The Wolverine

March 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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68 THE WOLVERINE MARCH 2018   FOOTBALL RECRUITING BY BRANDON BROWN T here weren't any surprises for Michigan on National Signing Day Feb. 7 because most of the work was done during the early signing period Dec. 20-22. The Michigan staff signed 19 prospects, giving the Wol- verines the No. 24 class in the coun- try according to Based on committed scholarships for returning players and including the four verbal pledges, U-M has only six more roster spots available in the 2019 class. When Michigan started this process at the same time last year, it only had room for five prospects. Obviously that number went up a lot and the 2018 class topped out at 19. The same type of attrition can be expected in 2019 and the class could potentially reach 16-18 members overall. As of Feb. 19, U-M had four commitments in the 2019 class, which formed the No. 5 group in the nation. Georgia is off to the hottest start in the country with seven total com- mitments, including a five-star and five four-stars. Wisconsin (No. 3 with eight commitments) and Michigan State (No. 10 with four commit- ments) are the other Big Ten teams in the top 10. Obviously, much will change by Feb. 6, 2019, but it never hurts to get off to a good start and U-M is defi- nitely doing that with current juniors. Here is a position-by-position look at the Maize and Blue's needs and some options for filling them (all rankings courtesy; eligibility listed is for 2019, unless otherwise noted; current commits are not counted among scholarship players in 2019). QUARTERBACK Scholarship Players In 2019: 4 Need: 1 Commits: 0 Jim Harbaugh thought he had a plan in place for his 2019 quarterback with Kevin Doyle, a high school senior this fall. The three-star signal-caller out of Washington (D.C.) St. John's College was committed to Michigan, but once he was asked to take a prep year in order to be U-M's quarterback for the 2019 class, he decided to look elsewhere and ended up signing with Arizona. The Wolverines landed one of its top tar- gets in four-star dual-threat Joe Milton in 2018 and would like to reel in another tal- ented QB in 2019. U-M has shown interest in a couple of candidates, including: Walled Lake (Mich.) Western three- star pro-style quarterback Samuel Johnson III At 6-4, 194 pounds, Johnson has de- veloped well from a physical standpoint since bursting onto the recruiting scene as an eighth grader, and now he boasts nearly 20 offers. Michigan is one of his latest and immediately vaults the Wol- verines to the top of his list. The No. 13 player in Michigan and the No. 14 pro-style quarterback in the coun- try should be an easy get for the U-M staff if they choose to pursue him aggressively. Overland Park (Kan.) Blue Valley North four-star pro-style quarter- back Graham Mertz The No. 6 pro-style quarterback and No. 217 overall prospect nationally is currently committed to Wisconsin, and hasn't really been actively look- ing around. S everal members of Michigan's coaching staff saw the 6-4, 205-pounder during the evaluation pe- riod so it's clear that he's been made a priority. Bridgeport (Conn.) Avon Old Farms three-star dual-threat quarterback Taisun Phommachanh M ichigan offered Phommachanh Nov. 30, becoming arguably his biggest tender with Penn State, Miami and TCU also on his list. He hails from a region of the country that considers Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown a leg- end, which may give U-M the inside track. Phommachanh measures in at 6-3, 195 pounds and is the No. 3 player in Connecticut. RUNNING BACK Scholarship Players In 2019: 8 Need: 1-2 Commits: 0 Michigan has yet to land a big-time, bell-cow running back under Harbaugh. When the 2019 season kicks off, Chris Evans will be a senior and will have car- ried the ball a lot in a Michigan uniform. Will Kareem Walker be able to keep it together and make some noise on the field by then? What about third-year guys O'maury Samuels and Kurt Taylor? Harbaugh and Co. will be looking to land an every-down stud like: Charlotte (N.C.) Harding University five-star athlete Quavaris Crouch Listed as an athlete, Crouch is 6-3, 222 pounds and looks like an absolute monster at running back. He also stars at linebacker, but is being recruited by U-M to tote the rock. He's the No. 2 overall player nation- ally and the top athlete in the country, and actually has legitimate interest in the Wolverines. He has already been on campus, but is also high on Alabama, Clemson, North Carolina and Tennes- see, among others. Katy (Texas) High four-star running back Deondrick Glass Glass certainly has the build (5-11, 200 pounds) and skills to be an every-down back. Harbaugh has tried to develop some in-roads in the state of Texas and landed three from the Lone Star State in 2018. Glass is getting a lot of love from Michi- gan and appears to be reciprocating in- terest. He's just the No. 19 running back in the country, but has been very produc- tive against top competition in the state.   MICHIGAN RECRUITING A Look Ahead At The Class Of 2019 rates Charlotte (N.C.) Harding University five-star Quavaris Crouch as the top athlete and No. 2 overall prospect in the country. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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