to play football, not to play trumpet
Hey, these are relevant again
— Rivals Camp Series (@RivalsCamp) December 29, 2015
Rashan Gary falling on things
The UA and Army All-Star games immediately follow the New Year's Day bowl binge, and thanks to Harbaugh's roll-with-it recruiting Michigan has a lot of commits and targets involved. MGoUser "Tate"—who does not have a Forcier avatar for some reason—helpfully collects the various attendees and announcements coming over the next week:
Under Armour All American Game - Saturday Jan 2, 2016 @ noon (ESPN2)
- Kareem Walker, RB
- Ben Bredeson, OL
- Devin Bush, LB
- Rashan Gary, DL
- Jean DeLance, OL - Announcing
- Terrance Davis, OL - Announcing
- Dontavious Jackson, LB
- Jacob Mathis, TE
Semper Fidelis All American Bowl - Sunday Jan 3 @ 9 pm (FS1)
- Brad Hawkins, WR
- Ron Johnson, DE
- Khaleke Hudson, ATH
Army All American Game - Saturday Jan 9 @ 1 pm (NBC)
- Jordan Fuller, DB
- Mecole Hardman, ATH
- Isaac Nauta, TE - Announcing
- Jordan Elliott, DL
- Michael Onwenu, OL
- Brandon Peters, QB
- Donnie Corley, WR
- Dylan Crawford, WR - Announcing
- Lavert Hill, DB
- David Long, DB
That's about a third of Michigan's current class plus the bulk of the gentlemen still on the board. IIRC, last year Michigan had just Brian Cole in the two main games (Semper Fi is notably behind the others in attention and prominence). This year it's a bit different. Prepare for all the vines and twitter videos of DL/OL drills:
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) December 29, 2015
Eh, I'd take him.
Gary seems likely to maintain his status as the top recruit in the country, so the guy I'm most interested to see evaluated on an All-Star stage is NJ RB commit Kareem Walker. Walker highlight tapes have been few and far between. He is not a slam dunk like Leonard Fournette. Michigan has had terrible luck with five-star-ish tailback recruits—Justin Fargas, Kevin Grady, Derrick Green, and Ty Isaac is the list, and it is not great, Bob. Rivals took his fifth star away…
Walker recently lost his fifth star and has gone from a decisive, one-cut brute at running back to a bit of an indecisive runner who questions his instincts and dances a bit too much. Ball security is also an issue so he will need to have a fumble free week and catch the ball effectively as well.
…and I can see why even if the more likely explanation is "we were wrong" instead of "Walker got a lot worse." This will be a week that can confirm or dis-confirm Walker's move down on some sites and relatively low ranking on others. 247 has him as a guy to watch:
RB, Kareem Walker (247Sports No. 118/247Sports Composite No. 39) – We've taken some heat in the past for having Walker ranked low, particularly from the Ohio State fan base when he was committed there. While we still like Walker, we still don't see him as a rare back but more of an effective college starter. A strong Under Armour week could change our mind.
I'd take "effective college starter" given Michigan's luck with five-star types previously.
So about those decisions
Michigan's two remaining OL targets will be announcing within minutes of each other. MD OL Terrance Davis has seen a Maryland surge on his Crystal Ball with most of the heavy hitters flipping their prediction from M to the Terps. These flips do not appear to be guesses, as Steve Wiltfong reports that Davis has already told the coaches at the various schools.
Wiltfong also reports that as Davis continued to hold out, Michigan began to view him as a luxury. If anyone on that staff has followed Michigan recruiting prior to the last couple years they probably got that Laquon Treadwell vibe—you lead too long for a guy without a commit and you're just a placeholder until he figures out where he actually wants to go.
There will be some blah blah about Durkin but like whatever man. Sometimes recruits want to stay home.
Delance and Keanu Reeves saved the future with music
Speaking of recruits who may or may not want to stay home, TX OL Jean Delance has been the staff's main priority for a fifth OL for months now because they view him as a tackle, and they want a tackle. Intel on Delance is all over the board. First, he brings good tidings:
Michigan: "Coach (Jim) Harbaugh. They treat me like family. They already have that No. 1 class. They have that set up. It's what they are going to need. There are still three or four four-star guys on the board that they are going to get that I know of. So I mean I just trust it's going to be a No. 1 class and they are going to be back on top next year (and be a) playoff team."
That article contains quotes from Delance on LSU and Texas that seem less enthralled, which continues a theme that caused us to ballz Delance to Michigan last week.
But that's an educated guess on a guy who could end up at any of his three finalists without it being a shock. The 247 Texas guy still maintains that mom wants him at home, and another quote from that article in which Delance says he's going to "duke it out" with his family seems to confirm that… while also confirming that Delance isn't eager to sign up for RichRod Year 3: Texas Edition. Wiltfong and the LSU 247 just batted a bunch of contradictory and alarming information around that I was going to summarize but since Lorenz just ballz'd Delance to Michigan let's ignore all that and concentrate on the good vibes.
