spoiler alert: i linked this
Donovan Peoples-Jones remains ridiculous
The assembled Cass Tech students took this entirely in stride.
Cass Tech 2017 WR Donovan Peoples-Jones with the dunk and his QB Rodney Hall with the assist, taking the video pic.twitter.com/v2xFGIwMDJ
— The D Zone (@TheD_Zone) March 24, 2016
Or possibly lost their minds, as one does.
A tentative and incomplete list of Spring Visitors
There will be a ton. A bunch of in-state guys not listed will be there, but they often decide late. There will probably be another half-dozen regional guys who make it in who either aren't talking or haven't been unearthed by recruiting sites yet.
- NJ DT Corey Bolds.
- NJ LB Drew Singleton Bolds and Singleton are both at Paramus. Looks like it will come down to M or Clemson for both. The duo pushed back their visit from random spring practice to the game itself. Don't expect Singleton to drop; his dad told Sam Webb that they have a suite of visits set up ranging from Cal to PSU to Auburn. He also said having Partridge around was "huge" and "huge" and "HUGE."
- NJ DT Fred Hansard. Hansard's visit is a bit of a surprise since he set a decision date and usually that means your mind is made up. Nobody thought it was made up in favor of Michigan; a two-day visit will give them a chance to change his mind.
- AL WR Nico Collins.
- NM RB O'Maury Samuels. Michigan is the first major offer for Samuels. More on him in a bit.
- FL LB Jordan Anthony will be there.
- FL OL Robert Hainsey.
- FL OL Cesar Ruiz. All three of the FL guys are from IMG. Ruiz revised his visit schedule, trimming a bunch of teams but leaving M and FSU and maybe Maryland as prime contenders.
- MI OL/DL Phillip Paea. Paea's been on campus three times since his M offer. Spring will be #4.
- maybe CA DL Popo Aumavae. Said he was trying to work it out.
- maybe OH TE Trey Pugh. Pugh was up a couple weeks ago and said he may return.
- NJ DE Dorian Hardy. Michigan was Hardy's first offer.
- NJ DE Jayson Ademilola.
- NJ LB Justin Ademilola. Yes, twin brothers.
- OH DE Leonard Taylor. Taylor visited with new LB commit Antwuan Johnson a couple weeks ago; a return visit indicates serious interest.
- FL TE Judge Culpepper. Big ol' dude already who is a name priority so we can scream "I AM THE LAW" when he scores. Florida legacy.
Nico Collins impresses
AL WR Nico Collins is one of those kids who has a bunch of southern schools and then Michigan on his list. Normally those recruitments end up with the player staying in the SEC, but people say Michigan has a real shot with Collins thanks to his dad. Here's hoping pops wins the day here, since Collins brings something Funchess-esque to the table. ESPN scouted him at the local Opening regional:
He has tremendous height and nice length. He has big, strong hands and a wide catch radius and was consistent catching the ball. He was not the fastest target in attendance, but did display good ability to drive off the line quickly and among the biggest targets there he did flash ability to use his size.
Collins will be up for the Spring Game; Alabama is the favorite but Michigan will have an opportunity to overturn that. Right now Collins is planning to take his recruitment through official visits.
A running back or two emerge
Michigan's running back board to date:
- some other dudes
- lol idk
MA RB AJ Dillon is one of those dudes. He completed an unofficial on Tuesday and—surprise—enjoyed it.
"Toured campus, got a feel for Ann Arbor and was really impressed by the school after seeing the academic studies," Dillon said. "Seems like a great town. And the facilities were amazing."
In the aftermath 247 OSU analyst Alex Gleitman entered a crystal ball for Michigan. Lorenz says he's "as in tune" as anyone is with Dillon's recruitment. That ballz was quickly followed by a mighty one from Steve Wiltfong, who says the visit was a "game changer." Dillon has already been to Notre Dame and Wisconsin, the schools previously thought to lead. Those CB flips seem pretty meaningful.
If Michigan does land Dillon they're getting a heck of an athlete:
At last summer's New Jersey/New York Nike Football The Opening Region, Dillon posted the top Nike Football Rating of the day with a score of 114.12, Dillon measured in at 6-foot-1, 229-pounds and ran a 4.64 electronically time 40-yard dash, a 4.39 shuttle, a 38 ½-0 power ball toss and 36-6 inch vertical.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, who is ridiculous, turned in an electronic 4.45 at about 40 pounds lighter than Dillon—for a 230 pound guy dude can move. Heck, 4.64 is the same time Dylan Crawford ran at the Opening, which placed him eighth overall. If Dillon played better competition he might be a major, major recruit. Instead he's at the tail end of most top X lists.
Meanwhile, NM RB O'Maury Samuels is suddenly on the radar after crushing a Dallas Nike camp:
Samuels, who came into the event with just an offer from New Mexico State, was the talk of the event when it was done, beating out a number of Texas natives for RB MVP honors and more importantly, became the first player from the state of New Mexico to ever be selected to The Opening Finals.
He ran an electronic 4.45 just like Peoples-Jones and regrets that since his hamstring was a little wonky. Michigan fired out his first major offer right after that camp and he will be up for the spring game. Samuels is shaped more like Fitz Toussaint than an angry horse, so he and Dillon might not overlap much in terms of skillset.
Samuels has induced the first Ludicrous Statement About Running Back from Tyrone Wheatley:
"Coach Wheatley (compared me to) a young ‘AP’ (Adrian Peterson),” said Samuels.
