The 2018 recruiting class is in the books and though there are plenty of people that are down on it, it doesn’t mean t’s not a good class and that we can’t have some fun with it. So, like every year, I’ve put together some superlatives for this year’s class, which includes instant impact players, future Heisman candidates, most likely to switch positions and much more.
Check out our 2018 Michigan football recruiting class superlatives:
Immediate Offensive Impact Player: WR/RB Michael Barrett
Barrett may only be a three star recruit but he’s a guy that may end up having one of the best collegiate careers in Michigan’s class. He starred at quarterback in high school but is expected to be a hybrid offensive weapon for the Wolverines. Whether he’s receiving handoffs, catching passes, taking snaps or returning kicks, he should get the chance to get his hands on the ball and make a big impact right away.
Immediate Defensive Impact Player: DB Myles Sims
Sims was one of the best gets in the class and, as an early enrollee, will have the chance to play early and make a real impact. Michigan’s secondary is pretty solid but the staff could definitely use some more talent at the safety position and could use more cornerback depth. Sims has the length, athleticism and ball hawking skills to make plays and cause turnovers, something the defense could use.
Best Recruiting Win: TE Mustapha Muhammad
Muhammad is a guy who Michigan targeted very early on as a top tight end target. However, as a highly rated player out of Texas, he originally looked like a guy who’d end up staying down south. But that prioritization by the Michigan staff and the connections built ended up making this pretty easy decision at the end of things. It may not have had a ton of drama at the end but getting a top 20 player out of the Longhorn State when the Longhorns and Aggies badly wanted him is always going to be a big win.
Best Highlight Tape: QB Joe Milton
There were plenty of options here but no one had more “wow” plays throughout all of his tape than Milton. From showing off his unreal arm strength (like 55+ yard touchdown passes off his backfoot) to doing a round off back handspring (yes, I had to look up the correct name) after winning 7v7 games, the early enrollee quarterback’s tape is something to witness. So, check some of it out:
— Andrew Ivins (@Andrew_Ivins) February 12, 2017
Best Name: TE Luke Schoonmaker
Unlike most classes, there wasn’t a slam dunk winner here. There’s some solid names in the class but nothing too crazy. So, I went with the most unique name in the class and the name I know I’ve never seen before and don’t expect to see again is Schoonmaker. Just sounds like a Michigan tight end’s last name.
Best Story: DE Julius Welschof
Now, this was an easy one. Welschof is the first ever German international player to sign with the Wolverines but it’s not just his nationality that makes the story great. He’s also a factory working, freestyle mogul skier who doesn’t have a ton of experience playing the sport but blew up on the recruiting scene after funding his own way to participate in several summer college camps. It’s a story that will definitely be repeated multiple times throughout his career.
The Chris Evans of the Class: DE Aidan Hutchinson
Evans burst onto the scene in fall camp and quickly found a role in Michigan’s offense. He was a guy that wasn’t expected to contribute that early, but his skill level and fit got him on the field. Last year I gave it to Oliver Martin and was wrong as he redshirted. This season, I’m going with Hutchinson. Yeah, he may be the highest ranked player in this class so big things are expected of him but, thanks to depth at the position, he may not be relied on to play early. But he will and he could end up making a big impact as a pass rushing specialist.
Most Likely to Switch Positions: TE Ryan Hayes
This was the easiest pick on the list since it’s pretty well known at this point that Hayes will begin his career as a tight end and is expected to grow into an offensive tackle. It could take a year or two of development but he should end up being a productive player at both positions.
Most Underrated Recruit: RB Hassan Haskins
There were several options here but this was an easy choice for me. Haskins is the 979th rated prospect on the Composite Player Rankings. And de’s a guy I believe will play immediately. Ty Isaac is gone and there are questions about every running back on the roster behind Karan Higdon and Chris Evans. That’s where I believe Haskins will find a role. His size, tenacity and one-cut-and-go ability (runs like Adrian Peterson) will be a welcomed addition to the depth chart and could be the perfect compliment to Hidgon and Evans. So, it’s pretty clear I believe he should be a four star prospect and should be in the top 300, not just the top 1000.