To sum up: we think Michigan is the pick there but a late swerve is definitely possible.
The news is much more certain with CA WR Dylan Crawford. Reports from Oregon folks that the Ducks had run out of room for him have continued, with all the relevant parties flipping their ballz back to Michigan. There's been zero noise about schools other than Oregon and Michigan for months now, and it looks like Crawford's hat dance will be purely for show.
Finally, GA TE Isaac Nauta is the longest shot, with zero optimism coming from anywhere and Georgia people feelin' real nice.
I learned to spell this so let's make it count
TX DE Levi Onwuzurike cancelled plans to visit Arizona State and is down to Michigan, Baylor, and Washington. He remains mysterious:
He has seen all three other schools; Michigan, Washington, and Baylor, and had also indicated he might be making an announcement on January 20th, but this could come literally any day.
"All three schools have good academics", Onwuzurike said, "Distance is[n't] any factor -- and my parents have said it's up to me."
Onwuzurike has given nobody any indication as to where he's leaning at any point in the process. Lorenz says that Baylor is trailing, so Michigan appears to be top two.
Also in DEs
Alabama offered AZ DE Connor Murphy on Christmas Eve, because of course Alabama offers people on Christmas Eve. His January visit list is big time:
Murphy has already visited Oregon and has three official visits set up in January. He says, "I am going to USC on January 15th, then to Michigan the next weekend and then Alabama the weekend after that."
Murphy has a Harbaugh connection since his brother went to Stanford, and does not appear to be leaning anywhere in particular. Michigan probably does not have room for him of Onwuzurike drops; Murphy's schedule will allow Michigan to know if he's a major priority without an offputting "hey… maybe you want to wait."
Another commit who's not hearing much from the staff
MD CB commit Sir Patrick Scott told Rivals that he hasn't been in constant, or even intermittent, contact with Michigan's staff:
“Unfortunately I haven’t heard from the staff about the new coach,” Scott said. “I know nothing about him so I guess I’ll have to do my own research on his résumé to see how good everyone says he is.”
Uh. Scott says he isn't visiting anywhere and isn't planning on a decommit. Nonetheless the lack of an official visit and the lack of contact mean we should keep an eye on Scott's status as Signing Day approaches. There are a number of academic hoops you have to jump through to get approved for an official. A prospect who doesn't take any officials may not check all those boxes. Scott has not taken any officials.
Meanwhile, NJ DE Ron Johnson on Don Brown:
Johnson got the chance to briefly chat with him for the first time recently and is eager to begin playing under him.
”Yes, I did,” said Johnson. “He messaged me on Twitter right before the holiday introducing himself and talking to me about the future. He just said he couldn’t wait till I get there, so we can get to work. I believer he is a great hire.”
It would not surprise if Scott ended up decommitting.
Jones on Signing Day
FL LB Jonathan Jones tells the ND Rivals site that he will announce on Signing Day. He may commit privately before then. That silent commit will be meaningful since he's waiting for Signing Day to do a thing at his school but might want to reserve a spot before ND or M fills up.
Vibes with NJ DE Rashan Gary remain steady. Rivals is a little salty at "other media outlets" for playing up schools like Ole Miss and Ohio State:
Despite his camp not coming out and saying it and team reporters at other media outlets writing stories slanted toward their audiences, Michigan is far and away the leader for Gary. At points earlier in his recruitment Clemson, Georgia, Auburn, LSU and Ole Miss challenged Michigan for the top spot on Gary's list but his relationships with the recruiting class, staff and players in Ann Arbor will be too much for any team to overcome.
If Ole Miss is running #2 Michigan is in a very good spot—Gary's mom had a run-in with a rentacop on that visit, which ended early. Meanwhile, there was a brief surge in Ohio State noise after OSU hired Greg Schiano as their DC. That didn't seem to last:
No. 1 Rashan Gary said Michigan, Ole Miss, Auburn, Clemson, LSU, USC, Georgia the top schools still in consideration. Florida FSU outside
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) December 29, 2015
He has one visit left and is considering Clemson, LSU, Georgia, Florida, or FSU for it.
Scout ranks MD OL Devery Hamilton the #9 OT in the country. Delance is fifth. Happy trails to CA S Lamar Jackson, who named a top four without Michigan. M led for a minute after his official visit but apparently they dropped him shortly after. TX LB Dontavious Jackson tells Mike Farrell that his top three is ITT Tech, Everest, and University of Phoenix. Crushing blow to Davenport's recruiting there.
Christmas week is usually a week off when not in the throes of a coaching search. Ace will cover the Bryant game Wednesday but don't expect much from the site until next week, when… yes… OSU UFR is due. Send whiskey.
