spoiler alert: i linked this
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.]
Durkin Leaves, Partridge Stays
Recruits care more about the man in the middle. [Fuller]
While Michigan lost a strong recruiter when DJ Durkin accepted the head job at Maryland, it doesn't appear his departure is going to have a significant impact on the program's recruiting, at least in the short term. The latest Wolverine pledge, Jordan Elliott*, summed up the general feeling among the commits:
This don't change a thing
— ChadTough〽️ (@XCV____) December 2, 2015
The reaction from uncommitted targets depends on the prospect; for the most part, their ties are more to the program—Jim Harbaugh's program—or their primary recruiter. The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan posted reactions from several prospects that included four-star TX DE Levi Onwuzurike saying that it wouldn't affect him as long as Greg Mattison stayed on staff ($). Five-star CA OLB Caleb Kelly said it affects his recruitment, but he's been considered a long-shot at best for a while now. This is worth watching, though:
Los Angeles Loyola 2016 cornerback David Long Jr.
"That would be huge [to lose him], but if [Stanford defensive coordinator Lance] Anderson replaces him it would work perfectly, but that's in a perfect world."
Despite being a Stanford commit, Long seemed more likely to end up at Michigan. We'll see what comes of his imminent in-home visit; hopefully that clears up any concern.
Meanwhile, 247's Steve Wiltfong reported today that director of player personnel Chris Partridge will not follow Durkin to Maryland, which was rumored to be a strong possibility—Sam Webb added Partridge is in line for an "increased role" with the program. While Michigan's recruiting in New Jersey has reached the point where Partridge isn't essential to their ability to land that state's top talent—more NJ recruits mention Jabrill Peppers than Partridge these days—it's still a a significant plus to have his connections there.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
More On Jordan Elliott's Commitment
Sam Webb caught up with four-star TX DT Jordan Elliott in the wake of his commitment to Michigan; the former Baylor and Houston pledge assured Webb that Ann Arbor is his final destination ($):
That’s yet another reason why he insists his commitment to Michigan is firm. So firm that he answered the question what other schools he’d be visiting before it was done being asked.
“None at all,” he said. “I’m done. No more.”
And how will he respond when other schools persist in recruiting him?
“I won’t respond,” said Elliott.
Elliott mentioned that the coaches plan to play him "all over the line," but initially he'll get the most snaps at defensive end. He's enrolling for the spring semester in April, which means he won't make it in time for spring practice but he'll get a jump start on academics and conditioning.
For more on Elliott, read his commitment post here.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]