Spring practice brings all the recruits to the yard
We've just had a bit of a down period where
- Michigan "offered" every single recruit in the 2017 and 2018 classes,
- those recruits said they were interested, and
- visits were suggested to be on the docket but not actually scheduled.
Here's the platonic ideal of the form from VA LB Teradja Mitchell:
As for what's next for what's next for Mitchell, he plans to visit Florida and Florida State this spring, but no dates have been set. Then this summer, he hopes to get to Georgia, Michigan and Ohio State.
He claims no favorites at this time.
All right then. Thankfully, the opportunity to see a Jim Harbaugh practice is beginning to clarify who's actually interested and who's just talking. Two guys in the "just talking" category appear to be MS RB Cam Akers and CA RB Najee Harris. Harris scheduled a trip to OSU that does not include a swing by Michigan. Lorenz doesn't offer an explanation on Akers but "is from Mississippi" suffices for our purposes.
Visits of the recent past
WI OL Tyler Beach completed a visit last week. Surprise: it went well.
— Brice Marich (@BriceMarich) March 12, 2016
Beach maintains that M and Wisconsin are at the top; he's visiting ND, NW, and MSU in the near future but those schools are making up ground per Brandon Brown:
"I plan on committing in April or May," Beach said. "Michigan and Wisconsin are my top choices right now and I'll just pick whatever place feels right."
If Michigan gets Beach I want to see Wisconsin message boards put in an octagon with Washington mods.
OH OL/DL Howard Watkins was also on campus around the same time. Watkins is a new name out of Cincinnati Colerain, Joe Bolden's alma mater; he says he's been a Michigan fan his whole life. He's currently under the radar, unranked by 247 and a two-star guy to Scout, so he might have to impress as a senior. He's got an Indiana offer.
Watkins's teammate and OH CB Amir Riep already has an offer, as top 100 prospects almost universally do. His is certainly an all-caps one instead of an air-quotes one:
Today was a great day! pic.twitter.com/kafrOTwx1U
— Amir Riep (@Riep_Amir) March 13, 2016
Former Colerain HC Kerry Coombs is OSU's DBs coach so this might be a high hurdle; he's got a ton of OSU predictions on the Crystal Ball. Lorenz relates that word from inside Schembechler is that Michigan believes they have a "very legitimate chance."
TX RB Eno Benjamin still maintains that Iowa leads after a Midwest swing. He announced a top-ten-and-change that purports to be in no order but kind of seems in order:
Thank You & God Bless. pic.twitter.com/0fSWNKGxiz
— Eno Benjamin™ (@eno_benjamin5) March 14, 2016
I can't remember the last time Michigan and Iowa were both involved with a kid from outside the Midwest.
Visits near future
Michigan will host AL S AJ Harris and AL DE LaBryan Ray this weekend; they are popularly thought to be a real contender for Harris but were previously on the fringe for Ray. The end result is likely to be the same: it'll take something special to convince an Alabama DE with a Bama offer to spurn the Tide.
Michigan has a better shot with IN LB Pete Werner, who will visit Thursday and Friday before a Saturday visit to Notre Dame. Wiltfong expects one or the other to lead in the aftermath and says Werner is expected to make an "academic decision."
IMG OL Cesar Ruiz and Robert Hainsey will visit for the spring game. It's tough out here for a Cable Subscriber:
Michigan has a ton of competition for both gentlemen but should be in both top 5s. Hainsey is likely to be playing with or against Michigan—outside of Pitt his visit list is just about all Big Ten schools.
Michigan might land a visit from WA OL Henry Bainivalu per Washington mods who have spent the entire spring working the speed bag in anticipation of more Michigan-Washington recruiting battles.
Blame Recruit Canada
Michigan will be of more interest than usual to a couple of kids now hailing from Virginia: both VA DE Luiji Vilain and VA S Jonathan Sutherland are originally from Ontario and have moved to the US in order to make themselves more attractive to football programs. That makes Michigan one of the closest programs to home for both.
Vilain lists a bunch of schools when issued the "recruiting the hardest" question, but if you squint the local-ish programs may have an edge:
"I was pretty excited about Michigan and Michigan State," Vilain said. "I've been waiting on those two."
He will attend Sound Mind, Sound Body and hit up both instate schools.
Sutherland's list is more defined: North Carolina, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Michigan. He will also visit Michigan while he's in Detroit for Sound Mind, Sound Body.
Fine, 2018 exists and let's mention it briefly
This week in "MGoBlog grudgingly talks about the recruiting class after the current one":
- The top in-state name to know next year is MI OL Marquan McCall, a two-way lineman currently inside the top 100 on 247. He will visit for the spring game. Michigan is the favorite.
- Lorenz reports that Michigan is going after a number of kids in Las Vegas, amongst them Bishop Gorman teammates Dorian Thompson-Robinson, a dual-threat QB, and Brevin Jordan, an OLB/TE. Michigan would be "tough to beat" for Thompson-Robinson if they offer; Michigan is expected to do so when he swings by M and OSU this week. Mom is an M alum.
