The 2018 recruiting class has wrapped up, and it ended with a resounding thud. While I have yet to assign final TTB Ratings for the class, I will dare to give a grade for the position groups.
Commits (2): Joe Milton, Shea Patterson
Decommits (1): Kevin Doyle
Biggest miss: Dorian Thompson-Robinson
Scoop: Michigan targeted several high-profile quarterbacks in the 2018 class, but many of them were looking elsewhere. Southern kids and California kids were the hot items, and those people are difficult to recruit. Michigan got a physical specimen with perhaps the strongest arm in the whole class, but people are concerned about his mechanics and accuracy. He could be Ryan Mallett – but seemingly without the discipline issues – and have a fine college career, but usually inaccurate quarterbacks don’t become extremely accurate quarterbacks. Milton will never be Baker Mayfield and complete 70% of his throws, but he could be a guy who’s able to push the ball down the field and create big plays. Meanwhile, I’m counting Shea Patterson as a recruiting victory, even though he’s a transfer. Patterson has been much discussed, and he’s probably the favorite to start if he wins his appeal to the NCAA for immediate eligibility. Dorian Thompson-Robinson is a very solid prospect, but he fits better at UCLA with Chip Kelly. In fact, he committed to Jim Mora – which was an okay decision – but things got even better when the Bruins traded Mora for Kelly.
Commits (4): Michael Barrett, Hassan Haskins, Christian Turner, Ben VanSumeren (FB)
Decommits (0): N/A
Biggest miss: Mychale Salahuddin
Scoop: Michigan missed out on their higher level targets, but it wasn’t a great class for running backs, in my opinion. I really liked Keaontay Ingram (Texas), but he never gave Michigan much of a shot. Instead, the staff went for a potential Wildcat QB (Barrett), a physical runner (Haskins), and an all-purpose guy (Turner) to cover all their bases. All three have potential, but they’re not surefire contributors. I like Salahuddin as an all-purpose guy who could return kicks and split out in the slot, but Michigan got in on him late. I could see each of the three tailback signees playing a role and rotating just like Michigan has done in the past few years. VanSumeren is a very good all-around player who could split time with Ben Mason as a freshman. It’s not a high-impact signing, but Michigan got a good one who fits what Michigan wants to do in VanSumeren.
Commits (1): Ronnie Bell
Decommits (0): N/A
Biggest miss: Amon-Ra St. Brown
Scoop: I see some reasons that Bell could be successful in college. He’s got some nice agility and good playmaking instincts. He’s not the biggest or fastest guy, but he might be a guy who just gets the job done. I’m not a huge fan of Amon-Ra St. Brown’s attitude and antics, which were on display during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, but the kid can play. Michigan had a shot at him when he visited, but there were multiple schools out in front of the Wolverines all along. Michigan took four receivers last season, including two who look like very promising for the future, so wideout wasn’t a huge need in 2018.
Commits (2): Mustapha Muhammad, Luke Schoonmaker
Decommits (1): Leonard Taylor
Biggest miss: Jeremy Ruckert
Scoop: Michigan seemed to have a good shot at numerous tight ends in 2018 – Luke Ford, Brevin Jordan, Will Mallory, Malcolm Epps, Tommy Tremble – but Ruckert was the cream of the crop. Even though it was obvious he was picking Ohio State, it still stung considering how OSU is very inconsistent about using tight ends. Meanwhile, Michigan was coming off of a year in which their tight end won the Mackey Award in 2016 and should have won it in 2015. Schoonmaker is converting from quarterback, and I’m not in love with Muhammad as a pass receiver. They’re decent prospects, but Michigan whiffed on the Ford recruitment and oddly lost the battle for a legacy recruit in Will Mallory. Meanwhile, the one decommit (Taylor) never really panned out after committing to Michigan very early in the process, and he ended up signing with Cincinnati.
Commits (2): Ryan Hayes, Jalen Mayfield
Decommits (2): Emil Ekiyor, Jalil Irvin
Biggest miss: Nick Petit-Frere
Scoop: I’m giving Michigan the benefit of the doubt here and assuming that Hayes will not be a tight end for the entirety of his career. Just like Ben Mason was identified as a linebacker early and then became a fullback, I expect Hayes to spend maybe a year at tight end before moving to tackle. Offensively, the biggest problem for Michigan this past season was ineffectiveness on the offensive line, particularly at right tackle – and now the left tackle has graduated. Even if Calvin Anderson transfers from Rice, that’s a Band-Aid that will be ripped off in 2019. If Hayes is a tight end long-term, then this grade probably drops to a D-. And maybe I’m still being generous. Michigan needs more linemen in general, and more tackles in particular. I like Hayes and Mayfield because they’re athletic, but Michigan is walking a razor-thin line.
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