Fairly Belated 2019 Recruiting Overview: Offense, Part 1

Submitted by Brian on April 12th, 2018 at 1:35 PM

This usually comes out shortly after Signing Day, but due to a combination of football ennui and blog-wide health issues that forced your author to pick up portions of the basketball coverage the traditional 1,000 foot view for the upcoming football recruiting year has been delayed. Do not complain about this. I am more than capable of writing a long post about local politics instead.

Anyway:

QUARTERBACK

ROSTER. Michigan added Shea Patterson, who should be a true junior if the NCAA appeal doesn't get borked, to redshirt sophomore Brandon Peters and redshirt freshman Dylan McCaffrey. True freshman Joe Milton arrived this spring. Even if Michigan loses someone to a transfer—all but inevitable these days when you have four QBs and no seniors—they'd be in good shape if they didn't ignore QBs all together.

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CSI: QB: AWESOME EDIT [sunglasses!]

COMMITS. Surprise: they have not ignored QBs all together, scooping up 3.5* Notre Dame decommit Cade McNamara less than two weeks after he pulled the ripcord on his descent into South Bend. McNamara is a bit of an outlier for Harbaugh QB recruits in that he's not a towering pocket passer. He's a moderate-sized pocket passer at 6'1". The ND decommit happened after a flurry of offers (or offer-type substances) from heavy hitters like Georgia, Alabama, and USC, but since he's in Nevada he might have a hard time moving up the rankings.

FURTHER NEEDS. None.

RECRUITS. None. Michigan has not undertaken 2019 QB recruiting activities since McNamara's commitment. They seem to have fully set their sights on 2020 QBs.

RUNNING BACK/FULLBACK

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tbh at this point I'd rather have a 3.5 star [Eric Upchurch]

ROSTER. Michigan has eight tailbacks and is set to lose only Karan Higdon after the season. Chris Evans is the only other upperclassman. Even if Michigan suffers an unexpected bit of attrition the need here is low, especially after the late add of ATH Michael Barrett.

At fullback Michigan has sophomore Ben Mason and freshman Ben VanSumeren and is probably set.

COMMITS. None.

FURTHER NEEDS. They're certainly seeking at least one tailback. Anything additional would be a luxury.

RECRUITS. It's unlikely Michigan pulls a big name. Everyone they're pursuing is out of region and most are from the south. Five-star NC RB Quavaris Crouch is the big name, and he has been on campus. Unfortunately, Lorenz reports that his head coach has moved on and that was Crouch's main Michigan connect. Chances of pulling Crouch away from the rest of the country were already pretty low and are now lower.

Almost everyone else listed as a target is in the "not likely" bin, if not the "why are we even talking about this?" bin. They include LA RB John Emery Jr, who put Michigan in a top eight but remains a highly touted guy from Louisiana; MS RB Jerrion Ealy, who is from Mississippi, committed to Ole Miss, and thinking about a Bama flip; NC RB Khafre Brown, whose brother signed with UNC last year and has a blizzard of unofficial visits to the Tarheels to overcome; IMG's Noah Cain, who's barely drawn mention from the Michigan Insider in months and has 15 Not Michigan crystal balls to five different schools.

The one four star who's drawn chatter who seems achievable is CA RB Zach Charbonnet, who attends Westlake Christian. Westlake does export kids to high academic out of state schools fairly regularly. He seems like a plan B for Notre Dame, which is always a threat for Westlake kids—what what Jimmy Clausen—and 247 has just UCLA and Washington as "warm" schools other than Michigan. Charbonnet made it up for a visit about a month ago.

If it's not Charbonnet it's going to be someone off the radar. This is mostly fine given Michigan's success with highly touted backs over the last… decade? 15 years? I'm not sure there's any period in time during which top 100-ish backs outperform three stars for M. Lorenz suggests that KS RB Breece Hall and MO RB Kyren Williams are lower-rated guys who Michigan will pursue.

WIDE RECEIVER

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ROSTER. A year after a bumper crop saw a four-star move to safety, Michigan took only flier recruit Ronnie Bell. Numbers are a priority here despite only having one senior (Grant Perry) unless Michigan wants to have another year like 2017, when they had virtually no experience and it showed.

COMMITS. None.

FURTHER NEEDS. Michigan needs two or three WRs. Outside preferably.