- MI DE Aidan Hutchinson is the son of former Michigan DL Chris Hutchinson. He visited last week and is a guy to keep an eye on for an offer. I'm guessing Michigan will wait for his junior season to finish before doing so since that could be a situation where the phone calls goes "We'd like to off—" "YES".
- OH LB Antwaun Johnson, another recent visitor, named Michigan his leader, twice, after returning from Ann Arbor. Encouragingly, he is scheduled to return for the Spring Game. The catch: no OSU offer yet.
- NJ OL/DL Tyler Friday has Michigan, Ohio State, and Rutgers as an early top three. He wants to visit all those schools.
IL TE Griffin Hammer.
Griffin Hammer is +3 with an extra 1d6 damage to chimerae.
Etc.: Happy trails to MO WR Jaevon McQuitty, who committed to Nebraska. More or less happy trails to TX OL Austin Deculus, who announced a decision date of May 20. He hasn't visited or scheduled a visit; that's 99.9% seeya. LSU is the expected choice so Michigan might get back in if Les Miles's tenure gets wobbly again.
GA QB Davis Mills committed to Stanford, ending any chance the Cardinal starts sniffing around CO QB commit Dylan McCaffrey. Trieu ranks MI OL/DL Phil Paea the #2 DL in the Midwest. Sounds like he's in line for a four-star bump from Scout.
MI OL commit JaRaymond Hall visited this weekend as well. He's an in with McCall, his teammate. Bama still leads for FL OL Netori Johnson and his amazing hair even after his decommit. MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones keeps it close to the vest, lather, rinse, repeat.
Eno arrives, another Sione, another top RB offered
TX RB Eno Benjamin just completed a midweek official visit shortly after an offer that he'd been trying to get for over a year; prior to that visit Michigan and Iowa were a tentative top two, with Iowa leading. Benjamin was interested enough to send Lorenz a bunch of pictures from the trip, so that's a good sign. He also told Wiltfong his trip was "amazing," for whatever that's worth; he'll be at Northwestern, Iowa, and Arkansas over the next few days.
Benjamin is a different kind of back than most of the dudes currently on the roster:
"They're looking for a guy to change the pace," Benjamin said. "A guy who can run in between the tackles as well as lining up at slot and making a difference out there too."
Over the weekend Benjamin proved he is dangerous as a receiver, as he was the best running back competing in the Pylon 7-on-7 National Championships in that setting.
Harbaugh does like to screw with people by motioning TEs and RBs and FBs all over the place.
Also in RB recruiting, UT RB and Stanford commit Sione Heimuli-Lund is still hearing from Michigan:
Great talk with Michigan staff Coach Harbaugh, Wheatley and Tuioti. #MichiganWolverines#Jumpman ✔️
— Sione Lund (@LundSione) March 7, 2016
Lund talked to Brice Marich and said he'd try to visit, possibly for the spring game. All in favor of Polynesian tailbacks named Sione say "aye."
And Michigan has offered TN RB Ty Chandler, who said he would visit at some point over the summer in the aftermath. Tim Sullivan:
“I would definitely like to go up and visit to see something new. It’ll be different from the South, so that’d be interesting to go up there and plan a visit. Nothing is planned yet, but probably this summer. I’m starting to take a lot of trips now, and I’ll definitely try to take a trip up there this summer.”
Chandler doesn't have a top team, but LSU might be that team, if you get my drift. With that offer Michigan is vaguely in the recruitments of the top four RBs in the country per the composite; they're also in on three of the top five "all purpose backs." Are they particularly likely to get any of these dudes? Maybe CJ Cotman but Cotman wants to play D. The rest? Eh, long shots until otherwise noted.
This is my other brother Tedarrel
FL OL Tedarrel Slaton named Michigan his leader really early in his recruitment, which means something. He backed off that in favor of general neutrality, which also means something. In your Bayesian model of his recruitment that means Michigan is around 50/50, waiting for the other shoe to drop. These recruitments can go in one of two directions: nevermind that early leader or yes, that did matter.
In Slaton's case the direction seems positive. First, a neutral reporter from Bleacher Report bleacher reports thusly:
Spoke w/ 5-Star OL Tedarrell Slaton. Wants to see Alabama, Michigan & Ole Miss. Said Wolverines are on him hardest. pic.twitter.com/U0WiQYyUcl
— Sanjay Kirpalani (@SanjayKirpalani) March 6, 2016
(You can also check out Slaton getting his Backstreet on because the internet is rather obsessive.)
Meanwhile Slaton took a deep-cover unofficial visit:
“I visited Michigan recently, but I did not meet with the staff,” said Slaton. “I went up there to see my brother [Drake Lamont] play [basketball] for Western Michigan and we went over to take a look at Michigan.. I loved it. We got to see the weight room, the locker rooms, we got to walk on the field and see all the things they have done with the stadium. It’s nice, and I like it."
"It was a good experience, but it’s a little chilly up there.”
Slaton must have caught one of the recent snow storms instead of the 60-degree days that have generally followed them since Michigan's weather has decided to start careening wildly from one thing to another.
Per ESPN, Slaton has a top five of M, Clemson, FSU, Duke, and Tennessee. 247 posted a note on Slaton's recruitment that seemed pretty encouraging and named M, FSU, and Alabama as the main contenders—FSU and M may be a tentative top two. Lorenz cites an FSU source that doesn't think Slaton is actually that into the Seminoles. Long way to go but leaning towards "yes, early lead counts" in this one.
FWIW, 2016 TE signee Nick Eubanks is a hook for Michigan but it sounds like everyone in his top five features a former teammate.
Insert Moses promised land joke here
— MOSES LAW FIRM, LLC (@mlfllc) March 5, 2016
Michigan finally offered FL LB Dylan Moses, a highly highly touted gent who may end up the #1 kid in the class. Moses is at IMG, originally from Lousiana, and an LSU decommit. Per Webb this has been coming for a while but Michigan wanted to get some sort of indication he was serious before offering:
“Michigan was hesitant before because it seemed like a foregone conclusion he was going to either Alabama or LSU,” The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb said. “He said he wanted to hear from Michigan, so that opened the door. He was a guy that insisted he was interested in Michigan so that led to the offer.”
If that sounds odd to you what with Michigan spraying out "offers" to anyone with passing familiarity with football or cool hair, it sounds odd to me as well. I'm guessing that Michigan was trying to get the kid to commit to some sort of visit before offering. In the aftermath of the visit, he did sound pretty interested:
"Since I haven’t been up to Michigan, for me to see them practice personally helps [Michigan]. … When I watched the practice, I saw the determination that they have, and played with throughout the season. To see that, it did help them with me.” …
“I love it. I have wanted an offer from Michigan for so long. Since coach Harbaugh got there, you can see the impact he will have.
Uphill battle for sure but Harbaugh. Like many prospects of his ilk, Moses plans to go to Signing Day before a final decision. LSU and Alabama are the top competition.
More Spring Game/practice visitors
Add these gentlemen to the pile:
- TX TE Major Tennison. Tennison is a Texas commit who's obviously a bit soft. Lorenz thinks Michigan and other schools will get a swing at him. Probably dependent on how well Texas does this year. Guy has a Bama offer, too, so may be underrated as a composite three-star.
- NJ DT Corey Bolds and NJ LB Drew Singleton plan a visit on the 24th to take in a practice. Both guys attend Paramus Catholic, of course.
- MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones says he would "like to" make the Spring Game but doesn't know if he'll be able to; the next milestone in his recruitment will be a cut to five over the summer.
FL OL Robert Hainsey reconfirmed that he will be there with Lorenz.
Oh, look, Ohio
For those wondering when and if Michigan would ever get in on Ohio kids, it appears your answer is 2018. Michigan was behind the curve for all these kids since much of the staff came from the NFL and Urban Meyer was not. A gander at any 2017 state ranking for Ohio will show most of the high profile guys already off the board to OSU; Michigan has focused its attention elsewhere rather than go for the leftovers.
That's set to change, as Michigan has offers out to a number of 2018 Ohio folks who are at least showing reciprocal interest. Teammates Antwaun Johnson and Leonard Taylor, an ILB and DE respectively, will visit this weekend. RB Jaelen Gill plans a visit next weekend.
Michigan is involved with a couple kids in the 2017 class. TE Trey Pugh plans a visit this weekend:
“The only coach I have talked to is Coach Jay Harbaugh, and we have been building a relationship,” Pugh said.
He was just at Duke and plans visits to NW and Penn State; Ohio State has also offered.
News out of the Opening regional in SoCal, where Michigan is fighting USC for a half-dozen prospects they hope to get maybe one or two of:
- CA WR Greg Johnson says Michigan and Florida are schools he will visit officially in fall. USC is thought to lead.
- CA DE Jaelan Phillips has a tentative top five of Stanford (potential leader), UCLA, ND, M, and Alabama. That is the kind of list that indicates a willingness to leave the West Coast.
- CA OL Wyatt Davis says Bama leads, apparently. He will visit all schools.
- CA CB Jaylon Redd has a tentative top two of M and USC.
- AL OL Kendall Randolph has an offer and attends the Alabama high school where Michigan will hold its upcoming satellite camp. Randolph thinks having Jim Harbaugh come to him is "awesome" and will definitely attend.
- Michigan offered TN OL Trey Smith a bit late; Smith plans a Midwest swing through ND and OSU that he may or may not be able to fit Michigan in on.
- Michigan also offered OR DT Marlon Tuipulotu; says he'll visit but doesn't know when, etc.
- Offer to, tentative visit plan from GA OT D'ante Demery.
- FL WR Leroy Henley has one of those not-top-fours that includes Michigan. Sullivan landed an interview and he said he's trying to make "at least two visits," which sounds pretty good.
- UCLA leads for UT S Chaz Ah You; no mention of Michigan. Close to a happy trails there.
Etc.: Scout says FL OL Kai-Leon Herbert and FL CB Stanford Samuels III are risers after The Opening's Miami camp. MS RB Cam Akers decommits from Alabama. Michigan is trying to get in on him, but Mississippi black hole and all that.
A trip you may have heard something about is ongoing
Michigan is indeed spending a week at IMG's campus in Florida. They're not allowed to talk to the recruits since it's a quiet period, but there is much discussion of it anyway. Steve Wiltfong ran down Michigan's many targets at the school* this morning. Much of it is a recap, but of note is a new crystal ball in Michigan's favor for FL OL Cesar Ruiz. Ruiz is the nation's top center to many.
Wiltfong also reports that DC by way of IMG LB Jordan Anthony is "strongly considering" M. He's a new name to me, and a four star guy. LB Dylan Moses is still waiting on an offer as Michigan tries to get a signal it's worth their time; 2018 DT Taron Vincent projects to be a big timer and Michigan is up there for him.
Both Ruiz and Hainsey recently participated in a local Rivals camp, during which they impressed:
— Tim Sullivan (@TimS_Wolverine) February 27, 2016
— Tim Sullivan (@TimS_Wolverine) February 27, 2016
Sullivan reported that both guys justified recent moves up the Rivals rankings with their performance; one or both could end up breaking into the top 100.
*[Wiltfong continues to say that Michigan's 2017 class will be "considerably smaller" than the 28 or 29 guys Michigan just recruited. I have no doubt he's relaying information from the Michigan staff, but even so I think they're going to get up there. Michigan has 17 scholarship seniors and that'll probably bump up to 19 by fall with Glasgow and Kenny Allen. A totally normal rate of attrition would see them get to 25.]
Spring game visitors start firming up plans
FL OL Robert Hainsey and Ruiz will be there, and FL CB Elvis Hines plans on joining them.
Also this gent:
— Brice Marich (@BriceMarich) March 3, 2016
Woods has offers from Kentucky, Tennessee, and VT in addition to Michigan.
Lorenz reports that CA CB Deommodre "Clamp Clampington" Lenoir will also visit and may decide before football season; Lenoir and FL CB Stanford Samuels appear to be Michigan's top two targets at corner.
CA OL Brett Neilon has set a visit for the spring game and has a top five of M, UCLA, Cal, Duke, and Washington. Allow me to take a brief break from this all-out saloon brawl with Washington mods to assert that M has a very good shot at winning a recruitment against that group.
The complicating factor: USC and Stanford have not offered but Neilon continues to mention them. His dad, brother, and two aunts all went to USC, so… yeah. Neilon noted to MGoFish that he was at a Michigan satellite camp a year ago.
PA S Collin Smith also plans on visiting; hasn't been a whole lot of chatter about him but he does have an offer.
- FL CB CJ Cotman has a top five of M, OSU, Ole Miss, TCU, and Florida. Cotman was high on Michigan early. He's planning on a Signing Day decision.
- OH TE Matt Dotson will visit next weekend. He sounds completely wide open.
- AL LB Monty Rice fielded an offer recently and says he will visit; his top list is one that suggests this is an uphill battle: it's M, UGA, Auburn, South Carolina, and Ole Miss. He assured Rivals that Michigan will have a shot and the chances he visits M are "very high" whether in spring or for an official.
- CA DE Jaelan Phillips is a top 100 guy who recently fielded an offer; interested, will visit, wide open, late decision, etc.
- MA RB AJ Dillon has a visit set up for the 22nd. He's the grandson of a notable Notre Dame player and liked FSU growing up.
- Florida leads for FL OL Kai-Leon Herbert.
- TX DT Damion Daniels fielded an offer, is interested, etc. He said his interest was an "8 out of 10".
- CA OL Wyatt Davis has no leaders and no list; he has tentative plans to visit M.
- Ditto for CA WR Terrell Bynum
- Ditto for GA DT Emanuel McNeal.
Pioneer LB Antjuan Simmons committed to Ohio State rather out of nowhere; he'd just gotten down to 11-ish schools. Guess Michigan's delay in offering stuck in the ol' craw.
Etc.: FINE, I'll mention at 2019 player if he says Michigan is his leader, as FL DE Ge'Mon Eaford does Also he goes to Deerfield Beach. That helps the case for a mention. Touch The Banner scouts the in-state class.
Random midweek instate visits, okay
Kelly-Powell plans multiple return visits
A bunch of instate folks showed up for the Northwestern game: Cass S Jaylen Kelly-Powell, WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, and OL Jordan Reid all stopped in. They brought King CB Ambry Thomas along with them. OL commit JaRaymond Hall, OL offeree Phillip Paea, and the top recruit in the 2018 MI class, Marquan McCall, also stopped by.
You're going to have to get used to Peoples-Jones articles in which he says positive things about an assortment of schools without tipping his hand at all. We can probably fast forward to February with him. On Signing Day Michigan will be a hat on the table and we will feel either good but nervous or not so much and still nervous.
Kelly-Powell endorsed the spring break trip…
"It's an awesome idea," he said of the camp. "It's an amazing opportunity for the team to bond and enjoy some nice weather on their spring break. I don't really understand why people don't like the idea. It's really going to be something that helps the team this season."
…and announced tentative plans for two further unofficials over the next two months, one next month and one for the spring game, that he "should be able to make." There's been some chatter about MSU and OSU in his recruitment; if Kelly-Powell does end up on campus three times in little over a month that would bode well. As of a week ago MSU was "making up ground," FWIW.
