Updated look at 2018 and 2019 scholarship situation
Written by Matt Pargoff   

The Wolverines signed 16 players to the 2018 class already, but with the new system of early signing, the picture is still left incomplete. We take a look at where things stand on scholarships, both for 2018 and 2019, also breaking down the greatest area of needs in the future class.

The below chart lists the eligibility of players for the 2018 season with fifth-year players marked by asterisks.

2018 Scholarship Distribution

True freshmen RS freshmen Sophomres
Junior
Seniors
QB
Joe Milton (1)
Kevin Doyle
Dylan McCaffrey (17)
Brandon Peters (31)
Shea Patterson (51)

RB
Hassan Haskins (2)
Christian Turner (3)
Kurt Taylor (18)
O'Maury Samuels (32)
Kareem Walker (33)


Chris Evans (52) Karan Higdon (76)
FB Ben VanSumeren (4)
  Ben Mason (34)   Jared Wangler (77)*
WR
Ronnie Bell Tarik Black (19)
Oliver Martin (20)


Nico Collins (35)
Donovan Peoples-Jones (36)
Kekoa Crawford (53)
Eddie McDoom (54)
Grant Perry (78)
TE
Ryan Hayes (5)
Mustapha Muhammad (6)
Luke Schoonmaker (7)



Nick Eubanks (55)
Zach Gentry (56)
Sean McKeon (57)
Tyrone Wheatley Jr. (58)
Ian Bunting (79)*
OL
Jalen Mayfield (8)
Chuck Filiaga (21)
Ja'Raymond Hall (22)
James Hudson (23)
Joel Honigford (24)
Cesar Ruiz (37)
Stephen Spanellis (38)
Andrew Stueber (39)
Ben Bredeson (59)
Grant Newsome (60)
Michael Onwenu (61)
Jon Runyan Jr. (62)
Nolan Ulizio (63)
J. Bushell-Beatty (80)*
CB
Gemon Green (9)
Sammy Faustin (10)
Myles Sims (11)

Benjamin St-Juste (40)
Ambry Thomas (41)
David Long (64)
Lavert Hill (65)

Brandon Watson (81)*
S
German Green (12)

Brad Hawkins (42)
Jaylen Kelly-Powell (43)
J'Marick Woods (44)
Josh Metellus (66) Tyree Kinnel (82)
LB
Cameron McGrone (13)
Otis Reese
Jordan Anthony (25)
Drew Singleton (26)
Josh Ross (45) Devin Bush Jr. (67)
Devin Gil (68)
Khaleke Hudson (69)
Elysee Mbem-Bosse (70)

Joshua Uche (71)

Noah Furbush (83)*

DE
Aidan Hutchinson (14)
Taylor Upshaw (15)
Julius Welschof (16)
Deron Irvin-Bey (27)
Donovan Jeter (28)

Luiji Vilain (29)
Ron Johnson (46)
Kwity Paye (47)
Rashan Gary (72)
Reuben Jones (73)
Carlo Kemp (74)
Chase Winovich (84)*
DT
  Phillip Paea (30)
Aubrey Solomon (48) Michael Dwumfour (75) Lawrence Marshall (85)*
Bryan Mone (86)*
ST
 
Quinn Nordin (49)
Brad Robbins (50)
   

Where Things Stand for 2018

Immediately following the Ohio State game, the Wolverines were hit by a wave of attrition with players like Wilton Speight, Alex Malzone, Maurice Ways and Drake Harris announcing their departures. Based off the numbers from the chart above, another wave of losses from the team will be coming after the bowl game.

Even without including verbal commitments Otis Reese, Kevin Doyle and Ronnie Bell, Michigan is one over the 85-scholarship limit for 2018.

Fans are still waiting on the decision of defensive end Chase Winovich, who led the team in sacks in the fall and is considering moving on early to the NFL. But there could be other players that choose not to return for a fifth year or aren’t invited back for that opportunity as well. Another one to watch is offensive lineman Ja’Raymond Hall, who denied reports that he was leaving the program, but also said that he had not made a final decision.

