Prediction: Who will fill out the 2018 class?

Prediction: Who will fill out the 2018 class?

February 28, 2017

Will Mallory (image via Rivals)

It’s an impossible task to guess who will sign with Michigan in the 2018 class.

But I eat impossible tasks for breakfast.

So here’s my best guess for 2018. I’m adding five to the current number of open slots because I assume attrition will occur. So here are the 14 players who will definitely, positively sign with Michigan next February (or earlier).

QB: Joe Milton (1): Some people assumed Milton would end up at Miami, but the Hurricanes just got a commitment from Artur Sitkowski.

Tavion Thomas (2): Thomas was thought to be an Ohio State lean, but they might not have room for him.

FB: N/A: It seems that Michigan is somewhat comfortable counting on walk-ons and position-changers to get the job done.

WR: Jahan Dotson (3): Michigan hasn’t been mentioned for many of the top receivers, which makes some sense consider the Wolverines took five receivers in the 2017 class.

TE: Will Mallory (4): Mallory is a legacy prospect.

OT: Daniel Faalele (5): Faalele seems to have Michigan in front, and they were the first team to really pursue him.

OG: Emil Ekiyor (6): Ekiyor is already committed (LINK).

C: Tyrone Sampson (7): Sampson hasn’t been offered yet, but Michigan will need another center behind Cesar Ruiz after Mason Cole graduates. Sampson is a Detroit native.

DE: Aidan Hutchinson (8): Hutchinson is already committed (LINK).

DT: Aeneas Hawkins (9): The Ohio native is a penetrating 3-tech type of defensive tackle.

LB: Otis Reese (10): Reese is already committed (LINK).

CB: D’shawn Jamison (11), Anthony Lytton (12): Michigan hasn’t been mentioned much among the defensive backs they’ve offered, but Jamison put the Wolverines in his top group and they have recruited the East Coast well, which is where Lytton resides.

S: Shayne Simon (13), Cajuan Smith (14): Simon is one of the top players in the State of New Jersey, and we know Michigan recruits the Garden State well. Meanwhile, Smith named Michigan to his top group not long ago.

K/P: N/A: Michigan took a placekicker in 2016 and a punter in 2017, so there shouldn’t be a need here.

Whom do you think will sign with Michigan?


  1. Comments: 71
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Feb 28, 2017 at 10:33 AM

    What’s your take on Faalele? People seem to love him because of his size but does he have the agility to play the position? Can he actually move well at that weight? And with any guy over 330 lbs I always start worrying about injury concerns. Would be great to see a breakdown of his game though I know there isn’t much film on him.

    Also, he seems like a guy who will need at least 2-3 years to see the field, does Michigan have enough depth in the last 2 classes to not get other Lt prospects?

    • Comments: 3844
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Feb 28, 2017 at 4:49 PM

      I don’t have a strong take on Faalele either way. I’ve only seen one clip of him. He looks huge and somewhat agile. He looks like a WWE wrestler, and he’s not fat. He could probably play The Mountain on “Game of Thrones.”

      I think Michigan got a few guys who can potentially play left tackle in the 2017 class, so they can probably afford to go one class with a guy who’s a LT/RT tweener. But then you have to address the position again in 2019. It just depends on their confidence in those 2017 guys.

  2. Comments: 313
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    Feb 28, 2017 at 11:21 AM

    Faalele would be a solid grab. His size and strength is… insane. He moves well for being a mountain.

    Haven’t really heard any names tossed around so I lack the insight and knowledge to have any educated guesses as to who will commit, but as always, hoping for a quality class! Only thing I would comment on is 4 DBs in a class of 14. I would rather take 3 DBs and another tackle.

    • Comments: 3844
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Feb 28, 2017 at 4:52 PM

      I think defensive backs are a necessity. Safety is very thin, especially if Metellus is playing a quasi-linebacker position and the defense needs to field two additional safeties. Plus Brandon Watson is questionable to come back for a fifth year in 2018, and Tyree Kinnel is already a junior (he’ll be a senior when these 2018 kids arrive). The defensive backs aren’t old, but it’s a thin position to begin and a couple of those non-contributing guys (Watson to some extent, Washington, etc.) might disappear.