Also check out alum96's generally accurate recruiting overview post.
Long officially back on the market
CA CB David Long made his all but inevitable decommit from Stanford a real thing, releasing a statement about it on Twitter. In said statement he named Michigan and Washington his leaders. He has a visit set to UW on January 15th, after which a decision should be forthcoming. Long's leaving the country right after.
On their end, Michigan has been confident since Long's official visit. On Washington's end, the UDub 247 mods are really really confident, one of them proclaiming a Long commit was "99.9%" likely a couple weeks back. The latest:
On the surface some within the recruiting circuit believe Long to Michigan is a very real possibility.
I wouldn't count on it.
They might be right here but even in a world populated almost entirely by homers the 247 Washington site stands out. Clint Brewster reports that Michigan's coaching staff is highly optimistic and that he's close to issuing his ballz for M. Meanwhile Scout's Greg Biggins, a West Coast guy:
At this point, this race looks like a tight one. Long loved the visit to Michigan back in October and we heard rumblings shortly after, that the Wolverines could actually get a quick commitment out of him.
Washington people are hearing similar things on their end, and 247 national guy Ryan Bartow put in a dawg ballz. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Tiebreaker: a visit right before a commitment is usually a big advantage for the guys who go last.
Dylan Crawford momentum shift?
CA WR Dylan Crawford was ticketed to Michigan, then "dream school" Oregon offered and Oregon mod types were really really confident, then Oregon picked up commits from FL WR Eddie McDoom(!) and flipped OSU commitment and TX WR/QB Tristen Wallace. (The Wallace commit is a rare instance of a kid deciding he doesn't want to play QB.)
Even so, Oregon loses a ton of WRs this year and they are a spread so probably room for Crawford [RECORD SCRATCH]
Dylan Crawford and Javon McKinley remain at large and frankly I think the Ducks will only take one. I'm not sure there's enough room to add Crawford and I think the Ducks would take McKinley if he wanted to come.
That's Justin Hopkins of the Oregon 247 site, who had previously been amongst the most gung-ho about Oregon's chances with Crawford. He reiterated that stance in another post as well. Sam Webb is hearing similar things.
You have to think that the lukewarm react to Crawford—waiting to offer so long and then maybe not even having him as a take at this juncture—would play into Michigan's hands. M has been after Crawford from the drop.
But what about TN WR commit Nate Johnson? And Pie Young? Where are all these spots going to come from? I don't know. Webb says Michigan would take both Young and Crawford, which 1) just about has to mean they're looking at NJ WRs Brad Hawkins and/or Ahmir Mitchell as safeties and 2) might mean someone currently in the class as a WR type is on the verge of a decommit.
IN ATH Kiante Enis, who said a week or so back that he hadn't heard from Michigan much since his commit and visited Indiana just before the dead period, would be a guy to watch. Enis hasn't taken an official to Michigan yet, and while that isn't a big deal absent other indicators… we have other indicators.
FWIW, we flipped our* Crystal Ballz on Crawford to Oregon based partially on the Duck optimism there and partially because our expectation was that Young would commit over the OSU weekend. Now we don't really know what to do. If you have a foggy prediction and someone commits they charge that against you, so we're keeping the Oregon pick until such time as we change it to Michigan because the air tastes like copper or whatever.
*[Ace and I collaborate on a single MGoBlog ballz.]
Don Brown reacts
as noted on twitter, Don Brown looks like a NO NONSENSE COP who might have TAKEN THINGS TOO FAR THIS TIME
The reported hire of BC defensive coordinator Don Brown was evidently official enough for recruiting sites to ping various folks about their reactions yesterday. Generally the reaction is "dang."
CA CB David Long on Don Brown: "It's a big hire and only another thing #Michigan has added to an already stacked program. I love the hire."
— Brice Marich (@BriceMarich) December 21, 2015
MI CB LaVert Hill:
"Boston College was one of the top five defenses in the country," Hill said. "If they get him, I would be pretty good with that."
Hill, BTW, has set January officials to USC, MSU, and Miami. One of his infinite trips to campus this fall was his official to Michigan. Hill has long been regarded as a lock, but the defensive coordinator switch threw a wrench into those plans. M will have to fight for his signature to Signing Day, which is now the plan for both Hill and teammate MI WR Donnie Corley. Maybe. More about that later.
TX LB Dontavious Jackson broke out the mild swearing:
"It's a hell of a move," he told Wolverine247 on Sunday night. "Coach Harbaugh filled me in on what he will bring to the Michigan defense and I'm excited about it."
I am a bit spooked about both Hill and Long given the trajectories of their recruitment but on the other hand I'm feeling optimistic on Jackson based on little more than a hunch. Nobody has a good read on him except for default assumptions about Texas, and every day Strong gets closer to the Rich Rod end game that assumption looks shakier. See also: TX OL Jean Delance.
