Trieu: Chuck Filiaga a ‘huge priority’ for Michigan
Fans who follow recruiting closely know it is a process that can be an emotional investment that brings both joy and disappointment.
Michigan fans experienced the range in the last five days.
The excitement over landing five-star wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones on Thursday was contrasted by the disappointment of offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson, a prospect many felt the Wolverines led for, choosing Georgia on Friday.
The ebb and flow of the recruiting tide brought positive news to Ann Arbor again on Monday when the Wolverines landed center Cesar Ruiz and defensive end Deron Irving-Bey, both four-star prospects.
Wilson’s loss is significant, not only because of his talent, but because he was a potential left tackle. Grant Newsome’s injury last season makes that a high position of need for the Wolverines. Wilson is off the board and it appears Pensacola native Alex Leatherwood, who recently reaffirmed his commitment to Alabama, is off the board, as well.
There are commits in the class – Joel Honigford, Andrew Stueber and JaRaymond Hall – who have experience at left tackle, and there are prospects on the board who could fit the bill, as well, namely 6-foot-7, 330-pound Texan Chuck Filiaga and 6-foot-7, 300-pound Virginian Mekhi Becton.
“Filiaga is a huge priority down the stretch because he is one of the targets that is capable of competing for a starting job right away,” The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb said of Filiaga. “Offensive line is one of the toughest positions to do that at, but from a physical and technical standpoint, that kid is fairly precocious, so he could be a factor right away. Becton certainly has the sheer size to be a factor, as well.”
Webb says both offensive coordinator / offensive line coach Tim Drevno and head coach Jim Harbaugh have been showing Filiaga a lot of personal attention. Becton continues to be heavily recruited, as well, and that is because of the effect signing one or both of them could have on Michigan’s options along the offensive line in the fall.
“Grant Newsome’s health is a huge question mark for next fall, so there are a couple of options,” Webb says. “They could opt for Mason Cole at left tackle and invite Patrick Kugler back for a fifth year as a center. If they land a tackle prospect in the class that is capable of playing as a true freshman, that really frees them up to not have to move Cole out of the center. That gives a ton of flexibility.”
Filiaga will announce his commitment at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 7. Becton will commit closer to National Signing Day.
2018 OL has Michigan in final group
Most of the focus in the recruiting world is on the 2017 class right now, but Michigan is in position to potentially land a highly-recruited junior soon, as well. Memphis (Tenn.) Harding Academy offensive lineman Will Lawrence (6-4, 298 pounds) announced a top five of Michigan, Ohio State, Arizona State, LSU and North Carolina. He will visit each of those schools in the next two months, with a Jan. 14 date set for Michigan.
He says his commitment will be made by the end of February.
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.