Samuels is listed at 5'10", 188, which means two of him stacked on top of each other would equal one Adrian Peterson, who emerged from his father's head fully formed with switches in both hands. Must be something Fred stashed in the beverage fridge.
Finally, TX RB Eno Benjamin is still very serious about Iowa:
“They were both nice,” he said of his visits to Iowa and Michigan. “It’s hard to compare the two, but I think Iowa had the edge there.”
Benjamin cites the fact that Iowa is operating with two- and three-star running backs and he could have a bigger impact. I don't think he's heard about AIRBHG yet. Four star running backs who head to Iowa City are signing up for Final Destination: Cornfield. Benjamin's already visited a bunch of places; at this point you have to take the Iowa lead seriously.
Devin Bush Sr. goes to work
Just visit Michigan 〽️ pic.twitter.com/1mmYWQyNiI
— February 4 (@Eyecandy_WILDer) March 23, 2016
A bunch of guys from Miami were on campus all of a sudden yesterday:
Four-star linebacker DeAndre Wilder, who has an offer from the Wolverines already, is one of the notable names. Joining him will be freshman running back Nayquan Wright, a phenom who already holds offers from Alabama, Miami, Florida State, LSU and Notre Dame.
Wilder said he and Bush "go back." Lorenz believes he'll return for an official visit, which was M's primary goal.
Also in attendance was FL CB Naytron Culpepper. Sounds like they're taking a bunch of guys with various talent levels around, as one of the stops on their tour is EMU. MSU and ND are also on the docket.
Fast and furious they are as Michigan tries to import kids before spring practice ends. Cass OL Jordan Reid, who has an offer, was at Michigan for the third time in a month yesterday and may end up at that Ford Field practice. (I'm guessing one of the primary motivators for opening the practice is for its utility as a recruiting tool.) Ditto Cass S Jaylen Kelly-Powell, who is entering Lavert Hill territory as far as omnipresence in Ann Arbor goes.
Instate OL/DL Phil Paea, as mentioned, was also in. 6'8" MI DL/OL Robert Hudson, a new name, stopped by as well. Hudson is obviously far too tall to play DT, where Scout ranks him, but hasn't even tried out at OT yet. Probably a guy to watch through his senior season and a potential late riser.
I forgot to mention OH CB Amir Riep, who visited a week or so ago. Riep is from Colerain, Joe Bolden's alma mater. Bolden's dad is the coach there but OSU's DB coach was hired away from Colerain so there are connections on both sides. Riep said nice things about the visit but…
“It was really important for me to get up there to be honest,” he said. “Growing up in Ohio and watching Ohio State, I would have never really thought much about Michigan. It was so much different than what I had pictured in my head. It amazed me how nice everything was up there.”
…sounds like OSU is still the favorite. ND and LSU are also in the picture.
AL S J'Marick Woods was planning to come up for the Spring Game but bumped that visit to right now.
Grudging 2018 section
Legacy MI DE Aidan Hutchinson picks up his first offer from LSU. Les (and Cam Cameron) do throw out random Michigan offers from time to time, especially when they know the family, but rarely do those end up with serious pursuit; guessing that's the case here.
This one is weird. Per Brice Marich, NV QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson says he will return to Michigan for the A4 QB camp "for sure." Michigan was very attentive on his recent unofficial:
“I talked to the whole offensive staff individually, toured through the football facility and campus, sat down with numerous people dealing with the school part of my visit, and went to the Big House.”
Harbaugh included—he talked to the head man for an hour. Probably about laser tag and fire tweets.
Okay. So that all sounds good.Here's Thompson-Robinson talking to Bucknuts:
"…at Ohio State every coached welcomed me. Only one or two offensive coaches and coach (Jim) Harbaugh welcomed me at Michigan. I kind of prefer Ohio State. It seems like more of a fit, especially the offense.”
WTF? This is why I try not to pay too much attention to 2018 at this juncture.
OH RB Jaelen Gill includes Michigan in a top five that looks like a top two:
"I love Ohio State," Gill said. "They are definitely in my top five for sure, along with UCLA, Michigan State, Tennessee, and Michigan. Ohio State and Michigan are very similar in a lot of ways. They are just two great schools and programs."
USC and UCLA are up next so he's not close to having a final list; could maybe probably come down to a classic M/OSU battle.
Michigan won't be getting the top QB in the country in consecutive years, it appears, as 2018 GA QB Trevor Lawrence seems lukewarm on a Michigan offer… possibly because M forgot they offered him months ago. Lawrence is ticketed for some SEC school.
Did I mention that OH LB commit Antwuan Johnson's dad is a Michigan fan? I might have. Either way should help that commit stick. Meanwhile, Johnson's teammate and OH DE Leonard Taylor sounds like a guy who Michigan might even lead for:
"When I was up at Michigan it felt like home, and I love the way Coach (Jim) Harbaugh is running things up there," he added. "They have a great academic program, and I really liked the city of Ann Arbor."
I wouldn't be shocked if he dropped at or just after the spring game. Think that's < 50%, but it could happen.
Donovan Peoples-Jones is ridiculous
Love the guy in the background who loses it:
— Chris Huff (@Performance80FS) March 21, 2016
Yes, that is Devin Gardner in the background, and he has some box jumping skill himself:
— Donovan P. Jones (@dpeoplesjones) March 22, 2016
No update on his recruitment but hanging out with Gardner can't hurt now that Al Borges is gone.