FL LB Jonathan Jones:
Orlando (Fla.) Oak Ridge LB Jonathan Jones on Don Brown: "Coach Harbaugh just told me about it. That's a hugeeeee pick up." @KingCaarlos
— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) December 21, 2015
Jones remains a Michigan-ND battle in which Michigan is believed to have a slight edge.
BC ATH commit KJ Gray decommitted in the immediate aftermath and listed Michigan along with almost every D-I school on the East Coast and Wisconsin. Gray is a three star WR/CB who plans to set a bunch of officials in January and then decide. M has not been involved with him to date, but if Brown likes him and sees him as a CB they might bring him in if they think things might shake out where he has a spot. That would probably require both Long and Hill to head elsewhere.
Maybe not so much on the Corley/Hill thing though
Josh Helmholdt reports that Corley is trying to enroll early, which would obviously disrupt plans to commit with Hill. Michigan is probably on the outside with Corley and would definitely be if he does enroll early:
…he took his three official visits to Michigan State, Tennessee and Ohio State. "If the graduating early thing comes up, it will probably be (one of) those three schools because that's where I took my officials to and that's where I'm most comfortable with," Corley said.
To get in it Michigan needs an official visit; if Corley is still on the market in January they will get one. (So will Notre Dame.) If you are thinking that Corley has been on campus several times already and what is one vaguely more Official visit going to do… yeah. I don't think this one is ending up Michigan's way no matter when Corley enrolls.
Top X of the week
As Steve Lorenz mentioned, TX DE Levi Onwurzrike released a top four of Washington, Baylor, Michigan, and Other Team. That other team is Arizona State. Onwuzrike momentarily had a twitter bio that read "water your plants key to success watering plants," which is apparently a DJ Khaled reference since he is doing things I don't understand on a social network I don't participate in. Probably Snappagram. But anyway that was a good twitter bio.
MO TE Chase Allen reiterated to Brice Marich that Iowa State, Minnesota, and Michigan were his top three even after he got a Florida State offer. Allen is still playing high school basketball so visits are tricky for him:
“I have taken one visit to Minnesota, but it is hard to fit visits in with my basketball schedule,” said Allen. I got one scheduled for Iowa State in January, but I have talked with them about moving it, so we will see. Definitely, it is a priority of mine to get up to Michigan and check it out."
With the dead period lasting until January 13th he has a short window in which to figure things out. The combination of Jake Butt, academics, and Harbaugh has Allen's interest piqued.
FL TE Isaac Nauta has a final three of UGA, Michigan, and Alabama. The former two are generally thought to be the main contenders. With the Allen offer and Jacob Eason recommit to UGA, things seem to be trending to the Bulldogs.
PA LB Khaleke Hudson has a final four of Pitt, PSU, UCLA, and Michigan. They get the last visit, that on January 15th.
This week in someone loves Nate Johnson
Tim Sullivan catches up with TN WR commit Nate Johnson's high school coach for a quote that will definitely make it in his recruiting profile:
"He's a terrific route-runner, number one. He's great in space, knows how to get separation, knows how to get open, knows how to recognize coverages. His hands were the best I've ever coached."
More in a meaty article at the link.
Revenge for whoever that guy was ten years ago
"Went to bed a Wolverine and woke up a Seminole" became infamous when some dude we all thought was going to commit ended up at FSU and people tried to save face. Travis Johnson? Was that his name?
Yes. First round pick in 2005.
/shakes fist at nothing in particular
Anyway, revenge is served so cold that nobody involved is still around and only me and like three other insane people will enjoy this, but enjoy this they shall:
Last Wednesday it was Top247 linebacker Devin Bush Jr., an FSU legacy, that announced he would be a Wolverine. He looked destined for the Maize and Blue for much of the process but a late charge by Florida State and Auburn made things a little foggy at the end.
Then on Thursday, the nation’s No. 2 running back in Kareem Walker chose Michigan, going back and forth between the Wolverines and Seminoles on the last day. One source tells 247Sports that Walker went to bed a Nole and by the time he announced early in the afternoon he was back to the Wolverines.
Walker turned down a compelling offer to sign up for the winged helmet, and Michigan won a recruitment they have generally seen turn against them in the past.
Going to be really interesting to see how that latter works out. I cannot recall the last instate three-star to get the kind of out of state offers Reese did. Valdez Showers, who ended up doing not much at Florida, is the last guy I recall getting a big time offer without Michigan showing much interest—despite the commit here I think that's a fair thing to say about Reese. Hope Michigan didn't make a mistake here.
AZ DE Connor Murphy is planning January visits. USC and Michigan were known; he is now thinking about Alabama as well. Murphy took a November visit to Oregon. He's injured but says he heals "like the Wolverine," which is probably not as telling as you want it to be.
