Jim Harbaugh and his coaching staff swung and missed on a lot of players in the 2018 class. Nicholas Petit-Frere, Jarrett Patterson, Eyabi Anoma, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Tyler Friday, the list goes on.
It’s rough to lose out on these guys, especially when a lot of those guys were at positions of need for Michigan. Because of the lack of fireworks in the 2018 class, Harbaugh and his staff are going to have to work wonders on the recruiting trail for the 2019 class. There are a few guys in mind that I feel Michigan must get to commit to the program in this class. Let’s start off with my most important:
Five-star running back Quavaris Crouch
After the 2018 season, the only familiar running back the Wolverines will have is Chris Evans. While I really like what Evans brings to the table, he isn’t an every-down type of player. Not yet. Kareem Walker could be an every-down running back, but he hasn’t proved anything up to this point in his collegiate career. Maybe Walker and Evans do all of that in 2018, but until I see it happen Michigan is going to need to get a top running back in this class, and Crouch is that guy.
Crouch is the 17th nationally ranked player and the second ranked running back in 2019, per 247Sports’ composite. Standing at 6-foot-2 and 224 pounds, the Charlotte, North Carolina native is a straight-up beast. Michigan is recruiting him as hard as any player in this class, and rightfully so. Chris Partridge is leading the way in Crouch’s recruitment, and that’s how it should be as Partridge is the best recruiter the Wolverines have by a long shot.
He’s got pretty decent speed for a player of his stature. He also has great vision and attacks defenders with no mercy. With Karan Higdon gone after the 2018 season, there could be some questions at the running back position. I think Crouch would answer those questions if he were to commit to Michigan.
Four-star safety Lewis Cine
Michigan missed out on Otis Reese in the 2018 cycle, a player who was planning on playing Viper at U-M. But Lewis Cine, a four-star safety out of Everett, Massachusetts, seems like the No. 1 Viper target in this class to Don Brown.
This guy is aggressive as hell. He is hard-hitting, an elite run defender, has real good speed and is really solid on special teams, as shown in the video below around the one-minute mark.
There isn’t a ton of depth at Viper on the team currently. Khaleke Hudson is obviously perfect for the Viper role, but who comes after him? Jordan Glasgow? Maybe, but he’s primarily a special teams player. Brad Hawkins? Again, maybe, but he didn’t have significant time on defense at all last season and is still developing. Josh Metellus? Perhaps. He played Viper in place of Jabrill Peppers in the 2016 Orange Bowl, and struggled at safety last season, so if a move was to be made this may be it.
Cine is on a lot of team’s radars at this point, especially Penn State’s and Ohio State’s. Michigan is going to have to fend off the best of the Big Ten to land this potentially great player.
Four-star offensive lineman Xavier Truss
I’m sure you were wondering when I would get to the offensive line. Well, here we are.
Truss is one of the the top-rated offensive lineman on Michigan’s board. The Warwick, Rhode Island native is 6-foot-7 and 325 pounds. In other words, he is pretty much a monster truck.
Being from Rhode Island, Truss isn’t playing the greatest of competition in high school but you can certainly tell he has the ability to be a real nice college player. He’s big, he’s physical and he plays angry.
Harbaugh NEEDS to have an impressive offensive line class after failing to do so in 2018’s class, where he signed just one (two if you count Ryan Hayes, but he is listed as a tight end as of now). Speaking of impressive, here’s another young man who would make for an impressive offensive lineman at U-M...
Five-star offensive lineman Devontae Dobbs
Being from the state of Michigan, Dobbs is one of the most key players in this class. His relationship with Michigan at this point hasn’t been the greatest, but he and some of his teammates at Belleville High School have been receiving a lot of love lately from the Wolverines, including current Michigan State 2019 defensive back commit Julian Barnett.
Dobbs stands at 6-foot-4 and 270 pounds, is the No. 1 ranked offensive tackle in his class and the No. 1 player in the state of Michigan. Dobbs is a must-get for Harbaugh and company; they cannot let the top-ranked player in the state — and a top-10 player in the country — get away from them and go to a rival school.
In the video below, Dobbs displays his big frame and his solid footwork. He did get beat bad a few times, but this is just one highlight video from The Opening where no pads were even used. But even after his big tumble, he forces the defender to grab onto his facemask on the very next play. He is also versatile and can play tackle and guard.
If Michigan is unable to land Dobbs, a few offensive linemen I’d keep my eye on include four-star Trevor Keegan, four-star William Harrod (who has received a ton of attention lately from Michigan), three-star Karsen Barnhart, who is from Paw Paw, Michigan, and four-star Logan Brown, who is currently committed to Wisconsin but is from Grand Rapids, Michigan and should still be pursued heavily.
Of course, getting all of these players to sign letters of intent to play at Michigan is a pipe dream. But even if Harbaugh could land just a couple of these guys, it would set the Wolverines up nicely to put together another great class like they did in 2016 and 2017.