— Zach Shaw (@_ZachShaw) March 22, 2016
Michigan picked up commits from MI LB Josh Ross and 2018 OH LB Antwaun Johnson over the past couple days; Johnson's hello post was updated earlier today; Ross gets his turn tomorrow. Both are four-star types. Ross cited Don Brown's defense as a major attraction:
“Just based on what he showed me with that defense, it fits me perfectly. I just can’t pass the opportunity up. I just had to take it. He really blitzes his linebackers. I know last year there was a couple of plays where I got right through on blitzes, and I’m getting better and better at blitzing. That’s a lot of what he does and I can see myself in his system.”
Older brother James was born four years too early. Would have been a Don Brown dude for sure.
The potato door opens in 2018
Ross was always likely to follow his brother to Ann Arbor, but Johnson is an alpaca out of nowhere. His commit is a significant one for Michigan since Jim Harbaugh hadn't exactly emphasized a nearby state with a lot of talent (and Michigan's main rival) in it. Since Harbaugh's arrival only Nolan Ulizio, a late flier Michigan flipped from UConn, has fled the potato state for the friendly confines of Ann Arbor.
So. Johnson is not only a very good player in his own right but also a thorn in OSU's side. He is also the teammate of OH DE/DT Leonard Taylor, an early five-star in the 2018 class. Taylor visited along with Johnson and came back making positive noises:
"It was an A+ visit," he said. "Definitely an A+. It was really an eye-opening visit for me to see Michigan in person. It definitely had an at-home feeling to it. I didn't feel out of place there."
More significantly, he immediately scheduled a return trip for the Spring Game. Two visits in a month and a teammate committed should give Michigan a very real shot at landing Taylor. Lorenz has a "hunch" that Taylor pulls the trigger in the near future in Michigan's favor, which is… rather something, that.
every recruit gets their Peppers photo, including Jaelen Gill.
In addition to the Springfield duo, Michigan also hosted 247's early #1 in the state, OH RB Jaelen Gill. He returned from that visit downright effusive:
"Academics, the atmosphere, the campus life, and great football," he said of the Wolverines. "The people at Michigan are wonderful."
That's a really short article but there are a couple more very encouraging quotes in it all the same. Lorenz followed up with an Inside Michigan Recruiting in which he states the visit "couldn't have gone much better"… but that he's still guessing OSU. Even so the vibe is great, man.
Per a guy on Bucknuts, Gill is not a native Ohioan and is in fact from New Jersey originally. So… all of a sudden it's not too far fetched that Michigan gets three of the top five in the 2018 Ohio class. Harbaugh? Harbaugh.
AJ Harris may or may not be on commit watch
AL S AJ Harris also came up for a visit and was momentarily expected to commit yesterday. That did not happen, obviously. Harris remains very high on Michigan, naming them his outright leader after the visit:
“They are my top school,” said Harris. “They are just from the academic standpoint. One of the best out of any school I have visited and by far the best coaching staff that you will get at the college level."
Lorenz fired off a crystal ball, and it sounds like Harris is just letting things marinate before pulling the trigger. If there is a complication it would be on Michigan's end, as they have guys like MI S Jaylen Kelly-Powell high on their board.
Hansard announces announcement
— Fred Hansard (@Fred_Hansard56) March 18, 2016
NJ DT Fred Hansard will announce his destination on May 14th, his birthday. Michigan is amongst his seven finalists and his destination is very much am mystery. His crystal ball has a couple Rutgers picks from Guys Who Hilariously Pick Rutgers For Every High Profile NJ Recruit, a couple Penn State picks from Guy Who Fires Off A Guess At Every Recruit In The Country, and then the Temple 247 guy goes with M.
Bill Kurelic notes that in his tweet he "appears to be wearing an Ohio State helmet" and let's see if there might be a reason for that…
Sullivan thinks it's Penn State, FWIW.
Spring practice visitors
AJ Dillon, a LB/RB out of Massachusetts, is on campus right now. Early yet; Michigan is in a top five with Wisconsin, ND, FSU, and Virginia. Meanwhile Sam Webb reports a bunch of guys came in for practice on Monday. One, Ross, already committed, and AJ Harris may be next.
Another interesting name is PA OL CJ Thorpe, who told Brice March that he is "extremely interested" and will pare his list down after a couple more unofficials. Thorpe told Lorenz he had a "sense of comfort" in Ann Arbor and that he would like to return for a fuller experience. This one would be a brutal blow to Penn State if Michigan can pull it off… he's a legacy.
Top X lists, tentative visits, you know the drill
- PA RB D'Andre Swift has Michigan amongst a long list of schools that he intends to visit. That list includes anyone who's anyone. Also Penn State. He does not tip his hand in any particular direction in the above article.
- AL WR Nico Collins doesn't have a top four but his top four is Michigan, Georgia, Bama, and Clemson. Bud Elliott also lists his height at a Funchess-esque 6'5". Collins just impressed at a regional Opening camp ("precise in his routes, caught everything with his hands and did it all on a 200-plus pound frame") and will visit for the Spring Game.
- CN by way of FL WR Josh Palmer got his first offer from Michigan and has been on campus; he tells Tim Sullivan that he wants to see a few other Big Ten schools like Illinois and Maryland and sure let's just put Syracuse in the Big Ten because they're a mediocre program that might have some television subscribers attached. Uh. Then he will fire off a commit after spring. Michigan could be the choice but I'd be surprised if they took a three-star early when they aren't going to have big numbers at the spot and they are after Collins and Peoples-Jones.
- Three star NJ OL Joshua Fedd-Jackson has a top three of UNC, Rutgers, and Michigan. He plans an early April visit to M… but probably not for the spring game since he'll be at UNC that weekend.
