When college football’s early signing period commences for the first time Wednesday morning, it will already be well past Julius Welschof’s scheduled lunch hour at the Krones manufacturing plant in Rosenheim, Germany. The 20-year-old has worked at the factory for more than a year, building machines that fill plastic bottles with water, but he hopes his boss will let him have some time off in the afternoon to celebrate perhaps the most important occasion of his life.
Bavarian defensive end Julius "Juice" Welschof is Michigan's latest 2018 commit, and now an early signee, only a few years after learning football from YouTube videos. Despite the rather sudden flip from his Georgia Tech commitment, Welschof has been on Michigan's radar for a while; he camped with the Wolverines over the summer as part of a two-week US tour, and he was even in Rome during the team's spring break trip, per 247's Steve Lorenz.
Welschof is Michigan's 19th commit in the 2018 class and the third in the last four days. He joins early signees Aiden Hutchinson and Taylor Upshaw (who's additionally a planned early enrollee) in the class at defensive end.
|3* SDE||3*, 78, #64 DE||
4*, 90, #12 SDE,
3*, #25 SDE,
The only chances to evaluate Welschof have been at team camps or off his German league highlights, so it's not surprising there's a wide spread in his rankings. Rivals handed out a cursory 5.5 rating and hasn't given him a position ranking. On the other end, 247 liked his potential enough to make him a bona-fide four-star.
Welschof is listed at 6'6", 250 on Rivals; ESPN docks him an inch, 247 two pounds. He's probably ticketed for strongside defensive end.
[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and the rest.]
As mentioned above, Michigan's coaches got a chance got see Welschof in person at one of this summer's camps, and The Wolverine's Brandon Brown was in attendance:
A true German hailing from Bavaria, 2018 strongside defensive end Julius Welschof looked very impressive at 6-6, 245 pounds. He was long and athletic but also appeared to have solid power while working on the sleds.
His size and power also stood out to 247's Isaiah Hole:
As he participated in drills led by Rashan Gary, Aubrey Solomon, Carlo Kemp and Luiji Vilain, when he attacked the sled it didn't look too far off from the true freshmen who participated. He showed good poise and explosiveness -- and obviously has the size, which you can't teach.
Michigan hasn't offered Welschof -- yet. I spoke with some sources close to the program who said that they are very high on him, but that there could be some academic hurdles (since he's coming from Germany) and they just want to see more of him.
247's Barton Simmons praised his athleticism while noting its rather unlikely source:
Welschof hails from Germany and he's on a summer vacation of sorts. He's been hitting the camp circuit hard, making stops at Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and others and he's been turning heads. The German native is raw but freakishly athletic. At that size he clocked a 4.73 40 at Ohio State and has gone as fast as 4.5 back home with fresh legs. He's got great bend and flexibility. He's got a long, powerful frame.
His unique athleticism can be traced back to his first sport of downhill skiing. His ability as a freestyle mogul skier has developed his hip and ankle flexibility, his bend, coordination and body control. His backward flips on skis offers some additional flair.
Yes, there's video evidence:
I'm pretty sure a ski moguls video is a Hello post first.
Finally, Scout's Brian Dohn gave a detailed evaluation when Weischof committed to Georgia Tech in October:
In a lot of instances, he uses speed and an ability to dip his shoulder to get around the edge. At his size, his ability to get around the corner and remain balanced shows his flexibility and his body control.
He can pursue to the sideline and he runs well, especially given his size, but he needs to work on disengaging more quickly and also be faster with his hands.
There are times he pops up too straight and it costs him in the leverage battle, but much of that is coaching. He needs to be patient and fire out instead of up. He does a good job with his change of direction.
As Dohn concluded, most of what Welschof needs to work on is technique, and that will improve when he starts working with a college coaching staff. Meanwhile, there's a lot to work with; Dohn thought Welschof could be a defensive end, defensive tackle, or even potentially an offensive lineman.
While it's difficult to take too much away from Welschof's film given the competition, it's apparant Michigan got a big, athletic, talented prospect to mold. Since he's already 20 years old, Welschof could develop grown man strength in a hurry, too, and maintain that edge against his younger classmates through his career.
Welschof held offers from UConn, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Minnesota, Rutgers, Syracuse, UCF, Eastern Michigan, UMass, and Tulane, among a handful of others. He drew interest but no offer from the likes of Arkansas, Louisville, Maryland, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Pitt, and Tennessee.
Is in Germany. Welschof broke into the game with the club team Munich Cowboys. No, the competition level isn't great.
Couldn't find any.
FAKE 40 TIME
I've seen various times listed for Welschof, from 4.76 at OSU's camp (one FAKE) to a couple in the 4.5 range (five FAKEs), which would be completely bonkers for a player his size. That's not to knock his athleticism; 4.76 is a great time that would've ranked him just outside the top 15 among DL at the last NFL Combine. This unsourced quote from his coach in Germany whiffs of urban legend but also speaks to his explosiveness:
“Julius came to my home and stayed with me for 2 days and he was a great kid. I took him to a field and he performed in the snow. He was 6’6 250lbs and ran a 4.6 40 with a 10’3″ Broad Jump IN THE SNOW” after this day I knew we discovered something special.
His athleticism is apparent on film.
German league highlights posted this spring:
Summer camp tour highlights:
More workout highlights:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Man, I have no idea how a 20-year-old German league import is going to fare at the highest level of college football. Welschof looks the part; he's got an excellent combination of size and athleticism. That bend around the edge is hard to find in a player with his frame. I like his chances of developing into a contributor at SDE, and he appears to have a pretty high ceiling, too.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Brian covered the remaining targets in today's roundup. Eyabi Anoma just committed to Alabama, so it appears Michigan is finished at defensive end.
Michigan's 2018 class ranks 12th in the composite team rankings and third in the Big Ten. Here's the class as it currently stands: