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For as good Michigan’s 2018 recruiting class is right now, there is still a need at defensive tackle, where the Wolverines currently do not have any players committed.

With it being a key spot for the remainder of this class, the Wolverines have made a big push for four-star Raleigh (N.C.) Sanderson prospect Alim McNeill. When McNeill set a commitment date of Sept. 9, it seemed as though Michigan was out of the running. However, Scout’s Michael Clark reported that a late push from the Wolverines was a big reason he has moved the decision date back.

“They’re Michigan,” the 6-foot-2, 272-pound McNeill said. “Coach (Jim) Harbaugh and the coaching staff stand out. I also like the tradition and they’ve always been a top football program. I had a talk with (defensive coordinator Don Brown). Coach Brown really sold me on their defensive tradition.”

McNeil plans to take an official visit to Michigan, but a date has not been set yet.

North Carolina State is the team to beat, but Virginia Tech is also high on his list.

“He is a powerful football player,” Clark said. “He gets off the ball quickly and is very strong at the point of attack. He is very athletic and runs well. He needs to continue to develop some moves and improve his technique, but he is very talented and should develop into a big-time college player.”

More: UM’s Tarik Black awakens doubters with play

Another North Carolina native, Rick Sandidge of Concord High, is another target of Michigan’s at defensive tackle. St. Louis Parkway North’s Michael Thompson visited Ann Arbor for July’s BBQ at the Big House and is still on the board, as well.

Still, the addition of McNeill as a legitimate target helps the look of the Wolverines’ defensive tackle board.

He plans to wait until after the season and several official visits before making a commitment, so the Wolverines will have more time to continue climbing in a race they have quickly made up a lot of ground in.

Wolverine commit keys rivalry win

Michigan commit Ryan Hayes helped his Traverse City West team defeat Traverse City Central for the first time in their last four tries.

With West up 15-14 in the third quarter, Hayes caught a 38-yard touchdown pass from his tight end spot to help extend the lead. West would go on to win 29-27.

Hayes (6-7, 250 pounds) was thought to be an offensive tackle recruit, but Michigan has left the door open for him to try tight end, his high school position, in college. He finished with four receptions for 93 yards and that score.

He has two touchdown receptions on the year now for the 3-0 Titans.

Tennessee back sets Michigan visit

Eric Gray, a junior running back from Memphis Lausanne Collegiate, will visit Michigan on Nov. 25 for the Wolverines’ clash with rival Ohio State.

Gray (5-10, 185 pounds) camped at Michigan in the summer and holds an offer from the Wolverines.

Stanford, Tennessee, LSU, Miami, Nebraska and Ole Miss are just a few of the 13 schools that have offered him a scholarship.

Gray is rated a four-star prospect by the 247Sports composite.

More information

Alim McNeill profile

Ryan Hayes profile

Eric Gray profile 

Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.

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