Thomas is tough to read. He may be the longest shot of any of those visitors if he follows through with his desire to GTFO:
“I think I want to get away, go far (for college) and create my own path,” Thomas said this week.
He's got a visit to Auburn scheduled and is trying to see Oklahoma; he is still talking to M, MSU, and OSU. On the other hand, Wiltfong thinks Michigan is the eventual choice for Thomas and he was positive about Brown:
"This visit was different and went really well," Thomas said. "It was a good chance for me to just kick it and get to know the coaching staff a lot more. I met Coach Brown for the first time, and he was a really laid back guy."
He told Scout that he was going to be on campus again next month to "lock up some of their top guys, you know." Michigan still has to hire a replacement for Greg Jackson, and that will be a big part of where Thomas eventually ends up.
Paea (left) is a new name
"The coaching staff and facilities were just amazing. The moment you were on campus you just get this really great feeling."
Paea's transitioning from being a linebacker and running back(!) to being a two-way lineman as he fills out, and he's got a lot of promise on either side of the ball:
“They really like his hips,” Scaccia said of college coaches. “He has that innate ability to unlock his hips and play with leverage. He’s still learning but they definitely see the potential there. They like the change of direction for a kid his size. He’s pretty straight-line fast. He can run a little bit.”
Paea joins MI LB Antjuan Simmons as guys who have gone from unheralded to fielding national offers (Simmons has a zillion; Paea added Oregon and Miami), emphasizing what a good year it is for in-state talent. The state has a dozen guys who have or will likely acquire high level out of region offers.
Probably not named after Brian Eno but you never know
TX RB Eno Benjamin seems at least mildly serious about exiting the state. He's not naming favorites but he's got a couple favorites, as one does:
"I am not naming really any favorites, but Iowa they kind of grabbed my attention, Michigan as well," Benjamin reported.
Benjamin is taking trips to Texas and A&M so don't rule out the locals; he plans a spring break trip to various northern schools highlighted by Michigan and OSU and inexplicably including Kansas.
New Jersey… I have heard of this place
Steve Lorenz mentioned in a VIP note a week or so back that Michigan was going to go after NJ ATH Markquese Bell a major priority and now he reports that Bell will visit in the spring. Bell then confirms that Michigan is pushing hard for him:
"Michigan was my first really big offer," he said. Rutgers and Temple were Bell's first two scholarships. "They saw something in me early and I appreciate that."
He's an ATH; at 6'3" 190 he's most likely a WR or safety. He plans a summer decision.
Wisconsin is still steamed about Ben Bredeson
A couple of Wisconsin offerees, WI OLs Alex Fenton and Logan Bruss went off the board to the Badgers. Don't know how high up on Michigan's board either guy was, but I did learn that Wisconsin fans are livid that Ben Bredeson escaped their clutches last year. They assume every instate lineman is theirs. Not without good reason, but sheesh one guy with a bunch of M connections exit and all the voodoo dolls in the state are repurposed.
Michigan hopes to give a further boost to the Cheese State's witchcraft industries by snatching WI OL Tyler Beach. Beach moved around a bit as a kid and isn't born and bred, which means Michigan should have a shot. He's scheduled a visit to M and various other places:
"I'm going to go out to Northwestern, Oregon State and most likely Arizona," Beach noted. "I may try to visit Notre Dame as well, and I'm trying to set something up there as we speak. I've been to Wisconsin a couple times already, and then the Michigan visit."
That visit will be March 11th. He plans a commitment before football season. At 6'8" he is definitely a tackle, and seems on his way to being a consensus four star.
More Rivals ranking updates
Michigan's top two center prospects moved up about 100 slots each in the most recent Rivals 250 revamp, with CA OL Brett Neilon landing at #113 and FL OL Cesar Ruiz at #106. WI OL Tyler Beach also snuck into the tail end of the top 250.
- MI WR KJ Hamler says he hasn't heard from Michigan in a while, displeasing Ace. Says he's still very interested and that he's not going to end his recruitment any time soon.
- CA CB Deommodre "Clamp Clampington" Lenoir will visit for the spring game; his list of schools standing out is entirely out-of-state, with M, Oregon, ND, Washington, and Texas A&M amongst the main contender.
- CA WR Joseph Lewis is one of those LA kids everyone thinks will go to USC; while they're usually right he is listing Michigan and Florida along with the Trojans.
- Michigan and USC are also competing for CA RB Stephen Carr, a soft USC commit, and CA CB Jaylon Redd. 247's Ryan Bartow really does not think Carr's "soft" USC commit is in fact soft, FWIW. Redd is a guy who Michigan has a legit shot at; Redd is a two way athlete who likes the idea of being Jabrill Peppers. Surprise. He "definitely" wants to visit.
- MS RB Cam Akers tells Lorenz that Michigan is going after him despite his Alabama commit. He's buds with MS LB Willie Gay, who we mentioned on Tuesday as a guy who is a candidate to break Michigan's long dry streak in Mississippi. Lorenz mentions that "many are skeptical" that either Akers or fellow Bama RB commit Najee Harris actually signs with the Crimson Tide, FWIW. Michigan is pursuing both.
