After watching Michigan’s offensive line struggles year after year, I’m now convinced that something magical and terrible happened years ago, similar to how Voldemort managed to curse a position at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry after being turned down for a job. Did Les Miles, with all his voodoo magic, want to coach here years ago? I knew it.
We’ll see if National Signing Day has any surprises, but with Nicholas Petit-Frere trending to Ohio State, it’s not looking likely. It’s safe to say, then, that Michigan’s 2018 cycle hasn’t been a home run as far as offensive line recruits are concerned. Now, to be fair, Michigan added a Viking boat load of offensive linemen the year before, and they may be about ready to assimilate a grad transfer offensive lineman in the near future as well. We’ll see what happens; knock on as much wood as you can.
But with Emil Ekiyor (who was a downright fantastic prospect) preferring to head to the lovely shores of Alabama, and Michigan signee Ryan Hayes (6’7”, 262) initially listed as a tight end on U-M’s website, we’re actually left with just one signee in the 2018 class (after having three in early October): Jalen Mayfield out of Grant Rapids, Michigan.
JALEN MAYFIELD, four-star offensive tackle (6’5”, 275)
Jalen Mayfield is a fantastic prospect. He’s got an NFL frame, excellent foot speed and perfect disposition - playing through the whistle, pancaking guys whenever possible, hustling and never quitting.
He’s going to need to improve his technique - especially his hand technique - and continue to build his upper-body strength, but he’s already 275 pounds so there’s not much more transformation needed. Just get him on campus, fergodsakes. He’ll be a good one.
Still, a small class leaves questions about Michigan’s offensive line depth, and for a position group that hasn’t been effective in both the run and pass games at the same time for a long time, it’s reasonable to worry about when this position unit gets turned around.
Michigan has an immediate concern of getting its young guys who are already on campus and in the weight room to play well. After that, the roster seems to be in good position to maintain depth at offensive tackle after the last two classes. With such a young interior offensive line, we can put off worries about depth on the inside until 2019. (It would’ve been nice to get somebody in the 2018 cycle, but this is what we’ve been dealt.) There’s still work to do to make these guys successful, but the pieces are there and we’ll see what Tim Drevno (and Ed Warinner?) have up their sleeves.
In the meantime, though, boo yah Jalen! Go get ‘em, and he’ll be a great addition to Michigan football.