2018 Recruiting Overview: Defense and Projection Comment Count

Brian February 9th, 2017 at 4:12 PM

Defensive line


Aidan Hutchinson with swaggy G

The Roster. Michigan took a horde of defensive linemen a year ago—7 or 8 depending on where a couple of two-way guys end up. They're set to lose just Mo Hurst after the year; they'll probably take another two or three to prevent gap years like 2017 projects to be.

The Recruits. MI DE Aidan Hutchinson is a Michigan legacy and likely a slam dunk. FL DE Nik Bonitto told 24/7 that Michigan led for him in November; he also said that Florida was his proverbial dream school. They had not offered at that juncture. Lorenz recently reiterated that Michigan was in a good spot.

At DT, Michigan is chasing FL DT Taron Vincent, an IMG kid who transferred in from Biff Poggi's old school. He's got a public pecking order on which Michigan is 5th at best right now, so it'll be one of those recruitments where an unofficial either kicks things off in earnest (Nico Collins) or functionally ends it. New Jersey has a couple of touted kids in Tyler Friday and Dorian Hardy, plus Jayson Ademilola could shake free if ND has another crater of a season.

The Projection. Hutchinson, probably Bonitto, and we'll say Friday because Michigan's gotten the top kid in New Jersey the last four cycles. 



Reese is a cornerstone

The Roster. Michigan took three or four linebackers in last year's class, depending on where Ben Mason ends up, and loses just Mike McCray after the season... probably. Jared Wangler and Noah Furbush are both potential fifth years who haven't contributed much. Depending on how the depth chart shakes out this year there could be just a couple spots or up to four.

The Recruits. GA LB Otis Reese is already in the boat and both Scout and 24/7 have asserted that Michigan is super-high on him at VIPER. Long way to Signing Day and all that; with Solomon already in Ann Arbor and Reese currently not expected to take visits he seems likely to stick.

MI LB Kolin Demens is the younger brother of Kenny. Michigan offered him way back in April but there hasn't been much talk about him since. He's a 3.5* type in early rankings, so Michigan might not be pushing for him all out just yet. Michigan also offered MI LB Ovie Oghoufo; he went off the board to ND a couple weeks later but with ND coming off a 4-8 season and Oghoufo wobbling a little bit publicly he's at least somewhat in play.

Outside the state, Michigan is going to try with VA LB Teradja Mitchell but is currently trailing. OH LB Dallas Gant, the cousin of former Wolverine Allen, is in nearby Toledo and will be heavily pursued.

The Projection. Reese and one ILB type. Demens is the most likely.

Defensive back


Taylor-Stewart has a hyphen, you know

The Roster. Michigan took four and maybe a fifth if they move Brad Hawkins to safety, but they lost that many guys so there has not been a major influx. Everyone's young—no seniors—so Michigan will go relatively light here.

The Recruits. MI CB Kalon Gervin is your annual Cass Tech cornerback prospect. At 5'11' he's a little bigger than they usually are. CA CB Isaac Taylor-Stuart has a hyphen in his name, recently moved up to the #15 prospect in the country on 24/7, and says Harbaugh is his favorite coach. He recently backed off naming Alabama his leader, FWIW. FL Brendan Radley-Hiles is at IMG, has a hyphen, and visited Michigan over the summer.

At safety, TX S BJ Foster is a top ten player in early rankings who Michigan will try to get in with. They haven't had much luck getting guys out of Texas—even Chuck Filiaga was more or less from California—but it's de riguer to mention the five star you've offered in these things. Same deal with FL S Tyreke Johnson, who the nation is after, and FL CB/S Al Blades (yes that Blades). Blades has already committed to and decommitted from his father's alma mater Miami.

GA S Myles Sims is a less highly touted name who Lorenz says Michigan is after as if he is one of those top top guys.

The Projection. Gervin seems likely what with the Cass Tech thing, and then let's flip a hyphen for the second corner spot. Sims seems like the most realistic shot at safety.

Wild-ass guess that should be taken seriously in no way whatsoever

FWIW, the version of this that was published a year ago got 10 of Michigan's eventual 30 signees correct. We're projecting 20 this year.

A confidence level of "high" means approximately a 50/50 shot they end up in the class. "Low" means this is more or less a placeholder. The composite currently has zero fullbacks ranked and they'll probably go get a guy. This is denoted in the chart appropriately.

