The Wolverine

February 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2018 THE WOLVERINE 59   FOOTBALL RECRUITING with the Hawkeyes Dec. 20, but of- ficially visited Michigan the weekend prior and ultimately realized that Ann Arbor was where he wanted to be. He ended up signing with Michi- gan instead. The flip to Michigan wasn't Van- Sumeren's first change of mind. He originally changed his commitment from Western Michigan to Iowa be- fore finally signing with his dream school. A day after VanSumeren commit- ted, Bell pulled the trigger for Michi- gan. Bell's flip was the oddest of them all — he had been a basketball signee at Missouri State. The 6-1, 170-pounder is an explo- sive athlete on the hardwood, and the U-M staff thinks it will translate to the football field. Two days after landing Bell, Michigan added another unique player to its cast of 2018 additions. Germany native Ju- lius Welschof had been commit- ted to Georgia Tech since Octo- ber, but top-notch coaching and perhaps a smoother path to the NFL at U-M convinced him to pick the Wolverines. He signed his letter of intent Dec. 20 and is now one of the most intrigu- ing incoming freshmen in the country at 6-6, 253 pounds with plus athleticism. Finally, there's in-state defen- sive back Vincent Gray. He was committed to Missouri follow- ing the early signing period, but ultimately re-opened his recruit- ment after being offered by. He of- ficially visited Ann Arbor Jan. 19-21 and committed while in Harbaugh's office before heading home. THE FINAL PUSH Michigan added fifth-year trans- fer defensive back Casey Hughes to the roster after he spent the first four years of his career at Utah, taking U-M's total scholarship number up to 89 as of Jan. 22. That's four too many with a few prospects still on the recruiting board in the 2018 class. More attrition will come, and a few more commits are possible. Because numbers are get- ting tighter, there aren't very many realistic targets remaining, but a few could be Wolverines before too long. Metairie (La.) Rummel four-star wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase was in Michigan for an official visit for the Ohio State game and enjoyed him- self despite being on crutches. Fast- forward a couple of months, and it's clear that he enjoyed his time in Ann Arbor, with the Wolverines in his top three along with LSU and Au- burn. The No. 11 wide receiver and No. 67 overall prospect in the coun- try is believed to be leaning towards the home-state Tigers of LSU, but he can't ignore Harbaugh's extensive NFL background. TCU and Florida are two other programs to keep an eye on as his decision nears, but it's likely a battle between LSU and U-M. Mission Viejo (Calif.) High three- star offensive tackle Jarrett Patterson was offered by Michigan in early No- vember and is still very interested in the Wolverines. The 6-5, 275-pounder set up an official visit to Ann Arbor almost immediately after being of- fered and did the same after a Janu- ary offer from Notre Dame. He swung by Ann Arbor in early December and loved everything about the visit. He has bonded well with offensive line coach Tim Drevno and is still strongly considering the Wolverines. Rivals' No. 34 offensive tackle in the country has said that he will make his decision in January and will pick either the Wolverines or UCLA. The Bruins give him an option much closer to home, but he insists that distance doesn't matter. He has also officially visited Notre Dame, and the Irish are still in the running. Finally, Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep four-star offensive tackle Nick Petit- Frere is definitely target No. 1 after Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep four- star defensive end Tyler Friday, a Michigan priority, picked Ohio State. The 6-5, 265-pound Petit-Frere vaulted to five-star status in Rivals. com's final rankings, checking in as the No. 1 offensive tackle and No. 11 overall prospect in the nation. Harbaugh and Michigan practiced at Berkeley Prep in preparation for the Outback Bowl, and Petit-Frere swung by his high school field to watch the Wolverines in ac- tion. Petit-Frere is also consid- ering Notre Dame, Alabama, Florida State, Auburn and Flor- ida. U-M definitely seems to be at or near the top. Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes three-star athlete Michael Bar- rett and Mission Viejo (Calif.) High five-star cornerback Olai- jah Griffin are others still on U-M's board. Barrett is teammates with for- mer U-M offensive tackle tar- get Jalen Goss. However, Goss committed to Florida State in mid-January, ending the idea of the pair playing together in Ann Arbor. Barrett, though, is still high on U-M, and they may have even emerged as his leader. The versatile 6-0, 200-pound standout, who played quarterback in high school and is ranked the No. 72 player in his home state, was ex- pected to announce his choice Jan. 23. Griffin, a former UCLA pledge, could end signing with USC after a stellar official visit in mid-Jan- uary. Florida and Auburn are also involved, and official visits to both campuses could go a long way in his process. The son of rapper and music producer Warren G is the No. 3 cor- nerback and the No. 23 overall pros- pect nationally according to Rivals. The Wolverines do not appear to be in strong contention for the Califor- nia standout. ❏ On The Web For regular reports on Michigan football recruiting plus videos of U-M commitments and targets visit Georgia linebacker Otis Reese, the nation's No. 56 overall player and a Michigan commitment since June 2016, officially visited U‑M in mid‑January. He is considering several other schools, including Clemson, LSU and Georgia. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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