As expected, 2018 St. Peter’s Prep (NJ) SS Shayne Simon committed to Notre Dame earlier this week. Though Michigan was the favorite for quite sometime, the Fighting Irish’s connections and world class educational opportunities were the winning factors for the top safety out of Jersey. However, it doesn’t look like UM will just give up on Simon, as Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz has continued to report ($). There is still plenty of time to go before National Signing Day and, when you add in the chance of another poor season in South Bend and a potential coaching change taking place there, it’s far from a reach to say Michigan could end up winning out in the end here.
But, it’s not a guarantee. Simon is committed to Notre Dame and is solid in that commitment right now.
So, where will Michigan turn for the safety/viper position in 2018? Here are a couple names to remember moving forward:
Junipero Serro (CA) ATH Bryan Addison
Addison is the guy that everyone seems to be watching closest right now. He’s expected to be on campus all weekend for the BBQ and this is Michigan’s best chance to make a huge impact. According to Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz, he’s vaulted to the top of the safety board for the coaching staff ($) and, when you look at his tape, you can see why. But will that push and “red carpet treatment” move Michigan up his board? 247Sports Steve Wiltfong believes it’s very possible ($). This is definitely a recruitment to watch closely moving forward.
Cheshire Academy (CT) DB Josh Jobe
Jobe has long been a top target in this class and things look to remain the same. Though he’s been committed to Miami for, what seems like, forever, it’s well known that Michigan and Alabama are not only pushing for the flip, but both look to be in great shape to pull it off. His move to Cheshire Academy in Connecticut is a big plus for the Wolverines thanks to Don Brown’s legendary status in the Northeast and Michigan’s connections to the program (signed WR Tarik Black in 2017). While Jobe isn’t exactly a pure safety prospect, he has the frame and skill set to play almost any position in the secondary. Look for the staff to get him on campus this fall for an official visit.
Oxbridge Academy (FL) S CJ Smith
Smith may not be a name that gets a lot of love on the Michigan recruiting front but he’s 100% a name to watch moving forward. He’s a player that Michigan is keeping an eye on and pushing for a bit, after his decommitment from Florida. He recently released a top five, that includes Michigan, Oregon, Louisville, Oklahoma and South Carolina. If the staff continues to push for him and is able to get him on campus for an unofficial visit and/or official visit, keep a close eye on the versatile safety prospect.
Naples (FL) S Sammy Faustin
Faustin is a name that has continued to hang around. He was offered back in February but looks to be on the back burner, in terms of accepting a commitment. Though, he is a possibility to visit for the BBQ this weekend, at this moment, I doubt he ends up being a part of the class. However, if he does make it to campus this weekend or for an official down the road and Don Brown gives him the green light, it’s hard to see him turning down the opportunity to join the Wolverines.
Crescent Valley (OR) ATH Talanoa Hufanga
The longest, swing for the fences shot on the board, Hufanga is the #1 ranked athlete in the class and is a player that everyone wants. And even though he’s from Oregon, Michigan is a team he’s very interested in. He spoke with 247Sports Steve Wiltfong at The Opening about that interest, mentioning Michigan is “really up there” and that he plans on using one of his official visits to check out Ann Arbor this fall ($). While it’s a complete pipe dream to pull him off of the west coast, it’s not impossible. If he does indeed make it to Michigan for an official visit and UM has a good season on the field, anything could happen.
Who are you hoping fills the safety/viper position hole in the 2018 class? Will it be one of the names above? Or will the staff be able to flip Simon from the Fighting Irish before National Signing Day? Let us know in the comment section below!