i refuse to even consider this a possibility
I unwittingly glutened myself this week, so between that, basketball season getting underway, recruiting staying in a holding pattern, and the football team remaining rather uninspiring, there's no full recruiting roundup or FFFF today. Instead, I'm mashing the two together before I head into town for the Detroit game.
Michigan will receive an official visit this weekend from a highly touted prospect not committed to the Wolverines. Yes, this is probably a surprise to you. This may even be a surprise to the coaches. It's probably not going to amount to a whole lot. But, hey, it's happening, and that's nice.
The recruit in question is four-star receiver Auden Tate, currently a Florida State commit, who's following through on his long-held plan to officially visit Ann Arbor after he got a Michigan offer way back in April. Tate grew up a fan of the program and he's kept in touch with QB commit Alex Malzone throughout the recruiting process. It'd be a surprise if Tate flipped his commitment, but heck, it's a surprise he's taking this trip in the first place.
Three-star Oak Park ATH John Kelly will also be in attendance as an unofficial visitor. The other 2015 recruits set to be at the game are current commits: Malzone and Grant Newsome, both of whom have remained steadfast in their pledges throughout this tumultuous season. Malzone may be joined by his Brother Rice teammate and primary target, 2015 WR Grant Perry, though Perry may choose to visit Northwestern instead.
[Hit THE JUMP for commit updates, Iman Marshall's very interesting visit plans, a couple more recruiting nuggets, and Seth's lineup diagrams for the Maryland game.]
Michigan Offers 2015 Corner
After decommitments left Michigan with Tyree Kinnel as their lone member of the 2015 class who projects to play in the secondary, further offers were inevitable. Afforded time by the bye week, the coaches came through with one to Long Beach (CA) Poly three-star Colin Samuel, per 247's Barton Simmons. The Wolverines weren't alone, however, as UCLA and Washington State offered Samuel yesterday; while Michigan should get serious interest, the Bruins offer looms large for a California prospect who'd previously gone under the radar.
Steve Lorenz posted an updated list of cornerback targets that's worth a read if you've got access to 247. Previous top targets Iman Marshall and Marcus Lewis are longshots at best at this point. Two more California prospects, three-stars Octavius Spencer and Malik Psalms, have each fielded Michigan interest with an offer as of yet; same goes for three-star Wake Forest commit Amari Henderson. I'd bet at least one of those three pulls in an offer before long.
The other defensive back recruit to watch is Oak Park's John Kelly, who got his coveted Michigan offer last month and is seriously considering the Wolverines after previously narrowing his recruitment to Michigan State and Minnesota. Kelly recently told Scout's Allen Trieu just how much that offer meant to him:
A lot of people might say, Michigan has not had a great year, why's he looking at them so hard?
Michigan is a really prestigious school, and although the year is not going as planned, they're always going to pretty much be a dominant program, and another thing was, I've been getting recruited by those guys since like ninth grade, so for an offer to finally come was amazing. I still was happy. Even if they still went [winless] I would have been just as happy.
Kelly will use his three official visits on Michigan, MSU, and Minnesota. According to Rivals' Josh Helmholdt, he's set the Minnesota official for December 12th, and while he hasn't set his official visits to the two in-state schools, he's got plans to hit campus in the very near future ($):
"With Michigan, I am going to be up at the game when they play Maryland (Nov. 22). That will probably be an unofficial," Kelly said. "I have been in contact with Coach (Chris) Singletary just about every week. It's really the connections and atmosphere up there."
It certainly wouldn't be a bad sign if Kelly takes a couple visits to Ann Arbor over the next month or so before making his decision.
[Hit THE JUMP for several new 2016 offers, the latest on Darrin Kirkland, and a couple of hoops updates.]
Save Us, Basketball
The football recruiting news is as expected; later in this post you'll read about Michigan's latest decommitment and multiple commits visiting other schools. Recruiting news on the basketball front has an outside shot of being much, much better in the very near future, so let's begin with that.
Perry "PJ" Dozier Jr., a five-star in the 2015 class, is a 6'6" true point guard in the Darius Morris mold. The South Carolina native will announce his decision tomorrow at 12:30 pm between five schools: Georgetown, Louisville, Michigan, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Despite a very good official visit to Ann Arbor back in September, it looks unlikely Dozier will choose Michigan, unfortunately; basketball recruitniks expect it to come down to Louisville and South Carolina, with the Cardinals seemingly having the edge. So I guess this isn't great news, barring a huge surprise. But it's not bad news, at least?
Anyway, I'll have a much more complete outlook on M's basketball recruiting in the near future. In the meantime, the bad news...
[Hit THE JUMP if you want to, I guess.]
If you're here for the Brandon post, scroll down or click here.
TomVH posted a lengthy article in the wake of Garrett Taylor's decommitment in which he quotes several recruits—including Taylor, Chris Clark, and Thiyo Lukusa—discussing the impact of Michigan's poor season and the accompanying uncertainty on their recruitments. As you'd imagine, it's not a fun read ($):
"I wanted to be a part of a program that knows what it takes to win and the players and coaches develop that culture. I felt like Michigan lost that while watching them play," Taylor said. "As well as the fact that I felt like Michigan wouldn't put me in the best position to get to the next level after college, especially with the problems they've had in developing their players."
