While the Michigan coaching staff hasn’t wrapped its 2016 class yet – and has just one commitment in the Class of 2017 in tight end Carter Dunaway of Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice – Jim Harbaugh and his assistants are already scouring the country for the best prospects in the Class of 2018.
Even though most 2018 prospects have played just junior varsity football (or lined up for their freshman squad last fall), some national prospects have stood out.
Some players with early Michigan offers are no-brainers, even heading into their sophomore seasons.
Jacksonville (Fla.) Bartram Trail quarterback Joey Gatewood already holds dozens of offers, and is favoring Florida State and Auburn early in his recruitment. Memphis (Tenn.) Germantown Academy offensive lineman Will Lawrence is the most-offered player in the nation for 2018, with more than 30 options. Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas defensive backs Asante Samuel Jr. and Benjamin Sapp Jr. are each hot on Lawrence’s heels in total offers. Manvel (Texas) wide receiver Jalen Preston and Moore (Okla.) offensive lineman Brey Walker are each nearing double-digits themselves.
While the competition for those players will be fierce with many top-notch programs in the nation, some prospects with early Michigan offers are more likely to keep U-M on the list. Paramus (N.J.) Catholic quarterback Allan Walters was practically speechless when he picked up his U-M offer at the Ann Arbor Aerial Assault quarterback camp earlier this off-season.
“I’m so excited; you have no idea,” he said. “I’m still in shock. This was definitely one of the top coolest moments in my life. I was so excited.”
Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peters Prep prospects Justin and Jayson Ademilola, a linebacker and defensive end, respectively, had already planned to visit Ann Arbor on Aug. 2 by the time they picked up offers from Harbaugh on Friday.
“I’m visiting Aug. 2, so I just wanted to touch base,” Jayson said. “First thing he said was they were waiting for me to call, then he said, ‘we’re going to offer both of you guys a full scholarship offer to the University of Michigan before you come up to visit.'”
While there’s still plenty of time to go – nearly three years – before National Signing Day 2018, the Michigan coaching staff is remaining ahead of the curve when it comes to identifying and offering young talent.
Tim Sullivan is the Football Recruiting Editor of The Wolverine magazine and TheWolverine.com. He is also a contributor to national football recruiting coverage on the Rivals.com network. You can follow him on Twitter @TimS_Wolverine.