- Michigan offered IN LB Pete Werner, joining a parade of regional powers in doing so. He "definitely" wants to visit as well, and has been to a game already.
- FL DE Robert Porcher IV is indeed the son of the former Lion and is interested in M; no offer yet.
You know what? Michigan has offered everyone. At this juncture they're flying out so fast and furious that unless there's a react piece or the player in question is notably likely to commit we might skip mentioning it. I'm mentioning this just to note what we might not mention: FL DE Zachary Carter got an offer; Lorenz points out that he's got a solid top two of Florida and Clemson and has basically only listed Southern schools.
While we are mentioning him we might not mention other high profile guys in similar situations. Because is a touted player a recruit? He has an offer-type substance.
Here's a react piece from a guy who just got offered
Call me Greg Sankey if you must. CA RB Stephen Carr is worth mentioning here. He just got a Michigan offer and despite being a soft USC commit his reaction to said event is promising:
“It was crazy, I honestly didn’t see it coming but I’m happy I have Michigan on my roster,” Carr said. “Michigan is a great school, a great program. It’s Michigan, man. Who wouldn’t want a Michigan offer?”
Just talk until a visit, but Carr's commit may be pretty notional—it was made in March, before a coaching change. Oddly, Carr told Wiltfong that he heard a lot of great things about Michigan from… Vic Viramontes. Sigh.
Here's another guy who just got offered
IL OL Kevin Jarvis is the gent:
EXTREMELY happy to announce I've just received an offer from Michigan! 〽️ pic.twitter.com/309Os740bn
— Kevin Jarvis (@Kevinjarvis71) February 22, 2016
A couple weeks ago Jarvis named Arkansas his leader; Arkansas's OL coach is none other than former Michigan OL Kurt Anderson. Jarvis is likely to be a consensus four star guard, and he's got excellent size at 6'5", 315; Josh Helmholdt was impressed with his recent camp appearances:
Just a really solid, well-rounded offensive guard prospect. 6-5, 315 pounds, has good feet. Saw him at Ohio State's Friday Night Lights camp over the summer and he was very good against a group of DL that included 2016 five-star Terrell Hall and 2016 four-star DT Antwan Jackson.
We'll see if the Michigan offer flips the direction of his recruitment. Leaning towards yes based on a text he sent Steve Wiltfong:
"Michigan is SICK," Jarvis texted 247Sports.
Well then. Jarvis plans visits to Arkansas and Michigan; those schools are a tentative top two.
Okay this is also a recent offeree
This is going about as well as "the SEC comes up for reasons to ban satellite camps." Anyway, Michigan extended an offer to KS TE Trevor Kent. Kent's a bit of a project since his high school never throws the ball—he had one reception last year—but Lorenz says he's "high on the TE board" all the same. He's saying the right things:
"I hadn't really heard from Michigan before that, so to get an offer from them like that so quickly was great because it showed me that they see something in what I can do. Michigan is a great football program that's getting better. They use tight ends like almost nobody else does either."
He is likely to visit in spring, because a family friend owns(?) the train line that runs by the stadium(?), which means he's friends with Amtrak(?).
Most of these guys have expressed serious interest, don't judge me
Michigan offered WV OL Billy Ross, who says he's "very interested" and wants to visit. Coincidentally he will be at IMG at the same time Michigan is and plans to attend practice. No leaders this early and Ross has fielded some other impressive offers like FSU.
Michigan also offered MI OL Jordan Reid. Reid is at Cass and so is obviously a person of interest immediately following an offer. Oddly, he told Marich that Michigan was his first Big Ten offer, which, uh…
— Jordan Reid (@jordanreid58) February 11, 2016
…is either major #disrespekt or incidental forgetful #disrespekt. Reid is wide open, plans an visit that is as of yet unscheduled, etc. Says he grew up a Michigan fan.
Testing the Mississippi black hole's gravity
Remember when Rich Rodriguez came in, hired Jay Hopson, and recruited Mississippi really hard for a bit? No? Right. You don't remember because Michigan didn't get one single kid from Mississippi; most of them went to in-state programs that were (at the time) amongst the worst in the country. The gravitational pull of Mississippi is not to be underestimated.
But Harbaugh is Harbaugh so Michigan is taking a swing at MS LB Willie Gay, a solid four star OLB who sounds genuinely interested:
"I've been watching Michigan football for as long as I can remember," he said. "I love everything about Michigan. They have always been one of those programs that I've kept track of and watched whenever they were on TV. I've watched so many YouTube videos about Michigan football and of their highlights and stuff."
Gay says he wants to visit over the summer. I'll believe a Mississippi kid commits to Michigan when it happens; IIRC the last one was Jeremy Lesueur, and that was a while ago. Gay lives in Starkville, further complicating things.
Rivals updates their Top 100
"He has the size of his father, former NFL receiver Ed McCaffrey, and some of the athleticism of his brother, Heisman finalist Christian McCaffrey. His ability to keep defenses honest with his feet opens things up for his arm. He can make things look very easy at this level and is just starting to become a polished pocket passer."
