2018 Best Guess Recruiting Class: June 30th

As The Opening kicks off and Michigan’s on-campus camps are in the books, it’s time to drop my latest 2018 Michigan football recruiting class prediction.

Though it’s not full of the highest ranked players that Jim Harbaugh and his staff have landed in their tenure, it’s full of big, long, athletic, “first off the bus” types, AKA some Don Brown “Dudes”. Pretty much everything Michigan fans have been looking for on the roster and everything analysts dog the Big Ten for “not having”.

Here’s a little background on how that could all play out:

  • 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. But just looking at the expected departures plus the normal attrition that comes with every season, I have this class being much smaller than the previous two classes. I’m sticking with 18 in 18, though I wouldn’t be shocked to see it be anywhere from 16-20 when everything’s said and done.
  • Position Numbers: With a limited amount of space in this class, the staff will have to choose exactly which position it will load up on with tight end and defensive backs being a main focus.
    • Linebacker looks like the position that has changed the most. After once looking like they were set on just one linebacker, there’s a chance they could take three in this class.
    • It’s well known by now that Michigan is looking to bring in two quarterback commitments, with Joe Milton holding one spot. However, Tyler Shough committed to North Carolina so it’ll be interesting to see if the staff pushes for another pure QB or goes with a more dual threat guy who could play another position.
    • Though there are plenty of options still on the board, Michigan looks likely to only take one more offensive lineman in this class.
  • Class Attrition: With so many out of state commits and top targets, it’s impossible to say every commit sticks until NSD. But, at this time, every commit looks locked into their decision.

Chances Key:

  • Excellent – Top Team
  • Very Good – Top Three
  • Good – Top Five
  • Fair – Puncher’s Chance
  • Poor – Likely Not Happening

Check out my latest 2018 Michigan football recruiting class prediction:

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

Though he made a spring game visit to Georgia (the team who looked to be the main competition for UM heading into his decision) the weekend after his trip to Ann Arbor, things looked to be all set for the big quarterback to commit to the Wolverines. But it wasn’t a slam dunk. He actually requested four different commitment edits a week before his commitment. However, he stuck with his lean to the Wolverines and committed 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. And he doesn’t look to be going anywhere.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 5/7/17
  • First on List: April 2017
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #261 overall) – Rivals (4*, #102 overall) – 247 (4*, #265 overall) – ESPN (4*, #125 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #156 overall, #9 Pro QB – #32 in Florida

2. RB/ATH: Michael Barrett, 6’1” 210lbs. Valdosta, GA (Lowndes) 

Barrett is another Georgian that Michigan looks to be in great shape with heading into the summer. Though he’s a quarterback in high school, his future looks to be at running back and as a wildcat quarterback (Could he fill that 2nd QB role in this class?). Both of which look to be positions of need in this class. According to his interview with Rivals Chad Simmons, Barrett is very high on Michigan, naming it “one of (his) top schools ($). This may all come down to him making it up to campus as Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz is hearing that Barrett is a top running back target for the staff ($). If he visits, the staff pushes and he remains a take, I like his chances of joining the other Georgia recruits up north.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: No
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good to Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: April 2017
  • Rankings: Scout (3* QB) – Rivals (3* ATH) – 247 (3*, #56 ATH) – ESPN (3*, #47 ATH)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #665 overall, #52 ATH, #64 in Georgia
  • Crystal Ball Favorite: None
  • Fish’s Crystal Ball: None
  • Other Options: Mychale Salahuddin, Shocky Jacques-Louis, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Kamryn Babb 

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. He committed to UM just days after leaving campus and now looks to be one of the low ranking, high ceiling pick ups early on as he’ll show the world what he can do at The Opening.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 4/10/17
  • First on List: April 2017
  • Rankings: Scout (3*, #50 RB) – Rivals (3*, #15 RB) – 247 (3*, #25 RB) – ESPN (4*, #268 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #468 overall, #22 RB, #49 in Georgia

4. WR/KR: James Graham, 6’1” 190lbs. Fitzgerald, GA (Fitzgerald) 

Photo Credit: Scout.com

Photo Credit: Scout.com

The Swiss army knife-like prospect visited Ann Arbor back in April and reportedly enjoyed it so much that Michigan made a huge move up his list. According to Rivals Chad Simmons’ interview with Graham, UM made a big impact during the visit and is in his top three ($). Rumor has it that he was thinking of a decision during his trip. As long as his love remains for UM, the staff keeps pushing and he can get back on campus this summer or fall, I really like Michigan’s chances here.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good
  • Highlights
  • First on List: April 2017
  • Rankings: Scout (3*, #72 ATH) – Rivals (4*, #20 ATH) – 247 (3*, #25 DT-QB) – ESPN (NR)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #576 overall, #21 DT-QB, #56 in Georgia
  • Crystal Ball Favorite: None
  • Fish’s Crystal Ball: None
  • Other Options: Shocky Jacques-Louis, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Kamryn Babb, Bryan Addison

