Five-Star Out Of Nowhere?
Thank you to every school that has offered me with an opportunity to attend their University, but here is my Top 4. pic.twitter.com/uWdsj7CsYH
— Joshua Kaindoh (@_jkaindoh) April 21, 2016
Five-star IMG Academy DE Joshua Kaindoh released his top four yesterday, and the biggest news didn't involve which programs made it, but one that didn't: Maryland, which had been the presumed leader for the DMV native. The Terps were left off the list in favor of Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Penn State.
While the Wolverines haven't been mentioned as much of a factor for Kaindoh, it's clear his recruitment is capable of taking some unexpected twists and turns. 247's Steve Lorenz initially posted after the news broke that he'd "be very surprised" if Kaindoh ended up at Michigan; he updated that post with intel that Michigan believes they have a shot.
Speaking of five-stars, TMI's Josh Newkirk caught up with Cass Tech WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, who's been in touch with quarterback commit Dylan McCaffrey:
“He has reached out to me,” Peoples-Jones said of McCaffrey. “I took notice of the commitment (to U-M). It was surprising to me that they got a really good quarterback that really sets the bar for all recruitment. You have a strong quarterback; you (can) build around him. That definitely made a statement for Michigan.”
Adding: “I think it’s really good for them to have a guy like him come in. He’s a really good guy. I’ve been talking to him on Twitter. We’re developing a relationship.”
While that's certainly promising, Peoples-Jones maintains no leaders in his recruitment. In fact, his list of schools under consideration has expanded slightly:
In January, at the time, Peoples-Jones released his top-10 schools in alphabetical order, which included: Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas A&M and USC. And after a recent trip to Florida State, Peoples-Jones has since added the ‘Noles to his now top-11.
Peoples-Jones wants to visit every school on his list before making a decision. His recruitment, as expected, should extend until late in the process.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Extremely Good Drew Singleton Update
Last week's roundup covered an apparent split in intel on top-100 NJ OLB Drew Singleton; while insiders at Scout and 247 believe Michigan is out in front by a considerable margin, Rivals said Clemson is a "safe leader."
Over the weekend, Sam Webb published a two-part interview with Singleton's father, and what's on the record looks quite good for Michigan. The first part is free and features Mr. Singleton discussing the recent visits to Ann Arbor and Clemson. Compare what he had to say about Clemson's academics...
(Dabo Sweeney) graduates a lot of his kids. A lot of people may not know his record, he knows how many seniors he has. If I'm not mistaken (out of) 135 seniors, he's graduated 129. That's pretty impressive to me. He's getting kids graduating and not with just any type of degree… (they’re) graduating where they can be a functional adult with a good education and doing something other than football if that's the case. Of course, it's a great football program and he's got a lot of guys playing at the next level or going to the next level. It's awesome. It was just impressive.
...to what he said about Michigan's:
It is what they say it is and more. Once you get there, they just took it to a whole different level academically. I met with (Ross School of Business Director of Outreach Programs) Rhonda Todd. She handles a lot of things and helps incoming freshmen with how to prepare for and apply to the Ross Business School, which is one of the top business schools in the country. It was awesome. That stuff really stood out for my wife and I. We know football is going to be good. You've got Jim Harbaugh, Don Brown, Tyrone Wheatley… (football) is going to take care of itself. But the other part, the other intangibles, I was just blown away along with my wife. That really stuck with us and we're still talking about it now. Very good. Extremely good.
That seems good. Very good. Extremely good, even. In part two of the interview, the elder Singleton said that while the tentative plan is to commit to a school on October 25th, "it may not go that far." Even though Singleton plans to take more visits, Michigan looks like they're in great shape.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Michigan Leads For Slaton
Five-star FL OT Tedarrell Slaton has, at previous points in his recruitment, named Michigan his leader before walking back that stance. 247's Ryan Bartow has been going around Florida getting updates on seemingly every recruit in the state; when he hit American Heritage, Slaton once again said the Wolverines are out in front:
Slaton tells Bartow that Michigan "still has the edge" for his services. This is the third time Slaton has publicly placed Michigan ahead of the competition in his recruitment. Per Bartow:
The nation’s No. 7 offensive tackle, Tedarrell Slaton, said Michigan has the edge. Slaton also said Tennessee and Miami are programs he feels are recruiting him consistently.
In an interesting twist, Slaton added that he prefers to play defensive tackle. Oddly, there aren't full-season highlights of Slaton anywhere on his Hudl page or YouTube, and the single-game reels only feature scattered snaps at DT. His positional preference may not matter much anyway; Michigan would certainly take him and worry about the rest later.
