By: Phillip Lutz, Sports Editor
National signing day has come and gone and now we know how coach Jim Harbaugh will reload his team.
The Wolverines started the day on February seventh ranked No. 13 nationally. Despite a few major losses to the 2018 class Michigan now ranks No. 21.
Michigan signed the majority of their class during the early signing period in December. The recruits they signed early were:
Defensive Back Sammy Faustin–Florida
Defensive Back Gemon Green–Texas
Defensive Back German Green–Texas
Running Back Hassan Haskins–Missouri
Tight End Ryan Hayes–Michigan
Defensive Lineman Aidan Hutchinson–Michigan
Offensive Lineman Jalen Mayfield–Michigan
LineBacker Cameron McGrone–Indiana
Quarterback Joe Milton–Florida
Tight End Mustapha Muhammad–Texas
Tight End Luke Schoonmaker–Connecticut
Defensive Back Myles Sims–Georgia
Running Back Christian Turner–Georgia
Defensive Lineman Taylor Upshaw–Florida
Full Back Ben VanSumeren–Michigan
Defensive Lineman Julius Welschof–Bavaria, Germany. He flipped from Georgia Tech on December 20
These recruits were the base for this class, and the Wolverines now focus on the remaining unsigned recruits in the fold. First was Otis Reese from Georgia who committed to the Wolverines in 2016. The Wolverines lost the battle for Reese as he flipped to the Georgia Bulldogs on Feb. 7.
Next was five star recruit Nicholas Petit-Frere. His first offer came from Michigan and was a firm commit. He decided not to sign during the early period and explore his offers since he was ranked as the top offensive lineman in the 2018 class. Michigan even practiced at his high school while in Florida for the Outback Bowl. In January, Petit-Frere was visited and then offered by Ohio State. He made his decision on signing day and flipped his commitment to Ohio State.
Michigan also lost a commitment from three star quarterback Kevin Doyle who committed to Arizona on signing day.
Michigan did land commits on National Signing Day from:
Athlete Michael Barrett–Georgia
Wide Receiver Ronnie Bell–Missouri
Defensive Back Vincent Gray–Michigan
Punter George Caratan–California
No. 1 Kicker Jake Moody–Michigan
They also added much needed depth with their preferred walk-ons:
Tight End Luke Buckman
Quarterback Max Wittwer
Offensive Lineman Joey George
Kicker Adam Culp
Wide Receiver Michael Geraci
Center Kraig Correll
Athlete Lucas Andrighetto
Michigan also got two huge transfers that will be week one starters in quarterback Shea Patterson and defensive back Casey Hughes.
Hughes has much needed in game experience for the Utah Utes football team and is coming in as a graduate transfer. He will most likely be a safety in the Wolverine offense.
Patterson is leaving a beleaguered Ole Miss program and will be fighting to get eligibility for the upcoming season. If he gets cleared to play by the league, he’ll be in competition with Brandon Peters, Dylan McCaffrey, and Joe Milton. Patterson has played big time ball with Ole Miss and would look to be the overall favorite.
On the outside, this class seems to be a disappointment since they could not hold on to Doyle, Reese, and Petit-Frere. It has been said that this class ended up ranked twenty-first nationally because of the Wolverines record last season. However, this is not the case. Michigan lost out to colleges that have been in the playoff picture the past few years and cannot compete right now with those programs.
This recruiting class solidified the offensive line and secondary for the Wolverines. Michigan is also looking at Grant Newsome to step back in if he is cleared to play after the almost amputation of his leg. During a game in 2016 against the Wisconsin Badgers, Newsome went down with a serious knee injury. He had to undergo multiple surgeries and months of rehabilitation. He did not play a down in 2017 but is ready to go for the 2018 season. He said “None of us really thought it was that serious because there was so much swelling.” It was very serious and he almost lost his leg. He has undergone extensive therapy and has already returned to strength training with the team this off season. He now must wait to be fully cleared by doctors before seeing any action.
This season will be interesting for the Michigan Wolverines as they look to recover from their 8-5 record of the previous season. Coach Jim Harbaugh has been put under the microscope and asked to deliver. Will he and his team deliver against an utterly stacked Eastern Big Ten division? Time will tell.
Check back with the Michigan Journal for all things Michigan Football and recruiting.