Jordan Anthony: all but wrapped up?
The Big Weekend is upon us
Michigan's enormous visit weekend is in a few days. Folks who say they will be on campus:
- 5* CA RB Najee Harris. You may have heard of him.
- 5* MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones. You may have seen him leap over a yeti to dunk a basketball. DPJ took a visit to FSU last weekend and came back with the same carefully positive take he's had throughout the process. While Michigan seems to have a strong lead he is the kind of guy who could shock the proverbial world because he's very reserved.
- 5* CA CB Darnay Holmes. Holmes had to cancel an official earlier this year so he could get some test scores. With those in hand he'll be on campus. Nobody really expects much since he's got a strong family connection with UCLA, but at least Michigan will get its at-bat.
- 4.5* NJ LB Drew Singleton. Singleton took a visit to MSU that nobody thinks will amount to much; Clemson chatter has faded.
- 4.5* MI CB Ambry Thomas. Scattered reports that Thomas was at MSU last weekend. This is kind of like the Lavert Hill recruitment where Michigan people are very confident and MSU folks are alternately either the same or saying there's a chance. There's even a brief flurry of PSU optimism. It should end the same way. Sam's gut is rumbling. With Thomas enrolling early a decision won't take much longer.
- Maybe 4* FL LB Jordan Anthony. Anthony—who just got a fifth star from Rivals—is planning to announce sometime in December. Lorenz reports that he did not make a scheduled official to Oklahoma. Maryland is expecting him this weekend; Wiltfong reports that Anthony "may" visit Michigan this weekend and would "like to" visit Maryland. This is the last visit weekend before the dead period and Anthony wants to announce this month. If he is in Ann Arbor it's a wrap. It's pretty much a wrap even if he does visit Maryland.
- 4* PA S Paris Ford. Ford is a new name on the board; he committed to Pitt in October but claims a bunch of big offers and is a top 100 kid on the composite. This is the first recruiting activity he's undertaken since his Pitt commit, so unknown how soft he is.
- 3.5* MI DE Deron Irving-Bey. Irving-Bey is coming off a trip to Maryland and is using his last official before his announcement on Michigan. MSU people still think they have a shot, and they may; Michigan people are confident.
- Various commits: MA RB AJ Dillon, NM RB O'Maury Samuels, OH DT James Hudson, MI S Jaylen Kelly-Powell—who will gently prod Thomas, MI OL JaRaymond Hall, and probably some more guys I'm forgetting.
As far as uncommitted recruits go this is just about everyone high on the board who has not already taken their official visit. 4* IA WR Oliver Martin, who apparently came in for an unofficial in October, and 4.5* FL OL Tedarrell Slaton, about whom more in a second, are the only players we have in "top group" or "leader" on the recruiting board who have available officials they are not using this weekend.
December is going to be emoji fire lit did I do that right
Here's a list of players who have set definite commitment dates; will be a busy December and early January:
- 12/9: 4* CA OL Aaron Banks. Banks is a mystery.
- 12/16: 4* CT WR Tarik Black. Black is not, despite a recent 'Bama flurry.
- 12/18: 4* FL OL Cesar Ruiz. Don't know who else is even really in on Ruiz.
- 12/25: 5* NY OL Isaiah Wilson, who is going to greatly please one fanbase and displease the other given that date. A 247 UGA mod just put in a crystal ball for Michigan after hearing that Georgia's a distant third behind M and Alabama.
- 1/7: 4.5* TX OL Chuck Filiaga, MI DE Deron Irving-Bey. Army game announcements.
Early-enrolling recruits with no set date who have to go off the board by the first week of January: Ambry Thomas, DPJ, and Najee Harris. As mentioned above, Jordan Anthony also wants to get it done.
Rivals re-rank uncommonly relevant
Rivals went through their rankings and a number of Michigan prospects saw their stock change quite a bit. GA DT Aubrey Solomon and FL LB Jordan Anthony(!) added a fifth star. Anthony's a bit of a surprise. Rivals was already higher on him than any other service—the other three generally have him around #200, and they had him 70th. Now he's all the way up to 26th.