Tim Sullivan also caught up with McCaffrey's coach, who offered high praise for his abilities both physically and mentally:
“First, I think if you saw our film throughout the year, he played extremely well as a dropback passer: five-star seven-step, play action,” Sherman said. “Then just having a great feel in the pocket, I think he’s got a great feeling for that piece of it. Especially in the playoffs, we relied a little bit more on his legs: he ended up being our leading rusher. He was able to get us 3-5 first downs a game with his legs in addition to what he could do with his arm.
“The other thing that a lot of people didn’t notice, he got us into the right play so much with kills and alerts at the line of scrimmage, that really allowed us to be in the right play against the defense we wanted to run it against. The combination of those three things are going to make him a really special quarterback at the next level and be awesome.”
As a result McCaffrey is now the #1 QB, pro style or dual threat, on the composite; he's 18th overall and a five star.
Other moves of significance by recruits Michigan has a pretty good shot at:
- MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones got a fifth star, sliding up seven spots to #13.
- AL WR Nico Collins also moved into the top 40, from #71.
- FL OL Tedarrell Slaton moved up about 100 spots and is now #47.
- FL OL Robert Hainsey moved up almost 200 spots and is now #56; he's at IMG and originally from PA.
Still a long way to go but Michigan now seems likely to have secured the top QB in the country.
In search of a center
NJ by way of IMG OL Cesar Ruiz tells Corey Bender that he has "six great friends" who go to Michigan and that he "knows the streets already" on campus. He's visiting a bunch of schools around IMG in the near future; he plans a Michigan visit over his spring break, and when asked who's recruiting him hardest it is M first out of his mouth. Michigan needs a center after not getting one last year and Ruiz looks like a solid bet to be that guy.
Michigan is also after CA OL Brett Neilon, another guy who projects to C. He seems almost as high on M as Ruiz in an article by Steve Lorenz. 2016 signee Kekoa Crawford is a former teammate; he's planning a spring visit, possibly for the spring game. He sounds like the kind of guy who ends up in Ann Arbor:
"Michigan was a huge offer for me. I'm looking for the "4 A's" when I'm evaluating schools: Academics, athletics, area and alumni. Michigan checks all four of those boxes at a really high level."
Lorenz is "contemplating" a CB for Michigan; we'd probably put one in but we've already got one for Ruiz. Would M take both? Both Ruiz and Neilon are around 6'3" and 290 now, so see one playing guard. Probably they get one or the other and recruit a couple of monster Gs.
Top X lists and leaders
- AL S AJ Harris lists a top four of M, FSU, Vandy, and Louisville, but he's already been to Auburn four times and has a fifth tentatively scheduled. That sounds like a situation where Auburn isn't offering right away because Harris is likely to pull the trigger when it does come.
- MO WR Jaevon McQuitty doesn't have a top list; he did tell the Nebraska Scout site that the Cornhuskers were "slightly" leading. Michigan's likely to take a limited number of WRs in 2017 and has high profile targets in DPJ and Collins so prospects like McQuitty are on the back burner until those guys indicate they're leaning elsewhere. McQuitty did tell Brice Marich he was planning a visit to M in April.
- New offer and CA OL Alijah Vera-Tucker has a tentative top three of M, USC, and Oregon. He's got a cousin at M. No mention of a visit yet.
- NY OL Isaiah Wilson released a top five of M, OSU, LSU, Bama, and UGA. He says he will definitely visit all of those schools before pulling the trigger; he's already been to Michigan twice.
- PA DE Donovan Jeter is a new offer; he told Sam Webb that he is likely to visit over he summer but that Pitt, PSU, and OSU have developed relationships with him already. Sounds like Michigan is a bit behind early, but he's acquainted with Khaleke Hudson and expects Hudson to be in his ear.
- PA LB David Adams fielded an offer, says he's definitely interested, and "possibly might" visit. He currently has ND and PSU visits set up.
FL CB Trajan Bandy committed to Oklahoma, which is a bit of a surprise so early. If Michigan does hire Chip Viney they might get back involved here. Meanwhile GA WR Jeremiah Holloman is talking up a Georgia offer… a Georgia Tech offer. That does not sound like a guy who will be rejoining the class.
Etc.: Michigan is sniffing around OR DT Marlon Tuipulotu but hasn't offered yet. MI S Jaylen Kelly-Powell will be on campus Wednesday. FL DE Joshua Kaindoh plans a Michigan visit soonish. AL LB KJ Britt got a Michigan offer; he has blown up of late and will probably be hard to get out of the South.
That's a good sportmanteau right there. A high quality word-construct. /self high five
Anyway, a touted QB is always a nice piece to get in your recruiting class because people sit up and take notice. People like MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones and MI DE Corey Malone-Hatcher.
@dpeoplesjones that's what I'm saying
— corey malone-hatcher (@CMH2017) February 16, 2016
Hyphenated people. Also people who sound like EDM superstars.
— Brice Marich (@BriceMarich) February 16, 2016
CT WR Tarik Black also told Steve Lorenz that McCaffrey's commit has an impact on him; Lorenz is skeptical that is a thing and not just a thing to say for most of these WRs.