Most Underrated Get: OT Jalen Mayfield
Offensive tackle was, arguably, the most needed position in this class. And with only one true tackle in this class, Mayfield’s addition is pretty huge. He’s also an underrated get not only because he’s a legit tackle prospect but because he’s an in-state player and that’s almost always overlooked. Don’t sleep on Jalen Mayfield’s potential. He could be one of the most important additions to this class.
Most Surprising Commitment: WR Ronnie Bell
Another easy choice on the list. Bell’s commitment caught pretty much everyone by surprise. It was one of those commitments that the first thing people asked was, is this a full scholarship commitment or a preferred walk-on commitment? As a former basketball recruit that wasn’t a known name on the Michigan front, he caught us all off guard with his announcement.
Least Surprising Commitment: TE Mustapha Muhammad
It’s rare for a player to be the Best Recruiting Win and the Least Surprising Commitment but that’s Mustapha Muhammad. There aren’t many players who has 26 Crystal Ball predictions in general, let alone 26 to the same team. So, it was well known who he’d end up with after rumors of a silent commit came out after his unofficial visit to Ann Arbor over the summer.
Most Intriguing Prospect: DL Taylor Upshaw
Michigan signed a ton of intriguing prospects in this class but the mix of being the son of a 10-year NFL veteran and only playing the sport for a couple of years, I’m really interested in seeing what becomes of his collegiate career. He has the build and has flashed the ability, let’s see what Don Brown and Greg Mattison can do with him as a versatile defensive lineman.
Man Children: FB Ben VanSumeren
In each of Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan recruiting classes, he’s added some absolute monsters. In 2016, Michigan signed Khaleke Hudson. In 2017, they signed Ben Mason. In this class, they added another monster in VanSumeren. He was a man amongst boys at the high school level and already has the build to play at the collegiate level. He should make an immediate impact in some aspect of the game.
Most Likely to Win the Heisman: QB Joe Milton
While Michael Barrett has the versatility to get on the map, Milton’s skill level, flash, and position make him by far the most likely to ever be in the running. If/when he gets his chance to start, he’ll get his chance to shine.
Future Dynamic Duo: RB Christian Turner & RB Hassan Haskins
Though Michigan didn’t sign any elite level running backs in this class, it still signed two guys who I believe could fill roles in the Wolverines offense. Turner is a slashing, physical back that has a low center of gravity and has a nose for the end zone. While Haskins is a bigger, first and second down back that can rip off large chunks at a time. Together, they should be able to churn out plenty of yards for Michigan.
Future Fan Favorite: WR/RB Michael Barrett
Barrett will be a Mr. Do It All for the team and that normally gets noticed pretty quickly by the fans. If he’s able to thrive with the ball in his hands, score some touchdowns and give this offense a new dynamic, he’ll go down as a favorite to the Michigan faithful.
Biggest Sleepers: CB Gemon Green and FS German Green
The Green brothers were some of the first commitments in the class but because of their lower rankings, they’re going overlooked. Gemon is a legit cornerback prospect that has some of the top cover skills in the class and showed his ability to be a defensive standout in one of the most talent-laden high school regions in the country. German is a different story. He’s a guy who had to bounce back from an injury his junior year and was still getting his game back during his senior year. Both have the natural build and athleticism to be standouts. I wouldn’t sleep on them.
Future Team Captain: LB Cam McGrone
This was yet another easy choice. Not only is McGrone going to be a standout performer for Don Brown’s defense but throughout the cycle he also showed his leadership ability as a main player recruiter for the staff. Look for him to be more than just a defensive stud for the program.
Strongest Position Haul: Defensive Back
Michigan wanted to restock the secondary depth chart with this class and the staff did so in spades. Don Brown and the crew added at least five defensive backs in this class, all of which are tall, long, rangy, athletic players that have high ceilings. The stars may not all be there but the potential and length sure is.
Who are your choices for the 2018 Michigan football recruiting class superlatives? Let us know in the comment section below!