Four-star Grand Rapids Catholic Central OT Jalen Mayfield announced his commitment to Michigan this evening, choosing the Wolverines over fellow finalists Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Mayfield, who 247 recently named as the top in-state prospect in the 2018 class, added a twist to a familiar pattern:
A month after the Minnesota commitment, Michigan offered and Mayfield opened his recruitment back up. Everyone correctly assumed he was destined for Ann Arbor. He's the ninth commit in the 2018 class and the second on the offensive line, joining top-100 guard Emil Ekiyor.
EDIT: Now with commitment video.
4*, #16 OT,
|3* OT||3*, 77, #62 OT||
4*, 94, #9 OT,
4*, #24 OT,
While there's a gap between 247, which gave Mayfield two significant bumps up the rankings recently, and Scout, there's a larger chasm between that pair and Rivals/ESPN. There's an easy explanation for this one: Rivals doesn't have any scouting reports on Mayfield's profile, and this is ESPN's very helpful scouting report:
The scouting services that have done actual scouting consider Mayfield solidly in four-star territory; he should get the requisite bump from the other sites before long, especially now that he's committed to a high-profile program.
Mayfield fits the mold of a lineman that new OT/TE coach Greg Frey has developed with great success. Mayfield is an athletic 6'6", 255 with a lot of room to pack on muscle. In his previous stint at Michigan, Frey recruited Taylor Lewan (6'7", 275 entering college) and Patrick Omameh (6'6, 265) and helped turn them into NFL players, then did the same with Jason Spriggs (6'7", 270) at Indiana. While Lewan garnered four-star hype, Omameh and Spriggs were fringe 2/3-star types. This isn't to say Mayfield will be Taylor Lewan, but Frey has an excellent track record with similar prospects.
[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and more.]
Scout's Allen Trieu doesn't believe Mayfield's size will be an issue at the next level; Mayfield plays basketball, so instead of bulking up in the weight room he's been running up and down the hardwood during the winter. Mayfield helped Grand Rapids Catholic Central to a conference title this season, and Trieu expects that multi-sport athleticism to help him on the football field:
He will be fine after a year or two in a college strength program. His dad is also a big guy, so the genetics are there. He will fill out. What we love about this kid is his athleticism and attitude. As mentioned, he is a basketball player so he can bend and move his feet like you want in an offensive line prospect. You can see that athleticism on his defensive tape as well. Then there is his demeanor. This kid plays mean. He's the kind of kid whose opponents can't stand because he plays to the whistle and he plays physically. You have to look too that his high school head coach was a college offensive coordinator at Grand Valley State, so he has played in an offense which has asked him to make a variety of blocks. He has experience in pass pro, he has experience pulling and blocking on the move and second level and has played in a college type system. He shows really good coordination and balance when making blocks in space.
Trieu probably wrote Scout's free eval, which lists aggressiveness, body control and balance, and flexibility as strengths, with power and strength as the only area for improvement. Having the proverbial "bend" to play OT is of paramount importance, and it appears Mayfield has it.
Most of what's out there on Mayfield comes from a couple camps this spring. Mayfield caught Trieu's eye at the Opening Chicago regional, where he performed well despite being fresh off basketball season:
Jalen Mayfield was another who was high on our list. The Grand Rapids Catholic Central product has been playing basketball and is adding weight still, but there was a chance he would not do well in this setting because of that, but he was athletic, rough and tough, and did very well and showed his upside.
247's Steve Wiltfong added an intriguing note from that camp:
Grand Rapids (Mich.) Catholic Central offensive tackle Jalen Mayfield has the most upside from his position group.
The regional also featured 2018 four-star linemen Emil Ekiyor (Michigan), Tyrone Sampson (Syracuse), and Antwan Reed (Penn State), plus 2019 phenom Devontae Dobbs, so that's no small statement. Wiltfong's colleague Barton Simmons was a big fan, shooting Mayfield up the rankings:
He's only 255 pounds but Jalen Mayfield has a big future in front of him. At 6-foot-5.5, we're betting he grows into that frame and maintains his athleticism and more importantly his toughness and mean streak. He's now got a 93 rating and is ranked as the No. 105 player in the country. Michigan is considered the favorite.
Trieu caught Mayfield again at the Under Armour Chicago camp last month, noting that he's already begun packing on the pounds:
Grand Rapids (Mich.) Catholic Central's Jalen Mayfield continues to show his talents. He is extremely competitive and plays with a tough, angry disposition. We can tell he has been in the weight room too as he already looks like he has been adding weight since even the early part of the month.
Last week, Mayfield was selected to play in the Army All-American Game.
So long as Mayfield can add weight without losing too much mobility, he checks off all the boxes. His athleticism jumps out in his junior film, even when adjusting for the competition; he displays a strong knack for being in the right place on both sides of the ball; he plays with controlled aggression. With some technique and strength work, he should develop into an excellent tackle.
Mayfield's final group included Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. He also holds offers from Arizona, Cincinnati, Pitt, Syracuse, and pretty much the entire MAC. Miami (YTM) and Notre Dame showed interest but haven't come through with offers.
Grand Rapids Catholic Central won the MHSAA Division 4 state title last season, with Mayfield's second-half fumble recovery leading to the eventual game-winning drive. According to the Rivals database, which dates back to 2002, Mayfield would be GRCC's first four-star prospect. Most of their recruits have gone on to MAC schools with the two exceptions also winding up at Michigan: linebacker Obi Ezeh and offensive lineman Mark Huyge.
No stats for offensive linemen, obviously. According to Mayfield's Hudl film, he tallied 79 tackles, 17 TFLs, and 14.5 sacks as a defensive end in his junior season—not too bad for his secondary position. He earned first-team all-state honors as a lineman, which apparently (and annoyingly) includes both offensive and defensive players.
FAKE 40 TIME
Mayfield recorded an electronic 5.27 40 time at the Opening regional, which isn't bad for a lineman and gets zero FAKEs out of five.
Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Even if he bulks up considerably before getting to campus, Mayfield is destined for a redshirt as he's reshaped into a college tackle. By 2019 or 2020, he should be in the mix with some combination of Nolan Ulizio, Chuck Filiaga, JaRaymond Hall, Joel Honigford, and Andrew Stueber for playing time at tackle. Mayfield may take a few years to develop into a starter, but I fully expect he'll reach that point; his potential is apparent and, as mentioned, Greg Frey has made a career of turning guys like him into NFL players.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
The ninth commit in the class, Mayfield vaults Michigan into the #9 spot on the composite team rankings. After bringing in five O-lineman in the 2017 class, the coaches are working with a smaller pool of 2018 targets, but they'll look to add to the current haul of Ekiyor (whose commitment doesn't appear 100% solid) and Mayfield. Top targets on the offensive line include four-star MI OT Ryan Hayes (one of the better bets to wind up in the class), four-star GA OG James Ohonba, and three-star IMG behemoth Daniel Faalele, among others.
Here's the class as it currently stands: