The Wolverine

March 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MARCH 2018 THE WOLVERINE 21 most of the postseason headlines, incoming freshman Joe Milton (6-5, 220) brings size and skills to the table for future development at that posi- tion. He'll be joined by a host of skill- position performers, in a class fea- turing only one freshman offensive lineman. Jalen Mayfield (6-5, 275) out of Grand Rapids, Mich., gets the call there, although the Wolverines aren't finished looking for help up front. Michigan brings in three long, solid tight ends: Luke Schoonmaker (6-6, 229) from Hamden, Conn.; Mu- stapha Muhammad (6-4, 244) out of Missouri City, Texas; and Ryan Hayes (6-7, 262), from Traverse City, Mich. Asked if Hayes might eventually move from tight end, Harbaugh noted it's a maturation to watch. "I think he's got the ability to see how mother nature goes with his physical development," Harbaugh said. "There's a possibility of playing tackle and also tight end." Running backs Hassan Haskins (6- 1, 207) from Eureka, Mo., and Chris- tian Turner (5-11, 185) from Buford, Ga., along with fullback Ben Van- Sumeren (6-3, 232) out of Essexville, Mich., round out the class. With a pair of starting tailbacks returning and freshman fullback Ben Mason getting established, the newcomers should have time to develop while challenging for time on the field. Milton, Sims and Upshaw got a jump on the rest, enrolling at Michi- gan in January. Most coaches reach for the stock answer when invited to evaluate how their class will turn out: Ask me in four years. That might be more true than ever with the class of 2018, given the number of returning start- ers for the Wolverines. It's a crew perhaps demanding a longer view. While Harbaugh and his coaches will give it the license to im- pact immediately — and some mem- bers will — these building blocks won't be rushed. ❏ ESPN's Tom Luginbill (via The Detroit News): "If you actu- ally look at the players that have signed in this class, it is a very, very talented group. I'm really impressed with this class in relationship to the caliber of player that has been signed. "They've made additions at the defensive back end in the secondary, where I think is a need position for them to im- prove. They've also done so on the offensive and defensive line, two premium positions that I consider to be very, very important to the overall outlook of the success of their foot- ball team up front. "And with the addition of Shea Patterson, if he's eligible immediately, and the addition of [early enrollee] Joe Milton, they become more athletic at quarterback. And I think even Jim Harbaugh is now realizing we need to become more diverse and more dynamic under center if we're truly go- ing to compete for a championship in our league or on a national scale." Nick Baumgardner, The Detroit Free Press: "When a school makes a splash hire, like Michigan did with Harbaugh in December 2014, that coach's first two full signing classes can be built on name and opportunity alone. By the time his third class rolls around, and 2018 was Harbaugh's third, results have to show up. "That didn't happen for Michigan this past season. You can roll out every excuse in the book and the answer will remain the same. The quarterbacks were hurt, the team was young, the Big Ten East is tough. "But 8-5 is 8-5. "And when you're in the business of trying to reel in big fish late in the process, you'd better be able to sell something other than hope if you want to hang out in the deep end of the pond with the likes of Ohio State, Alabama and now Georgia." Chris Johnson, Sports Illustrated: "The biggest disap- pointment of the day involved a player ranked higher than any in Michigan's 2018 class. [Four-star linebacker Otis] Reese, a high school teammate of 2017 five-star and current Wolverines defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon at Lee County, had been verbally committed to Michigan since June 2016, but after opting against inking his NLI during the early window in December, he spurned the Wolverines in favor of signing with local program Georgia on signing day. "The Wolverines also failed to beat out Ohio State for [five- star offensive tackle Nicholas] Petit-Frere even after practic- ing at his high school before their Outback Bowl matchup with South Carolina. After finishing fifth in the 247Sports Composite team rankings a year ago, Michigan sat at 21st in 2018 as of Wednesday afternoon, well behind fellow Big Ten East teams Ohio State [No. 2] and Penn State [No. 5]." — John Borton Quarterback Joe Milton (pictured) was one of three early enrollees, alongside defensive end Taylor Upshaw and cornerback Myles Sims. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM What They're Saying About Michigan's 2018 Class

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