Trieu: 5 true freshmen to watch for this season for Michigan

By Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News

Michigan’s 2018 recruiting class was ranked 21st in the country by the 247Sports Composite team recruiting rankings, which was lower than 2017’s No. 5 mark, but early reports have the true freshmen acclimating themselves well.

Here are our most likely candidates to see the field.

Essexville Garber product Ben VanSumeren could be a receiving threat out of the backfield for Michigan this season.

Jalen Mayfield: As a senior at Grand Rapids Catholic Central, Mayfield began adding the weight necessary to compete early in his career. He already had many of the other prerequisite tools. The early word has been that Mayfield has impressed in camp, and while rumors of him starting may be premature, we expect him to see the field.

Aidan Hutchinson: The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb has Hutchinson in the two-deep at weak-side defensive end. After a good career at Dearborn Divine Child, Hutchinson finished his high school career with an MVP performance at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, a sign he was ready to compete at a high level. With his tremendous, nearly 6-foot-7 frame, flexibility and intangibles, Hutchinson looks to provide depth this year while waiting in the wings to take over for Chase Winovich.

Christian Turner: Michigan returns two experienced tailbacks in Chris Evans and Karan Higdon. Behind them, former walk-on Tru Wilson has made noise, but Turner also was “tracking to play” according to Webb. That was before a camp injury hit, but Webb said he still expects Turner to have a chance to log some carries when healthy.

Ben VanSumeren: Webb says the Essexville Garber product is the most physically ready of any of the true freshmen and his well-rounded game could give the Wolverines an extra threat out of the backfield at fullback.

“Michigan is going to want a pass-catching option there,” Webb said, “and Jared Wangler is a guy who has those skills, but in Ben, you have a former receiver, so he has a unique skill set, he is a weight room guy and so I would expect him to see the field.”

Joe Milton: A true freshman playing at quarterback might seem like a stretch, but with the new rule allowing them to play four games before redshirting, Webb believes the Wolverines will get Milton’s feet wet. An early enrollee, the buzz on Milton since the spring has been positive. He has great size and arm strength and has reportedly been more polished than he was believed to be by analysts through the recruiting process.

Other names to watch

“Other freshmen will play because they have four games to play with,” Webb said. “I think Mustapha Muhammad will play, and I think Cameron McGrone will play and would play more if he wasn’t at such a loaded position.”

Belgian DE to take official to UM

Sylvain Yondjouen, a defensive end from Brussels, Belgium, will take an official visit to Ann Arbor this fall according to Brandon Collier, who has helped Yondjouen and other European teenagers get recruited by American colleges through Premier Players International.

Yondjouen (6-4, 230 pounds) confirmed the plans, but said he has not set a date for the visit yet.

Michigan signed German defensive end Julius Welschoff in the 2018 class. Welschoff was also part of the PPI program and adjoining bus tour which brought players to summer camps in the states.

Michigan has not offered Youndjouen a scholarship yet, but 11 other programs including Virginia, Colorado and Arizona have. He has an official visit set to Penn State for the weekend of Sept. 29.

More information

Sylvain Yondjouen profile

Allen Trieu covers Midwest football recruiting for 247Sports. 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