Michigan filled an important need in its 2018 recruiting class on Tuesday when four-star Grand Rapids Catholic Central offensive tackle Jalen Mayfield announced his commitment to the Wolverines.
He is the first offensive tackle to commit in the class and the Wolverines now await the decision of another in-state prospect who can also play tackle – Traverse City West’s Ryan Hayes.
Mayfield (6-5, 260 pounds) picked the Wolverines over offers from Michigan State, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota, where he was once committed, among others.
“Growing up, I was a huge Michigan fan. I watched every Saturday,” Mayfield said. “When I got the chance to play for the university I grew up watching, it was truly a dream come true.”
Tough, athletic, and still growing and learning, Mayfield has impressed at several offseason camps and showcases. That was after spending most of the winter on the basketball court. Catholic Central head coach Todd Kolster coached at the college level, serving as the offensive coordinator at Grand Valley State for two seasons, and knew early on he had a talent in Mayfield.
From there, Mayfield put in the time needed to capitalize on that talent.
“They’re getting a guy with as much talent, athleticism and upside as they could get,” Kolster said, “and he’s two hours away, which makes it better. He is a great kid. He is a very intelligent kid. He is a team-first guy. Jalen is not a ‘me’ guy. He is competitive and he wants to win. His work ethic has grown tremendously as he has gotten older. They are now getting a guy who is also going to come in and outwork others for a position.”
In addition to that, Mayfield has been noted for the physical style with which he plays.
“He plays with a lot of competitiveness and intensity,” Kolster said, “and I think being a competitor is more of it than that ‘mean streak,’ so to speak. He finishes plays. If he has a chance to finish a block and finish a guy, he’s going to do it.”
That should be music to the ears of not only Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, but also co-offensive coordinator and tight ends / tackles coach Greg Frey, who will both have a hand in coaching Mayfield in college.
Frey had success with developing similarly-built players at Indiana. Current Green Bay Packer Jason Spriggs, a high school tight end, is one of the best examples of that.
“The coaching staff is awesome,” Mayfield said. “Coach Drevno and Coach Frey are great coaches and really love what they do. I cannot wait to be coached by the best in the country. It is just truly a blessing to finally see all my dreams coming true.”
Mayfield is Michigan’s ninth commitment in the class of 2018.
He is the Wolverines’ second commitment from inside the state, joining Dearborn Divine Child defensive end Aidan Hutchinson.
Wolverines offer 2019 Florida cornerback
Michigan has offered North Palm Beach (Fla.) The Benjamin School cornerback Kaiir Elam, one of the top prospects in Florida in the 2019 class.
Elam, at nearly 6-foot-1, 177 pounds, has the type of size that has been typical of Michigan cornerback targets of late.
The Wolverines join Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Pitt, South Carolina, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin and others on his offer list.
Elam, whose father Abe played in the NFL, intercepted three passes as a sophomore and added 39 receptions for 570 yards and five touchdowns on offense. His uncle, Matt Elam, was a first-round draft choice of the Baltimore Ravens in 2013.
Georgia athlete offered
Cordele (Ga.) Crisp County sophomore Jammie Robinson was offered by Michigan last week, his 18th scholarship offer.
Robinson (5-11, 185 pounds) could project to several different positions, but said he envisions himself as a potential two-way player ala Wolverine grad and Cleveland Browns first-round selection Jabrill Peppers.
On defense, he projects to Peppers’ VIPER position and could play running back on offense, as well.
Robinson hopes to visit Michigan this summer. Alabama, Florida State, LSU and Tennessee are among his other offers.
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.