- Three star CA WR/TE Grant Calcaterra will drop by Michigan on a seven-school Midwest tour. Calcaterra is a former teammate of 2016 signee Dylan Crawford and his list is academically-oriented, so if Michigan decides they've got room for him they'll likely be in it to the end.
- Michigan offered TX CB Kary Vincent Jr, wants to visit, no definite plan, no top list. "Loves" Harbaugh, FWIW.
- NV CB Alex Perry didn't want to leave the West before a Michigan offer came in; now he wants to get out for Unspecified Visit. He's got an odd list for a four star guy: he decommitted from Arizona State, visited TCU, and talks up Colorado some. As always, wait to see if he actually sets foot on campus.
- FL CB Randall Haynie has a top five of M, Duke, Vandy, Wisconsin, and WVU. Grew up watching Denard, knows O'Korn, academic-oriented top five… if Michigan pursues they'll be in it.
Grudging 2018 mentions of the week
— Brice Marich (@BriceMarich) March 21, 2016
NV QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson visited and put Michigan high on his list, as you can see above. He seems, uh, enthused:
— DorianThompsonRob... (@DoriansTweets) March 21, 2016
Thompson-Robinson has that Harbaugh Let's Capitalize Every Word thing going on, and his twitter handle was carefully curated by Jon Bois.
Significantly, that tweet follows visits to Florida State, Michigan State and Ohio State. He hasn't gotten a flood of offers yet; if Michigan does send one out he's likely to be in the 2018 class.
IN LB Pete Werner fired off a commitment to ND shortly after visiting both ND and Michigan. Indiana Catholic school kid was always an uphill battle. Lorenz notes that KS TE Trevor Kent is trending to Oklahoma on the crystal ball and could commit this weekend on a trip to Norman.
Spring practice brings all the recruits to the yard
We've just had a bit of a down period where
- Michigan "offered" every single recruit in the 2017 and 2018 classes,
- those recruits said they were interested, and
- visits were suggested to be on the docket but not actually scheduled.
Here's the platonic ideal of the form from VA LB Teradja Mitchell:
As for what's next for what's next for Mitchell, he plans to visit Florida and Florida State this spring, but no dates have been set. Then this summer, he hopes to get to Georgia, Michigan and Ohio State.
He claims no favorites at this time.
All right then. Thankfully, the opportunity to see a Jim Harbaugh practice is beginning to clarify who's actually interested and who's just talking. Two guys in the "just talking" category appear to be MS RB Cam Akers and CA RB Najee Harris. Harris scheduled a trip to OSU that does not include a swing by Michigan. Lorenz doesn't offer an explanation on Akers but "is from Mississippi" suffices for our purposes.
Visits of the recent past
WI OL Tyler Beach completed a visit last week. Surprise: it went well.
— Brice Marich (@BriceMarich) March 12, 2016
Beach maintains that M and Wisconsin are at the top; he's visiting ND, NW, and MSU in the near future but those schools are making up ground per Brandon Brown:
"I plan on committing in April or May," Beach said. "Michigan and Wisconsin are my top choices right now and I'll just pick whatever place feels right."
If Michigan gets Beach I want to see Wisconsin message boards put in an octagon with Washington mods.
OH OL/DL Howard Watkins was also on campus around the same time. Watkins is a new name out of Cincinnati Colerain, Joe Bolden's alma mater; he says he's been a Michigan fan his whole life. He's currently under the radar, unranked by 247 and a two-star guy to Scout, so he might have to impress as a senior. He's got an Indiana offer.
Watkins's teammate and OH CB Amir Riep already has an offer, as top 100 prospects almost universally do. His is certainly an all-caps one instead of an air-quotes one:
Today was a great day! pic.twitter.com/kafrOTwx1U
— Amir Riep (@Riep_Amir) March 13, 2016
Former Colerain HC Kerry Coombs is OSU's DBs coach so this might be a high hurdle; he's got a ton of OSU predictions on the Crystal Ball. Lorenz relates that word from inside Schembechler is that Michigan believes they have a "very legitimate chance."
TX RB Eno Benjamin still maintains that Iowa leads after a Midwest swing. He announced a top-ten-and-change that purports to be in no order but kind of seems in order:
Thank You & God Bless. pic.twitter.com/0fSWNKGxiz
— Eno Benjamin™ (@eno_benjamin5) March 14, 2016
I can't remember the last time Michigan and Iowa were both involved with a kid from outside the Midwest.
Visits near future
Michigan will host AL S AJ Harris and AL DE LaBryan Ray this weekend; they are popularly thought to be a real contender for Harris but were previously on the fringe for Ray. The end result is likely to be the same: it'll take something special to convince an Alabama DE with a Bama offer to spurn the Tide.
Michigan has a better shot with IN LB Pete Werner, who will visit Thursday and Friday before a Saturday visit to Notre Dame. Wiltfong expects one or the other to lead in the aftermath and says Werner is expected to make an "academic decision."
IMG OL Cesar Ruiz and Robert Hainsey will visit for the spring game. It's tough out here for a Cable Subscriber:
Michigan has a ton of competition for both gentlemen but should be in both top 5s. Hainsey is likely to be playing with or against Michigan—outside of Pitt his visit list is just about all Big Ten schools.
Michigan might land a visit from WA OL Henry Bainivalu per Washington mods who have spent the entire spring working the speed bag in anticipation of more Michigan-Washington recruiting battles.