FL OL Cesar Ruiz also moved up 41 spots to 77th; GA WR Nico Collins dropped from 23rd to 59th, which is more in line with where everyone else has him. Other Michigan prospects were static or close to it.
My other brother Tedarrell
Yes, I've used that joke before.
We've been relatively down on Michigan's chances with FL OL Tedarrell Slaton based first on various vibe things and then a cancelled official visit. While it would still be a mild surprise to see him end up in Ann Arbor, Scout's Corey Bender has an article that makes things seem a bit brighter:
"I talk to Michigan every day," Slaton said. "We're just in the communication part right now. They're looking forward to me getting the scores and up for a visit as fast as they can.
"I like the coaching staff, and I've built a good relationship with all of their coaches."
Slaton hasn't taken any official visits and won't until he gets his ACT score back. That will be an inflection point for Michigan's pursuit of him: either they ramp it back up to previous levels or there's a parting of the ways. Slaton is 100% a guard, and there's definitely room for an Onwenu in this class—virtually everyone they're pursuing other than Ruiz is a tackle.
Solomon tea leaves
GA DT Aubrey Solomon took an official to Alabama last weekend. One of the 247 Georgia guys interviewed him and has separate posts about the Georgia and Michigan sections of that; the Michigan one doesn't have many quotes but here's a transcript of one section:
They showed my mom the reason why I did commit there, you know. I *did* know what I was talking about—that's what my mom said.
He seems sold on the Michigan degree, especially in comparison to a Q from the Georgia side of things about what'll take for Solomon to spend his last official on the Bulldogs:
"They have to show me the academic part really hard," Solomon said. "I know they have a good sports management program. I have been there a lot. They talk about football, football, football, but I want to know about the grades. What am I going to get in return?"
If this was a kid from Kentucky, done deal, Michigan. The hometown pull is still pretty powerful, though, and M will have to weather some storms if they're going to pull this one out. From watching the two interviews it seemed pretty clear which one had the edge with Solomon as of early December: Michigan.
Meanwhile the Alabama side of things:
"A lot of stuff they had, Michigan had," he said. "I'm not saying it was the same, but they had some sort of it. So that really hit me hard being closer with that. It really took effect on me."
So where does the Crimson Tide stand coming out of the visit?
"I really couldn't tell you that right now," Solomon said. "I'm not saying it's a tie, because I don't believe in ties, but Alabama really impressed me and my mom."
No video there, unfortunately. Alabama is always a threat.
I'm not too worried about January visits to Oregon(?!) and "maybe" USC; further Georgia visits would be the biggest red flags in the future. I'm not saying he's a lock but the difference in his demeanor when talking about Georgia and Michigan was so notable that even the Georgia 247 board was skeptical he'd end up in Athens.
James Hudson's senior film is all right
Skip the first minute of blindside blocks and witness Willie Henry 2.0:
That's a pretty high level of high school football he's playing and he's tossing people around like they are sacks of grain. Scout recently gave Hudson a fourth star—he's got the full set now. Their reasoning:
His film looked more explosive and athletic than it did a year ago and, as he has continued to grow, he has been evaluated more as an inside guy or an inside-outside guy rather than purely an edge prospect, which is what we ranked him as initially.
He does play a lot of end in high school but that's a DT all the way.
Michigan reportedly offered CO DE Will Rodgers, a teammate of the elder McCaffrey, a grayshirt. Rodgers transferred from Saginaw Arthur Hill a year ago to play for Valor Christian; prior to that he was a 6'4" basketball center. He's barely got a 247 profile; we'll see where this goes.
AL OL Toryque Bateman has fallen by the wayside of late—I didn't even mention him amongst the OL Michigan was pursuing in the recent recruiting overview—but still lists Michigan in his top two along with Louisville. The Cardinals seem like a good bet at the moment.