      • Comments: 313
        Joined: 8/17/2015
        Mar 01, 2017 at 9:25 AM

        I see where you’re coming from, and if there is any sort of attrition at the position I would advocate for a 4th, but 29% of this projected class is a bit much. I would even argue it’s our biggest hole in the roster right now, but it’s not like we needed DL this year.

        We have Brad Hawkins who has been talked about moving to safety, and without any attrition we only lose 2 bodies in the next 2 years (assuming Watson plays a 5th year).

        As the numbers stand right now, I’d be for 2 safeties and 1 corner. 7 (8 with Hawkins) bodies at safety and 7 bodies at corner are numbers I feel comfortable with.

  3. Comments: 24
    Joined: 12/28/2015
    Feb 28, 2017 at 12:01 PM

    Geez, can you imagine Faalele, Onwenu and Ruiz as one side of the line. That would be 1100 lbs of lineman coming at you! Throw in a big tight end for good measure and watch out.

  4. Comments: 295
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Feb 28, 2017 at 12:20 PM

    I don’t get the fascination with Faalele. Yes, he’s a mammoth but that doesn’t make you a football player. I just think he’s too big to handle fast, experienced players in college that are 3 years older and have actual pass rush moves. Throwing around 16 yr old kids who weigh 185 lbs that may have never played past the JV level isn’t impressing me yet. Give me a polished, 4-star experienced OT any day over this big question mark. If this class took 30 players like last year, yeah I’d take a waiver. However, if we are truly at 14 that seems like a massive risk.

    • Comments: 6285
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Feb 28, 2017 at 2:01 PM

      It’s a HUGE mystery.

    • Comments: 6285
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Feb 28, 2017 at 2:04 PM

      We haven’t had much luck with polished OL prospects lately (e.g., Kugler, Kalis).

      With any prospect you have to balance the risk/reward. A 400 pound dude with impressive athleticism represents a massive upside. Given Michigan just took a good sized OL class heavy on OTs, it’s seems like a risk worth taking, regardless of class size.

    • Comments: 3844
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Feb 28, 2017 at 4:57 PM

      You’re right in that if he were 6’6″, 290 lbs., people probably wouldn’t be talking about him much. But he’s 6’8″ and 400 lbs. Zach Banner started 37 games at USC at 6’9″, 360 lbs. Jonathan Ogden was 6’9″, 350 lbs. There is precedent for some of those big guys to play at this level. I’m not saying he’s the next Ogden or even Banner, but polished 4-stars fail, too.

      • Comments: 295
        Joined: 12/19/2015
        Feb 28, 2017 at 8:47 PM

        Very true. However, I think you gotta play it REALLY safe when you just whiffed on a number of 4/5 star guys in 2017. If you’re taking only one OT I’d rather not take a project. If you whiff on 2 straight years of tackle (and your current starters aren’t proven in the least) then the massive lineman has just provided a massive hole.

        However, I hear what you’re saying on OL in general. It seems like we’ve just struggled to get a difference maker.

        • Comments: 6285
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Feb 28, 2017 at 8:59 PM

          Outside of maybe a handful of 5-star prospects, there is no such thing as “playing it safe” on OL and every player is a project. The rankings have more to do with potential/ceiling than reliability.

        • Comments: 3844
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Feb 28, 2017 at 9:16 PM

          We’ll see. The staff did miss out on Isaiah Wilson, but they got some good prospects and didn’t really expand their offer board at the end of the recruiting cycle. So they must be at least somewhat happy with the haul they got. While it may seem to some outsiders that they whiffed, maybe the coaching staff sees Honigford, Hall, Stueber, etc. as very good prospects, and maybe they think the same way of Faalele.

    • Comments: 1
      Joined: 7/19/2016
      Mar 01, 2017 at 12:06 PM

      I understand where you’re coming from, but the physical build of Faalele is remarkable. Look at the guy – Shaquille O’Neill is a good comparison for body type. How many people as imposing as Shaquille O’Neill have you seen in the history of mankind? You absolutely take a flyer on this kid just for upside potential. His offer list shows that coaches are thinking the same way (Alabama, Georgia, Florida State, LSU have all offered – that’s some good company).