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

Photo Credit: Hudl.com

Photo Credit: Hudl.com

It’s been a minute since Muhammad was on Michigan’s campus and rumors started flying that UM was it for the talented Texan. 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, this looks like it’ll end up being a big win for Harbaugh in a year where the tight end position is a huge need.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: August 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #61 overall) – Rivals (4*, #18 TE) – 247 (4*, #128 overall) – ESPN (4*, #46 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #101 overall, #5 TE, #13 in Texas
  • Crystal Ball Favorite: Michigan
  • Fish’s Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Jeremy Ruckert, Julius Welschof, Will Mallory, Luke Ford 

6. TE/OT: Ryan Hayes, 6’7” 255lbs. Traverse City, MI (TC West)

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*, #269 overall) – Rivals (3*, #49 OT) – 247 (4*, #108 overall) – ESPN (4*, #30 OT)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #285 overall, #20 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.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 5/23/17
  • First on List: March 2017
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #221 overall) – Rivals (3*) – 247 (4*, #86 overall) – ESPN (3*, #62 OT)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #310 overall, #24 OT, #6 in Michigan

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

Photo credit: 247Sports.com

Photo credit: 247Sports.com

This is the hardest position to predict at this point. Fourth offensive lineman. Michigan will add at least one more lineman to go along with Mayfield and Hayes, but who will it be? At this point, the odds on favorite remains the Australian mountain, Faalele. But it’s far from a sure-thing. Everyone now knows the story of UM “finding” him at a satellite camp in Australia last year, which has put Michigan among his favorites ever since. However, things have been very quiet on his front over the spring and early summer. A visit this summer/fall would be gigantic for his recruitment as he’s still yet to visit Ann Arbor. With Greg Frey’s ability to develop big, physical, raw tackles, I still like Michigan’s chances to land one of the most polarizing recruits in this class, as long as he remains a top target for the staff.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: No
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good
  • Highlights
  • First on List: February 2017
  • Rankings: Scout (3*, #56 OT) – Rivals (4*, #162 overall) – 247 (3*, #331 overall) – ESPN (4*, #25 OT)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #348 overall, #28 OT, #54 in Florida
  • Crystal Ball Favorite: Michigan
  • Fish’s Crystal Ball: None
  • Other Options: Nicholas Petit-Frere, William Barnes, Raiqwon O’Neal, Jerome Carvin, Jamaree Salyer

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, things are all solidified for Ekiyor and Michigan.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 10/2/2016
  • First on List: February 2017
  • RankingsScout (4*, #167 overall) – Rivals (4*, #145 overall) – 247 (4*, #155 overall) – ESPN (4*, #58 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #108 overall, #4 OG, #1 in Indiana

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

Photo Credit: Scout.com

Photo Credit: Scout.com

Friday is another top target for the staff and has looked like one of the safer bets for the majority of the cycle up until this point. But, as of late, Penn State and Ohio State look to be making a big push. However, thanks to the longtime recruitment from the staff and the chance to be the only true interior defensive lineman in this class, I still feel good about my Crystal Ball for Friday to Michigan. But others are pushing for this spot in the class, one main name to watch being Rick Sandidge.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good
  • Highlights
  • First on List: May 2016
  • RankingsScout (4*, #62 overall) – Rivals (4*, #41 overall) – 247 (4*, #124 overall) – ESPN (4*, #124 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: 4 star, #62 overall, #3 DT, #2 in New Jersey
  • Crystal Ball Favorite: Michigan
  • Fish’s Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Rick Sandidge, Michael Thompson, Julius Welschof, Alim McNeill, Keondre Coburn

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

Photo Credit: TheWolverine.com

Photo Credit: TheWolverine.com

As the son of former Michigan linebacker standout, Chris Hutchinson, Aidan was a player that looked very likely to end up in this class as soon as his name popped up on the radar. Though he didn’t want to be known as a full blown “slam dunk” recruit for the Wolverines, all signs continued to point towards UM heading into his senior year. And he followed through by committing to Michigan in February and continues to look like a perfect fit for Greg Mattison’s defensive line.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 2/22/17
  • First on List: May 2016
  • RankingsScout (4*, #222 overall) – Rivals (4*, #18 SSDE) – 247 (4*, #94 overall) – ESPN (4*, #283 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #204 overall, #8 SDE, #3 in Michigan