Blame Recruit Canada
Michigan will be of more interest than usual to a couple of kids now hailing from Virginia: both VA DE Luiji Vilain and VA S Jonathan Sutherland are originally from Ontario and have moved to the US in order to make themselves more attractive to football programs. That makes Michigan one of the closest programs to home for both.
Vilain lists a bunch of schools when issued the "recruiting the hardest" question, but if you squint the local-ish programs may have an edge:
"I was pretty excited about Michigan and Michigan State," Vilain said. "I've been waiting on those two."
He will attend Sound Mind, Sound Body and hit up both instate schools.
Sutherland's list is more defined: North Carolina, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Michigan. He will also visit Michigan while he's in Detroit for Sound Mind, Sound Body.
Fine, 2018 exists and let's mention it briefly
This week in "MGoBlog grudgingly talks about the recruiting class after the current one":
- The top in-state name to know next year is MI OL Marquan McCall, a two-way lineman currently inside the top 100 on 247. He will visit for the spring game. Michigan is the favorite.
- Lorenz reports that Michigan is going after a number of kids in Las Vegas, amongst them Bishop Gorman teammates Dorian Thompson-Robinson, a dual-threat QB, and Brevin Jordan, an OLB/TE. Michigan would be "tough to beat" for Thompson-Robinson if they offer; Michigan is expected to do so when he swings by M and OSU this week. Mom is an M alum.
- MI DE Aidan Hutchinson is the son of former Michigan DL Chris Hutchinson. He visited last week and is a guy to keep an eye on for an offer. I'm guessing Michigan will wait for his junior season to finish before doing so since that could be a situation where the phone calls goes "We'd like to off—" "YES".
- OH LB Antwaun Johnson, another recent visitor, named Michigan his leader, twice, after returning from Ann Arbor. Encouragingly, he is scheduled to return for the Spring Game. The catch: no OSU offer yet.
- NJ OL/DL Tyler Friday has Michigan, Ohio State, and Rutgers as an early top three. He wants to visit all those schools.
IL TE Griffin Hammer.
Griffin Hammer is +3 with an extra 1d6 damage to chimerae.
Etc.: Happy trails to MO WR Jaevon McQuitty, who committed to Nebraska. More or less happy trails to TX OL Austin Deculus, who announced a decision date of May 20. He hasn't visited or scheduled a visit; that's 99.9% seeya. LSU is the expected choice so Michigan might get back in if Les Miles's tenure gets wobbly again.
GA QB Davis Mills committed to Stanford, ending any chance the Cardinal starts sniffing around CO QB commit Dylan McCaffrey. Trieu ranks MI OL/DL Phil Paea the #2 DL in the Midwest. Sounds like he's in line for a four-star bump from Scout.
MI OL commit JaRaymond Hall visited this weekend as well. He's an in with McCall, his teammate. Bama still leads for FL OL Netori Johnson and his amazing hair even after his decommit. MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones keeps it close to the vest, lather, rinse, repeat.
Eno arrives, another Sione, another top RB offered
TX RB Eno Benjamin just completed a midweek official visit shortly after an offer that he'd been trying to get for over a year; prior to that visit Michigan and Iowa were a tentative top two, with Iowa leading. Benjamin was interested enough to send Lorenz a bunch of pictures from the trip, so that's a good sign. He also told Wiltfong his trip was "amazing," for whatever that's worth; he'll be at Northwestern, Iowa, and Arkansas over the next few days.
Benjamin is a different kind of back than most of the dudes currently on the roster:
"They're looking for a guy to change the pace," Benjamin said. "A guy who can run in between the tackles as well as lining up at slot and making a difference out there too."
Over the weekend Benjamin proved he is dangerous as a receiver, as he was the best running back competing in the Pylon 7-on-7 National Championships in that setting.
Harbaugh does like to screw with people by motioning TEs and RBs and FBs all over the place.
Also in RB recruiting, UT RB and Stanford commit Sione Heimuli-Lund is still hearing from Michigan:
Great talk with Michigan staff Coach Harbaugh, Wheatley and Tuioti. #MichiganWolverines#Jumpman ✔️
— Sione Lund (@LundSione) March 7, 2016
Lund talked to Brice Marich and said he'd try to visit, possibly for the spring game. All in favor of Polynesian tailbacks named Sione say "aye."
And Michigan has offered TN RB Ty Chandler, who said he would visit at some point over the summer in the aftermath. Tim Sullivan:
“I would definitely like to go up and visit to see something new. It’ll be different from the South, so that’d be interesting to go up there and plan a visit. Nothing is planned yet, but probably this summer. I’m starting to take a lot of trips now, and I’ll definitely try to take a trip up there this summer.”
Chandler doesn't have a top team, but LSU might be that team, if you get my drift. With that offer Michigan is vaguely in the recruitments of the top four RBs in the country per the composite; they're also in on three of the top five "all purpose backs." Are they particularly likely to get any of these dudes? Maybe CJ Cotman but Cotman wants to play D. The rest? Eh, long shots until otherwise noted.
This is my other brother Tedarrel
FL OL Tedarrel Slaton named Michigan his leader really early in his recruitment, which means something. He backed off that in favor of general neutrality, which also means something. In your Bayesian model of his recruitment that means Michigan is around 50/50, waiting for the other shoe to drop. These recruitments can go in one of two directions: nevermind that early leader or yes, that did matter.
In Slaton's case the direction seems positive. First, a neutral reporter from Bleacher Report bleacher reports thusly:
Spoke w/ 5-Star OL Tedarrell Slaton. Wants to see Alabama, Michigan & Ole Miss. Said Wolverines are on him hardest. pic.twitter.com/U0WiQYyUcl
— Sanjay Kirpalani (@SanjayKirpalani) March 6, 2016
(You can also check out Slaton getting his Backstreet on because the internet is rather obsessive.)
Meanwhile Slaton took a deep-cover unofficial visit:
“I visited Michigan recently, but I did not meet with the staff,” said Slaton. “I went up there to see my brother [Drake Lamont] play [basketball] for Western Michigan and we went over to take a look at Michigan.. I loved it. We got to see the weight room, the locker rooms, we got to walk on the field and see all the things they have done with the stadium. It’s nice, and I like it."
"It was a good experience, but it’s a little chilly up there.”
Slaton must have caught one of the recent snow storms instead of the 60-degree days that have generally followed them since Michigan's weather has decided to start careening wildly from one thing to another.
Per ESPN, Slaton has a top five of M, Clemson, FSU, Duke, and Tennessee. 247 posted a note on Slaton's recruitment that seemed pretty encouraging and named M, FSU, and Alabama as the main contenders—FSU and M may be a tentative top two. Lorenz cites an FSU source that doesn't think Slaton is actually that into the Seminoles. Long way to go but leaning towards "yes, early lead counts" in this one.
FWIW, 2016 TE signee Nick Eubanks is a hook for Michigan but it sounds like everyone in his top five features a former teammate.
Insert Moses promised land joke here
— MOSES LAW FIRM, LLC (@mlfllc) March 5, 2016
Michigan finally offered FL LB Dylan Moses, a highly highly touted gent who may end up the #1 kid in the class. Moses is at IMG, originally from Lousiana, and an LSU decommit. Per Webb this has been coming for a while but Michigan wanted to get some sort of indication he was serious before offering:
“Michigan was hesitant before because it seemed like a foregone conclusion he was going to either Alabama or LSU,” The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb said. “He said he wanted to hear from Michigan, so that opened the door. He was a guy that insisted he was interested in Michigan so that led to the offer.”
If that sounds odd to you what with Michigan spraying out "offers" to anyone with passing familiarity with football or cool hair, it sounds odd to me as well. I'm guessing that Michigan was trying to get the kid to commit to some sort of visit before offering. In the aftermath of the visit, he did sound pretty interested:
"Since I haven’t been up to Michigan, for me to see them practice personally helps [Michigan]. … When I watched the practice, I saw the determination that they have, and played with throughout the season. To see that, it did help them with me.” …
“I love it. I have wanted an offer from Michigan for so long. Since coach Harbaugh got there, you can see the impact he will have.
Uphill battle for sure but Harbaugh. Like many prospects of his ilk, Moses plans to go to Signing Day before a final decision. LSU and Alabama are the top competition.
More Spring Game/practice visitors
Add these gentlemen to the pile:
- TX TE Major Tennison. Tennison is a Texas commit who's obviously a bit soft. Lorenz thinks Michigan and other schools will get a swing at him. Probably dependent on how well Texas does this year. Guy has a Bama offer, too, so may be underrated as a composite three-star.
- NJ DT Corey Bolds and NJ LB Drew Singleton plan a visit on the 24th to take in a practice. Both guys attend Paramus Catholic, of course.
- MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones says he would "like to" make the Spring Game but doesn't know if he'll be able to; the next milestone in his recruitment will be a cut to five over the summer.
FL OL Robert Hainsey reconfirmed that he will be there with Lorenz.
Oh, look, Ohio
For those wondering when and if Michigan would ever get in on Ohio kids, it appears your answer is 2018. Michigan was behind the curve for all these kids since much of the staff came from the NFL and Urban Meyer was not. A gander at any 2017 state ranking for Ohio will show most of the high profile guys already off the board to OSU; Michigan has focused its attention elsewhere rather than go for the leftovers.
That's set to change, as Michigan has offers out to a number of 2018 Ohio folks who are at least showing reciprocal interest. Teammates Antwaun Johnson and Leonard Taylor, an ILB and DE respectively, will visit this weekend. RB Jaelen Gill plans a visit next weekend.
Michigan is involved with a couple kids in the 2017 class. TE Trey Pugh plans a visit this weekend:
“The only coach I have talked to is Coach Jay Harbaugh, and we have been building a relationship,” Pugh said.
He was just at Duke and plans visits to NW and Penn State; Ohio State has also offered.
News out of the Opening regional in SoCal, where Michigan is fighting USC for a half-dozen prospects they hope to get maybe one or two of:
- CA WR Greg Johnson says Michigan and Florida are schools he will visit officially in fall. USC is thought to lead.
- CA DE Jaelan Phillips has a tentative top five of Stanford (potential leader), UCLA, ND, M, and Alabama. That is the kind of list that indicates a willingness to leave the West Coast.
- CA OL Wyatt Davis says Bama leads, apparently. He will visit all schools.
- CA CB Jaylon Redd has a tentative top two of M and USC.
- AL OL Kendall Randolph has an offer and attends the Alabama high school where Michigan will hold its upcoming satellite camp. Randolph thinks having Jim Harbaugh come to him is "awesome" and will definitely attend.
- Michigan offered TN OL Trey Smith a bit late; Smith plans a Midwest swing through ND and OSU that he may or may not be able to fit Michigan in on.
- Michigan also offered OR DT Marlon Tuipulotu; says he'll visit but doesn't know when, etc.
- Offer to, tentative visit plan from GA OT D'ante Demery.
- FL WR Leroy Henley has one of those not-top-fours that includes Michigan. Sullivan landed an interview and he said he's trying to make "at least two visits," which sounds pretty good.
