Trieu: Key Michigan recruiting targets for 2018
The class of 2017 is signed and Michigan coaches and fans alike can now turn their attention fully to the 2018 class and beyond. Here’s a look at some of the key targets for 2018.
Blue Chip surprises?
When Michigan signed five-star running back Kareem Walker in 2016, that would have been considered unexpected a year in advance. The same goes for the 2017 class and five-star defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon.
The five-star group on Scout will grow over the next year. Right now, there are only 11 five-star prospects in the 2018 class nationally. That number is likely to be more than 30 a year from now.
Of the nation’s top 30 prospects, the one Michigan may have the best chance with right now is St. Louis Parkway North defensive tackle Michael Thompson. The Wolverines are recruiting Thompson (6-4, 290 pounds) as an offensive lineman primarily, but he has nearly 20 offers, with many of those schools viewing him as a defensive lineman. Michigan offered last May. They were his seventh offer at the time and he took an unofficial visit to Ann Arbor for a game in September.
Thirteen other prospects in Scout’s top 30 list Michigan among their primary group of choices. That includes two of the nation’s top three running backs -- Zamir White from North Carolina and IMG Academy’s T.J. Pledger.
West Coast wide receivers Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jalen Hall, both five-stars, also list Michigan, but both have a laundry list of other programs interested.
Michigan did not sign a tight end in the 2017 class, but the Wolverines are in good shape with a number of top national recruits at the position. The top two tight ends in the country, Las Vegas Bishop Gorman’s Brevin Jordan and Missouri City (Texas) Ridge Point’s Mustapha Muhammad, are both considering Michigan.
Lindenhurst (N.Y.) has a top 150 prospect in Jeremy Ruckert, who has visited Michigan. The same goes for Will Mallory, a Michigan legacy from Jacksonville (Fla.) Providence. Malcolm Epps, a four-star from Houston, has a Michigan offer and is considering the Wolverines as well.
Michigan has extended offers within the state to Dearborn Divine Child defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, Detroit Cass Tech cornerback Kalon Gervin, Detroit Country Day linebacker Kolin Demens, Muskegon offensive tackle Antwan Reed, Oak Park offensive lineman Marquan McCall and Farmington Hills Harrison linebacker Ovie Oghoufo, who is committed to Notre Dame.
Hutchinson is a legacy recruit as his father Chris played defensive tackle for the Wolverines. Demens’ older brother Kenny played for Michigan.
Michigan intends to take a quarterback every year in recruiting. The prospect to know in 2018 is Las Vegas Bishop Gorman’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson, whose mother attended Michigan. However, UCLA is also a top choice and the Wolverines continue to battle the Bruins and other programs for him.
Right now it is looking like, after signing 29 in each of the last two classes, the Wolverines will have a smaller group in 2018. By unofficial count, it appears this class will number more in the lower 20s. However, many factors give them room to be able to increase that number if need be.
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.