Five star 2017 FL DE Josh Kaindoh is originally from Baltimore (he is one of those IMG dudes) and tells the PSU Rivals site that schools of interest are PSU, M, MSU, OSU, ND, and Maryland since Durkin was his contact at M. PSU is an early leader; sounds like Michigan is likely to be playing with or against Kaindoh.
Michigan just offered FL DE Joshua Uche, a Miami decommit.
On Bush and Walker
Both my lil Bros committed back2back!! Mood: pic.twitter.com/jyAYuH8DeA
— PeppyPep (@JabrillPeppers) December 17, 2015
So those went well. Michigan withstood a push from Florida State on both players and with Walker's commitment they flipped the #1 tailback recruit in the country from Ohio State. The latter has a negligible impact on Ohio State's fortunes going forward—when Walker started wavering they flipped a touted Wisconsin commit in a week—but is an eye-catcher.
Steve Lorenz of 247 has a good take on the difference here:
The Michigan program recruited very well under Brady Hoke, with two top five-ish classes. However, these are the types of recruitments that would slip away from them late when we're talking about nationally-recruited prospects out of power areas (California, Texas, Florida, etc.). Jim Harbaugh and Michigan have now beaten both Florida State and Notre Dame twice for out-of-region prospects since he took the job, and may be in a strong position for a third on Thursday with Kareem Walker.
Check. Michigan's class is now #1 or #2 in the country, depending on who you talk to. It won't finish like that since southern schools will add a ton of five star types late, but "Harbaugh hates recruiting" was about as accurate as everything else NFL reporter types said about him a year ago.
Those commits also catch the eye of certain compatriots.
1. RB in the country to Ann Arbor Ⓜ️
— Jean Delance ® (@JeanDelance74) December 17, 2015
Toot toot, all aboard the Harbaugh Express.
BONUS: More dreadlocks. Always more dreadlocks.
New tight end offer
It's only mostly sunshine and recruits, though.
Yeah, you should probably read into this one: Michigan has offered three star MO TE Chase Allen. This is probably a bad sign about FL TEs Isaac Nauta and Jacob Mathis. Richt got fired, the whole nine yards, and Michigan probably has a read on how that recruitment is going to go. Really would have helped if WA QB Jacob Eason had flipped to another school, but that didn't happen and opinion from Georgia mod types is now very sunny there. Mathis seems ticketed to Florida. So Allen feels like a next-man-up kind of offer.
But not entirely. Michigan already has a commit from MA TE Sean McKeon and a lot of depth on the roster. They have a lot of guys chasing a few spots, so offering a guy like Allen is an indicator they value him pretty highly. Meanwhile Allen's Michigan offer was quickly followed by one from Florida State, so this might be a situation similar to that of TN WR Nate Johnson where a kid rises late after his senior film gets out. Allen picked up Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, and Minnesota offers over the last couple weeks. Allen played a ton of high school basketball, including offseason AAU stuff, as a 6'7" power forward. That explains his late rise and lack of profile. If he ends up anything like Maxxxxx Williams I'd be okay with that.
Allen is in the Bunting mold wherein he is mostly a hilariously oversized high school wide receiver, but he did do some inline blocking a year ago. At 225 he's a guy Michigan would put on the shelf for a couple years and bring out of the oven.They've got the depth and time to do that.
Bad news, though?
@Dr_ChaseAllen all these offers don't change the fact that you're a ginger
— Dyl (@dylanxmills) December 17, 2015
Allen apparently has a 4.0 and a 33(!) on his ACT, so Michigan is a place that would appeal for reasons other than football. Also he wants to be an engineer. My man.
Allen plans an official to Ann Arbor in January. The Gophers were widely regarded as Allen's leader before the Michigan offer; in the aftermath three different Gopher analyst ballz'd him to Michigan. This appears to be based on nothing other than "Minnesota-Michigan recruiting battles generally go one way," but… yeah.
Rashan Gary things
This article got sold as an Ohio State comin'(!) kind of thing on the message boards, giving any Michigan fan's adrenaline up. On review it's really not a thing. Ohio State is recruiting Gary. They hired Greg Schiano, who knows NJ DE Rashan Gary from way back. Get a little further and it's clear that Ms. Coney was just describing the various things happening in Gary's recruitment, including Michigan activity…
"Michigan had coach Partridge and coach Mattison come by yesterday," Gary said ."Michigan was on point because Chris Partridge knows us from the transfer from Scotch Plains to Paramus Catholic. He was going to be a great football player, but I wanted to make sure he was going to continue to be a great student."
…and that it's probably going to take a bit more than that to shake up Gary's recruitment. I'm sure everyone is having a fight or flight response anyway.
Still open to wide receivers, apparently
There's been no indication that Michigan is about to stop recruiting receivers despite the Nate Johnson commitment and dwindling numbers. Michigan still has FL WR Pie Young on the hook, which would take them to four in this class despite losing nobody. (To graduation, anyway.) Theory: one of their commits might be ticketed for safety. Both NJ WRs Brad Hawkins and Ahmir Mitchell have the right size.