- UCLA leads for UT S Chaz Ah You; no mention of Michigan. Close to a happy trails there.
Etc.: Scout says FL OL Kai-Leon Herbert and FL CB Stanford Samuels III are risers after The Opening's Miami camp. MS RB Cam Akers decommits from Alabama. Michigan is trying to get in on him, but Mississippi black hole and all that.
A trip you may have heard something about is ongoing
Michigan is indeed spending a week at IMG's campus in Florida. They're not allowed to talk to the recruits since it's a quiet period, but there is much discussion of it anyway. Steve Wiltfong ran down Michigan's many targets at the school* this morning. Much of it is a recap, but of note is a new crystal ball in Michigan's favor for FL OL Cesar Ruiz. Ruiz is the nation's top center to many.
Wiltfong also reports that DC by way of IMG LB Jordan Anthony is "strongly considering" M. He's a new name to me, and a four star guy. LB Dylan Moses is still waiting on an offer as Michigan tries to get a signal it's worth their time; 2018 DT Taron Vincent projects to be a big timer and Michigan is up there for him.
Both Ruiz and Hainsey recently participated in a local Rivals camp, during which they impressed:
— Tim Sullivan (@TimS_Wolverine) February 27, 2016
— Tim Sullivan (@TimS_Wolverine) February 27, 2016
Sullivan reported that both guys justified recent moves up the Rivals rankings with their performance; one or both could end up breaking into the top 100.
*[Wiltfong continues to say that Michigan's 2017 class will be "considerably smaller" than the 28 or 29 guys Michigan just recruited. I have no doubt he's relaying information from the Michigan staff, but even so I think they're going to get up there. Michigan has 17 scholarship seniors and that'll probably bump up to 19 by fall with Glasgow and Kenny Allen. A totally normal rate of attrition would see them get to 25.]
Spring game visitors start firming up plans
FL OL Robert Hainsey and Ruiz will be there, and FL CB Elvis Hines plans on joining them.
Also this gent:
— Brice Marich (@BriceMarich) March 3, 2016
Woods has offers from Kentucky, Tennessee, and VT in addition to Michigan.
Lorenz reports that CA CB Deommodre "Clamp Clampington" Lenoir will also visit and may decide before football season; Lenoir and FL CB Stanford Samuels appear to be Michigan's top two targets at corner.
CA OL Brett Neilon has set a visit for the spring game and has a top five of M, UCLA, Cal, Duke, and Washington. Allow me to take a brief break from this all-out saloon brawl with Washington mods to assert that M has a very good shot at winning a recruitment against that group.
The complicating factor: USC and Stanford have not offered but Neilon continues to mention them. His dad, brother, and two aunts all went to USC, so… yeah. Neilon noted to MGoFish that he was at a Michigan satellite camp a year ago.
PA S Collin Smith also plans on visiting; hasn't been a whole lot of chatter about him but he does have an offer.
- FL CB CJ Cotman has a top five of M, OSU, Ole Miss, TCU, and Florida. Cotman was high on Michigan early. He's planning on a Signing Day decision.
- OH TE Matt Dotson will visit next weekend. He sounds completely wide open.
- AL LB Monty Rice fielded an offer recently and says he will visit; his top list is one that suggests this is an uphill battle: it's M, UGA, Auburn, South Carolina, and Ole Miss. He assured Rivals that Michigan will have a shot and the chances he visits M are "very high" whether in spring or for an official.
- CA DE Jaelan Phillips is a top 100 guy who recently fielded an offer; interested, will visit, wide open, late decision, etc.
- MA RB AJ Dillon has a visit set up for the 22nd. He's the grandson of a notable Notre Dame player and liked FSU growing up.
- Florida leads for FL OL Kai-Leon Herbert.
- TX DT Damion Daniels fielded an offer, is interested, etc. He said his interest was an "8 out of 10".
- CA OL Wyatt Davis has no leaders and no list; he has tentative plans to visit M.
- Ditto for CA WR Terrell Bynum
- Ditto for GA DT Emanuel McNeal.
Pioneer LB Antjuan Simmons committed to Ohio State rather out of nowhere; he'd just gotten down to 11-ish schools. Guess Michigan's delay in offering stuck in the ol' craw.
Etc.: FINE, I'll mention at 2019 player if he says Michigan is his leader, as FL DE Ge'Mon Eaford does Also he goes to Deerfield Beach. That helps the case for a mention. Touch The Banner scouts the in-state class.
Random midweek instate visits, okay
Kelly-Powell plans multiple return visits
A bunch of instate folks showed up for the Northwestern game: Cass S Jaylen Kelly-Powell, WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, and OL Jordan Reid all stopped in. They brought King CB Ambry Thomas along with them. OL commit JaRaymond Hall, OL offeree Phillip Paea, and the top recruit in the 2018 MI class, Marquan McCall, also stopped by.
You're going to have to get used to Peoples-Jones articles in which he says positive things about an assortment of schools without tipping his hand at all. We can probably fast forward to February with him. On Signing Day Michigan will be a hat on the table and we will feel either good but nervous or not so much and still nervous.
Kelly-Powell endorsed the spring break trip…
"It's an awesome idea," he said of the camp. "It's an amazing opportunity for the team to bond and enjoy some nice weather on their spring break. I don't really understand why people don't like the idea. It's really going to be something that helps the team this season."