Still, Michigan can sell Peoples-Jones and others on the fact that he's going to have a highly capable quarterback for the duration of his tenure. Harbaugh's track record and the kind of recruits they're bringing in should combine to make for an attractive proposition.
Top list for top target Bandy
FL CB Trajan Bandy released a highly specific top ten:
— Trajan Bandy (@BandyTrajan) February 18, 2016
Good spot to draft from, third. Lorenz relates that Michigan is more likely to move up that list than down it since he's one of the top CBs on their board along with Flangan's Stanford Samuels III.
Simmons returns to campus because it is across the street
I had a great visit to Michigan today!〽️ pic.twitter.com/kHSrFHCRv0
— antjuan simmons (@_antjuan_) February 17, 2016
Business has picked up with MI LB Antjuan Simmons since Don Brown was hired. Simmons has been on campus twice in the past month. That means a bit less than it might for players who have to get in some sort of vehicle to do so; it is still encouraging. Brown has a great affection for smallish, fast, and vicious linebackers—Simmons promises to be that guy.
This is Still my favorite play through high school so far pic.twitter.com/O6Q50ERsyy
— antjuan simmons (@_antjuan_) November 22, 2015
Yes. Yes he does. Michigan is recruiting him as a SAM, which should give you some insight into the kind of guy that will be at that spot going forward—think Stevie Brown, not Jake Ryan. He told Allen Trieu he got a "great vibe" at M. Interestingly enough, he mentioned the SAM thing with Brandon Brown and then followed it up with an odd name:
"He sees me at SAM linebacker. He wants me to play like Jabrill Peppers."
I guess nickelback == SAM linebacker under Brown? We'll see.
BONUS: ultimate croot tweeter right here
@_antjuan_ Don't go to Michigan, u can't even drink the water Bro, and the coach might ask u to stay the night, Creepy. Lol, best of luck
— Brandon Scott (@KashScott) February 18, 2016
This is exactly who I envision tweeting croots.
I never thought that dude from Smashmouth would stoop so low, though.
Surging for Eno Benjamin
— Eno Benjamin™ (@eno_benjamin5) February 16, 2016
Michigan offered TX RB Eno Benjamin, and that's significant enough to pull out of the bulleted list and discuss specifically because Benjamin is highly likely to be a major target. Benjamin's trainer is one David Underwood, another Texas running back who made the trek to Ann Arbor. Benjamin has a small top list that Michigan joins; he has an unusual leader for a top-100 type kid out of Texas:
“Michigan is working their way up to the top,” Benjamin said. “They’re up there. Iowa is still #1 right now. I’ve kind of been feeling Arizona State quite a bit as well as Texas Tech.”
He has a visit planned for early March. Lorenz thinks Michigan might already lead for Benjamin and that he's been after a Michigan offer for going on two years now, so that visit will be one to watch for a shift in his public leaderboard, or maybe even a commit.
As for what kind of back Benjamin is, Scout recently updated their brief scouting report:
Benjamin is a highly instinctive, high-volume running back who possesses big-play ability as well as workhorse production. Possesses exceptional feet w/outstanding balance and lateral ability. Dangerous start-and-stop runner who maximizes yardage at second level w/cutback ability. Good at avoiding direct blows. Lacks ideal size but gains ample yardage after contact. Not a top-end burner, but plenty fast w/good initial acceleration.
Sounds a bit like Fitzgerald Toussaint before he was Poor Damn Toussaint.
New offers & quick hits
Your regular list of guys sporting new offers who may or may not become major targets:
- Michigan offered 2018 CA QB Cameron Rising. I normally ignore kids who haven't played their junior year yet, but QB is an exception since those recruitments often end very early. Rising called the offer "surreal" and says he is "extremely interested"; he has a solid grasp on how handled guys as different as Kapernick and Rudock. Rising is a pro-style guy with rushing upside—he ran for 750 yards as a sophomore—and looks likely to be a major target in 2018.
- Scout reports an offer for KY OL Jedrick Wills, a "mauler" who will be tough to pull from the South. Scout has him #53 in 2017.
- 247 reports an offer to CA OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, who's around 200th on the composite.
- Rivals reports that CA DE Deonte Johnson got an offer.
- Rivals also reports that CA OL Popo Aumavae got offered. Oregon is the favorite. WI OL Logan Bruss also got an offer; as per usual Wisconsin will be tough to beat for an instate lineman.
- Apparently Michigan offered IN OL Emil Ekiyor a year ago. He "really loves" what's going on at M and has a tentative top five of M, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Georgia, and ND.
Small developments amongst guys who are already on the board:
- MI OL Phil Paea lists M, Oregon, and BYU as the schools he's "hearing from" the most. Those are often proxies for top X lists from recruits who are hesitant about putting a list out there. He just picked up a Minnesota offer; he tells the Minnesota Rivals site that Michigan was his favorite team in-state but his "dream offer" came from the Ducks.
- NJ LB Drew Singleton looks like another M-Clemson battle.
Etc.: McCaffrey is undecided on whether he will enroll early.