"He makes it really easy on you as a coach because he has tremendous football instincts," Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh said. "Things come really naturally to him. He doesn't have to see things too many times. He has a good sense for how things should look and feel, and he's a tough, physical guy."
The Opening Updates: Michigan Commits
The Opening, Nike's questionably named elite camp, is now under way out in Beaverton, Oregon—the location is not helping matters, Nike. Brandon Peters has already been out there for a few days due to the Elite11 quarterback camp, which runs in conjunction with The Opening, and he's now joined by Michael Onwenu and a slew of Michigan targets.
Peters has consistently been mentioned by recruiting analysts as being among the top on-field performers at the Elite11. That didn't change on Tuesday, when he was one of just three quarterbacks to hit all six throws in the 7-on-7 drive-the-field drill, which earned him the #3 top performer spot from 247's Barton Simmons:
3. Brandon Peters (Michigan commit)
Stats: 6 for 6, 2 TDs
Quietly, Peters continues to be one of the most consistent performers in this Elite 11 group. There was never a doubt on any of his throws, he spun it well and put it on the money for every throw. Rarely do you see Peters throw a wobbler or skip a football.
Onwenu, meanwhile, impressed both onlookers and those running the camp yesterday. 247's Brian Perroni ranked Onwenu fourth among offensive linemen after a strong performance in the OL/DL one-on-ones:
The 6-foot-3, 365-pound Michigan commit is stronger as a run blocker on tape but he was pretty much impossible for the defensive tackles to move on Wednesday. He had the entire offensive jumping up and down when he threw a defender to the ground like a rag doll.
The camp agreed with the recruiting analysts, selecting Onwenu as one of the "Final 5" offensive linemen who get to face off in a best of the best one-on-one session with the top five D-linemen, which included five-star M target Rashan Gary.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Elite 11 Updates: Peters Performing Well, Probably
Ah, the Elite 11, when a group of more than 11 of the nation's best quarterbacks gather for a camp in which a handful of throws will be analyzed to death. There's usually something of a disconnect between how the recruiting analysts and the camp counselors rank the performers. This year doesn't appear to be different. After Monday's opening session, Scout's Brandon Huffman named Michigan commit Brandon Peters among the five quarterbacks who stood out to him:
Was one of the most consistent passers all morning. Was just hot from the get-go on day one. Looked athletic and threw the ball with very little effort. The Michigan commit really dropped the ball into the basket for receivers and it looks like the Wolverines have a lot to be excited about.
247's Barton Simmons also had high praise for Peters:
Finally Brandon Peters was one of the guys that multiple analysts were buzzing about and his upside is crazy considering he's had limited quarterback training and he has elite athleticism that shows up on the basketball court.
Partway through the camp, however, Peters isn't on the Elite 11 rankings list. (He's far from the only notable missing: five-star FSU commit Malik Henry didn't crack the list, either.) Peters still has time to make a move; regardless, he's been impressive to onlookers.
Meanwhile, Peters is also keeping an eye on recruiting, per 247's Steve Wiltfong:
Upshur will be at The Opening this week, as will Peters and Michael Onwenu. You can bet M's commits will be working on getting Upshur to join them.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Ace is still on vacation.
Hawkins at two
NJ WR Brad Hawkins announces in a minute here. Recruitin' heuristics and the Crystal Ball suggest Michigan fans will be happy. South Carolina seems like the other option, but even their experts at 247 are saying all signs point to M($).
More detail on Xavier Kelly
KS DE Xavier Kelly just announced a top eight with Michigan in it. That could mean anything, but the way the Kellys are talking Michigan seems like one of the strongest contenders. Via Sam Webb, the paterfamilias($):
“It was great,” the elder Kelly said of the visit. “They had a lot of great things about it, but I was expecting big things from Michigan. I went in there kind of biased already, but it was real good. We had a good time. We kicked it with the coaches, had lunch with them, and toured the facilities.”
"Kind of biased already" is a good thing to hear. Kelly also gave a lengthy interview to Rivals—availability is good for your prospects to land a kid. Brandon Brown($):
"It's a pretty big deal that my dad is from Detroit because I have a lot of family there," Kelly said. "They support me and Detroit's not very far from Ann Arbor so they could come support me and I could go visit them so that's always good."
Kelly wants to get down to a top five before the season. Michigan is a near lock to make that list. Long way to go, otherwise: he plans on taking his officials and committing at the Army game.
Moar 2017 rankings
Scout jumps in with rankings for rising juniors. Thanks to Magnus, a list of the instate kids who made it:
#25 Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Cass Tech
#116 Ambry Thomas, CB, King
#126 Josh Ross, LB, Orchard Lake St. Mary's
#194 Ja'Raymond Hall, OT, Oak Park
#216 K.J. Hamler, WR, Orchard Lake St. Mary's
#239 Allen Stritzinger, RB, Warren De La Salle
#266 Corey Malone-Hatcher, DE, St. Joseph
#269 Hunter Rison, WR, Skyline
Looks like a pretty good year in Michigan. Yes, Hunter Rison is that Rison's kid, so I wouldn't get too excited about the fact he's at Skyline. Aside from that, Michigan is in good shape with Ross, Hall, and Stritzinger already. They have been pursuing Peoples-Jones with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind and he seems to be responding, but he's going to be a major national recruit and it's hard to get a read on him this early.