In any case, the Rutgers 247 site offhandedly reported something of interest to Michigan: NJ WR Donald Stewart has official to Michigan set for January 22nd. A lot of people projected Stewart, who attends Paramus Catholic, into Michigan's class over the summer but that never came to fruition. Things have been cool there for a long time, but they're apparently not dead… as long as he actually gets to that visit uncommitted. Stanford, the presumed leader after Michigan ceased being that, gets a visit the week prior.
On… wuz… urike?
I think I just figured out how to spell that without looking it up. TX DE Levi Onwuzurike has been a "true ninja" of the recruiting process according to Steve Lorenz, but now that it's coming down to decision time there is at least the faint outline of a leading group. According to Steve:
He's set to announce a top four in the near future, and while Baylor, Washington and Michigan are safe bets to make that group, there isn't a great feel for who the fourth school would be. It may be local TCU. Either way, that fourth school is currently on the outside looking in (in our opinion) regardless of who it is. One source closer to the Michigan side of things was blunt when asked if there was any feel for what he was going to do: "None".
Michigan appears to really want Onwuzurike, who is flying under the radar somewhat because he loathes attention.
Don't you dare be sour
In the aftermath of Devin Bush Jr's commitment to Michigan comes a parable about grapes. Shot:
Yup. A bit surprising how optimistic they are about him. https://t.co/Ydb8SG5QcK
— Jason Staples (@DocStaples) December 15, 2015
TBH, I think Bush made the right decision here. He’ll be in line for early PT at Michigan. Don’t think he’d have ever started at #FSU
— Jason Staples (@DocStaples) December 16, 2015
That second tweet has a bunch of replies from FSU fans asking who on earth is going to play over him since FSU's LB depth chart looks pretty similar to Michigan's after this year: one contributor back and then a herd of question marks.
This one probably won't go our way
Michigan kinda maybe led for TX DT Chris Daniels for a minute, but after an Oklahoma visit that was immediately followed by a commitment date things have been trending the Sooners' way. Daniels will decide Friday at 7. Sort of, anyway: Daniels plans visits in January.
Michigan's in his top three along with Alabama and OU; the Sooners are the favorite. Maybe there's a chance though:
Michigan: "Well, Michigan was always a school I wanted to go to since I was little. I'm not going to say they were my dream school, but they were the school I was really looking up to when I was younger. I felt like their defensive line coach has a lot of history in the NFL and college and he can develop me also."
Michigan has a January visit set up with AZ DE Connor Murphy in the event Michigan does not lock Daniels down.
In basketball, UMHoops talks with Zach Fleer about Ibi Watson's development.
Hello. I'm writing these for a bit since recruiting and basketball are going to be most of what goes on for the next month, and by splitting it up we can do a better job at both.
Early Christmas presents, or coal
A couple of recruits high on Michigan's radar are announcing this week. On the 16th, FL LB Devin Bush announces. He says he's already decided, but that didn't prevent Michigan and FSU from dropping in on him with in-home visits last week. Michigan has been supremely confident in Bush's recruitment for a long time, but the departure of DJ Durkin did throw a wrench into things:
"For us it was bittersweet. It was like, ‘dang! We didn’t get a chance to work underneath him,” if he (Bush Jr.) choose (Michigan). But my son hasn’t chosen a school yet. So we’re just happy for D.J. and we’ve had to sit back and see what else unfolds.”
That quote has an air of someone trying to put the cat back in the bag. Uncertainty at DC—every single one of Bush's finalists save FSU has seen their DC depart—has Michigan people a bit more doubtful. Meanwhile Josh Newberg, an FSU mod who is a person to pay attention to, just ballz'd Bush to FSU.
Michigan still thinks they're getting the guy, but significant doubts are cropping up. Allen Trieu has an article in the News quoting Webb heavily that offers the lay of the land.
NJ RB Kareem Walker announces on the 17th. Walker announced that date after an in-home with Harbaugh, and before his official visit to Arizona State this weekend. FSU and Auburn are regarded as the only real competition. The the 247 FSU mods are not at all optimistic($), the main Auburn guy ballz'd Walker to Michigan, and Wiltfong isn't wavering.
That is looking good, but it doesn't seem like it's the 100% lock it felt like a month ago. New Jersey-based recruiting guy Todderick Hunt feels like it'll be Florida State, FWIW, but I'm not sure how seriously to take that when he's commenting on his own article thusly:
Obviously Michigan is the overwhelming favorite and he could very well end up there, but the recent sequence of events has me thinking FSU.
