Let’s get one thing straight, this recruiting class will not be like the previous two under Jim Harbaugh. There simply aren’t enough scholarships to give out after this season.
And that’s a good thing.
Everyone knows the Wolverines’ depth chart was obliterated this off-season, evident by Michigan’s program-record 11 NFL draft picks, and U-M will boast perhaps the youngest team in the nation this season.
The good news is that Michigan will be in line to return almost all of its starters in 2018, and will once again be one of the more experienced teams in the country — built around two top-five recruiting classes by Harbaugh and company in the 2016 and 2017.
With so many returning players next year, it appears Michigan’s 2018 class could be topped out at 18 or 19 players. The Wolverines are off to a decent start, with 10 players currently in the fold, and the nation’s No. 17 class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
Michigan already has its quarterback in four-star Joe Milton and a good mixture of offensive and defensive playmakers to go with him, but there is still much work to be done to be finish with another respectable class.
Here are three players the Wolverines MUST land in the 2018 recruiting class:
DT Tyler Friday
The 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive tackle from Ramsey, New Jersey (Don Bosco) is the highest-ranked recruit Michigan is currently pursuing on defense. The 247Sports composite rankings have Friday (a four-star prospect) as the No. 3 defensive tackle, the No. 2 player in New Jersey and the No. 62 player overall in the 2018 class.
Friday is that guy who makes his presence known on the first snap and immediately puts fear into the offense. He uses a great balance of speed and power to work past his man and get in the back field, where he makes them pay.
Michigan only loses Maurice Hurst Jr. to graduation after this year and has Rashan Gary and last year’s prize Aubrey Solomon to build its line around. Friday, like Gary, can play inside or out and would make the Wolverine’s scary front that much scarier.
Things appear in U-M’s favor as they hold 80 percent of the crystal ball predictions.
Check out some of Friday’s highlights below:
TE Mustapha Muhammad
Muhammad, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound tight end from Missouri City, Texas is the perfect fit for Michigan’s offense. He has a similar build to sophomore Tyrone Wheatley Jr. and is similar technically in that he blocks and catches passes at an exceptional rate.
The Wolverines are in a grudge match to land top tight end Jeremy Ruckert and need a backup plan in case they lose out in the battle — which we’ve seen happen more often than not.
While Ruckert is a better pass-catching tight end, Muhammad is better overall and has the higher ceiling in my opinion. Michigan is fine at the position with Wheatley Jr. in the fold along with Ian Bunting, Nick Eubanks and others. But, the group lacks a true elite player after the departure of Asiasi.
Muhammad can be that guy.
The four-star prospect is ranked as the No. 5 tight end, No. 13 player in Texas and the No. 101 player overall in the 2018 class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. All 20 crystal ball predictions are for the Wolverines.
Check out his highlights below:
LB Cameron McGrone
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound outside linebacker from Indianapolis, Indiana is the main target for Michigan’s final take at the position. McGrone was nowhere on the radar a month ago, but looks to be the focal point of the staff’s attention with New Jersey’s Shayne Simon turning his attention to Notre Dame.
The four-star prospect from Lawrence Central High School product represents Michigan’s new direction of athletic linebackers. He plays fast and physical at the point of attack and is exceptional in coverage as well.
He would join Otis Reese (Leesburg, Georgia) as the only linebackers in the class.
McGrone is ranked as the No. 16 outside linebacker, No. 3 player in Indiana and the No 245 player overall in the 2018 class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. Michigan has 64 percent of the crystal ball predictions.
Check out his highlights below: