hassan Haskins||RB||3-star||Eureka, Mo.||Yes|
|German Green||S||3-star||DeSoto, Texas||Yes|
The class is ranked No. 12 nationally and third in the Big Ten by 247Sports. That doesn’t include the transfer of quarterback Shea Patterson from Mississippi to Michigan. The Wolverines signed 30 players in the 2017 class but this class is expected to have 25 players, at most, when it is completed.
Let’s take a closer look at the class as it stands now.
The Georgia connection
Michigan has staked a claim in the Peach State the past couple of recruiting cycles and it is continuing that trend. Running back Christian Turner and cornerback Myles “Spider” Sims are from the Atlanta area, while linebacker Otis Reese is from the southwest part of the state. He plays at Lee County, the same school Michigan freshman defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon graduated from, and the Trojans play for the Georgia Class AAAAAA state title on Friday. It was postponed from last weekend due to a heavy snow storm.
Reese (6-foot-4, 206 pounds) plays safety for Lee County but he’s being recruited as a viper in defensive coordinator Don Brown’s scheme. He committed to Michigan in June 2016 but that commitment is wavering as home-state Georgia is attracting his attention. Reese has made a couple of visits to watch the Bulldogs play this season and has yet to make an official visit to Michigan. The Wolverines have made it a priority to convince Reese to remain with them. This is a decision that could go down to National Signing Day.
Ge’mon and German Green are a pair of defensive backs that fit exactly what Brown looks for in his players: long, tall, fast and aggressive. Ge’mon, the older of the two by six minutes, plays cornerback while German plays safety.
Under the radar
Fans and media too often focus on a player’s star rating or position ranking. Those ratings are done by scouting services and sites that don’t have the experience or knowledge that a college staff possesses, especially this Michigan staff. The ratings are a good guide but if Michigan thinks a player fits what it wants to do as a program, take that with a little more confidence.
Running back Hassan Haskins, tight end Luke Schoonmaker, cornerback Sammy Faustin and quarterback Kevin Doyle are among the players rated as 3-star prospects. When they committed to Michigan there were more questions about who they were and how the Wolverines came about them than excitement about the announcement simply because they weren’t a 5-star prospect. Don’t let the ratings fool you. Michigan went after these players for a reason.
QBs of the future
Shea Patterson’s transfer doesn’t affect the status of Doyle or Joe Milton much. Both are likely to redshirt, as would have been the case without Patterson. Doyle is considered a more polished player at this point, while Milton has a higher upside. They’ll have their time to battle for the starting job in coming seasons.
Chris Hutchinson was a defensive end and captain at Michigan under Bo Schembechler from 1988-92. It was almost a foregone thought that his son Aidan would follow in his footsteps and play for the Wolverines. Aidan took a couple visits elsewhere but ultimately there was only one place he was going. If there is one dominant trait he’s inherited from his father, it’s how energized he plays.
Top picks to contribute early
Unlike this season when Michigan had several starting and reserve roles to fill, the Wolverines won’t be so dependent on first-year players. That doesn’t mean they won’t play a freshman. Should Reese ultimately sign with the Wolverines, he’ll be in this group. Tight end Mustapha Muhammad, Sims and linebacker Cam McGrone also have the capability to see the field sooner than later.
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