ANN ARBOR, Mich. — We’ve talked ad nauseum about true freshman defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, as we’ve already seen what the now-second-rotation strong-side defensive end can do. But there’s another defensive end we haven’t seen yet from the 2018 recruiting class.
Former four-star Julius Welschof came to Michigan with very little fanfare. In fact, before he earned his fourth-star with 247Sports, some stargazers out there weren’t too happy with the offer of the then-Georgia Tech commit.
But, what they didn’t realize is just how under-scouted the Germany-based player was, playing football overseas.
Michigan knew — Welschof came to camp over the summer of 2016, and worked extensively with Greg Mattison and the defensive ends already on the roster, as the camp was primarily geared towards the skill positions. Getting that one-on-one time helped the staff evaluate the former Munich Cowboy.
There was another ace up the sleeve, too, for the Wolverines. Welschof’s coach in Germany? Former Don Brown-coached player Brandon Collier, who played for the Michigan defensive coordinator at UMass.
Now, Welschof gets the benefit from learning from Greg Mattison, one of the most heralded defensive line coaches in all of college football. He’s going through the strength and conditioning regimen.
And, ultimately, he’s learning in earnest how to play football from a high-profile staff for the first time.
Mattison is super eager to see where the Miesbach, Germany-based player ends up as his career progresses. He hasn’t seen the field yet, but once he knows what he’s doing and has had more time on task — look out, the longtime Wolverines assistant says.
“I’m really excited about him,” Mattison said. “In fact, we talk about, every day in these practices we have with the young guys, this is a guy that the ceiling is so high.
“His football background is so small, and everything you teach him, he does. He has an unreal desire to be a good player. He can run very well. He’s gonna be very strong with our strength program.
“His name comes up a lot, watching him, how much he’s improved — and it’s just touching the surface. So I’m really excited about him.”
Welschof has dressed for all four of Michigan’s games to this point. It’s unclear as of yet whether or not he will see the field in 2018, though he’s all but assured a redshirt. However, with the new NCAA rule, allowing players to play in any four games and receive a redshirt, there is certainly an opportunity that we see No. 96 out on the field in some capacity at some point this season.