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|Art by Aaron Bills|
1. BEST RECRUIT
David: "If Reese commits today..." ??
Alex: Best recruit? Shea Patterson.
Seth: I guess he counts.
Ace: I really like IN LB Cam McGrone, who bounced back from a junior-year injury to put up a really impressive senior year. He’s a guided missile in the Devin Bush mold, and he’s got a little size on Bush. I could see him excelling at multiple linebacker spots.
David: I was super disappointed that he didn't play when we went down to see him play. I feel like I will mention McGrone later on in this list, as well.
Seth: He shot up the recruiting rankings between a little and "that's a five star" after the sites caught that tape.
Ace: Given track records with Midwest recruits, I’m glad it’s 247/Scout that loves him. It’s also worth noting that ESPN very much fired and forgot with McGrone. They don’t have a senior eval for him.
Seth: That brings me to another answer: the guy with a monster delta was Aidan Hutchinson, who went from RVB/Wormley range to breathing on the five-stars range.
David: Hutchinson is also intriguing. When @adam saw him, he played like 7 positions?
Ace: Nailed it:
By my count, Hutchinson lined up in seven different spots against East Lansing: NT (on a three-man line!), 3T, 5T, WR, TE, H-back, and long snapper. Yeah, he’s even their long snapper, and he’s good at that, too. Like his father, though, Hutchinson shines on defense.
Adam: Yeah, he was really impressive. he played just about everything and looked really athletic. they lined up at just about every receiver position. He was also their long snapper? That was one of my favorite scouting trips last season.
David: Because everyone else didn't play on our other trips?
Seth: ESPN still moved McGrone up their rankings. He went from an 80 (low 4-star) to an 82, 16th to 9th in OLB rankings, and went from out of the ESPN 300 to 206th overall.
Adam: Didn't see McGrone in person but from his film it certainly appears he's tailor-made for a Don Brown defense. A bunch of Very Professional Journalists went to see him before the Purdue game and were practically salivating in the press box the next day while relaying what they saw.
David: Missile-Blitzing linebackers under Don Brown's tutelage are definitely worth salivating over
Ace: I mean:
Downhill linebacker that closes ground and eats up grass really quickly. At the collision point, McGrone is a striker who knocks ball carriers backwards. He shows a great feel for angles as a tackler and is very effective and disrupting running lanes and sifting through trash. His ability to accelerate gives him a lot of upside as a blitzer from the second level. Can improve in man-to-man coverage but the athleticism is there and has a very good feel for zone drops as an inside linebacker. He can be an every down linebacker on the college level. - Barton Simmons
Brian: I'll put in a shout for Mustapha Muhammad, who's one of those guys who Rivals is relatively down on while everyone else is very in favor of. Since Wormley I am in favor of these gents. He, essentially alone in this class, is a big out of region get with a bunch of excellent offers. He's going to be the kind of seam-stretching tight end that Michigan's offense depends on heavily. And he's got a cool name.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundtable]
|Tackle-shaped objects are most welcome.|
2. MOST IMPORTANT
Seth: Caveat Shea.
David: So, I'm going to say Jaylen Mayfield as he is the only true OL in the class.
Ace: I’ll also go with in-state OT Jalen Mayfield, especially in the likelihood that Michigan doesn’t land Nick Petit-Frere. We’re all well aware of the need to develop some offensive tackles in the near future and Mayfield is the only guy in the class as I write this who will start his college career there. (Ryan Hayes will play TE before potentially moving to OT.) Also there just weren’t a ton of glaring needs in this class.
Seth: Yeah the thing about bringing in 60 players/transfers over the last two classes is you've probably got a hot young somebody in each spot.
Adam: I have to agree with Jalen Mayfield. He's extraordinarily athletic and has the frame to add a little bit of weight and be a contributor at a position where need is evergreen. I also see Ryan Hayes sticking at TE, which makes Mayfield's development a little more important.
Seth: With two other TEs in the class?
Adam: I think he's another Gentry
Seth: That could sound like an indictment against his blocking.
David: Joe Milton also probably gets a nod...just in case Patterson isn't eligible and Speight does NOT return with no Patterson eligibility. Like...in that case, Milton walks in as #3 QB
Ace: If Milton sees the field any time in the next 2-3 years it’ll be a disaster. Like let’s not even discuss it.
Seth: If we're discounting Shea for "duh" and not transfers don't count, Calvin Anderson would be the big immediate thing.
Ace: Oh, most definitely. For all the Mayfield reasons except magnified a ton since he can start and possibly be quite good right away.
David: Yes, if he's in, he wins.
Really like his film. Uses his hands well.
Ace: PFF loves him too.
Seth: It’s quite easy once you know the method. You can make a case here for Myles Sims. He can play any position in the secondary and is the only one of the Brown-types getting national press.
3. BEST GIFT TO UNWRAP IN THREE YEARS
Brian: Could be Joe Milton, whether that's because he pulls that accuracy way, way up--QBs with completion percentages that go nowhere during their careers are not usually collge successes--or because he becomes Zach Gentry 2.0. If I had to bet it would be on the latter, but either way he's a guy you want to take a shot on after a couple of years with McCaffrey and Peters.
