The Wolverine

November 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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60 THE WOLVERINE NOVEMBER 2016 BY BRANDON BROWN T he Wolverines picked up their second commitment in the 2018 class Oct. 2 when Indianapolis Ca- thedral four-star offensive guard Emil Ekiyor pledged following his visit for the Wisconsin game. The 6-4, 315-pounder will have 20-plus more classmates by the time he signs his letter of intent in 16 months. The exact number of commitments expected in the 2018 class is fluid, but as of Oct. 17 there are 23 players on Michigan's roster with junior eligi- bility. That means that the 2018 class will be at least that large and prob- ably larger because of unforeseen at- trition and changes with eligibility. U-M has 24 available scholarships in the 2017 class, but even that number could be larger when National Signing Day rolls around. While each recruit- ing class is limited to 25 scholarships with an overall limit of 85, prospects that enroll early can count against the previous class if that group had less than 25 signees. For instance, a school could sign 28 players and count three early enrollees against the previous class, which only had 22 signees. There are potential fifth-year se- niors that won't be back on the roster as well as underclassmen who will look to transfer or are medically un- able to continue playing football. The 2017 class has seen decommit- ments from Bloomfield Hills (Mich.) Brother Rice tight end Carter Dun- away, Leesburg (Ga.) Lee County de- fensive tackle Aubrey Solomon and, most recently, Jacksonville (Fla.) Trin- ity Christian fullback Chase Lasater. There have even been three de- commitments from the 2018 class already with Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson offensive guard Jalil Ir- vin, Dayton (Ohio) Dunbar inside linebacker Antwuan Johnson and Springfield (Ohio) High tight end Leonard Taylor deciding to open things back up. All of those are just examples of how ever-changing the recruiting numbers can be. ANOTHER DECOMMITMENT Michigan had a string of five de- commitments from mid-August to early September, with the loss of two prospects from the 2017 class — Bloomfield Hills (Mich.) Brother Rice tight end Carter Dunaway and Leesburg (Ga.) Lee County defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon. On Oct. 10, Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian fullback Chase La- sater became the third prospect in the current group of commitments to change his mind about attending Michigan. Lasater is a 6-2, 238-pound fullback who also excels at linebacker. "Originally I was a top priority, and I really noticed that with the amount of love shown," Lasater said. "Over time I felt less part of the team and less important of a recruit as con- tact with Michigan just lessened. Not only that but my mom, who is very important to me and where I go, feels it is best for me to be open to more colleges and offers. "I love Michigan, but I just felt distance being put between us and less contact which made me very uneasy." Lasater did not have any other of- fers at the time of his decommitment. BYE WEEK TRAVELS With plenty of openings remain- ing in the 2017 and 2018 classes Jim Harbaugh and his coaching staff de- cided to take full advantage of the bye week and hit the recruiting trails all over the country. The head coach himself had a busy schedule with visits planned for Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Antioch, Calif.; and El Cerrito Calif. The Oct. 12 stop in Vegas was at Bishop Gorman High School to see dual-threat quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, tight end Brevin Jordan, and outside line- backer Palaie Gaoteote. All three prospects are considered four-star players and all hold offers from the Maize and Blue. Thompson-Robinson is the top quarterback target on Michigan's board in the 2018 class. The 6-2, 190-pounder is the No. 53 overall player in the nation and is highly athletic playing mostly wide receiver as a junior, while senior quarterback and Ohio State commit Tate Martell runs the show at Gorman. "DTR" as he's been dubbed is ex- tremely high on U-M and UCLA. Thompson-Robinson's mother is a Michigan alum so he obviously has her endorsement. Living out west has given him a chance to become a fan of Pac-12 schools including the Bruins. Jordan, a 6-3, 230-pound tight end, is great friends with Thompson- Robinson, and the two have talked about playing together in college. Jordan also holds an offer from the Bruins and Wolverines, so there is a chance it happens. He's considered   MICHIGAN RECRUITING Early 2018 Numbers During Michigan's bye week, head coach Jim Harbaugh dropped by Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas — where several U-M targets go to school, including the nation's No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the junior class Dorian Thompson-Robinson. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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