Inside the Fish Bowl is Looking at a Much Different Quarterback Board

When I got word back in early March that Dorian Thompson-Robinson was going to choose UCLA, I had no idea who would fill that role as the quarterback commit in this class for Michigan. Joe Milton held an offer from the staff but looked to be as close to a lock to Florida as possible while Tyler Shough was an unknown on the UM recruiting front.

Oh, how things have changed.

Milton committed to Michigan on Sunday after weeks of being rumored to the Wolverines for weeks. But before the Milton rumors started to heat up, Shough received his offer and a good amount of Crystal Ball predictions to Michigan as he told The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown that, thanks to his dad being from Michigan, he grew up a huge fan of the Wolverines ($). And now, the Arizona quarterback is expected to visit Ann Arbor this weekend.

Could Another QB Commitment Be Coming?  

The 2018 Michigan recruiting class is going to be a much smaller one than the last two classes for Jim Harbaugh. But, even with the tight numbers, there’s a real need for two quarterbacks in this class. After the 2017 season, there’s a chance Michigan could lose two of the four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster currently. Just taking one quarterback could mean the staff only having three scholarship quarterbacks in 2018, two of which will have zero playing experience.

Not having enough quality quarterbacks on the depth chart was a huge downfall for former head coach Brady Hoke. So, you can understand why it’s being reported that Harbaugh wants two in this class.

And that dream may came true in a big way.

2018 Hamilton (AZ) QB Tyler Shough will be in town this weekend and, according to Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz, he still looks like a take for the staff ($). Adding in his previously mentioned lifelong love for the program and the chance to both play for the team and go to school at the prestigious University (he boasts a 4.4 grade point average), I put in my Crystal Ball for Shough to Michigan. And though Alabama, Florida State and Georgia recently extended offers,he’s a guy I’d keep an eye on during/soon after this weekend trip.

With Milton already on board, potentially adding the likes of Shough would give Michigan one hell of a quarterback depth chart for the foreseeable future.

Speaking of Milton

When a coach, like Jim Harbaugh, gets the chance to work with a physically gifted talent, Joe Milton, good things tend to happen. Harbaugh is, arguably, the best quarterback head coach in all of football and Milton is, arguably, the highest ceiling quarterback in the 2018 class. So, it makes sense that every, and I mean everyone, is expecting some big things out of the new future duo.

In one of the better write ups I’ve read on the recruiting front in sometime, Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz broke down Milton’s commitment to Michigan and how the staff feels about his addition ($). That included a comparison to former Clemson National Championship winning quarterback and the new Houston Texans first round pick, DeShaun Watson.

Lorenz’s coworker and 247Sports analyst Steve Wiltfong also had some big things to say about Michigan’s addition of Milton, mentioning the Harbaugh-QB development factor as a big reason why he thinks his ceiling “may be unmatched by his peers in this 2018 recruiting cycle” ($).

And Wiltfong wasn’t the only National Recruiting Analyst feeling good about Milton’s potential in Ann Arbor as Rivals’ Mike Farrell feels like Milton could be the guy who does something neither Tom Brady or Jim Harbaugh was able to do for Michigan; win a National Championship ($):

Milton is that type of guy and if he refines his skills and gets his accuracy together he can be very, very dangerous. He could also be a complete bust if it never clicks. Joe Milton is either going to be a ‘wow’ guy or someone who has all the talent in the world but can’t put it together. It’s very possible that three years from now we’ll be looking at Joe Milton as Michigan’s national championship quarterback”

Milton’s Olympia high school head coach, Ernest Hayes, spoke with Scout/DetNews Allen Trieu about his talented quarterback’s potential under Jim Harbaugh at Michigan, using a phrase said by plenty of others, “the sky is the limit”:

There were several things (about Harbaugh),” Hayes said. “His resume as a coach, doing it at all levels as far as being in the NFL, being in college, playing for Michigan and playing he quarterback position, that was big for Joe to have a head coach to understand the ins and outs of the position.”