Other 2017 receivers to keep an eye on
Early offer Joshua Palmer is moving from Brampton, Ontario to Florida powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas this fall and tells Scout that he is "feeling Michigan the most". FL WR Daquon Green tells Scout that OSU and Michigan are at the top of his list, with OSU slightly ahead. Green is planning a visit to OSU in July that may turn into a swing through Michigan if he gets it set up with the coaches… and then he plans to decide before his junior season.
Tyus Battle has changed his relationship status on Facebook to "it's complicated" and removed mention of Michigan from his social media stuff. The previous sentence caused a brand of old and crotchety Michigan fan to shake his fist at the screen.
In any case, the is-he-or-isn't-he gone seems to be resolved. Michigan could get him back. I wouldn't count on that. The parents seem to be pushing him to reconsider, and when that happens it's a long, long way back. Unless Battle is absolutely dead set on Michigan I don't see this resolving pleasantly.
So. Moving on, OH SG Jarron Cumberland visited and seemed like a very good bet to be plan B. Then he suddenly committed to Cincinnati. Premium scuttlebutt said that the lack of an offer had something to do with a transcript hiccup; for whatever reason Cumberland decided not to wait around to see if he would get one.
On to the next. Michigan was looking at NY combo guard Kevin Huerter as a 2017 when Battle was in the fold; without him he is a very viable option as a 2016 recruit. Huerter announced he would take a set of five unofficial visits to Michigan, Syracuse, Villanova, Notre Dame, and Maryland. That is an impressive top five; Huerter has a rep as a kid who seems like a Beilein recruit. They will almost certainly go hard after him now.
Michigan is also back in with KY PG Quentin Goodin, who has replaced Louisville with Michigan in his final five. The other schools: Xavier, Florida, Miami, and Western Kentucky. That's a much more tractable list than Kentucky, Duke, and Duketucky if Michigan can overcome whatever reasons they were left off the list in the first place. Goodin, at 6'2", is probably mutually exclusive with in-state PG Cassius Winston. Good to have multiple options in any case.
Battle remains an option. Rivals says it's on the table and there should be a resolution pretty soon here($)—like within a week. I'm just guessing but I think the Syracuse visit and optimism was a product of recruiting gentlemen talking to his dad—and the lack of a commitment from that visit was the death knell for the Orange. At that point he's looking at UConn and Duke, but Duke apparently has moved on. UConn is a good program in a terrible league. So it's that or start all over or try to get back.
Etc.: CA WR Dezmon Patmon says Michigan would be at the top of his list($) with an offer. He is the nephew of DeWayne, FWIW. Sam talks with Rashan Gary's mom in two parts. OSU's head recruiter "is not Chris Partridge" so they don't have that going for them.
Catching Up: St-Juste, Hamilton, Kareem
Benjamin St-Juste [photo via 247]
We're slowly getting more information on the unexpected commitment of Canadian cornerback Benjamin St-Juste. Tim Sullivan suggested earlier this week that St-Juste could come in as early as this fall. Based on what St-Juste told TMI's Brice Marich after his commitment, however, 2016 is the most likely option:
“I have already graduated high school in Canada because we graduate one year earlier than the U.S. and now I need to add the same courses they have in the U.S. to be eligible. It is not fair for Canadians. So I need to do extra courses to be eligible and do another year. As soon as I get that, then I will be leaving Canada to be playing at Michigan.”
This isn’t the first time the Maize & Blue have harvested talent from Vieux Montreal. St-Juste will be following in the footsteps of former Wolverines Renaldo Sagesse, Alain Kashama, Emmanuel Casseus and Deitan Dubuc. If all goes according to plan he will make his way to Ann Arbor as part of the 2016 class.
247 is the first to rank St-Juste, giving him three stars based on the admittedly scant information available. Steve Lorenz caught up with former Michigan CB and current Bolingbrook (IL) head coach Todd Howard, who helped coach the defensive backs at Michigan's camp, to get his thoughts on St-Juste:
"The first thing that stood out to me was his size," Howard said. "He's a legitimate 6'3" and with a helmet and cleats, he looks all of 6'4"-6'-5". The other thing that stood out immediately about him was that he is definitely a true cornerback. When we first started working, he asked if he should be working with the safeties. I don't think he even realized he has the athleticism and length to play the cornerback spot at a high level. He showed excellent footwork and played with a very low pad level for someone of his size as well. He was very impressive."
That's a tall corner. If St-Juste's feet are quick enough, there's a lot to work with.
