Have Michigan football recruiting questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every Wednesday for the Land of 10 Michigan recruiting mailbag to discuss Wolverines recruiting. This week, we discuss how recent transfer announcements affect the Class of 2018 and which commits will sign early.
Q: How many will they sign in the 2018 class ? — Curtis Schepers via Facebook
A: This is a timely question by Curtis. The number of scholarship spots available to Michigan for 2018 has increased by three the last few days as quarterbacks Wilton Speight and Alex Malzone, as well as wide receiver Drake Harris, have announced they will be seeking transfers. Speight and Harris were to be fifth-year seniors in 2018. They’ll have one more season of eligibility left and, providing they have completed their undergrad degrees, be eligible to play next season for their new schools as a graduate transfer. Malzone is a redshirt sophomore who was part of Jim Harbaugh’s first recruiting class in 2015, but he is scheduled to graduate in April and also will leave as a grad transfer. He will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
Michigan had been looking at a class size of 22 when this season started but those three transfers push the number up to 25. There inevitably will be other players who choose to transfer or leave the program for various reasons. Does Chase Winovich come back? He has one more season of eligibility remaining but depending on what his draft stock is, he very well could be gone as well.
Q: Are we expecting any early signings ? ― Travis Porter via Facebook
A: Yes, there should be plenty of players taking advantage of the new early signing period that runs from Dec. 20-22. Michigan has 16 players committed to the 2018 class at this time, and 11 of them have said they plan on signing their National Letters of Intent during that period. That doesn’t mean they will be enrolling early.
Eleven of 30 signees in the 2017 class enrolled in January and took part in all of the offseason conditioning and practices for the Wolverines. There won’t be nearly as many this recruiting cycle. As of now, only quarterback Joe Milton, cornerback Myles Sims and defensive lineman Taylor Upshaw have said they will enroll in classes in January. The fact is there won’t be as many open starting spots available next season, as opposed to this season. Many players I’ve spoken to have said they want to finish their senior year of high school with their friends. Some of them play winter and/or spring sports, and that is important to them.
Q: What recruits can come in and start next year? ― Albert Lewis via Facebook
A: As I mentioned in the answer above, there won’t be a lot of obvious positions where a freshman can come in and win a starting job. A freshman starting in college is rare enough, but I’ll use the 2017 freshman class as an example. Donovan Peoples-Jones and Tarik Black came in as early enrollees in January. Black ended up winning a starting job at wide receiver, with Peoples-Jones being one of the first off the bench before eventually getting a few starts. Aubrey Solomon was one of the top-rated defensive linemen in the country for the 2017 class but his playing time was minimal at first and then gradually increased before he got his first start against Rutgers on Oct. 28.
I think Milton, because he is coming in early, will get a shot to compete for the quarterback job against Brandon Peters and Dylan McCaffrey. It will be tougher for Kevin Doyle, the other quarterback commit in this class, to get as shot at that starting job because he’s not enrolling until the summer. As the 2018 class fills up, there may be a few more names to add to the list.
Q: Any news on the running back side of things? ― Rocky Mauer via Facebook
A: The running back position is set for 2018 with Christian Turner and Hassan Haskins committed, but there is a lot of work going on for the 2019 class. Quavaris Crouch of Charlotte, N.C., is still considered the Wolverines’ top target, but they are also high on Noah Cain of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., Daniel Carter of St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and all-purpose back Eric Gray of Memphis, Tenn.
Have a question about Michigan recruiting? Tweet us @Landof10MICH or follow on the Land of 10/Michigan Facebook page and ask us there. We’ll try to answer in a future mailbag. Check to see if your issue already was addressed by reading previous Michigan recruiting mailbags here.
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