Oof. Taylor will not be reconsidering Michigan as his recruitment moves forward, which... sounds about right.
Tom also posted a rundown of the commits he believes are likely to stick at Michigan despite the turmoil in his Big Ten roundup. With only nine commits left in the class, this should come as no surprise, but the list isn't a long one ($):
Quarterback Alex Malzone, offensive lineman Jon Runyan and kicker Andrew David are prospects who would likely stay committed no matter the coach, which is good for the future. Keeping Malzone will be a big deal as current quarterback Devin Gardner will be gone after this season.
Outside of Malzone, Runyan, David and most likely Brian Cole, there is a chance most of the other commitments look elsewhere.
Complicating matters is the fact that Malzone, Cole, Clark, Darrin Kirkland, and Mike Weber have all at one point or another stated an intention to enroll in December; if Michigan's coaching situation isn't resolved by then, it would put those recruits in a tough spot.
[Hit THE JUMP for Michigan's latest 2015 offeree—a recruit who might actually come, even!]
PSU Visit Recap: KLS Enjoys His Official
Keisean Lucier-South on his official visit [Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]
Thanks to their 2-4 start to the season, Michigan saw their visitor list dwindle significantly by the time their biggest recruiting weekend of the season came around, but a win in front of 113 thousand at night in the Big House still left an impression on those who came.
The biggest name to hit campus, of course, was five-star CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South, who schmoozed with Jabrill Peppers, watched the game with a trio of Michigan commits (Tyree Kinnel, Alex Malzone, and Darrin Kirkland), and seemed to thoroughly enjoy his official visit. Time will tell if Michigan is truly a threat to land KLS, but the initial returns are good, at least.
Most of the other 2015 recruits in attendance were the aforementioned commits, and while Kinnel and Malzone seem quite solid with their M pledges—Kinnel called Saturday "one of [his] best visits," per 247's Steve Lorenz—that's not the case with Darrin Kirkland, who spent the weekend prior in South Bend. After Saturday's unofficial visit, Kirkland told Rivals' Josh Helmholdt where he currently stands ($):
"My options are going to continue to be open, but I do love Michigan and am still committed to Michigan," he said. "It is a great place to be, a great atmosphere and a lot of great opportunities for myself as well as for my family. But, I still remain… I would say a good word is 'neutral,' for right now."
Besides Notre Dame, Kirkland has also been hearing from Texas, Oklahoma, Oregon and USC recently. Each of those schools had offered him prior to his senior season except USC.
Kirkland told TomVH today that he still plans to take all five of his official visits, and will determine with his family today where he'll take them. He's still in the class for now, of course, but if Saturday didn't solidify his commitment, it's hard to see that remaining the case.
Commits Visiting Elsewhere: An Ongoing Series That Probably Won't End Anytime Soon
In totally unsurprising news, TE commit Chris Clark announced on Twitter that he'll take an official visit to North Carolina, the school he initially committed to before eventually flipping to Michigan. If your head is spinning, I understand. Clark's another guy who seems very likely to end up elsewhere.
According to Mike Farrell, CB commit Garrett Taylor will take officials to Ohio State and Penn State in November. His commitment also seems highly unlikely to stick at this juncture.
2016 QB Messiah deWeaver, at least, isn't setting anything up, though it's hard not to take notice of the last bit of this quote he gave to 247's Steve Wiltfong($)...
“For me when I picked the school, it was more than playing football. It was academics and football second. The football part, they were going through a tough time, but they’re going to start winning. They’re young, and you have to take the losing with a grain of salt. I saw something bigger than that because they’re so young. I think the winning is ahead of them. They're not a bad team, they’re just very, very young. I wasn’t getting too worried about them losing because I know better times are ahead of them.
“I think they’re about to start winning here. I’m still watching closely to make sure Coach (Brady) Hoke is going to be there, which I think he is.”
...and get a little concerned about whether or not he'll stick if/when Michigan goes through with a change. At this point, though, hanging onto 2016 recruits is well down the list of priorities for this program.
No, This Also Doesn't Contain Good News
Ex-commit Darian Roseboro committed to NC State over the weekend. Happy trails, sir.
Finally, four-star UT OLB Osa Masina has seemed like a longshot for a while, and now his planned official visit to Ann Arbor may not even materialize, per Scout's Doug Kimmel ($):
"Michigan is another school that I've been high on. Obviously, I've heard some of the rumors about coaching changes and see there recent struggles, but I still really like that program. It's got great history and academics that are hard to beat. I am looking to set up a trip to Michigan. There is also a chance I take an official visit to Utah, but it's likely that I take an unofficial there. I am still leaning towards leaving the state, but the Utes definitely have my attention."