RECRUITS. This is grim. I don't think there's a single crystal ball out for Michigan at WR. There certainly hasn't been one since November started. And there are few targets out there Michigan is even mentioned with. Michigan likely to be just a hat on the table for a USC-bound Kyle Ford; ditto except for Florida State for FL WR John Dunmore. Dunmore was scheduled to be up this weekend, but with the spring game canceled that trip probably is as well. Michigan didn't even draw mention in a Wiltfong article about IN WR David Bell three days ago. MD WR John Metchie is supposed to be on campus this weekend—again, maybe—and is one of those guys who's been to a particular school a ton (PSU in this case) and will be an uphill climb for anyone else.

There are two guys who have recently been on campus. 3* CT WR Cornelius Johnson took an unofficial, but the shape of his recruitment doesn't look particularly promising:

Next up for Johnson is an April 25 visit to California. He also is scheduling a return trip to Notre Dame, and with Penn State offering Monday, a return visit to Happy Valley could take place. He is also looking at trips to West Virginia, Northwestern and Duke.

ND has three crystal ball predictions, FWIW. TX WR Dylan Wright took a swing through Michigan and Notre Dame, and did say Michigan was certainly in line for an official afterwards. That's all you can hope for as an out of region prospect, but Michigan would need 4-5 guys in Wright's position to expect to land one.

That is the entire WR board until Michigan starts firing out offers to three stars.

In all likelihood Michigan's entire skill position class is going to consist of fliers, late bloomers, sleepers, guys who recently emerged from a coma, and the like. These are the wages of having the worst passing offense imaginable and not having a WR coach who can go on the road to recruit until you hire… uh… Jim McElwain.

Comments

PaulWall

April 12th, 2018 at 5:29 PM ^

I'm curious to see the o line section. can't imagine there's a ton of great potential currently. I think as season progresses, the talent will start really showing interest, especially for 2020. win, win, win, and it all falls into place. Michigan will win a lot of games this season.

Trader Jack

April 12th, 2018 at 1:47 PM ^

During the Recruiting Roundup segment today, Sam Webb mentioned that Michigan has been telling QB recruits that they're planning to take two QBs in the 2019 class. He mentioned Sam Johnson, Taisun Phommachanh, and Graham Mertz as current options, though he said he doesn't think Michigan is in the driver's seat for any of the three at the moment.

ijohnb

April 12th, 2018 at 1:50 PM ^

perspective on our football program has never changed as dramatically as it has over the last 12 months.  I really hope they can get this thing back in gear because we seem to have absolutely no momentum as a program.

Champeen

April 12th, 2018 at 1:59 PM ^

If your talking recruiting,,,,possibly?

But if your talking football program, wake the fuck up.  We are fielding a national championship caliber team this year - what the hell more do you want?

ijohnb

April 12th, 2018 at 2:07 PM ^

we went 8-4 last year, lost to f-ing South Carolina in the bowl game, play at ND/MSU/OSU next season, can't get OL to pass and run block concurrently, and are waiting on an NCAA waiver request on an Ole Miss transfer to see if we have a QB for next year.

I'm not saying that we don't have a lot of talent, but not a whole lot about this set up screams "national championship" to me at this point.

Ziff72

April 12th, 2018 at 2:32 PM ^

So what's your plan then?   Take time to negatively comment on every post about football?

Do you want Harbaugh fired  Yes/No?

If yes then what is your plan moving forward?   If no we were the youngest team in the country last year and we have young promising talent everywhere.   Enjoy the ride.

If we were starting walk ons next year I'd see your point, but Harbaugh has taken several steps to correct last year's issues.   Does Harbaugh seem content with 8-4?   Despite all this you still have little hope then change programs to follow. 

Fezzik

April 12th, 2018 at 11:42 PM ^

msu was younger than us last year and their season turned out just fine despite their insane amount of offseason turmoil and coming off a 3-9 year. Our defense was younger than our offense last year but you didn't see that slowing down our D at all.

And stop with the "you want Harbaugh fired" crap. One or two idiots on the whole blog say it and people act like every single person who has concerns about the program want Harbaugh fired.

1VaBlue1

April 12th, 2018 at 2:52 PM ^

Weeelllll...  I won't go so far as to say that the team will be playoff championship worthy this year.  But when comparing the Harbaugh program to other recent Michigan FB coaches, I have absolutely ZERO problems with last years 8-5.  Yeah, last season sucked like a Dyson.  But that 8-5 felt much better than any 7-5 season under Hoke or RR.  I mean, we knew we had no hope going into a RR/Hoke led season...

