Trieu: Evans, Long among UM freshmen likely to play in opener

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
David Long

Michigan signed a top-10 class a year ago (No. 7 in the country on Scout), and while top classes are not a guarantee for success in college, the Wolverines’ true freshman class is validating that ranking so far during fall camp.

Several true freshmen have been mentioned by insiders, players and during head coach Jim Harbaugh’s press conferences as standouts the last month. With the Wolverines set to play their first game on Saturday against Hawaii, these are the five most likely new faces to see the field.

Defensive end Rashan Gary: The nation’s top recruit last season, Gary has spent a good amount of camp with the first team. While his teammates and coaches are tempering the excitement some, it is a good bet he starts against Hawaii at the “anchor,” a strongside defensive end position. Even if he is not out there the very first snap, expect to see a lot of him throughout the day.

Offensive lineman Ben Bredeson: Bredeson was the top-rated recruit in the Midwest last year, but it can be difficult to step in as a true freshman on the offensive line, so his rise up the depth chart can be considered a slight surprise. What may be most surprising is the challenge he has made at the left tackle spot after many believed he would be a college guard during the recruiting process. His versatility is a plus though, and he could play both tackle and guard this weekend.

Running back Chris Evans: Evans, a four-star recruit, has been one of the most talked-about players during camp with his elusiveness and pass-catching skills among the attributes that have earned praise. He brings a change of pace to the Wolverine offense and he can be moved around in different formations. Sweeps, screens and more traditional handoffs are all possibilities, but he is expected to see carries behind De’Veon Smith and Ty Isaac.

Linebacker Devin Bush: The Wolverines needed linebacker help in the 2016 class and Bush was a big get in filling that need. He enrolled early, giving himself a leg up on the competition. While he is not likely to start on Saturday, he is expected to play behind Mike McCray.

Cornerback David Long: Long has been one of the talks of fall camp. His speed, competitiveness and ball skills make him a good bet to play early. Jourdan Lewis and Channing Stribling have the starting spots, but behind them, Long is one of the players who will come in when Hawaii goes to four wides, which they will with some frequency.

2018 prospect explains U-M decommitment

The Michigan Insider’s Josh Newkirk traveled to Hoschton (Ga.) to see Jalil Irvin and his Stone Mountain squad on Friday. Irvin recently decommitted from the Wolverines and gave an explanation.

“The major reason was a lack of communication,” he said. “I haven’t talked to the coaches in two months. I was thinking, ‘Why would I stay committed here, when I haven’t heard from them in two months?’ So I decommitted and I picked up two offers (Georgia and Virginia Tech) the same day, actually.”

Irvin still referred to Michigan as a “dream school” and says he will visit for a game this season.

Wolverine commits play big in Week 1

Nearly all of Michigan’s commits were in action this weekend and several turned in impressive performances. One of the most eye-catching was St. Joseph (Mich.) defensive end Corey Malone-Hatcher, who actually played at Michigan Stadium and helped his team defeat Kalamazoo Central with a 10-tackle, four-sack day.

Quarterback Dylan McCaffrey’s Highlands (Colo.) Ranch Valor Christian team lost to Saguaro (Ariz.) but McCaffrey played well in defeat, completing 18-of-24 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown with two rushing touchdowns.

Los Lunas (N.M.) won its first game 64-20 behind Wolverine commit O’Maury Samuels, who rushed for 186 yards and three touchdowns.

Defensive line commit James Hudson had two sacks to help seal Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic’s win over Columbus Bishop Hartley.

More information

Rashan Gary profile

Ben Bredeson profile

Jalil Irvin 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.