2018 Best Guess Recruiting Class: August 31st

The season officially kicks off in two days as Michigan will take on shorthanded Florida at Jerryworld down in Arlington, Texas. While that’s huge news and very exciting, it also means that my latest Best Guess Recruiting Class will lack some excitement as recruiting has taken a back seat to camp, practice and game day preparation at both the collegiate and high school levels. But that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a little bit of movement on the trail.

Here’s a little background on how I put my latest BGRC together:

  • Class Size: This is the million dollar question early on in every class. And, like always, the exact answer will not be known until NSD. There’s been reports of it being anywhere from 18-22. So, I’ll going to stick with 18 in this prediction. It’s hard to see that much attrition take place after this season.
  • Position Numbers: With a limited amount of space in this class and 12 scholarships already accounted for, Michigan will have to be pretty selective with it’s final 6-10 spots.
    • It no longer looks like Michigan sign a second quarterback in this class, unless something drastic happens.
    • The staff now looks like it’ll try to sign two more defensive lineman, with multiple defensive tackles and defensive ends still left on the board.
    • With several defensive backs in a good-to-very good situation, it looks like there will be at least 1-2 more additions.
    • The biggest question looks to be how many offensive weapons the staff decides to add to the class. Though Schoonmaker jumped on board, it looks possible that the staff could still take two more tight ends. But will three tight ends take away a wide receiver or 2nd running back spot? It looks possible.
  • Class Attrition: With so many out of state commits and top targets, it’s impossible to say every commit sticks until NSD.
    • If there’s one current commit to watch, it would OLB Otis Reese, who has the in-state Georgia Bulldogs hot on his trail.

Chances Key:

  • Excellent – Top Team/Expected to Land
  • Very Good – Top 2-3/Realistic Possibility  
  • Good – Top 5/Sticking Around
  • Fair – Top 10/Puncher’s Chance
  • Poor – Hardly Mentioned/Unlikey to Happen

Check out my latest 2018 Michigan football recruiting class prediction:

1. QB: Joe Milton, 6’5” 220lbs. Orlando, FL (Olympia) 

Photo Credit: WINDERMERE OBSERVER

Photo Credit: WINDERMERE OBSERVER

Milton is one of the firmest commitments in the entire class. He committed to the Wolverines with the help of a pretty awesome SBNation video that featured “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix as well as Milton throwing a football that explodes into a Block M. It was well produced and doesn’t look like it’s going to go to waste as Milton has shown zero signs of backing off of his pledge.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 5/7/17
  • First on List: April 2017
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #268 overall) – Rivals (4*, #105 overall) – 247 (4*, #263 overall) – ESPN (4*, #126 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #170 overall, #8 Pro QB – #31 in Florida

2. RBMichael Barrett, 6’1” 210lbs. Valdosta, GA (Lowndes) 

Barrett is back on the list thanks to remaining the only legit running back option on the board, at this point. It’s also because of him remaining very high on Michigan ever since receiving his offer back in March. According to his interview with Rivals Chad Simmons, Barrett is very high on Michigan, naming it “one of (his) top schools ($). This will likely come down to him making an official visit to Ann Arbor this fall and where he sits on the staff’s board if/when that visit takes place.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: No
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: April 2017
  • Rankings: Scout (3*, #95 ATH) – Rivals (3* ATH) – 247 (3*, #60 ATH) – ESPN (3*, #49 ATH)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #689 overall, #57 ATH, #67 in Georgia
  • Crystal Ball Favorite: None
  • Fish’s Crystal Ball: None
  • Other Options: James Graham, Amon-Ra St. Brown

3. RB: Christian Turner, 5’11” 190lbs. Buford, GA (Buford) 

Photo Credit: David McGregor/Gwinnett Prep Sports

Photo Credit: David McGregor/Gwinnett Prep Sports

Turner burst onto the recruiting scene this winter as he added offers from the likes of Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Notre Dame, MSU and, of course, Michigan’s in the first two months of the year. But it was his first unofficial visit to Ann Arbor on Thursday, April 6th that put the Wolverines out front for good as he committed to UM just days after leaving campus. He doesn’t look to be going anywhere in this class either after visiting campus again for the BBQ at the Big House and remaining to be a big recruiter for the staff down in Georgia.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 4/10/17
  • First on List: April 2017
  • Rankings: Scout (3*, #41 RB) – Rivals (3*, #15 RB) – 247 (3*, #23 RB) – ESPN (4*, #275 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #448 overall, #23 RB, #47 in Georgia