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

Photo Credit: TheWolverine.com

Photo Credit: TheWolverine.com

Reese was the first commitment for this class and may end up being the best player in this class, when everything is said and done. His mix of length, athleticism, speed and tenacity should make him a terror in Don Brown’s blitz heavy defense. And though he’s a highly rated player out of SEC country, he doesn’t look to be going anywhere.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 6/20/16
  • First on List: August 2016
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #175 overall) – Rivals (4*, #132 overall) – 247 (4*, #143 overall) – ESPN (4*, #218 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #143 overall, #6 OLB, #16 in Georgia

13. LB: David Reese, 6’3” 215lbs. Fort Piece, FL (Vero Beach)

Photo Credit: @SleeperAthletes

Photo Credit: @SleeperAthletes

After it looked like Michigan was set on just taking one linebacker in this class, that number may be growing significantly and Reese is a big reason why. The Florida standout is one of the most physically impressive recruits in this class and has taken quite the liking to Michigan since receiving his offer and visiting last week. And that’s big because, according to 247Sports Andrew Irvins, his longtime lean to Miami looks to be fading fast ($). If Michigan continues to push here, I like their chances to pull the high ceiling prospect out of the Sunshine State.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good
  • Highlights
  • First on List: Now
  • Rankings: Scout (3*, #49 OLB) – Rivals (4*, #12 ILB) – 247 (4*, #264 overall) – ESPN (3*, #26 OLB)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #401 overall, #26 OLB, #64 in Florida
  • Crystal Ball Favorite: Miami (FL)
  • Fish’s Crystal Ball: None
  • Other Options: Shayne Simon, Josh Jobe, Sammy Faustin

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

Photo Credit: Kenneth Moreland / VictoryViews

Photo Credit: Kenneth Moreland / VictoryViews

McGrone is one of the best players in the Midwest that wasn’t getting much attention on the UM recruiting front. But that quickly changed when the staff was able to get him on campus to offer him in person. With that offer in hand and the quick relationships built between McGrone and the staff, I put in my Crystal Ball for the athletic linebacker to pick Michigan. And others will likely start to follow as time goes on. According to The Wolverine’s sources, they’d be “surprised if he ended up elsewhere” ($). Notre Dame is still pushing here but, as long as he remains a take and the staff keeps pushing, I really like where things stand for UM here.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Excellent
  • Highlights
  • First on List: Now
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #25 OLB) – Rivals (4*, #16 OLB) – 247 (4*, #134 overall) – ESPN (4*, #21 OLB)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #245 overall, #16 OLB, #3 in Indiana
  • Crystal Ball Favorite: Notre Dame
  • Fish’s Crystal Ball: Michigan
  • Other Options: Shayne Simon, Josh Jobe, Sammy Faustin

15. S: Jamien Sherwood, 6’3″ 195lbs. Jensen Beach, FL (Jensen Beach) 

Photo Credit: XAVIER MASCAREÑAS/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS

Photo Credit: XAVIER MASCAREÑAS/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS

Sherwood is another new addition to the class prediction after he visited Ann Arbor recently, alongside LB David Reese. And, like Reese, he was seen as a heavy Miami lean for a long time. But that has all changed. According to 247Sports Andrew Irvins, Sherwood looks to be “wide open” and looks like a player that could end up at a school “like Auburn or Michigan” ($). Adding in the recent successful visit, Don Brown’s need for more safeties in this class and the potential chance to play alongside his good friend, Reese, I really like the direction his recruitment has started to go.

  • Offer: Yes
  • Visit: Yes
  • Michigan’s Chances: Very Good
  • Highlights
  • First on List: Now
  • Rankings: Scout (3*, #56 S) – Rivals (4*, #181 overall) – 247 (3*, #44 S) – ESPN (4*, #36 ATH)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #394 overall, #32 S, #60 in Florida
  • Crystal Ball Favorite: Miami (FL)
  • Fish’s Crystal Ball: None
  • Other Options: Shayne Simon, Josh Jobe, Sammy Faustin, Isaac Taylor-Stuart, Bryan Addison, Talanoa Hufanga

16. 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.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 4/20/17
  • First on List: April 2017
  • Rankings: Scout (3*, #68 S) – Rivals (3*) – 247 (3*, #87 CB) – ESPN (3*, #59 CB)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #1155 overall, #99 CB, #161 in Texas