State Position Player Approx. Stars Confidence Level
NV QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson 4 Moderate
FL RB TJ Pledger 4 Moderate
USA FB Some Guy 3 Low
MI WR Brandon Gray 3 Low
TX WR Al'vonte Woodard 4 Low
FL TE Will Mallory 4 Very High
NY TE Jeremy Ruckert 4.5 Low
NV TE Brevin Jordan 4 Moderate
IN OL Emil Ekiyor 4 Commit
FL OL Daniel Faalele ? Moderate
MI OL Marquan McCall 4 Moderate
FL OL Richard Gouraige 4.5 Low
NJ DT Tyler Friday 4.5 Moderate
MI DE Aidan Hutchinson 4 Very High
FL DE Nik Bonitto 4 High
GA LB Otis Reese 4 Commit
MI LB Kolin Demens 3 Moderate
MI CB Kalon Gervin 4 High
CA CB Isaac Taylor-Stuart 5 Moderate
GA S Myles Sims 3.5 Moderate

This might be less of a blockbuster class since Michigan is not, at first glance, in on a bunch of five star sorts. That should change in 2019 when the state has two guys who will contend for that status.


The Pope

February 10th, 2017 at 12:07 AM ^

Thanks, man.

Interesting to look back. A bunch of the predictions were accurate. We missed on a few of those 5 stars, but overall the class exceeded expectations. It will be interesting to see all the new names Harbaugh and co. dig up for 2018


February 9th, 2017 at 7:59 PM ^

It seems the legacy thing really began with Hoke...so far the kids of former players, haven't made an impact. But does it seem most of them wouldn't have gotten an offer if not a legacy?

Gant, Wangler, Runyan Jr, come to mind. Wheatley would have probably been offered. Now we have Mallory and Hutchinson, the latter I'm thinking gonna be good. But the rest, haven't contributed.


February 9th, 2017 at 7:59 PM ^

It seems the legacy thing really began with Hoke...so far the kids of former players, haven't made an impact. But does it seem most of them wouldn't have gotten an offer if not a legacy?

Gant, Wangler, Runyan Jr, come to mind. Wheatley would have probably been offered. Now we have Mallory and Hutchinson, the latter I'm thinking gonna be good. But the rest, haven't contributed.


February 9th, 2017 at 8:09 PM ^

Never ceases to amaze me. How many recruiting cycles do we have to go through before we defer to the real expert and insider. These are really the only threads I look forward to. I like to see who we might get and any intel on them, but I do realize that Mr Harbaugh is on top of things and things are probably going better than what we see or hear. Now if you have not been happy with the last two classes I want to see the one were your satisfied, because it will probably make me real happy. LOL.


February 9th, 2017 at 8:14 PM ^

Is it Isaac Taylor-Stewart (as in Sir Patrick),
or Isaac Taylor-Stuart (as in old kings of England)?

I realize that all your hyphenations belong to us, but we really should know which one we're getting.


February 9th, 2017 at 9:38 PM ^

BJ Foster said Michigan was his #2 school, which says a lot 9 months before high school ball comes around agian. 5-star CB Patrick Surtain also said that he has interest in visiting Ann Arbor at some point. Adding in Pledger and maybe even Jalen Hall, and I would say those are plenty of 5-star prospects whom are eyeing us for a year where we'll only take about 16-18 guys. I think we'll pick up Pledger, but I'd want Foster more than anybody.


February 9th, 2017 at 11:55 PM ^

We're always late to the table at offering the big guns and it's costing us! We need to start offering the 5* players a lot earlier like Bama OSU us. And Clemson now


February 10th, 2017 at 1:11 AM ^

The class Brian has projected here is fantastic, for all the people up in arms about lack of star power.


On the downside, a lot of those projections are optimistic on guys like Pledger, Woodard, Ruckert, Gouraige, and Taylor-Stuart.


February 10th, 2017 at 8:45 AM ^

I coached Dallas Gant from 6-8th grade and I can tell you there is not a better kid off the field or in the class room than him. He comes from a great family and he has great work ethic and is extremely coachable. I really hope he comes here because he would be a great addition on field and off.

Late Bluemer

February 10th, 2017 at 10:19 AM ^

My only quibble would be that the list a a little skewed to offense w/ 12 of the 20 on the list. 

I definitely have a bias to recruiting as many DTs as possible.  Maybe it comes from coming of age during the Miami glory years in the 90's with Dan Morgan, Russell Maryland, Jerome Brown and Warren Sapp and others that i am sure i have forgotten.  We did a great job this year in bringing in talent for the interior DL w/ Solomon (spelling?), Hudson, Paea (if he doesn't go to offense), etc.  I get the need on offensive line, but i would love to see Onwenu at NT.