Wednesday signals the beginning of a three-day window in which high school football players around the country can sign with their college of choice for next season. Michigan, like many schools, is expected to see most if not all the members of their 2018 class sign over the next 72 hours.
Their latest pledge comes locally in the state of Michigan and of the flipping variety. They added 3-star tight end and former Iowa commit Ben VanSumeren.
VanSumeren is a tight end prospect from Garber High School in Essexville, Michigan. He's rated as a top-15 player in the state and a top-50 athlete nationally, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings; he also is listed as a linebacker as well. The commitment from VanSumeren comes just days after Michigan offered him a scholarship on Thursday, December 14.
He made his official visit to Ann Arbor one day later on December 15, after receiving phone calls from Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and assistant coach Jay Harbaugh. VanSumeren had only been committed to Iowa for about a month prior.
“I let them know I was a little mad at them for just coming into contact a week before signing day,” said VanSumeren, a lifelong Michigan fan. “He apologized. He said there were going to be some guys who were going to be fired. He was kidding around.”
“The phone rang, a number I didn't recognize, and it was (Michigan assistant coach) Jay Harbaugh,” VanSumeren said. “It was probably only a 9-minute conversation. He said, ‘We watched your film and we really liked it. We just decided that we are going to take a fullback on scholarship in this class, and we think you are the best in the country.’ ”
It's a very different process these days for prep stars like VanSumeren and big-time programs like Michigan. With the early signing period in December as opposed to the traditional signing day in early February, players feel more pressured to make a such a decision. Coaches, meanwhile, don't seem very fond of it, having to tackle heightened recruiting business while also working towards a potential upcoming bowl game.
Granted, it is not mandatory for players to sign right now, as some develop and get recognized later than others and still have until February and even beyond, but it really has compromised planning for both parties.
No such issue for VanSumeren, it would appear, as he announced that he would be signing his national letter of intent on Wednesday, December 20 to play at Michigan in 2018.
2018 CLASS COUNTER: 18
With the addition of VanSumeren, Michigan now has 18 pledges from the Class of 2018 for next season, a class that currently ranks 12th in the nation and 3rd in the Big Ten, behind only Ohio State and Penn State.
VanSumeren is the only one of those 18 commits to be tabbed as an athlete, though it would appear that his future at Michigan would be as a fullback option of sorts. VanSumeren is just the fourth in-state talent to commit to the Wolverines, joining a trio of 4-star lineman: Divine Child defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, Grand Rapids Catholic Central offensive tackle Jalen Mayfield, and Traverse City West offensive tackle Ryan Hayes.