Official visit weekend: commits
Michigan brought in a bunch of commitments: IN RB Chris Evans, NJ DE Ron Johnson, NJ WR Brad Hawkins, IN QB Brandon Peters, FL CB Antwaine Richardson, and TX DT Jordan Elliott. Commit visits are usually no-news events and these were no exception. The most newsworthy thing about any of those guys is that Richardson is no longer enrolling early.
Two of the visits should move a couple commitments from 98% to 99%. Evans had a slight waver as he announced visits to both in-state schools, but none of the three major sites have a report that indicates he actually went to either. Meanwhile Elliott returning with his mom two weeks after he came up for the Ohio State game should further solidify that commitment.
Elliott seems somewhat annoyed he has to keep telling people that Michigan is final answer. This is mostly because Texas folks keep saying there's a chance; in response Elliott's twitter feed is nonstop Michigan boosterism. He is not giving the appearance of a guy who is going to flip again.
Nate Johnson adds self to above list
[Shelley Mays/The Tennessean]
Michigan also had a handful of uncommitted prospects. TN WR Nate Johnson dropped for M about the instant he arrived. Ace's Hello post covers him in detail, including a couple of excellent explanations for why 247 is high on him while others aren't:
Then the season came and Johnson validated his camp performances and was just unstoppable. It was a crime that he didn't win Mr. Football. He played with a quarterback that he had been with for years and their offense was crazy good (undefeated with very few close contests) but Johnson made it tick. He's one of the best route-runners in the country, has great hands, fantastic body control and he has a much bigger catch radius than his 5-11 size would suggest. He's also added good weight and strength as he's progressed in high school. At this point, he reminds me some of Christian Kirk down at Texas A&M in terms of body type.
That's a free post with plenty more at the link. With the flood of impressive late offers (Penn State, Miami, Tennessee and Michigan just last week) maybe other sites take another look. Scout hasn't even ranked the guy, which is kind of boggling since he had over a thousand receiving yards in both of his last two years in high school and was committed to a Power 5 school for months.
While numbers are getting tight now, Sam Webb says Michigan might take another wideout. It won't be FL WR Eddie McDoom(!), who committed to Oregon on an official this weekend. We are of course all devastated to lose such a name but if it can't be Michigan, Oregon seems appropriate for a fast guy named MCDOOM. Oregon's up to 25 commitments but has just two WRs and still has room for CA WR Dylan Crawford. They're in on a couple other WRs; if one of those guys drops then it might be time to talk about Crawford getting pushed over to M.
Delance on campus
Things are looking up for TX OT Jean Delance, who has been a major priority for Harbaugh and company for months now. Delance was popularly thought to be favoring Texas, but now the buzz is that it's a Michigan-LSU battle. Steve Wiltfong reports that he's close to putting in a crystal ballz($) for Michigan… and that he's close to putting a ballz for LSU. Dangit, Wiltfong.
Let's read too much into a tweet with a colloquial phrase in it, shall we?
Ann Arbor it's been real see you all again! 〽️ pic.twitter.com/qLMzO7ALKM
— Jean Delance (@JeanDelance74) December 13, 2015
Delance told an LSU site that he was planning to be committed by January, so it's one of those three teams, period, and with Texas on route to RichRodding Charlie Strong it looks like Texas is suddenly playing from behind.
Read between the linebackers
The considerable, if indirect, debate between the various recruiting sites as to how hard Michigan is recruiting CA LB Caleb Kelly has been resolved by Kelly himself:
As for his recruitment, Kelly said he has not talked with Michigan since his visit, which he thought was strange so he hoped to get in communication with them soon. Oklahoma remains a serious contender and he said the Sooners have not stopped their aggressive approach to recruiting him.
Kelly seems to like Michigan more than Michigan likes him. I would not expect Kelly to end up at Michigan unless there is a 180 by the coaching staff.
Meanwhile, vibes are still mostly good with FL LB Jonathan Jones. He took his official visit this weekend as well, and while this is not a great quote when you think you're leading for a guy…
Jones was accompanied on the trip by his mother and she came away equally impressed.
“She said my decision just probably got a bit harder,” said Jones. “It's a great school and she said there are great people. If I went there she would feel very comfortable.”
…later he said he "most definitely" thought about committing on his trip and even the Notre Dame side of this thinks Michigan is the likely choice. He's got a visit to Duke next weekend, and plans on a Signing Day announcement.
Bush and Jones are Michigan's clear top targets. They must be supremely confident in both to all but invite a David Reese decommit and go forward with few or no obvious other options save TX LB Dontavious Jackson on their board.
Cornerbacks moving things around
CA CB David Long, a Stanford commit most people don't think will end up at Stanford, did not make a planned visit to Washington this weekend. UCLA and Michigan have "a little more of his attention" according to Rivals' Adam Gorney. Meanwhile the 247 mods at Washington were recently all but guaranteeing Long flipping to the Huskies. 'Crootin'.