Status quo with AL WR Nico Collins, who told Steve Wiltfong that Michigan was "different"; Wiltfong feeling good about his CB to Michigan. One complication: unlike a lot of guys on the board, Collins is taking his recruitment through Signing Day. Michigan will have to weather some officials.
Tom Herman gets after TX OL Chuck Filiaga. Texas people seem to think they have a shot; they are not as yet issuing that emoji with the cocked eyebrow.
Apparently the Pac-12 championship is tonight. Is this new? Have I never watched the Pac-12 championship before? I'm very confused. I thought I'd tell you in case you are unprepared for a Friday game.
AL S J'Marick Woods, a wobbler, ceases wobbling:
"It was really hard to make my final decision because I like Arkansas a lot, but I am picking Michigan," said Woods. "I just prayed about it and the Lord showed me signs. I feel good about my future as a Wolverine."
He's an early enrollee so this should be a definitive end to his recruitment. There are two visit weekends before the dead period and afterwards he'll be in Ann Arbor. Kind of get the feeling the Arkansas/Mississippi State dalliances were manufactured to provide his school with an excuse to do some hat stuff.
Keeping Woods is important with Michigan's need at safety and the lack of other names on the board at the spot; Scout makes him sound a lot like Jeremy Clark:
Woods is a defensive back with great length. He is lean and will need to add weight to his frame when he gets to the next level. He could get a look at cornerback, but he is likely a free safety in college. His length is an asset in coverage and recovery.
I'll take another Clark.
All hands to the tweet decryption stations
Michigan's coaches are on the road this week, visiting anyone and everyone they're still recruiting. CA OL Aaron Banks lives in El Cerrito, California, and this may or may not mean anything.
I have an emoji for this.
- Harbaugh finally got his latte after like 15 minutes
- Clash of Royale Strike level up
- Banks is announcing for Michigan on the 9th.
- Harbaugh's making telescopes? And selling them for profit? I guess?
It's times like these I wish Michigan had a TOOT TOOT ALL IN FOR THE GOVERNOR wink wink commit thing, like many schools do. Just a few hours prior to the above tweet, Lorenz reported that Michigan had little idea what Banks would do. Reports that Banks was not a take appear to be incorrect.
FWIW, Brice Marich hears that the in-home with Banks "went excellent and was very informative too."
Dominate the hyphens
Michigan's quest to dominate the state of Hyphen continues unabated after their setback with Brelin Faison-Walden. Next up might be MI DE Deron Irving-Bey, who is set to announce at the Army game. With just two visit weekends left before the dead period and one official visit in the books, some tea-leaf reading is possible:
- His list of six is really a list of four. He's visited Tennessee, plans to visit Maryland this weekend, and has been on the MSU and UM campuses many times for unofficials. Syracuse and Cincinnati are window dressing.
- Webb reports that he'll take an official to Michigan for their huge December 9th weekend. That should be his last in person recruiting contact before his commitment, since the dead period starts the 12th. In a dead period you can only interact on the phone or by text.
While you can't entirely rule MSU out since he's familiar with the program, Michigan is perceived to lead and gets the last crack. Also he has a hyphen in his last name.
Linebacker board static
Sorry for leaving FL LB Jordan Anthony off the recruiting overview post on Wednesday. That was an oversight only; Michigan is still expected to get him. That does rather complicate things in the projected class, which had MS LB Willie Gay on it and then did not when I inserted Anthony.
Despite that omission, Gay remains very high on Michigan. Per Lorenz, Partridge stopped in on Tuesday and Gay said it went "better than I would have ever thought," which is kind of a weird statement and also very encouraging. This is still in "believe it when I see it" territory. If Gay schedules an unofficial back to Ann Arbor, then I will start thinking it's happening. I remember Fletcher Cox and will not discount Mississippi State for an instate kid, ever.