4. TE: Luke Schoonmaker, 6’6” 235lbs. Hamden, CT (Hamden Hall) 

Schoonmaker is the latest commitment for the class and it was a complete surprise. He went from an unknown recruit that never publicly announced his offer from the staff and ended up committing via Twitter to show the world of UM recruiting. But don’t let the lower ranking scare you off. Not only is an exceptional athlete for the tight end position but if there’s one spot (besides quarterback) that Harbaugh knows how to develop and spot talent at best, it’s the tight end position. He has underrated pickup of the class written all over him.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 7/25/17
  • First on List: July 2017
  • RankingsScout (3*, #73 TE) – Rivals (3*, #48 TE) – 247 (3*, #33 TE) – ESPN (3*, #19 TE)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #729 overall, #35 TE, #2 in Connecticut

5. TE: Mustapha Muhammad, 6’4” 235lbs. Missouri City, TX (Ridge Point)

Photo Credit: Hudl.com

Photo Credit: Hudl.com

Everything still looks like a damn near lock for Muhammad to commit and sign with Michigan. And though he’s publicly said that he’d like to play in the SEC and has remained open to his other top schools, including Clemson, Texas and Notre Dame, all 23 Crystal Ball predictions remain on the Wolverines. Barring something drastic, all signs continue to point towards the Wolverines.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: August 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #65 overall) – Rivals (4*, #19 TE) – 247 (4*, #141 overall) – ESPN (4*, #47 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #109 overall, #5 TE, #14 in Texas
  • Crystal Ball Favorite: Michigan
  • Fish’s Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Luke Ford, Michael Ezeike

6. TE/OT: Ryan Hayes, 6’6” 255lbs. Traverse City, MI (TC West)

Photo Credit: Josh Newkirk/Scout

Photo Credit: Josh Newkirk/Scout

Hayes is one of the most interesting commitments in the class thanks to his, expected, arrival as a tight end and, eventual, move to tackle. He wasn’t extremely high on Michigan’s board early on, Greg Frey’s addition to the coaching staff changed that. And thanks to Frey, Hayes’ first visit to Ann Arbor went so well that the Wolverines became the far and away leaders. And that stayed true all the way up until his commitment over Memorial Day weekend.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 5/27/17
  • First on List: March 2017
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #270 overall) – Rivals (3*, #51 OT) – 247 (4*, #118 overall) – ESPN (4*, #30 OT)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #295 overall, #23 OT, #4 in Michigan

7. OT: Jalen Mayfield, 6’5” 250lbs. Grand Rapids, MI (Catholic Central)

Photo Credit: MLive.com

Photo Credit: MLive.com

Like Hayes, Mayfield was another four star in-state offensive tackle commitment in the month of May after being a longtime lean to the Wolverines. His commitment was one that may be going under the radar more than it should. He’s a big, athletic tackle with a mean streak and a very high ceiling. It’ll be interesting to see how he develops under Frey. With more size, and maintained athleticism, he could be a stud.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 5/23/17
  • First on List: March 2017
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #206 overall) – Rivals (3* OT) – 247 (4*, #98 overall) – ESPN (3*, #70 OT)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #315 overall, #25 OT, #7 in Michigan

8. OL: Daniel Faalele, 6’8” 400lbs. Melbourne, Australia (IMG Academy)

Photo credit: 247Sports.com

Photo credit: 247Sports.com

Faalele remains complete toss up to be a part of this class. Though he’s long been connected to Michigan and several of his teammates believe that’s where he’ll end up playing his college ball, according to Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz, there’s still a question of where he sits on the staff’s board ($). However, there aren’t many lineman at the top of the staff’s board that UM is in very good shape with. So, once again, I’m keeping him on the board. But it’s not only for the fact that he’s the best bet remaining. It’s because of the emergence of OT Nolan Ulizio and the potential of DL turned OT James Hudson. This may all come down to him visiting Ann Arbor and how hard the staff pushes after seeing his senior season film.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: No
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good
  • Highlights
  • First on List: February 2017
  • Rankings: Scout (3*, #82 OT) – Rivals (4*, #23 OT) – 247 (3*, #38 OT) – ESPN (4*, #24 OT)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #441 overall, #36 OT, #72 in Florida
  • Crystal Ball Favorite: Michigan
  • Fish’s Crystal Ball: None
  • Other Options: Nicholas Petit-Frere