David: My initial thought here was Luke Schoomaker First, he has the time. Michigan has their TEs for the next couple of seasons, most likely. Also, Schoon's size and athleticism combo are nice. He also played QB in HS, so his intelligence is going to be an asset. Let's let him get used to being in college, learn from solid options in front of him, and we could have another Unearthed Diamond.
Ace: He came to mind as well, but I have to go with Julius “Juice” Welschof because German lineman with crazy 80s-style workout videos. Competition makes it really tough to project the guy but he’s strong and explosive.
— juliuswelschof (@JuliusWelschof) August 24, 2017
Also he was a youth champion moguls skier. I’m just fascinated to see how that dude develops.
“He’s really raw but his upside is tremendous,” said one of the coaches at another program that had him in camp last summer. “This is a really good get for Michigan. He’s a beautiful kid. He’s going to be 6'6", 280 pounds before too long. His athleticism is really legit.”
That school had Welschof measured at 6'6" and 242 pounds, with a 4.87 40, a 10-foot broad jump and an impressive 4.38-second 20-yard shuttle.
Seth: If Otis Reese commits it'll keep that Viper train rolling once Khaleke Hudson is baffling NFL scouts.
Ace: Yeah, we’ve avoided mentioning Reese because of the uncertainty but he could’ve been in either of the previous two categories. I was down to him and McGrone for best prospect and it’s close. Both are impressively physical players given their size and athleticism.
David: Yeah, I had him as Best Prospect...but, again, uncertainty, etc. Top 100 guy, though...you have to think he'll see the field at some point, next season, if he signs.
4. PICK A RUNNING BACK
Ace: BEN VANSUMEREN. HARBAUUUUUUUUUGH!!! But for real, that dude’s gonna be an impact fullback.
David: I wish we had known because he would have been fun to go see in person
Seth: The funny thing about trying to build up my old database of, like, '90s recruits, is the top fullbacks used to be five-stars and pursued by everybody. VanSumeren is the pick of the litter--we just call that a 3-star now.
If you're asking, Michigan's top-rated FB recruit is Jon Ritchie, 1993 class. #1 fullback to everybody, Michigan yoinked him from Penn State.
Ace: Also, my real answer is Michael Barrett from the three tailback-types. I really like the way he runs, and I like the high school QB’s potential to have good vision as a ballcarrier. If Georgia Tech wants you as a QB, I’m cool with you as a RB.
David: Good point. Would have taken Justin Thomas.
Adam: I absolutely love Barrett's game; I just went back and watched the other two backs' highlights and I'm very comfortable with this pick, and those guys are talented. The vision Ace mentioned was readily apparent in Barrett's film, and his athleticism is hard to match. I think he'll see the field soon.
Ace: For a group of three-stars I like this haul. Christian Turner has some Evans-like versatility and Hassan Haskins is a bowling ball.
Seth: Christian Turner, committed so long ago I think he was forgotten about. Kind of a Karan Higdon, which Harbaugh likes.
Ace: I’d take an Evans/Higdon hybrid.
5. GUY WHO GOT AWAY WHO WILL HAUNT YOU FOREVER
Ace: Emil Ekiyor is a house on wheels coveted as a guard by Alabama. That guy would’ve been real nice.
Seth: I thought Alabama all but promised him center, and his whole thing was Ruiz is going to lock that down here.
Ace: Center, guard, whatever. Alabama wanted him to play on the interior. That is usually a strong indication of being good. Also a future millionaire.
David: Nicholas Petit-Frere So many reasons.
David: Also Tyler Friday He will probably spend some time in Michigan's backfield in the next few years.
Ace: Oh man… Alim McNeill. I’ll spare you all the Hudl video. They really needed a DT and it’s not looking great at the moment. I guess “really needed” is an overstatement after last year’s haul but getting one would’ve been comforting.
David: Kinda like QBs, though, right? DT in every class?
Ace: Uh... several hundred highly touted offensive tackles who got away? I'm fine with Mayfield and Hayes but both guys are very much developmental and this is the third straight year where Michigan tries to get after some big-time instant impact types and gets shut out. I like Filiaga and Stueber and the guys in this class but really, the Most Important thing about this class is the big gaps in it, at OT and DT.
Seth: I get that they were after other guys but Daniel Faaele winding up at Minnesota was a...surprise.
Ace: I think Faalele winding up at Minnesota after all that exposure tells you something. It is not “instant-impact tackle.”
Brian: As mentioned, every high end OT.
Seth: Also every five-star. There was a time Michigan was in it for Eyabi Anoma.
Ace: Eh, kinda. You could say that every year about a dozen guys. They were “in it” for Isaac Taylor-Stuart, too.
Seth: Alright then Josh Jobe.
David: LOL. Amon-Ra St. Brown
Ace: I think it’s time to move on. The answer is high-end OT.