The most likely source for departures often comes from fifth year players, where they may choose not to continue playing, may not be invited back for a fifth year, or where they could play elsewhere with immediate eligibility as graduate transfers. From that group, Jared Wangler has yet to make a meaningful impact on the team and was passed by a freshman Ben Mason on the depth chart in the fall. Wangler though is the only one we would tab as “likely” not to return.

Ian Bunting was also surpassed by younger players at his position, but he could still reassert himself in the spring to take that job back, or provide valuable depth. Lawrence Marshall played sparingly, but he could be Michigan’s starter at defensive tackle in 2018, and has been named by veteran starters on the line as a front runner for that job.

Brandon Watson and Noah Furbush are both backups, but they are also top backups and regular contributors. Bryan Mone and Juwann Bushell-Beatty will likely be in the thick of the competition to start at their respective nose tackle and offensive tackle spots.

This is an area where developments can be expected, though it is not certain what they will be. If the Wolverines are to sign their three remaining verbal commitments in February, then four names on the chart above will not be on the team in the fall. Any further additions to the 2018 class beyond those three would mean additional departures on top of those four.

Early Look at 2019 Scholarship Numbers

At present, there are 10 spots available for the 2019 signing class, and that number may go down before it goes up.

It will depend on where room comes from to fit Reese, Bell and Doyle into the 2018 class. If that comes from Winovich going pro, and a three veterans not returning for a fifth year, then there will be fewer scholarships to work with in 2019. So Michigan could start out with as few as seven scholarships to give.

If that space comes exclusively from underclassmen leaving the program though, then the Wolverines would still have 10 spots to work with.

That is of course just a starting point, as there is always attrition throughout the year, which has been increasingly the case in recent times. It is not unusual at this point to see double digit losses from one year to the next from players with eligibility remaining.

There is still a lot that could change. That could even include further additions to the 2018 class beyond just the three verbal commitments. But Michigan fans should ready themselves for 2019 being a smaller sized class.

Areas of Need in 2019

Offensive line is a position that really requires a constant stream of talent as opposed to waves of it. So for Michigan to sign only one player at the position for 2018 makes that spot a major priority in 2019.

Even if Ryan Hayes grows into an offensive lineman, two players at the position also is not enough given that five are on the field at a given moment and it is a position that takes time to develop. Coming up short in offensive line recruiting two years in a row almost always leads to young players starting ahead of schedule, which can significantly hold back an entire offense.

Defensive tackle will also be an extremely significant area of need going forward, given the lack of numbers already at the position, and the loss of Bryan Mone and Lawrence Marshall to eligibility after 2018. At present, the Wolverines have just three interior linemen on scholarship to man two spots in 2019.

It’s possible that a player like Donovan Jeter or Deron Irvin-Bey could grow into a defensive tackle to add more depth there, but it’s still a spot that could use a lot more depth. A true freshmen at defensive tackle in 2019 would immediately be in competition to be a primary backup, potentially even getting work in the regular rotation.

Running back is not nearly as big of a need as those two other positions, but it will be worth keeping a close eye on the development of younger players. Karan Higdon is entering his final year in 2018, and while Chris Evans will be a junior. If Kareem Walker steps up as a compliment or competition to those two, then it delays the significance of the need by a year. If Hassan Haskins or Christian Turner show flashes of brilliance in their rookie campaigns, maybe there is no great need. But if it is just a Higdon/Evans show without anyone else really showing much, the need for the future could start to become apparent.

Along a similar lines as running back, Michigan would certainly be stronger if at least one of Ambry Thomas, Benjamin St-Juste, or the true freshmen corners begin to show their skills on the defensive side of the ball. David Long and Lavert Hill will both be juniors in 2018, and it’s not outside the realm of possibility that one of them could have the type of season that would propel him to an early departure.


 

 
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