There’s also former Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback and current lone survivor at ESPN, Kirk Herbstreit, who (somewhat) chimed in on the addition:

While Milton still has a bit of a ways to go to refine his talents, there’s no doubting there’s some real potential for super stardom. And that doesn’t even include how he’ll break the internet with his first backflip after a touchdown:

Quarterback Turned Swiss Army Knife? 

After his first visit to Ann Arbor for the Spring Game, 2018 Fitzgerald (GA) ATH James Graham became a name to remember. Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz was hearing good things about where Michigan sat with the Peach State standout ($). Thanks to that report, plus the staff looking to continue to build that pipeline to Georgia, I added Graham to my April Best Guess Recruiting Class prediction.

And he may be there to stay.

According to Rivals Chad Simmons, Graham is still feeling very good about Michigan and included UM in his top three ($). He also mentioned the different positions that the staff is recruiting him for, which includes time on both offense and special teams. Adding that to the other positions that the staff’s said to be recruiting him at and it looks like Michigan may have its sights set on its next Swiss Army Knife.

More Crystal Ballin 

Though all eyes are on the 2018 class, Michigan is starting to really put in early work on the 2019 class. What seems like hundreds of offers have been going out and, after talking with a source, as well as reading some tea leaves, I’ve put in two big Crystal Balls for two of the biggest targets on the staff’s board:

2019 Greater Atlanta Christian (GA) OT/DL Chris Hinton, or “Big Chris”, is one of the top players in the 2019 class and happens to be very high on Michigan.

Oddly enough, I spoke with a source close to the Hinton’s on a flight to Atlanta the other week who went on and on about Chris’ interest in the Wolverines. They mentioned how well known it is around the school that he’s high on UM and a big reason why is his father, Chris, who, like Jim Harbaugh, is a member of the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor.

The mix of his father knowing and trusting Harbaugh with his son’s football future, the known admiration for UM from Chris himself, as well as 247Sports Steve Wiltfong putting in a CB to UM, I’ve followed suit and added my prediction in for the five star to the Wolverines.

The other big Crystal Ball that I put in was for 2019 South Warren (KY) DT Jacob Lacey, who has become a pretty popular name on the Michigan recruiting front as of late.

Lacey visited Ann Arbor for the Spring Game back in April and clearly left feeling amazing about the Wolverines as he received his offer in person from the staff:

Adding in the staff’s need for more, top end, defensive tackles in the coming classes and Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz getting word from Lacey himself that one of Michigan’s Greg Mattison’s first stops after getting back to the States from Rome was to see the big man ($), and I feel like UM is in fantastic shape here. So, my CB is in for Lacey to Michigan.

Quick Hitters

  • 2018 Catholic Central (MI) OT Jalen Mayfield tweeted out his plans to announce his commitment on May 23rd and all signs point to Michigan. This is one of those, “I’ll be absolutely blown away”, if he chooses anyone besides UM.
  • While Michigan has been on an  “Oprah Offering Spree” (You get an offer! And you get an offer!), one of those offers that went out is one to watch closely. That was the offer to 2019’s #1 ranked cornerback recruit and top 10 overall recruit, Palm Beach Central (FL) CB Akeem Dent. According to multiple reports, he’s actually cousins with new 2018 commit QB Joe Milton. So, though it’ll be extremely tough to pull him out of the Sunshine State, Michigan has a very good “in” moving forward.
  • Former Michigan running back Kingston Davis is heading to Independence Community College in Kansas. Hopefully that’s just a pit stop for the big man as he looks to get more meaningful running back carries during his collegiate career.
  • Speaking of transfers, TMI’s Sam Webb mentioned that Michigan may be looking at the grad transfer market for some safety help in 2017. And, whataya know, it was true as 247Sports Ryan Bartow is reporting that Michigan has been in touch with Clemson transfer, S Korrin Wiggins.

Photo Credit: Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog