Michigan set for quiet National Signing Day

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - 9:27pm

Jim Harbaugh is set to sign his fourth recruiting class as head coach of the Michigan football team.

National Signing Day is Wednesday, and the Wolverines currently have the nation’s 17th-best recruiting class, according to 247Sports. That’s currently off the pace Harbaugh set the previous two years as Michigan signed the No. 5 and No. 8 classes in 2017 and 2016, respectively.

That’s not the only difference this year, either. While with previous classes there was usually a flurry of activity near signing day, it’s been quiet this year — much more quiet. With the addition of an early signing period in December, the Wolverines — and many teams around the country — have already signed a large proportion of their class.

But that’s not to say that national signing day won’t be without its stakes. Michigan is hoping to hold onto its top-ranked recruit in four-star linebacker Otis Reese. As a 6-foot-4, 206-pound prospect from Leesburg, Ga.,  Reese is currently the subject of a spirited recruiting battle between the Wolverines and Georgia. Reese took several visits to see his hometown team play during the regular season. He took an official visit to Michigan on Jan. 19 before taking one more trip to Athens on Jan. 26.

Reese is the former high school teammate of freshman defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon, who committed to Michigan on the same day as Reese in the summer of 2016.

While the Wolverines may be waiting for Reese’s signature, it will be a significant amount of time before they gain the signature of another prospect who had previously been committed.

Kevin Doyle, a three-star quarterback, announced his intentions on Feb. 4 to sign with a school other than Michigan.

“Thank you Coach Hamilton and Coach Harbaugh for the opportunity,” Doyle wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. “I am officially decommitted from the University of Michigan. I will be signing with a new school on Wednesday, Feb. 7th.” 

Doyle had been committed to the Wolverines since Sept. 24 after a whirlwind recruitment. He told Scout.com that Michigan’s courtship began after Hamilton watched one of his games on television.

Doyle, the Gatorade State Football Player of the Year for Washington, D.C., visited during the Air Force game and committed shortly after that. His decommitment leaves the Wolverines with one quarterback for the class in four-star Joe Milton, who signed at the early deadline and enrolled for the winter semester. Milton will be one of four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster next season, along with sophomore Shea Patterson, redshirt freshman Brandon Peters and freshman Dylan McCaffrey.

Doyle’s departure may have put a dent in the class. But it wasn’t too long before Michigan earned another commitment, this time from kicker Jake Moody.

Moody tweeted his decision to commit to the Wolverines on Feb. 4, the same day Doyle announced his decommitment.

“This has been the toughest decision in my life,” Moody wrote. “After sitting down and talking with my family, I have decided to commit to the University of Michigan.”

Moody, a native of Northville, is regarded as one of the top prep kickers in the nation. He told hometownlife.com that he may greyshirt, which would mean signing a letter of intent while delaying enrollment until the winter semester. In that scenario, Moody would essentially sit out his freshman season while retaining full eligibility.

“If the scholarship isn’t there this fall, then I would probably greyshirt, and that would probably give me a buffer year in between Quinn (Nordin),” Moody told hometownlife. “And if I grey-shirted, I could also redshirt if I wanted to if it looked like I couldn’t play. Then I could get two years in between Quinn.”

The Wolverines currently have 20 players committed, with eight ranked as four-star prospects and 12 ranked as three-star prospects.