Michigan Football Preview 2017

2017 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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170 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2017 FOOTBALL PREVIEW MIDWEST TOP 25 BY BRANDON BROWN T he coaching staff at Michigan is always going to recruit nationally, but last year was a great cycle for in-state and in-region talent. In 2018, though, talent is down in the Midwest. That has U-M working hard to pilfer recruits from Georgia, Texas and other talent-rich areas around the country. The following is a look at the top pros- pects in the Midwest, with all rankings from Rivals.com. 1. Jackson Carman, OT Fairfield (Ohio) High School At 6-6 and 305 pounds, Carman is a big boy who can really move, has great feet and rarely gets beat with speed. He's even better when a de- fender attempts to go inside or use power against him. He's a five-star talent and is considered the No. 1 offen- sive tackle and No. 4 overall prospect nationally. As the top player in the state of Ohio and a high priority for the Buckeyes, expect him to end up in Colum- bus, despite a very solid visit to defending national champion Clemson. 2. L'Christian Smith, ATH Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne Smith is a very versatile, athletic and strong-bodied player. He considers himself a wide re- ceiver, and that's what most schools were recruiting him to play. At 6-5 and 215 pounds, Smith is a matchup nightmare. Couple that with his great speed and leaping ability, and he be- comes a true home run threat. He is rated as a four-star prospect, the No. 2 player in Ohio and the No. 31 overall recruit in the country. Smith is keeping his recruitment close to the vest, but looks like a strong Ohio State lean with Kentucky and Cincinnati in hot pursuit as of June 7. He plans to commit by the end of July. 3. Michael Thompson, DT St. Louis Parkway North At 6-4 and 273 pounds, Thompson has a lot of ability on both sides of the ball. Initially recruited as an offensive lineman by Michigan, Greg Mattison has taken over and now likes him as a defender. He is listed as a four-star talent, the top player in Missouri, and the No. 2 defensive tackle and No. 37 overall prospect nationally. Thompson has a many options, but staying close to home might end up being a priority. The Tigers will have a fight on their hands, but it could be appealing for Thompson join to a couple of other highly touted prospects from the Show Me State at Mizzou. 4. Trevor Trout, DT St. Louis Chaminade The 6-3, 295-pound Trout is one of the more athletic players at the position in the country. He has a very stout build that allows him to beat jumbo guards with interior moves, but he also possesses enough quickness to rush from the edge and pursue offensive players in the backfield. He is ranked as a four-star recruit, the No. 2 player in Missouri and the No. 39 overall prospect in the nation. Like Thompson, Trout has offers from just about everywhere, but staying close to home could be too much for him to pass up as well. He and Thompson are close, and it looks like the in-state Tigers could get two huge commitments from both four-star de- fensive linemen. 5. Jaelen Gill, RB Westerville (Ohio) South Gill is an extremely smooth athlete whose 6-0, 176-pound frame is tai- lor made to make plays in space. He has a ton of ath- leticism, which enables him to carry the ball like a tra- ditional running back, catch passes out of the backfield, split wide like a receiver and contribute in the return game. Those abilities make him the No. 1 all-purpose back in America. Gill — a four-star talent, the No. 3 player in Ohio and the No. 49 overall player in the country — committed to Ohio State in early March, spurning teams like Florida, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, UCLA and USC. 6. Kamryn Babb, WR St. Louis Christian Brothers College Babb is a chiseled 6-1 and 175 pounds, very quick, can make plays in space and has the speed to take any catch to the house. His muscular build allows him to run through tacklers, and he also has top- level strength and balance. He also contributes in the return game, and is rated as the No. 3 player in Missouri and the No. 89 overall prospect in the land. Depending on where he ends up, he'll likely have an oppor- tunity to affect the game in several phases. Babb is one of Michigan's top targets at wide receiver in 2018, but he may end up head- ing to U-M's biggest rival — the Buckeyes. 7. Kalon Gervin, CB Detroit Cass Tech Gervin is built well and plays an extremely physical brand of football. He is considered a four-star recruit, the top player in Michigan and the No. 104 overall prospect nationally. Both Michigan and Michigan State have offered Gervin, but neither seems to be a major player in his recruitment. The one-time Notre Dame commit may be looking hardest at Ohio State, Virginia Tech and Oregon, but he's remaining very patient after going through the commitment/decom- mitment situation already with the Irish. 8. Tyreke Smith, DE Cleveland Heights (Ohio) High School Smith has a very impressive build for a strongside defensive end at 6-4 and 250 pounds. He has got plus athleticism at his size, and he seems comfortable with power and speed rushes plus combinations of the two. Smith — a four-star recruit, the No. 5 player in Ohio and the No. 107 prospect in the nation — holds offers from Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Penn State, UCLA and USC, but all are likely looking up at the in- state Buckeyes. Urban Meyer and Co. don't let coveted kids leave the state of Ohio very often, and it'll likely be more of the same with Smith. 9. Joseph Scates, WR Dayton (Ohio) Dunbar Scates is a very rangy, lanky, smooth ath- lete. At 6-3 and 180 pounds, he has the long build coaches love to see in outside receiv- Midwest Top 25 The Region's Best In The Class Of 2018

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