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

Mentioned for months, by Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz, as a top target for the staff, Green was a player that looked like he was going to be a very tough pull away from the Longhorn State. That was especially true when TCU offered. The long cornerback prospect was seen as a lean to the Horned Frogs for awhile. But that was until Michigan really started pushing, offered his brother, German, and got the duo up to Ann Arbor for a post-spring game visit. 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.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 4/20/17
  • First on List: April 2017
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #173 overall) – Rivals (4*, #32 CB) – 247 (3*, #376 overall) – ESPN (4*, #43 CB)
  • Composite Ranking: Three star, #340 overall, #32 CB, #46 in Texas

18. CB: Myles Sims, 6’3” 160lbs. Atlanta, GA (Westlake) 

As soon as the staff flipped the 2017 switch off and flipped the 2018 switch full on, Sims was a priority. But, as a top recruit out of the heart of SEC country, most figured he’d end up staying down south. With the SEC powers, like Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia extending offers, as well as national brand names, like USC, Ohio State, Texas and Stanford throwing their hat in the ring, this was going to take another Nico Collins-like recruiting pitch to win out. And, whataya know, Harbaugh and his staff did just that as Sims committed to Michigan, making him another huge get for UM out of SEC country.

  • Story
  • Highlights
  • Commitment Date: 4/7/2017
  • First on List: March 2017
  • Rankings: Scout (4*, #89 overall) – Rivals (4*, #56 overall) – 247 (3*, #41 CB) – ESPN (4*, #134 overall)
  • Composite Ranking: Four star, #127 overall, #16 CB, #14 in Georgia

Projected Class Score: 244.44 (per 247Sports)

If Michigan were to have finished with this score in 2017, it would have had the #15 class in the country, per 247Sports. And though it wouldn’t be another top five class or top ten class, this class is much more about potential and ceiling than it is about current rankings. I expect several of the names above to get big bumps in their rankings this summer or after their senior seasons.

Just Missed the List

  • SS Shayne Simon
    • Simon was a long time member of the class prediction and could end up being back on the list next month. However, Notre Dame looks to have the most momentum right now and could end up landing his commitment before the end of the summer. Will Michigan get him on campus again before he makes his decision? That may be key here. This one is extremely close.
      • June 2017 Prediction: Notre Dame
  • WR Shocky Jacques-Louis
    • Shocky is another player that was one of the last names taken off of the class prediction. He landed his offer from the staff and decommitted from Kentucky not long after. And though it looks like Michigan is in prime position to land him, there’s not enough there just yet to add him to the class. But he’s definitely a name to watch moving forward.
      • June 2017 Prediction: Tennessee 
  • DT Rick Sandidge
    • Sandidge, like Simon and SJL, was a final removal. He’s burst onto the Michigan recruiting scene as of late after visiting campus with his family earlier in the month. The staff is clearly pushing hard for the big man but this may be a very tough pull out of South Carolina. Though, if there’s one team that looks to have the best chance at doing it, it’s UM.
      • June 2017 Prediction: South Carolina
  • DB Josh Jobe
    • Jobe has been on and off the list a couple times already and remains a close call. Things are pretty quiet on his front after he transferred north to Cheshire Academy in Connecticut. Will the move away from the Hurricanes give Michigan the space its needed to land the top defensive back? This will be another recruitment to keep a close eye on all the way to NSD.
      • June 2017 Prediction: Miami
  • TE Jeremey Ruckert 
    • Ruckert is another elite prospect and top target for the staff. This recruitment has pretty much gone silent since he visited his top teams in the spring. The big man has been said to be favoring the Buckeyes for awhile now. However, Michigan’s need for playmaking tight ends in this class will keep UM in this race. This should be a close decision, which ever way it goes.
      • June 2017 Prediction: Ohio State
  • OT Nicholas Petit-Frere
    • Petit-Frere looks to be a top target for the staff and a name to remember moving forward. He received his first offer from UM and has remained a “want” for the staff. Though he doesn’t get a ton of publicity on the UM front, don’t forget about him as a potential 4th offensive lineman in this class.
      • June 2017 Prediction: Notre Dame
  • WR Amon-Ra St. Brown
    • Notre Dame, Stanford and USC are the teams that have continued to make the most noise and there’s a very real chance he ends up at either program. But I’m not counting out Michigan at all here. The educational opportunities in Ann Arbor are among the best in the world and that chance to the “the man” in this class could be a bigger selling point than some may think. But, I’m gonna have to wait until he gets to campus before I can truly think about adding him to the list.
      • June 2017 Prediction: Stanford
  • WR Kamryn Babb
    • Another top receiving target for Michigan that has continued to name Ohio State his leader. But, like Ruckert, this recruitment looks to be a little closer than some think. Though the Wolverines may need to pull out all of the stops if/when he makes a return visit to Ann Arbor to have a chance to knock the Buckeyes off the top of the list.
      • June 2017 Prediction: Ohio State 

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