Long told Scout that Michigan hiring Lance Anderson away from Stanford would "give them the upper hand," but that he doesn't think Anderson would take the DC job if offered.
Meanwhile, MI CB LaVert Hill's recruitment has also gone full 'crootin' after months during which he was reputed to be the most locky lock on Michigan's board despite a nominal commitment to Penn State. So:
- Hill likes DJ Durkin and his departure shook up Hill's recruitment extensively. Webb reports that Greg Jackson will be key, and that his brother will vouch for the guy all day.
- Despite the uncertainty, Hill took his official visit this weekend. This marks the 750th time Hill has been in Ann Arbor this year, for which he receives a tiny pewter tree from the mayor's office.
- He's now planning to take all five visits, with UCLA and USC on the docket. He has already been to Tennessee and Michigan; MSU is other team scheduled to get a visit.
- Hill and MI WR Donnie Corley are now planning to announce on the same day. Corley was set to announce on the 18th but now that's off the table. That's probably good for M since they're believed to trail a couple schools in his recruitment. Corley claiming there is "a significant chance" he and Hill are a package maybe not so much.
After the visit Wiltfong did re-iterate he still expects Hill to end up at Michigan, but he had backed off on his certainty that would happen. Rivals is reporting that Maryland is trying to get in, which isn't a huge surprise.
Prepare another 2017 Hello post, Ace, and then another maybe
Michigan picks up a commitment from 2017 GA WR Jeremiah Holloman, a teammate of 2017 RB commit Kurt Taylor. Tim Sullivan catches up with him:
The 6-3, 190-pounder is a three-star unranked within the state or at his position, but has plenty of physical potential. He won the Georgia 6A state title in triple jump this spring with an effort of 47 feet, 5.5 inches. He also placed sixth in both the long jump (22-0.25) and high jump (6-4). …
"Basically on the outside, I'm a big, dynamic player," he said. "I'm speedy with the routes, nice precision with my routes. I can cause a whole bunch of threats from short routes to going deep or jumping over corners. I'm just a threat on the field."
Ace will elaborate with a forthcoming Hello post. Meanwhile Michigan has offered a third 2017 player at Covington: GA LB Jaquan Henderson, a UCLA commit. He was also offered by Michigan's staff and in the aftermath of Holloman joining up Chad Simmons, Brice Marich, and Steve Lorenz all indicated a flip was somewhere between a real possibility and imminent.
TX DE Jeffery McCullough didn't include Michigan in his top five. He was always a longshot. As mentioned, FL WR Eddie McDoom(!) committed to Oregon.
Michigan will poke around Montana State transfer QB Conor Prukop, but most expect him to end up plugging Oregon's odd and ongoing hole at QB. Mattison and Partridge stop in on NJ DE Rashan Gary. NJ WR Donald Stewart has been trending away from M for a while but he had an in-home recently and may be back on the radar. TX RB Rakeem Boyd, an A&M commit, may visit in January.
Michigan had an in-home with AZ DE Connor Murphy, who plans a visit in January. He still seems very open.
Attrition, Expected and... Not So Expected
In a move that should surprise no one, three-star in-state ILB David Reese announced his decommitment from Michigan yesterday so he can find a program that will allow him to enroll early:
— REESE3⃣ (@Dreese18) December 10, 2015
The coaches assuredly saw that coming. That wasn't the case with the decommitment of three-star CA QB/ATH Victor Viramontes over the weekend, per 247's Clint Brewster ($):
The de-commitment came as a huge surprise to Michigan as coach John Baxter just saw Viramontes and reported back to Harbaugh that the visit went extremely well.
We have been told that Viramontes was given bad information from a member of his camp that Michigan wouldn’t give him a shot at quarterback and he would immediately be a fullback or linebacker, which is completely false.
Sam Webb discussed the Viramontes situation extensively on his radio show Monday; alum96 was kind enough to write up a summary on the board that's well worth reading. The upshot: while Michigan wasn't expecting Viramontes to leave the class, they don't consider him a must-get—they'll continue to pursue him but at this point there are other uncommitted prospects who are higher priorities.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Vicious Vic Decommits
I've decided to decommit. pic.twitter.com/6IZroWgdrY
— Victor viramontes (@Vicious_Vic10) December 7, 2015
The MGoStaff is going to have to find a new favorite commit. Three-star CA QB/ATH Victor Viramontes decommitted last night, leaving Brandon Peters as the only quarterback in the class and, well, nobody capable of being a quarterback/fullback/linebacker. Viramontes picked up a Cal offer right around the time he decommitted; he has a better shot of sticking at QB there. I look forward to seeing him play wherever he ends up.
With so many quarterbacks on the roster, including two who redshirted from the 2015 class, it's unclear if Jim Harbaugh will feel the need to add another; Viramontes' open spot may be better served going to an additional defensive prospect, especially one at linebacker.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]