Meanwhile, MI LB Antjuan Simmons decommitted from Ohio State, making that one guy's article about Meyer's recruiting coup look a bit silly. Do not expect Michigan to get involved. Simmons still appears salty about Michigan's lack of enthusiasm early in the process. Even after he started looking around and must have had an inkling that he was not going to end up in Columbus, his twitter feed was... uh... aggressive about Michigan.
This is mostly disappointing because I wanted this screenshot to be a wall of block Ms:
Seven out of eight wouldn't be bad. Webb's hearing Arizona may be Simmons's landing spot, which would be something. Notre Dame is also a strong contender.
NJ LB Drew Singleton will be at The Big Recruiting Weekend.
Rutger is fine, it's just the S that makes it a problem
Webb reports that the parents of TN DT Rutger Reitmaier are in Michigan's corner, and with Oregon in flux they will have a great shot to flip him. Reitmaier's dad has been on campus more than some committed recruits:
The elder Reitmaier made his way to campus for a game weeks before his son came up for an official visit. It gave dad an opportunity to spend some quality one-on-one time with Harbaugh. They built on that when the entire Reitmaier family came up for Rutger's official visit a few weeks ago.
A recent OSU offer may be the main competition if Reitmaier follows through with a visit.
Why the Herbert wobble is a thing
“I want to play right away," he said when asked what he's looking for in a school.
“Miami says I can come in and play right away, Florida says that I can come in and play, and Michigan says that I have to come in and compete with [junior tackle Juwann Bushell-Beatty] and probably another tackle [current Michigan commit Joel Honigford].”
It is unrealistic that Miami and Florida don't have guys at least on JBB's level. If Herbert's takeaway from those two competitors is "I should go to another school," that sounds like the kind of reason that's not the real reason. He's the only guy in the class I think is a serious threat to voluntarily decommit.
Edges of the board still active
Marich also reports that CT CB Brandon Sebastian plans a mid-January official and that AZ S Isaiah Pola-Mao has tentative plans to official at some point during that month as well. That's good timing for Michigan, as a lot of questions about who will and will not be in the class will be resolved by the time either guy gets around to making a decision.
Meanwhile, chaos at Oregon has seen a number of their top prospects decommit or Explore Their Options; delightfully named OL/DL Popo Aumavae is one of them. He's setting up a suite of visits and he'd like Michigan to be one of them.
Obligatory Najee Section
Tom Van Haaren puts a not-at-all-completely-arbitrary chance on CA RB Najee Harris flipping:
Committed to: Alabama
Chance he flips: 50 percent
Toughest competition: Michigan
I like that number. It is a high number. Lorenz reports Harris will follow through on his plan to visit Michigan for The Big Recruiting Weekend. Like Irving-Bey, that should be the last in-person crack anyone gets at him before he enrolls early. (Or commits, in Irving-Bey's case.)
Matt Wenzel interviews MA RB commit AJ Dillon, who missed a chunk of his senior season with a broken leg. He's taking some visits but it doesn't seem like a serious situation:
Dillon, who said he would have considered enrolling early at Michigan but his school doesn't allow it, will take his first of five allotted official visits to Boston College this weekend and then go to Ann Arbor the following week. He's also considering visits to Nebraska and Iowa, but nothing is arranged yet and he's still firmly committed to Michigan, which he's been watching from afar all season.
"I was really impressed with them, they're still doing great."
A Notre Dame visit would be something to watch out for given Dillon's family ties; I doubt that Nebraska, BC, or Iowa have the recruiting mojo to flip Dillon without an external bombshell named Najee.
Happy trails to TX LB Baron Browning, who committed to OSU. GA WR Jeremiah Holloman isn't really a happy trails since Michigan hasn't been on his list since shortly after his decommit almost a year ago, but if you're curious he just committed to Georgia.
Keep an eye on the FAU job. Bruce Feldman reports that Mario Cristobal is a candidate; if he gets it that would greatly aid Michigan's chances with Alex Leatherwood.
Brandon Brown lists the various guys who plan to enroll early. I was not aware of a couple of these names. For the record: JaRaymond Hall, Donovan Jeter, Corey Malone-Hatcher, Ben Mason, Benjamin St-Juste, Jaylen Kelly-Powell, J'Marick Woods, Donovan-Peoples Jones, Ambry Thomas, Tarik Black, Cesar Ruiz, and Najee Harris all plan to enroll early. Michigan should have room since they'll have a ton of guys who want to get done with school this semester so they can prep for the NFL draft.
FWIW, Brown has also dropped a couple hints that Rivals will give Solomon a fifth star when their next re-rank comes out. That would be a second; Scout gave him one after the first few games this year, and reports that CT WR Tarik Black denied that he ever named Alabama his top school.
Jedd Fisch visited FL WR Mike Harley in-home. Harley is a WVU commit who's probably flipping somewhere; Michigan was involved just before he went off the board.
Black Moves Up Decision Timeline
This is quite notable in conjunction with last week's news that Michigan's impending numbers crunch is likely to cost either Oliver Martin or Tarik Black a spot in the class.
— Tarik Black (@LetmeRockk_) November 28, 2016
Even though Black recently named Alabama as his leader, this looks like Black securing a spot in Michigan's class ahead of Martin. SECCountry's Chris Kirschner explains:
So, what do I make of him saying Alabama is his current leader? I don’t really think much of it right now. I truly believe this may be a case of a prospect talking up Alabama shortly before committing to a different school.
My pick for Black is Michigan because I know the Wolverines covet him more than the Tide currently do. Again, there are three committable offers out at the receiver position: Smith, Ruggs and Collins. If Alabama misses on any of those receivers, that’s when they’ll go to Plan B, which Black currently is.
I fully expect Black to commit to Michigan, even though he says Alabama is his top school.
Wolverine247's Steve Lorenz reports Jedd Fisch will do an in-home visit with Black on Thursday, and he still expects Black to end up in Ann Arbor.
Among the many in-home visits taking place this week, Lorenz mentions a couple notables taking place today: Chris Partridge will check in on top-100 MS LB Willie Gay and Jay Harbaugh will visit with top-50 OT and LSU commit Austin Deculus.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
GIF Is Unrelated But Necessary
While all thoughts at this point are on tomorrow's capital-G Game, there are some recruiting developments to cover from last weekend's slate of official visits.
Top-100 NY OT Isaiah Wilson isn't saying much about his leaderboard, but the returns were positive from last weekend's official visit, per Sam Webb:
Another factor helping strengthen Wilson’s positive view of Michigan is the opportunity for early playing time. The four-star lineman isn’t bashful about expressing how significant that consideration will be in his final decision. That’s why offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Tim Drevno and Jim Harbaugh made it a point to mention it.
“The vibe is good,” said Wilson. “We are very comfortable with each other. We went over film and talked logistics about if I was to attend.”
Wilson has upcoming official visits to Alabama, Georgia, and LSU; his recruitment is expected to come down to Michigan and Bama.
Despite all the things implied by taking an official visit to an out-of-region program faring much better than the one to which a recruit is committed, the high school coach of three-star CA CB Elijah Hicks made it a point to say Hicks was "100 percent" committed to Notre Dame heading into last weekend's trip to Ann Arbor. That is not the post-visit vibe according to multiple reporters, including 247's Steve Wiltfong:
247Sports is told Hicks left impressed.
If Hicks didn't have any intentions of rethinking his decision to Notre Dame before the visit, a well-placed source on the Michigan side told 247Sports he certainly is now.
I'm not predicting a flip, but nothing would surprise me.