He's saying positive stuff about the program; at the same time, he still hasn't actually scheduled the visit, and if he takes an official to Utah that'd likely leave M out of it. UCLA is considered the favorite in his recruitment.
Weekend Visitors: KLS "Really Excited" To See M
Before the season went south in a hurry, Michigan was supposed to host a handful of uncommitted official visitors this weekend for their marquee home game. That number has dwindled to one, but it's the one everyone's been waiting for: five-star CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South, who confirmed to 247's Steve Lorenz that he and his parents are "really excited" for the trip to Ann Arbor ($):
"Everyone keeps assuming that I'm losing interest in Michigan because they've started out badly, but it's not true at all," he said. "I still really like Michigan a lot. They haven't been as good as I thought they were going to be this season, but football is only part of the equation for me. I want to see the rest of what they have to offer me. You play football for about three months of the year, so it's things like the campus and school itself that will make a major difference for me. I just need to see if I feel comfortable there and see how much I like it."
I'm still quite skeptical KLS ultimately ends up at Michigan, but he's saying all the right things heading into his official, at least.
The rest of the offered, uncommitted visitors are from the 2016 class, headlined by a couple blue-chip offensive lineman in Ben Bredeson and Clark Yarborough. 247 and The Wolverine have both put together full visitor lists for your perusal. One of the other top targets slated to be on campus this weekend is four-star 2016 IN WR Austin Mack, who took a big picture approach when discussing the program with The Wolverine's Brandon Brown ($):
"Michigan is one of the powerhouses in the Big Ten and has been for many years," Mack said. "Every organization has to fall a little bit eventually. I mean Alabama has fallen before, they just lost somewhat unexpectedly. You can't be perfect continuously. Other teams start to catch up. There's so much talent out there that it will happen. Michigan is always going to have talent but sometimes it just doesn't work out. I feel like Michigan is going to be just fine. Even if it is a couple of years, it's just a matter of time, they'll be back on top."
It'll be very interesting to see if Mack continues to exhibit high interest in Michigan after a potential (okay, exceedingly probable) coaching change. Four-star 2016 GA RB Elijah Holyfield, who's had Michigan in his top group for a while, is already contemplating that possibility, per Brown ($):
"I like the school itself a lot. That's one of the reasons I'd wait and see what happens. At some schools if the coaching staff was to leave, I'd probably not be into that school anymore. Michigan is one of those schools that I like for the school itself. I like it up in Ann Arbor, I like the field, I like the town and everything about Michigan. Regardless of what staff is there I'm sure Michigan would still be in my top group until I commit so we'll see."
Holyfield is also expected to be on campus this weekend, and the above quote is quite a good sign for Michigan's chances of eventually landing him.
A small group of current commits will also be in attendance, including both QB commits from the upcoming two classes (Alex Malzone and Messiah deWeaver) and, notably, Darrin Kirkland, who's visiting unofficially after checking out Notre Dame last weekend. The Irish appeared to make a big move for him, so a good visit is paramount if M wants to keep him in the fold.
Commit Updates: Taylor Plans Officials, Malzone Fielding Interest
Add CB Garrett Taylor to the list of players who's setting up officials to other schools:
"It's a little shaky (at Michigan), I know people are bouncing ideas of whether coach Hoke is going to get fired at the end of the season or not," Taylor said. "I know Michigan's program isn't where people thought it would be or where coach Hoke wants it to be. We'll see how things go.
"Hopefully they can turn it around."
Taylor says he's "pretty sure" Penn State, Virginia Tech, Ohio State and "maybe" Tennessee will get official visits from him between now and signing day.
Notably, Michigan is not on the list of planned officials, and Lorenz confirmed that if Taylor is taking an official to Ann Arbor at all, it'll be after the season ($):
"Maybe in the winter," [Taylor] said. "I still am committed at this point, but it could change depending on how the coaching situation ends up and how the rest of the season ends up."
It probably goes without saying that this isn't a good sign. I'd be surprised if Taylor ended up in the class come Signing Day.
TomVH reports that multiple schools have reached out to Alex Malzone, including Penn State, which is now looking for a 2015 QB after Brandon Wimbush flipped his commitment to Notre Dame. Malzone appeared to be as solid a commit as one could get, so if he starts looking around, all bets are off on keeping this class together; so far, though, he hasn't set up any visits elsewhere.
This was inevitable: Wisconsin is taking a look at 2016 commit Erik Swenson, and while Swenson remains firmly committed for now, he's keeping an eye on the situation in Ann Arbor, per 247's Evan Flood ($):
"I just want to see how it goes this season and see how next season goes," he said. "After this season, I'll probably take some unofficial visits. I think Michigan is going to get a new coach next year, if not this year. I want to see how the coaching staff is. I just want a backup plan in case it doesn't work out with Michigan."
This is going to be the MO until a coaching change occurs; there's far too much uncertainty surrounding the program for commits to ignore—it's impossible to blame them for this—and coaches looking to reel in big-time prospects see the opportunity to poach them while Michigan's in a state of flux.