One of the biggest needs in the 2017 recruiting class for the Michigan football staff was the defensive line. Thanks to the expected loss of at least four of the top eight lineman to graduation after this upcoming season, the staff needed to attack the defensive line class with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. And it’s clearly working out.
The 2017 DL haul all started with an in-state win for the staff in three star Berrien Springs (MI) DT Phillip Paea. The big man pledged to the Wolverines the day after the spring game and gave the staff a run stuffing force in the middle to build the line around. But he was just the tip of the iceberg.
It took a little more time than the staff may have hoped for but they ended receiving commitments from two of their top defensive end targets to kick off the summer. That’s when four star in-state standout St. Joseph (MI) DE Corey Malone-Hatcher ended his recruitment which was soon followed up by Canadian transplant and Episcopal (VA) DE Luiji Vilain giving the staff his pledge.
Paea, Malone-Hatcher and Vilain were three names that most recruiting analysts saw coming. All three had favored Michigan for quite awhile but it’s the staff’s latest edition that still has everyone in awe.
Michigan hosted a large group of prospects this past weekend for their on-campus summer camps and fireworks were very possible. However, a 4th of July type of celebration wasn’t and that’s what top-100 Leesburg (GA) DT Aubrey Solomon gave the staff as he committed to the Wolverines during the visit.
Solomon’s addition gives Michigan another dominant inside talent that they can pair alongside Paea and the star of the 2016 class, Rashan Gary. Add in CMH and Vilain’s ability to get after the quarterback off the edge and the staff has the right to just sit back and do their best of hold on to what they have in the 2017 class. However, that won’t be the case as decommitments are very normal in today’s world of recruiting and there are too many top talents still very much interest in the Maize and Blue.
As for some of the names that the staff will likely continue to push for, that list includes:
- DL James Hudson
- DE/OLB Anthony Payne
- DT Popo Aumavae
- DT Greg Rogers
- DT Jay Tufele
- DT Neil Farrell
- DL Deron Irving-Bey
- DE Hunter Echols
- DE DJ Johnson
- DE Langi Tuifua
Though Michigan may only be the favorite to land Hudson and Payne at this point, I still like their chances at Aumavae and Farrell, if they continue to push for them throughout the cycle. But make sure to keep an eye on these names from here on out as the staff has the ability to take their 2017 haul from very good to great with one or two more additions.
What do you think about Michigan’s 2017 defensive line haul so far? Will the add anyone else to the class? If so, who will join the group? Let us know in the comment section below!
Photo Credit: TOLEDO BLADE/LORI KING