9. OG/C: Emil Ekiyor, 6’3” 325lbs. Indianapolis, IN (Cathedral) 

Photo Credit: Rivals.com

Photo Credit: Rivals.com

Ekiyor was the second commitment of this class, and like you hear with a lot of longtime commits at one time or another during the cycle, things may have been fading away a bit. However, thanks to visits from the coaching staff and multiple visits to campus, including participating in the Big Man camp in June and the BBQ at the Big House, look to have Michigan firmly atop his list. But Alabama won’t go away and will be a threat throughout.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 10/2/2016
  • First on List: February 2017
  • RankingsScout (4*, #167 overall) – Rivals (4*, #145 overall) – 247 (4*, #153 overall) – ESPN (4*, #54 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #106 overall, #4 OG, #1 in Indiana

10. DT: Michael Thompson, 6’4” 290lbs. Saint Louis, MO (Parkway North)

Photo Credit: Gordon Radford/STLHighSchoolSports

Photo Credit: Gordon Radford/STLHighSchoolSports

Thompson is back on the list for the second straight month but remains a bit of a longshot. Though Michigan is pushing hard, the fit looks to be perfect with the lack of nose tackle depth on the roster, he recently visited Ann Arbor for the BBQ at the Big House, and there’s a good chance that Missouri has a tough season, he’s still seen as a lean to stay home with the Tigers. Will a poor on the field showing from Mizzou completely open the door for the Wolverines to snag him out of St. Louis? It’s far from a guarantee but there looks to be a real chance the Michigan staff can win out here.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good
  • Highlights
  • First on List: August 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #114 overall) – Rivals (4*, #55 overall) – 247 (4*, #69 overall) – ESPN (4*, #113 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #59 overall, #2 DT, #2 in Missouri
  • Crystal Ball Favorite: Missouri
  • Fish’s Crystal Ball: None
  • Other Options: Rick Sandidge, Ronnie Perkins, Eyabi Anoma

11. DL: Tyler Friday, 6’3” 260lbs. Ramsey, NJ (Don Bosco) 

Photo Credit: Scout.com

Photo Credit: Scout.com

Once again, Friday is back on the list as I’ve kept my Crystal Ball on Michigan for the top defensive lineman out of New Jersey (and plan to keep it on him until further notice). He’s long been a top target for the staff and has had a connection with both Michigan’s coaching staff and the New Jersey players on the roster. Though there are rumors of him wanting to stay closer to home to play his ball, it’s really hard to imagine him wanting to play for Rutgers after, what looks to be, another horrible season on the field. If Michigan can get the love back from him after his official visit and shows him that there’s plenty of Jersey love around Ann Arbor, I like their chances of beating out both Rutgers and, other favorite, Ohio State (who may not have room for him in its class).

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: May 2016
  • RankingsScout (4*, #61 overall) – Rivals (4*, #60 overall) – 247 (4*, #133 overall) – ESPN (4*, #125 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #64 overall, #3 DT, #2 in New Jersey
  • Crystal Ball Favorite: Michigan
  • Fish’s Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Rick Sandidge, Ronnie Perkins, Eyabi Anoma

12. DE: Aidan Hutchinson, 6’6” 260lbs. Dearborn, MI (Divine Child) 

Photo Credit: TheWolverine.com

Photo Credit: TheWolverine.com

Hutchinson is my early bet to end up finishing the class as the top ranked player in the state of Michigan for 2018. At 6’5”, his length and athleticism makes him a dominant force at the high school level. But it’s his motor and tenacity that stands out the most. He looks like a great fit for Brown’s defense and Mattison’s defensive line. As soon as he puts on the size and strength needed to contribute at the collegiate level, look out.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 2/22/17
  • First on List: May 2016
  • RankingsScout (4*, #223 overall) – Rivals (4*, #18 SSDE) – 247 (4*, #105 overall) – ESPN (4*, #284 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #211 overall, #10 SDE, #2 in Michigan

13. OLB: Otis Reese, 6’2” 195lbs. Lee County, GA (Lee County)

Photo Credit: TheWolverine.com

Photo Credit: TheWolverine.com

The new most interesting commitment in the class, Reese was the first commitment of the class and may have the brightest future out of any defensive get, thus far. So, he’s obviously wanted by a lot of programs, especially the SEC powers that are right in and around his backyard. Georgia and LSU have been reportedly given him a lot to think about with the Dawgs standing out among the two. At this point, I still expect Reese to stay with and sign with Michigan. But you can never count out the hometown teams, especially in SEC territory.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 6/20/16
  • First on List: August 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #186 overall) – Rivals (4*, #116 overall) – 247 (4*, #136 overall) – ESPN (4*, #220 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #135 overall, #7 OLB, #16 in Georgia

14. ILB: Cameron McGrone, 6’1” 215lbs. Indianapolis, IN (Lawrence Central)

Photo Credit: Kenneth Moreland / VictoryViews

Photo Credit: Kenneth Moreland / VictoryViews

McGrone was a bit of an unknown on the Michigan recruiting front for quite sometime in the 2018 cycle. As he didn’t even receive his offer from the staff until his first visit to campus on June 22nd, which also happened to be his birthday. But once that offer came through, he quickly vaulted to the top of the recruiting board and to the top of the potential commitment list. Though there was plenty of love for in-state Notre Dame prior to Michigan extending its offer, it was all Maize and Blue. He committed to the Wolverines and now becomes one of the best gets in the class for the staff.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 7/31/17
  • First on List: June 2017
  • RankingsScout (4*, #203 overall) – Rivals (4*, #238 overall) – 247 (4*, #41 overall) – ESPN (4*, #14 OLB)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #205 overall, #14 OLB, #2 in Indiana

15. S: German Green, 6’2” 170lbs. DeSoto, TX (DeSoto) 

After extending an offer to the raw safety out of the Longhorn state, the Wolverines quickly became a top candidate to land both of the Green brothers. But things really started to heat up as the duo made their way to Ann Arbor for the first time just days after the spring game.Thanks to that trip and the game plan/recruiting pitch from the coaching staff, German and Gemon didn’t waste much time announcing their commitments to UM. Both brothers look to be as solid as commitments as possible right now.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 4/20/17
  • First on List: April 2017
  • Rankings: Scout (3*, #69 CB) – Rivals (3*) – 247 (3*, #90 CB) – ESPN (3*, #76 CB)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #1142 overall, #90 S, #154 in Texas

16. DB: Sammy Faustin, 6’2” 170lbs. Naples, FL (Naples) 

Photo Credit: Hudl.com

Photo Credit: Hudl.com

Faustin is a long, rangy defensive back that shows good speed and the willingness to make any tackle. He could play either cornerback or safety at the collegiate level, though it looks like the staff is targeting him to be a safety. His game reminds me a bit of former UM cornerback, Channing Stribling. However, he’s even bigger and longer than Stribling and has an even higher ceiling. With the right size put on, he could be a stud for Don Brown’s defense.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • First on List: Now
  • Rankings: Scout (3*, #80 CB) – Rivals (3*, #53 CB) – 247 (3*, #76 CB) – ESPN (3*, #50 CB)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #659 overall, #57 CB, #105 in Florida

17. DB: Josh Jobe, 6’1” 180lbs. Miami, FL (Cheshire Academy) 

Photo Credit: The Miami Herald

Photo Credit: The Miami Herald

Jobe is back on the list but is far from a sure thing. He’s been committed to Miami since June of 2016 but looks to be a soft commitment as both Michigan and Alabama have continued to be mentioned right alongside the Hurricanes. And though the Crimson Tide are a very legit option, as are the chances of him sticking with Miami, his transfer up to Cheshire Academy in Connecticut (same school as freshmen WR Tarik Black; also a school Don Brown has close ties with) gives Michigan a big advantage moving forward. His official visit and a big season on the field of UM could be gigantic here.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Committed to Miami (FL) – Very Good
  • Highlights
  • First on List: February 2017
  • RankingsScout (4*, #53 overall) – Rivals (4*) – 247 (4*, #44 overall) – ESPN  (4*, #110 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #93 overall, #12 CB, #19 in Florida
  • Crystal Ball Favorite: Alabama
  • Fish’s Crystal Ball: None
  • Other Options: Chris Smith, Shayne Simon, CJ Smith, Bryan Addison, Talanoa Hufanga, Isaac Taylor-Stuart