Bartow also caught up with Flanagan five-star CB Stanford Samuels, who went further in depth on the top four—consisting of Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, and Michigan—he released over the weekend:
Michigan: “I like all the NFL guys they have on staff. All the guys on that coaching staff have been there and done that. When you have that experience it makes it hard for you not to get the right coaching.”
While Samuels has Michigan connections through his former coach, Devin Bush, and the three Flanagan teammates who will be freshmen this year, it's hard to see him ending up in Ann Arbor. He plans to make a summer decision and enroll early; unless he makes it to campus before then, FSU looks like the choice.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Spring Game Fallout, Part I
The nation's top-ranked center, IMG-by-way-of-NJ four-star Cesar Ruiz, released an ordered top 12 following his visit that features Michigan in a tie at the top with Alabama and UNC. He gave his thoughts on M to TomVH:
“They have done a great job making me feel welcome every time I visit. Every time I’m there I feel home and they make me feel like a part of the family. I have a lot of old friends and old teammates that are going there and I would have an opportunity to play with them. Brad Hawkins and Ron Johnson were teammates and old friends like Rashan Gary, Ahmir Mitchell and Kareem Walker.”
A trip to Alabama is next on the docket. While Ruiz won't be an easy pull with his impressive offer sheet, Michigan has a lot of connections in their favor.
When we were put on commit watch notice over the weekend, many thought that three-star NJ ATH Markquese Bell would be one to drop. While that didn't come to fruition, it sounds like Michigan is ahead of the pack; Bell raved about his visit to Scout's Brian Dohn:
"Everything was great," said Bell, who plays at south Jersey's Bridgeton (N.J.) High. "It was my first time there. I just liked everything about the school. The spring game was awesome. The fans are electric. I wanted to put pads on and go play."
Michigan made a similarly strong first impression on four-star CA C Brett Neilon, who told TMI's Brice Marich he's looking to make a return trip:
Said Neilon, “it’s a place I could see myself at and will be a place I research and look at hard. Yeah, I will try to visit again.”
It'll be tough to pull Neilon out of California, but if a school manages to do it, Michigan looks like the one.
They may be in similar position with four-star NV CB Alex Perry, who told Marich his visit went "great," and Michigan will make his top list whenever he releases one. He plans to return for an official.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
As One Does
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) April 1, 2016
It appears Jim Harbaugh is excited about the Spring Game. Or perhaps this weekend's slate of visitors. Or maybe he's just happy to be living the dream. Regardless, this is now my Twitter header photo. I called dibs. It's mine now.
2017 Spring Game Visitors
Steve Lorenz posted a full, free list of weekend visitors. Pretty much the entire 2016 class and several 2017 commits will be there, assuredly pitching Michigan to the uncommitted recruits.
Michigan will host a pair of running backs in top-50 USC commit Stephen Carr and New Mexico three-star O'Maury Samuels. Even with Kurt Taylor (who'll also be there) and AJ Dillon in the class, the coaches don't appears to be done recruiting the position. Carr might be a longshot; M looks to have a much better chance at Samuels.
New Jersey, as is now the norm, will be well-represented. Two Paramus Catholic four-stars, OLB Drew Singleton and DT Corey Bolds, have Michigan and Clemson out in front with the Wolverines presumed to hold the edge for both; while weekend commitments appear unlikely, M could solidify their standing atop their respective lists. Michigan will make their final push for four-star Princeton (NJ) Hun School DT Fred Hansard, who once looked like he was off the board but now is a distinct possibility to join the class when he announces his choice on May 14th. Three-star Bridgeton (NJ) ATH Markquese Bell included Michigan in his recent top ten and is also a decent bet to end up in the class.
The top center in the class, IMG-by-way-of-NJ four-star Cesar Ruiz, set off a potential commitment watch when he tweeted that "big news" is coming today at 5:30. He told Lorenz it wasn't recruiting-related, but Lorenz also noted that could be misdirection; I won't even try to venture a guess on April Fool's Day.
Other 2017 notables include top-100 AL WR Nico Collins, four-star IMG OLB Jordan Anthony, four-star IMG OT Robert Hainsey, three-star TX TE Major Tennison (Texas commit), and a trio of uncommitted in-state prospects: four-star DE Corey Malone-Hatcher, three-star DT Phillip Paea, and three-star ATH Allen Stritzinger.
One recruit has already wrapped up his visit this week. Three-star FL RB Mike Epstein, an Illinois commit, told MnB's Brandon Justice that Michigan made "a big jump" after he met the whole coaching staff and two of his high school's former quarterbacks, Jake Rudock and John O'Korn.
[Hit THE JUMP for 2018 visitors, new 2018 rankings on 247, an in-depth breakdown on AJ Dillon, and more.]
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.