Scout's Greg Biggins talked to a few sources close to Hicks who feel there's "a very strong chance" he flips to Michigan. The push for Hicks makes sense in conjunction with the feeling that Darnay Holmes is likely to stay in California, probably at UCLA; Holmes has been non-commital about his official visit to Michigan lately. We just put in a Crystal Ball pick for Hicks to flip.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
This is going to be short because I'm on enough cold medication that I can barely spell my own name. You've been forewarned.
Weekend Visitors: Wilson, Reitmaier Headline IU Game
247's Steve Lorenz has graciously posted this weekend's visitor list for free. Official visits of note:
Top-100 NY OT Isaiah Wilson is already on campus. Lorenz says there is "considerable optimism" on the Michigan end of things from a source close to his recruitment.
Three-star TN DT Rutger Reitmaier is an Oregon commit, which should make Michigan look enticing by comparison. His father didn't downplay the chance of a flip at all when talking to 247's Steve Wiltfong:
Reitmaier's father Rik was recently on the Michigan campus and says the Maize and Blue have a shot here.
"Now Oregon is the leader but I think once he sees Michigan and the coaches, he really likes (Greg) Mattison, They have an opportunity to showcase their program" the elder Reitmaier said. "I was up there a couple of weeks ago, my youngest son plays travel hockey, and (Jim) Harbaugh invited me to meet with him. I was impressed with him and the coaches I met."
Three-star GA FB Tory Carter, an LSU commit, will take his long-awaited official along with high school teammate and 2018 Michigan commit Otis Reese. Michigan also hosts three-star Notre Dame CB commit Elijah Hicks, though his coach makes it sound like a change of heart is exceedingly unlikely.
Five-star MS RB Cam Akers, who's always been considered a longshot, cancelled his planned visit. Unless Michigan makes an unexpected move for USC commit Stephen Carr, it's Najee Harris or stand pat at running back.
Several commits and a handful of 2018 prospects will also be in Ann Arbor. Check out Steve's post for the full list.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Visit Reactions: M Winning Solomon Back?
yeah, still want
After gaining a commitment, losing it, looking out of the picture, and then crawing their way back in, Michigan made their latest push for four-star GA DT Aubrey Solomon on his official visit for the Maryland game. Solomon was accompanied by his mother, who came very prepared, and the most critical aspect of the visit from M's perspective was winning over—Solomon's interest in Michigan has always been very strong while his mom has been a skeptic. According to Sam Webb, they pulled out all the stops:
Front and center for most of the visit were Gwen Bush and Devin Bush Sr. They were with mom a ton with one observer offering, “Gwen hardly left his mom’s side.” And as we speculated heading into the visit… “Momma Gwen” having sent her own questionnaire out during her son Wayne Lyons’ recruitment before deciding to send him to school on the other side of the country (from Florida to Stanford) really appeared to help forge a connection. For good measure Wayne was also on hand for the Solomons to meet.
The vibe between Mom and Bush Sr. was noticeable. One observer said, "they went back and forth like they've known each other for years."
Rashan Gary and his mother, who was visiting for the weekend, hosted Solomon, though his mom wasn't able to get together with Gary's; she did, however, have lunch with Greg Harden, Michigan's director of academic counseling—he played a big role in landing Gary.
Both Sam and Steve Lorenz believe Aubrey himself wants to go to Michigan, but they still have work to do to win over his mother. Lorenz:
If the choice was 100% his, there would likely be some 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions coming back the Wolverines' way. However, it appears to not be fully his decision. We reported on Sunday that mom was impressed with what Michigan had to offer. That remains the case in the grand scheme of things, but according to a second source we spoke with on Monday, the visit reportedly could have gone better from Michigan's standpoint regarding impressing Solomon's mother.
Also of note: Sam is getting the "distinct impression" that Clemson, not Alabama or Georgia, is the school closer to home with the best shot at Solomon. I'm not sure how to take that: on one hand, that looks like some tough competition is taking a step back; on the other, well, head-to-head recruiting against Clemson can be quite the experience. Michigan made progress this weekend; we'll see if it sticks after more visits.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]