18. CB: Gemon Green, 6’2” 165lbs. DeSoto, TX (DeSoto) 

Thanks to the staff’s prioritizing of tall, long defensive backs and their admiration for the three star shown during his first trip to campus, both Gemon and his brother, German, decided to commit to Michigan’s 2018 recruiting class right after their first visit to Ann Arbor. Another visit to town for the BBQ at the Big House at the end of July only solidifies his commitment. He’s one of the most underrated additions to this class, especially with so many questions at cornerback on the roster.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 4/20/17
  • First on List: April 2017
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #178 overall) – Rivals (4*, #36 CB) – 247 (3*, #379 overall) – ESPN (4*, #45
  • CB)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #340 overall, #35 CB, #45 in Texas

19. CB: Myles Sims, 6’3.5” 160lbs. Atlanta, GA (Westlake) 

Sims is the crown jewel of this class so far. He has beyond elite size and length for a cornerback and the cover skills to match it. Like I mentioned with Gemon Green, Michigan has questions at cornerback. And though there’s plenty of young talent on the roster, adding an elite level prospect, like Sims, is big for the future of the position. And don’t worry about any possible visits he may take this fall, as he told TMI’s Josh Newkirk that he’s 100% committed to Michigan ($).

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 4/7/2017
  • First on List: March 2017
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #95 overall) – Rivals (4*, #68 overall) – 247 (3*, #39 CB) – ESPN (4*, #133 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #126 overall, #17 CB, #14 in Georgia

Projected Class Score: 259.90 (per 247Sports)

If Michigan were to finish with this score, it would be 37 points below 2017’s mega class (class size being a main reason for the difference) and would have landed at #9 overall in the composite class rankings. So, while some believe this class lacks fire power and stars, a top 10 class in a tight scholarship year would actually be big for both Harbaugh and Michigan.

Just Missed

  • VIPER/SS Shayne Simon
    • Though he committed to Notre Dame, he remained one of the last players taken off of the list. It’ll be interesting to see what happens from now until NSD as Notre Dame could be in for another tough season, which could see the end of the Brian Kelly era in South Bend. But, until the season starts going sour, i’ll keep Simon off of the main list.
  • DE Ronnie Perkins
    • Perkins is a guy that people may want to pay closer attention to on the recruiting trail. Michigan has remained a top contender for him, however, most believe he ends up in the Big 12 with Oklahoma leading the way on the Crystal Ball selections. Keep an eye on him if he’s able to make it up for an official visit.
  • S Bryan Addison
    • Addison was unable to make it all the way across the country to see Ann Arbor for the BBQ at the Big House, which obviously put a damper on Michigan’s early chances to make a big impression. But he’s still expected to visit this fall and his fit in the defense could be a major selling point.
  • DT Rick Sandidge
    • Sandidge is easily one of the top targets on the board for the staff as Jim Harbaugh is actually in the Sandidge family group text. He’s a guy who I was close to adding to the main list but there’s still just too much smoke about him staying close to home. A bad season for South Carolina could be something to watch for UM’s sake.
  • OT Nicholas Petit-Frere
    • Petit-Frere is a new five star and may be Michigan’s top target on the offensive line board but there’s just not enough there to add him to the class prediction. Look for the staff to roll out the red carpet if/when he makes an official to campus. However, it may be a long shot, unless the staff can pitch him on early playing time.
  • TE Luke Ford
    • Ford is a toss up at this point. He looked like a guy who Michigan would make a huge move for during his visit over the summer but it’s been pretty quiet between both parties. That’s especially true after Michigan landed Schoonmaker and is still sitting pretty with Muhammad. We’ll see if the staff pushes for a 3rd tight end in this class. If so, I think UM has a good chance to land him.
  • CB Chris Smith 
    • Smith has been committed to Georgia for a couple months now but still remains a top target for the coaching staff and currently committed players. That’s especially true for the Georgians in the group. Though he’ll be tough to get away from the Dawgs, he’s a guy I could see ending up in this class, if Michigan’s on the field performance is an eye opener.

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Garrett Fishaw

Born and raised in Metro Detroit. Played soccer and graduated from Seton Hill University. SEO and Content Specialist. Owner and Managing Editor of MGoFish.com