  5. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Feb 28, 2017 at 1:59 PM

    Nice post!

    I imagine the holdup with Sampson is that they want to gauge interest in more impressive prospects nationally. Sometimes that approach can backfire (e.g., Antjuan Simmons).

    No Ryan Hayes? This about talent or interest?

    Mario Goodrich (CB) says Michigan is #1 (per mgoblog). Missouri is close enough to big ten country that this seems like more than a longshot, but no offer yet. 247 only lists 2 offered CBs as “warm” interest: Asante Samuel Jr and Gemon Green. Both are southern kids.

    I bet the class ends up in the 15-20 range. I think you’re not taking into account Karan Higdon’s upcoming 2,000 yard season and other early NFL entries for Speight and Wheatley.

    • Comments: 359
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Feb 28, 2017 at 2:56 PM

      Agree with the 15+ class size.

      Holy cow! You can be very imaginative with your predictive analytics.

      Lanknows – ” I think you’re not taking into account Karan Higdon’s upcoming 2,000 yard season and other early NFL entries for Speight and Wheatley.”

    • Comments: 3844
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Feb 28, 2017 at 5:00 PM

      I don’t know about Hayes. I think he might end up at MSU.

      I agree on Sampson. It seems like center prospects take a little bit longer for their recruitments to take off, because there’s a limited number of scholarships for them.

      Goodrich has an offer already, according to 247 Sports:

      Fifteen to twenty players is totally feasible. But unlike the past two seasons, there are very, very few fourth-year players on this roster.

      • Comments: 6285
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Feb 28, 2017 at 8:56 PM

        Obviously joking on specifics, but 5 is a very conservative estimate for attrition. Not including any 5th year grad transfers, Michigan lost 10 players between 2015 and 2016:

        R. Dawson, Pallante, Henry (NFL), Johnson (injury), Green, Taylor-Douglass, Jones, Canteen, B. Cole, Dukes. Plus Tuley-Tillman who was booted in September.

        While some of those did happen before the offseason, and many were known by January, it wasn’t a particularly bad year for attrition. With Newsome and Asiasi already out, this year may already be worse in terms of impact.

        • Comments: 3844
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Feb 28, 2017 at 9:18 PM

          Newsome is still at Michigan and using a scholarship. Asiasi is gone. I wouldn’t put those two in the same category.

          • Comments: 6285
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Feb 28, 2017 at 11:14 PM

            Point is that attrition comes in many different and unexpected forms. Nobody knew Newsome would be unavailabe back in February 2016.

            I know Newsome is still on scholarship and could be back playing in 18 (or even 17 still) but he could also get medicaled.

            There is a lot of time between now and February 2018. Things will happen, and thing like getting medicaled, early graduations, and standard grad transfers are increasingly common.

  6. Comments: 14
    Joined: 12/13/2016
    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:45 PM

    Besides commits
    Thompson Robinson is the take QB right now. Not complaining if it is Milton.
    It seems OT McCall’s heart might not be into football- a shame because the talent seems to be there. Florida is going to send some o-lineman north along with Faalele- who? Petit Frere who actually wants an academic school.
    I do like the idea of Sampson as the center is crucial.
    An interior defensive lineman- ?
    LB if elite
    DB’s that’s murky – don’t think Kalon Gervin is gone- it might be Kelly who’s gone if ND implodes again. Gervin may then end up here.

    • Comments: 3844
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Feb 28, 2017 at 9:17 PM

      Michigan didn’t seem to be pushing too hard for Gervin, so I don’t know if they’ll really try to flip him. Maybe if they’re hard up for corners late in the process, they might. But he’s a guy at a school that they could have pushed for, and they didn’t. So there must be a reason. (Maybe that reason is they think they can flip him if they really need to down the line. I don’t know.)

      • Comments: 14
        Joined: 12/13/2016
        Mar 01, 2017 at 8:28 PM

        I guess that’s why recruits play a senior season- and are flip fodder if they blow up and things go right. Colleges have to keep up with the Jones or lose recruits, ND is on notice- another bowl ineligible season will poison the water hole to their rivals pleasure ala Jeter.

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