StraightDave

April 12th, 2018 at 3:55 PM ^

Harbaugh recruiting like a coach who is ready to leave.   Again, nice to read about ND, OSU, and MSU recruiting the DFW area.   However, nothing about UM.   I guess we are fine competing with Toledo and Ball St. for recruits.   Hell Harbaugh spends more time in France than he does recruiting.  

TrueBlue2003

April 13th, 2018 at 5:08 PM ^

that are now becoming upperclassmen. We should have a very good year this year (we're being given the 5th best odds by Vegas to win the whole thing, which like yeah, that's probably optimistic but it's also driven by some smart market participants), and we should be even better in 2019 when almost everything sets up really well (and if Gary comes back, whooo boy).

We also have some studs coming in on the OL and defensive side of the ball in the 2019 class.  The class overall is probably going to be pretty good. OL and QB are everything to an offense, anyway. And I feel very good about those two position groups come 2019.  We'll find a good RB if we give him holes and we'll find guys to catch the ball if we give the QB time and he makes good throws.

This feels like the end of the 2015-2016 basketball seasons when we were all like, how did those back-to-back elite 8's not provide a recruiting bump, how have we fallen so far so fast, and why are we so bad on one side of the ball, etc. etc?

Then our coach started hiring good coordinators, veteran players that were on those bad teams showed why experience matters (and it matters a lot more in football), we got a couple impact transfers and we went to the sweet 16, and then the title game. 

We might still be a coordinator away in football, but I have faith that JH won't be too prideful to figure it out after this season if he hasn't already.

Blue_In_Texas

April 12th, 2018 at 1:50 PM ^

So, after reading this, I have a complaint about the timing of this post. I am not upset that it has come too late. Rather, I wish you had waited even longer, or perhaps not posted at all. God those RB/WR sections are grim. 

ijohnb

April 12th, 2018 at 1:58 PM ^

are we like, recruting players anymore?   We had one shaky season at 8-4.  That's it.  Recruiting does not completely fall flat on its face after one relatively poor season.  That has never been the case.  Why are we not in the mix for more players?

This is getting odd.  Neg away if you must, but this is starting to look and feel foreboding.

bronxblue

April 12th, 2018 at 2:01 PM ^

I think there is some smoke to the claim of poor recruiting at the tail end of last year, but football recruiting is always fluid and guys pop in and out of contention consistently. So I remain reasonably optimistic that the staff will pick up recruiting at bit, especially now that the positions seem more settled

jabberwock

April 12th, 2018 at 2:50 PM ^

It's not JUST the record.

Not beating a team with a winning record (don't even try to put "after-the fact-Purdue" out there)

and the way the season ended, including the bowl collapse just felt . . .shitty.

Part of that is also the contrast to the wonderful baskeball season, the endless winter, etc. 

Always a fan and always hopeful to varying degrees, but that's what recruiting is in it's essence. . .hope.  You need recruits to fuel the hope.

bronxblue

April 12th, 2018 at 4:00 PM ^

Michigan is recruiting "studs" at a number of positions. They are down at RB and WR, and even then it's almost a year out. And I know people keep talking about how Michigan was always in on offensive dynamos, but that hasn't consistently been the case for a long time. In fact, Michigan's first couple of classes under Harbaugh were some of the best offensive recruiting we've seen around here.

I knew this post would bring out the complaints, and I'm sure that's why Brian wrote it. Its also purposely negative; I have read a number of times where someone will talk up being in a guy's top 8, but here it's treated as a shitty loss. So some of this negativity is on the framing by the author.

I am not one to gloss over clear issues recruiting, but I'm also not going to assume the sky is falling when there are months to go and a new staff heading out on the recruiting trail.

Clarence Boddicker

April 12th, 2018 at 7:12 PM ^

Yeah. It's April. Plenty of time to get on various radars and flip guys. We have a bunch of new coaches who are proven recruiters, but are still at the point of building relationships. We have a talented roster as it is--the most talented since Carr's mid-aught squads--and all the studs at the offensive skill positions are young outside of Higdon. I'll panic in November if the cupboard still looks this bare.

BornInA2

April 12th, 2018 at 2:10 PM ^

We're 1-13 in the last 14 games against our former arch-rival. Our offense has stunk for...a decade? At this point picking up a WR class like last year or kids like Gary, Peppers, etc. are going to be more anomalous than normal.

I live in Seattle and have watched the UW Huskies dig out from a winless season under Ty Willingham in 2008. It took nearly a decade and three head coaches. So I don't expect we're going to dig out a decade of overall mediocrity and offensive offense in a year. Or two.

And yeah, it sucks for fans. I'm certainly not looking forward to the season with the excitement I used to have.