Michigan ended the 2017 recruiting circuit very successfully thanks to last-second gets four-star receiver Nico Collins and five-star defensive lineman Aubrey Solomon. Those recruits helped Michigan finish fifth in the nation and second in the Big Ten in recruiting, according to 247 sports.
After that high finish, there will be some pretty lofty expectations for this freshman class. We will dive in position by position on what those expectations may be in year one. Let’s start on offense.
Michigan signed four-star quarterback Dylan McCaffrey out of Valor Christian High School in Colorado. McCaffrey will probably follow the role Brandon Peters had last year — redshirt to master the offense and be in the mix the following year. It seems as if there will be competition in the quarterback position year in and year out under Harbaugh. McCaffrey threw for over 2,000 yards and 30 touchdowns his senior season, so he has all the tools to be a successful quarterback at Michigan.
There is a pair of running backs coming into Ann Arbor. Those two are Kurt Taylor and O’Maury Samuels. Both Taylor and Samuels seem to be the kind of physical backs that Harbaugh likes. Samuels seems to be the more likely of the two to get playing time in 2017. Samuels ran for over 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns his senior season at Los Lunas High School in New Mexico. Don’t be shocked if neither have much playing time their freshmen season thanks to an already loaded backfield, but Taylor and Samuels both have the skill sets to excel in Harbaugh’s offensive scheme.
This could arguably be the best wide receiver class in Michigan history. The wide receivers consist of five-star Donovan Peoples-Jones and four-stars Oliver Martin, Nico Collins and Tarik Black.
Peoples-Jones and Black were both at Michigan for spring practices and both seemed to play well. All four of these players seem to have a great chance to see the field early. Black and Peoples-Jones are the most likely to play early, but all four will have a chance.
Martin really popped up on the radar last summer, especially at The Opening, and it was a battle but Michigan finally landed him. Martin is the speedster of the group, so he could see some time in the slot this year. Peoples-Jones, Black and Collins all have a good combination of size and speed. As mentioned earlier, this group will have very high expectations and a chance to play early.
The offensive line had five commits — three four-stars in Cesar Ruiz, Chuck Filiaga, and Ja’Raymond Hall. Adding to that is two 3-stars, Andrew Stueber and Joel Honigford.
I think there is a chance Ruiz and Filiaga could be in the rotation this upcoming season, but I think Hall, Stueber and Honigford will ultimately redshirt.
At the end of the day, this offensive group of freshmen has the tools to be a highly successful group during their time at Michigan.
Next up will be the defense.