6. GUY YOU'RE MOST IRRATIONALLY ENTHUSED ABOUT
Ace: Ronnie Bell never camped and planned to play basketball in college and changed his mind late. Michigan got in on him quickly and his recruitment ended without any real change in his unranked three-star ranking, but look at the film and tell me he’s not Drake Harris With Functional Hamstrings.
Brian: Barrett. No idea how that guy plays at that level in Georgia and has that film and is not at least a generic four star. He's not a quarterback... so what? Dude is a bowling ball with knives sticking out everywhere.
Adam: I'm very comfortable putting all my eggs in the "Michael Barrett stan" basket.
David: Perhaps Sammy Faustin His size/length combo and being a late riser. Then, letting him sit for a while under Don Brown, after watching what he's done with DBs in the last couple of years...color me intrigued.
Ace: There are a number of DBs in this class who could qualify. Vincent Gray blew up late and his offers way outstrip his ranking, plus (like everyone else) he really fits the Don Brown DB mold.
Seth: There hasn't been a mention of Taylor Upshaw but he's been very quietly ticking UP on recruiting rankings, which is rare. Son of an NFL player who weirdly just started playing football, and Greg Mattison was super-high on him, while a bunch of power programs were sniffing around.
Ace: That’s a good one. I also feel obligated to mention VanSumeren again.
Seth: Ol' Young Murderface
Ace: A true runner/receiver/blocker at fullback with some wheels—yeah, that could work out.
7. FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE CLASS
David: DBs for dayyyyyyyyyys
Brian: The 2019 class is already better than it?
Ace: The blocky/catchy haul. As you can probably tell, I’m in on VanSumeren. I really like the tight end class, too. Muhammad is the obvious standout; Schoonmaker looks like another Sean McKeon; Hayes could be a matchup nightmare and serious people-mover if he sticks at TE.
Brian: Let's not mince words: this isn't going to be enough if it continues like this. Not to beat OSU.
Ace: It’s also seriously unlikely to continue like this. As the ’19 start shows. But yeah, this was a letdown. I just cited TEs/FBs as the bright spot.
Brian: Yeah buddy.
David: This is getting into the presumed next section, haha.
Seth: I think this was to be expected. There wasn't really a spot other than tackle where a guy could come in and play immediately, and the returning starters are juniors and sophomores. Also it was an expected down year after graduating everybody.
Ace: On one hand, yeah, it was a small class after a couple huge, talented classes. On the other hand, Ohio State and Alabama manage to pull this off.
Seth: They won national championships before doing so.
Ace: This class still could’ve been better in a few very obvious ways.
8. LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS CLASS
Seth: Just continue we're already here.
Ace: Lack of star power.
David: Whoa, that's a lot of DBs
Ace: Other than McGrone and (hopefully) Reese, this class lacks a guy I feel comfortable saying is going to be an eventual shoe-in for all-conference. (Except VanSumeren.) There are a lot of really intriguing three-stars?
Brian: The 100% flier rate on skill position players outside of TE. I guess Turner was an ND prospect as well. The 67% flier rate.
Seth: It's disappointing how hard everything got. Michigan a year ago had a Georgia pipeline, got first pick of guys coming out of New Jersey, was cutting into Ohio State's class, and had guys from California planning officials. Other than the catchy/blocky types, did they get their #5 guy anywhere?
David: There are a lot of unique 3-stars. I guess if there is a class to do that with...maybe this is it?
Alex: This is depressing. Michigan is currently #17 in the composite, would drop a spot if Reese goes elsewhere. Ohio State is #1, Penn State is #4. Can't afford too much more of this.
Ace: Turner still ended up well off four-star pace, too.
Brian: Although, thank God they didn't get a five star RB, amirite?
Adam: I'd feel a lot better about this class if one of the two tackles was actually a tackle. And yeah, my new favorite thing about the class is that they didn't land a five-star RB.
9. RANDOM THING YOU HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO BRING UP YET
Ace: This doesn’t help the happy fun times feel of this post but I’m disappointed, especially after the Doyle decommitment, that Michigan ended up with only Milton in the class if they really picked him over Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
Sushi-raw high-upside guy in a two-QB class? Awesome. In a one-QB class? I get a little nervous.
I’m also a bit skeptical of the party line that the coaches really favored Milton over DTR unless they had a sense he was going to UCLA regardless, but that’s the party line.
Seth: I may as well end with my graph:
Closest comp is…2007? Mallett headliner, with Molk, RVB, Hemingway, Huyge, Woolfolk and some guys who didn’t play our shouldn’t have been. Huyge got the fourth-most playing time from that class. James Rogers was seventh. The difference being if this class produces just five solid contributors that’s something Michigan might be able to get away with now if 2019 is more like 2016-2017.
Alex: Thing I want to bring up: DeJulius-Nunez-Iggy-Johns-Castleton is a Big Ten title type class(?) At least we have that going for us, which is nice.
Ace: Yes, let’s go with this.
Ace: The 2018 class is killer, guys.
Brian: Or thirded. Whatever!