…and announced tentative plans for two further unofficials over the next two months, one next month and one for the spring game, that he "should be able to make." There's been some chatter about MSU and OSU in his recruitment; if Kelly-Powell does end up on campus three times in little over a month that would bode well. As of a week ago MSU was "making up ground," FWIW.
Thomas is tough to read. He may be the longest shot of any of those visitors if he follows through with his desire to GTFO:
“I think I want to get away, go far (for college) and create my own path,” Thomas said this week.
He's got a visit to Auburn scheduled and is trying to see Oklahoma; he is still talking to M, MSU, and OSU. On the other hand, Wiltfong thinks Michigan is the eventual choice for Thomas and he was positive about Brown:
"This visit was different and went really well," Thomas said. "It was a good chance for me to just kick it and get to know the coaching staff a lot more. I met Coach Brown for the first time, and he was a really laid back guy."
He told Scout that he was going to be on campus again next month to "lock up some of their top guys, you know." Michigan still has to hire a replacement for Greg Jackson, and that will be a big part of where Thomas eventually ends up.
Paea (left) is a new name
"The coaching staff and facilities were just amazing. The moment you were on campus you just get this really great feeling."
Paea's transitioning from being a linebacker and running back(!) to being a two-way lineman as he fills out, and he's got a lot of promise on either side of the ball:
“They really like his hips,” Scaccia said of college coaches. “He has that innate ability to unlock his hips and play with leverage. He’s still learning but they definitely see the potential there. They like the change of direction for a kid his size. He’s pretty straight-line fast. He can run a little bit.”
Paea joins MI LB Antjuan Simmons as guys who have gone from unheralded to fielding national offers (Simmons has a zillion; Paea added Oregon and Miami), emphasizing what a good year it is for in-state talent. The state has a dozen guys who have or will likely acquire high level out of region offers.
Probably not named after Brian Eno but you never know
TX RB Eno Benjamin seems at least mildly serious about exiting the state. He's not naming favorites but he's got a couple favorites, as one does:
"I am not naming really any favorites, but Iowa they kind of grabbed my attention, Michigan as well," Benjamin reported.
Benjamin is taking trips to Texas and A&M so don't rule out the locals; he plans a spring break trip to various northern schools highlighted by Michigan and OSU and inexplicably including Kansas.
New Jersey… I have heard of this place
Steve Lorenz mentioned in a VIP note a week or so back that Michigan was going to go after NJ ATH Markquese Bell a major priority and now he reports that Bell will visit in the spring. Bell then confirms that Michigan is pushing hard for him:
"Michigan was my first really big offer," he said. Rutgers and Temple were Bell's first two scholarships. "They saw something in me early and I appreciate that."
He's an ATH; at 6'3" 190 he's most likely a WR or safety. He plans a summer decision.
Wisconsin is still steamed about Ben Bredeson
A couple of Wisconsin offerees, WI OLs Alex Fenton and Logan Bruss went off the board to the Badgers. Don't know how high up on Michigan's board either guy was, but I did learn that Wisconsin fans are livid that Ben Bredeson escaped their clutches last year. They assume every instate lineman is theirs. Not without good reason, but sheesh one guy with a bunch of M connections exit and all the voodoo dolls in the state are repurposed.
Michigan hopes to give a further boost to the Cheese State's witchcraft industries by snatching WI OL Tyler Beach. Beach moved around a bit as a kid and isn't born and bred, which means Michigan should have a shot. He's scheduled a visit to M and various other places:
"I'm going to go out to Northwestern, Oregon State and most likely Arizona," Beach noted. "I may try to visit Notre Dame as well, and I'm trying to set something up there as we speak. I've been to Wisconsin a couple times already, and then the Michigan visit."
That visit will be March 11th. He plans a commitment before football season. At 6'8" he is definitely a tackle, and seems on his way to being a consensus four star.
More Rivals ranking updates
Michigan's top two center prospects moved up about 100 slots each in the most recent Rivals 250 revamp, with CA OL Brett Neilon landing at #113 and FL OL Cesar Ruiz at #106. WI OL Tyler Beach also snuck into the tail end of the top 250.
- MI WR KJ Hamler says he hasn't heard from Michigan in a while, displeasing Ace. Says he's still very interested and that he's not going to end his recruitment any time soon.
- CA CB Deommodre "Clamp Clampington" Lenoir will visit for the spring game; his list of schools standing out is entirely out-of-state, with M, Oregon, ND, Washington, and Texas A&M amongst the main contender.
- CA WR Joseph Lewis is one of those LA kids everyone thinks will go to USC; while they're usually right he is listing Michigan and Florida along with the Trojans.
- Michigan and USC are also competing for CA RB Stephen Carr, a soft USC commit, and CA CB Jaylon Redd. 247's Ryan Bartow really does not think Carr's "soft" USC commit is in fact soft, FWIW. Redd is a guy who Michigan has a legit shot at; Redd is a two way athlete who likes the idea of being Jabrill Peppers. Surprise. He "definitely" wants to visit.
- MS RB Cam Akers tells Lorenz that Michigan is going after him despite his Alabama commit. He's buds with MS LB Willie Gay, who we mentioned on Tuesday as a guy who is a candidate to break Michigan's long dry streak in Mississippi. Lorenz mentions that "many are skeptical" that either Akers or fellow Bama RB commit Najee Harris actually signs with the Crimson Tide, FWIW. Michigan is pursuing both.
- Michigan offered IN LB Pete Werner, joining a parade of regional powers in doing so. He "definitely" wants to visit as well, and has been to a game already.
- FL DE Robert Porcher IV is indeed the son of the former Lion and is interested in M; no offer yet.