With Michigan receiving letters of intent from 16 players yesterday, now seems like an appropriate time to dive in and see who the remaining players are that Jim Harbaugh and the coaching staff will try to lock in come Feb. 7 for National Signing Day.
By looking at what positions were already signed, 247Sports crystal ball predictions and other factors, it seems clear which prospects are being recruited heavily by Michigan. With that said, let’s get straight to it.
Tyler Friday, 4-star DT
Friday has been a guy on Michigan’s radar for a long time now, and vice versa. Friday seems very interested in the Wolverines, as he included them in his final five list along with Ohio State, Penn State, UCLA and Miami (FL).
As of right now, Michigan has 86 percent of crystal ball predictions on 247Sports, but Ohio State seems to be making a strong push for the New Jersey native. It is not known when Friday will make his decision, but I would expect it to be before National Signing Day. He made his final five list in early November, so it very well could be within the next month or so that he chooses his future school. Friday will be a big name to keep your eye on as National Signing Day approaches.
Nicholas Petit-Frere, 5-star OT
No recruit may be wanted more in this cycle by Jim Harbaugh than Petit-Frere. It’s pretty clear Harbaugh is making a big push for him, as the team prepared for the Outback Bowl at his high school in Tampa, Florida (take that, Saban).
Petit-Frere is the No. 3 ranked offensive tackle prospect in the country and is the 17th ranked overall prospect, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. At 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds, Petit-Frere would be a game-changer on Michigan’s offensive line, something that Michigan has struggled with for a long time.
Even if Petit-Frere signs with Michigan, another name to monitor is Jarrett Patterson, a 4-star offensive tackle from California. Seeing as Michigan will have Ryan Hayes play tight end and not offensive tackle, the Wolverines only have one offensive lineman in the 2018 class — 4-star Jalen Mayfield. In my eyes, you can never have too many offensive linemen so don’t be surprised to see Harbaugh go all out for both these guys.
Michael Barrett, 3-star ATH
The 5-foot-11.5, 215-pound athlete/dual-threat quarterback from Valdosta, Georgia has been a big target of Michigan’s since first being offered a scholarship back in March. He officially visited U-M on Dec. 8 and evidently had a good time, along with his parents who called the university a “family atmosphere.” ($)
All four crystal ball predictions are in favor of Michigan at the moment, but he is also being recruited by Michigan State, Tennessee and Georgia Tech.
Barrett has kept pretty quiet about his recruiting process, so I have no expectations for when he would make his decision. But if the crystal balls are favoring Michigan, things must be looking pretty good.
Otis Reese, 4-star LB
Yes, Reese is already verbally committed, but the key word there is “verbal.”
Georgia has been recruiting the hell out of Reese, and their relationship seems to be growing with the Bulldogs making the College Football Playoff. Add in the fact that Georgia is Reese’s home state and you’ve got yourself Michigan’s biggest competition by far.
Making sure Reese stays committed to Michigan will be Chris Partridge’s biggest task the next couple months. Reese has been committed to Michigan since June 2016, longer than any other Michigan commit/early signee in the 2018 class. But he has also unofficially visited Georgia four times (at least) this year.
This will more than likely come down to the wire between Michigan and Georgia, and it may not end until National Signing Day. One positive thing to note is that he hasn’t de-committed and re-opened his recruitment, which is something a lot of recruits do when they are interested in other schools. We will just have to wait and see what happens on this one.