There were two major announcement yesterday, one that went Michigan's way and one that didn't. Four-star Farmington Hills Harrison DE Khalid Kareem chose Alabama over Michigan, even though he came very close to ending up with the Wolverines, per MLive's Nick Baumgardner:
"At one point, yeah, I did think I'd end up at Michigan," Kareem said Wednesday. "But I really just had to think about what the best decision was for me and my family."
Kareem mentioned a particular recruiting factor that will work against Jim Harbaugh until he's had time to turn the program around:
The competition Alabama will face on the field in the Southeastern Conference and the competition Kareem will face in practice every day with the Crimson Tide's established roster were the tipping points.
Right now, Michigan's not on that level. Kareem said the chance to play for a national title right away was important to him. If Michigan were in that spot right now, would his decision be different?
"Yeah, it might've been another factor," he said. "I know they're going to get there. But (Alabama's there right now)."
Despite all that, Kareem didn't feel totally firm in his choice until yesterday morning. We'll see if the coaches continue pursuing him or if they move on to other targets.
On the flip side, four-star MD OT Devery Hamilton joined the class yesterday afternoon. He told Rivals' Adam Friedman that Michigan's academic presentation played a major role in his commitment ($):
With academics played a huge part in his decision, Michigan went the extra mile to show Hamilton everything at its disposal.
"I met a professor from the business school," he said. "He was very open and inviting. He seemed like a nice person. I also talked to a pediatric oncologist at their hospital. He was very friendly. Both of them made sure that, if I was interested in going into either one of those fields, Michigan had the resources to point me in the right direction."
I think we've retired "The Pattern™" as a thing, but if we're still using it, Hamilton fits the bill.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Note: The slew of commitments pushed this back, but I'm still taking questions via email or Twitter (use the hashtag #mgomailbag) for a recruiting mailbag that—any further recruiting developments pending—should go up tomorrow.
A4 To Your Door/No Sleepers No More
Just another totally normal Harbaugh picture. [Fuller]
Michigan hosted their "Aerial Assault" quarterback camp over the weekend. It featured such football activities as fielding ground balls and dodgeball; reportedly, the quarterbacks also threw an actual football around a little bit. Because Jim Harbaugh was involved, they kept score for the top campers, and M commit Brandon Peters came out on top, per TMI's Brice Marich:
The headliner of the camp was Avon, Indiana junior quarterback and Wolverine commit in Brandon Peters. The 6-4, 209-pound gun slinger showed off his strong arm and his footwork in several drills. He was in the top overall group and performed very well even in dodgeball. He clearly soaked in tutelage from signal callers like Jay Cutler and ultimately earned the crown as the camp’s top performer.
2017 four-star NY QB Jack Coan, the only rising junior offeree in attendance, found the camp as strange and informative as one would expect, per 247's Steve Lorenz ($):
"The camp itself was one of the most unique experiences I've ever had since I started playing football," Coan said. "I didn't go into the camp expecting to play baseball or dodgeball or anything like that, but it worked and it was one of the most rewarding experiences I've had from a camp standpoint. I learned a lot from a lot of great current and former players and coaches. It was really great to work with someone like Jay Cutler and a coach like Coach Harbaugh who has seen the position from every different angle."
Coan also took a campus tour while in Ann Arbor. Michigan seems to be in pretty good shape for him.
2018 Paramus (NJ) Catholic QB Allan Walters also worked with the top group. He showed enough to earn an offer, and he was still having a hard time expressing his excitement when 247's Steve Wiltfong caught up with him:
"I'm so excited I can't express it," Walters said. "I don't know a better offer for a quarterback. Harbaugh and Michigan that's unbelievable. I'm in shock and so excited."
Walters also has early offers from Rutgers and Temple. The ever-strengthening connection between Michigan and Paramus Catholic should help here.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
"Pace Yourself" Isn't In The Harbaugh Lexicon
Michigan's already reeled in ten commitments this month, and with several highly interested prospects set to visit campus soon, recruiting shows no sign of slowing down.
Three-star FL OLB Jonathan Jones has been among the handful of prospects most expected to join the class sooner or later, arrived on campus today for what will be a five-day unofficial visit, per Steve Lorenz. That long a visit is almost unheard of, and while Jones made the very reasonable request for people to stop asking if he'll commit, it's definitely on the table.
Starting next Wednesday, a whole crew will arrive from the east, per Lorenz: four-star PA TE Naseir Upshur, four-star NJ WR Ahmir Mitchell, four-star NJ WR Brad Hawkins, four-star NJ DE Ron Johnson, and 2017 four-star NJ C Cesar Ruiz will all spend three days on campus. Upshur and Johnson both have Michigan at the top of their lists, Mitchell seems like a strong possibility, and Hawkins has Michigan and South Carolina tied at the top.
2017 four-star Paramus Catholic OLB Drew Singleton is expected to visit on Friday, per Lorenz. His five-star 2016 teammate, DT Rashan Gary, told Rivals' Adam Friedman that he plans to be in Ann Arbor on June 25th, and his mother will come along with him ($).
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup]