Edit: Oh, right, it's Tuesday.
Herbert Announcing Tomorrow
Michigan is in prime position to pick up another offensive lineman when four-star FL OT Kai-Leon Herbert announces his decision sometime tomorrow between the Wolverines, Florida, and Miami (YTM). Michigan got his most recent visit and has the last nine picks on his Crystal Ball, including that of 247 scouting director Steve Wiltfong. When previewing his decision for 247's Luke Stampini, Herbert may have tipped his hand in what's been considered a Michigan/Florida battle with Miami on the periphery [emphasis mine]:
“It’s the relationship I have with Coach [Mike] Summers, Coach [Randy] Shannon, and Coach [Jim McElwain] himself,” Herbert said of Florida. “They were my leader for quite some time and they definitely know how to recruit.
Herbert would be an impressive pull from a powerhouse program (American Heritage), and a commitment from him could also help Michigan land five-star OG teammate TJ Slaton, whose recruitment may become a Michigan/Clemson battle.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Nico Collins gets Friday Night Lights'd
This is from AL.com and thus rather AL centric, but it's well done all the same:
Michigan doesn't get a mention except at the very tail end when he's listing his top schools, but I believe this is the second workout that Collins has been taped at where a certain Maize and Blue item features:
We'll see if that matters long term. Better than nothing.
Package or no
MI CB Ambry Thomas talks to Kyle Bogenschutz and says 1) that he's "more than open to leaving the state" and 2) that playing with MI S Jaylen Kelly-Powell is kind of a big deal:
"It's very important, that's like blood," he said. "It is very important. 10 (out of 10)."
Also MSU is "real smooth." These things don't go together, but when someone asks you about school X it's not like you say "those guys suck and their coach is an eggplant." Thomas currently plans a Signing Day decision.
California camp folk
CA RB Najee Harris, the #1 prospect in the country depending on who you listen to, came out to Michigan's LA camp and actually worked out, which is a rarity for big-timers. Isaiah Hole got some video of Harris getting coached by Ty Wheatley, and reports that Michigan seemed to help themselves out:
Pretty much the entire staff -- save for Jim Harbaugh, who spent his time interacting with all the campers -- got some face time with Harris. It was something of a cacophony in the way the staff moved from station to station, working with the bulk of the camp and then spending a little time with Najee himself. Harris seemed to really enjoy himself, especially his time with Wheatley.
Harris is a nominal Alabama commitment but showed up at the camp in USC gear and what does commitment even mean, you know?
CA TE Josh Falo seems like he's had a bad experience or two during his recruiting process:
“It's pretty up there because they use the tight end a lot,” Falo said. “[Coach Jay Harbaugh is] a relaxing dude, he's straight forward with you and he doesn't lie to you.”
Falo is one of this year's mystery recruits. I haven't seen any indication where he might be leaning. That might be good for Michigan in the long run, as they don't have a slam dunk second TE target in the class. M and Falo could circle back around late and find something mutually appealing. FWIW, Falo is on Team Hypercool, AKA team Michigan Targets And Commits Except Jaylen Kelly-Powell For Some Reason, at the Opening.
CA DE DJ Johnson is similarly mysterious; it's not often you get a California kid whose crystal ball consists of four picks split evenly between Ole Miss and Miami. Johnson has a murky top four of Michigan, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Miami. He showed at Michigan's camp as an observer and talked to Isaiah Hole:
“They told me they're going to have an attack defense,” Johnson said. “It's going to be a great one. I like what I'm hearing from them and stuff like that. It should be a great experience, hanging out with them and watching them play live when I go out there and watch them play."
He'll take an official to Michigan in the fall. Nothing would surprise in his recruitment.
CA OL Jalen McKenzie says he'll take an official visit after hitting up a satellite camp. McKenzie has a brother at Tennessee and they're the tentative leader.
Peppers 3.0, Hudson 2.0, And Other Reasonable Coach Scouting
2018 GA LB commit Otis Reese's coach talks with Brandon Brown about his game:
"We play Otis all over the place because of how multi-faceted he is," Fabrizio said. "We’ll bring him off the edge because he’s a mismatch for anyone trying to block him. We’ll roll him down into the box to help against the run and we’ll also split him out to cover the other team’s best receiver. We ask a lot of him and we try to take advantage of the wide range of abilities he has."
That gentleman is destined to be a SAM linebacker a la Peppers. I love the fact that Michigan's defense now has a dedicated slot for a hybrid space player. I'm excited to see Michigan finally deploy a modern anti-spread D.
Brown also talked to CT OL commit Andrew Stueber's coach:
"What sets him apart is that, although he’s 6-6 and around 300 pounds, is the way he moves. I know the Michigan coaches saw that in person. He won a bunch of the speed and agility tests out at the camp. Coach Brown called me up and told me how impressive he was and I said, ‘Yup! I told you so.’”
Stueber isn't even 17 yet, which means he might add another inch or two of height and is far away from his physical ceiling. His coach thinks he's a left tackle all the way. If he ends up at 6'8"—he's already measured in at 6'6.5" at an Opening regional—and able to move he'll certainly be groomed as one.
OH OL Joel Honigford released a top four of M, MSU, Auburn, and Oregon. Michigan was a hot name for him for a minute but Andrew Stueber's commitment probably means that Michigan focuses on the big fish they've got on the hook.
Michigan's offered TN OL Obinna Eze, who is another left tackle type at 6'7" or 6'8" depending on who you listen too. Wingspaaaaaan:
Anyway, Brown reports that Eze was shocked at a Michigan offer because it shows "people on the other side of the country" know about him. (Please do not get out your maps and #wellactually a recruit.) We're big in Nigeria:
"Michigan is a big institution. My mom in Nigeria knows what school Michigan is. I’m just grateful for it."
Eze worked out at Michigan's Tennessee satellite camp; his recruitment has zero shape right now. There's one Bama crystal ball in for him; meanwhile his 247 profile lists Kentucky and only Kentucky as "warm." I seriously doubt he ends up at either place. As of about ten days ago Eze was trying to get his recruitment wrapped up relatively quickly, so Michigan will have to get an unofficial real soon or an early-season official to stay involved.
VA OL Mekhi Becton is expected to stay close to home but he will visit Michigan and various other Midwest schools in the near future:
“I have my best relationships with Michigan, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Penn State and Michigan State,” Becton said. “I’m still talking to a lot.”
At 6'7", 345 he is a massive human being.
CA OL Drew Dalman visited last week. He's a three-star center and could be a Plan B if Michigan doesn't end up getting Cesar Ruiz.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Grudging 2018 items
— D-ROB. (@DoriansTweets) June 27, 2016
NV QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson hit up Michigan's LA camp. He's got his offer in hand now and continues to display a dual threat aspect to his game that is pretty enticing:
Thompson-Robinson won approximately half -- if not more -- of the drills that he participated in, including fastest man in camp and the backpedal drill. Jim Harbaugh openly acknowledged, "This is a first! We haven't had a quarterback win these drills!" The Michigan legacy was fast and showed a lot of composure in every drill he competed in.
You may remember that Thompson-Robinson had some contradictory thoughts about Michigan and Ohio State after a Midwest visit sweep a few months ago. That appears to be a moot point with OSU focused on another QB prospect. Thompson-Robinson told Sam Webb that UCLA, Michigan, and Arizona State were sticking out and that mom, an alum, was a little excited with the Michigan offer:
"I was actually in the car with my mom when I got it," Thompson-Robinson said. "She was so happy she almost crashed the car. It was a really fun time. I was really happy I got that one."
I think she's in our corner. Brandon Brown reports that Thompson-Robinson is thinking about coming up for the BBQ in August and doesn't have any other unofficials on the docket.
CA WR Jalen Hall also worked out at Michigan's camp, and is really good. This is a pretty crootin quote right here:
“I would say that (they stick out) as well as the other schools,” Hall said.
Hall's already been out to Ann Arbor with his team.
OH RB Jaelen Gill released a top 9 including M. Also now I know that Gill goes by "Squizzy Squirt" on twitter, which is really something.
MI LB Ovie Oghoufo picks up a Michigan offer. Oghoufo is Mario Ojemudia's cousin and Mario's all like cumong man:
"With Rio he has a great relationship with them so he can fill me in a lot about what they’re all about. I talked to him right after I got offered and he was like, ‘Hurry up and commit.’ He was very excited for me — it was a great moment."
Oghoufo just picked up a Notre Dame offer on his visit and has been up to MSU multiple times.
CA OL Wyatt Davis committed to OSU; FL WR Michael Harley committed to WVU; FL WR Jhamon Ausbon committed to LSU. 2018 NJ DE and LB Jayson and Justin Ademilola both committed to ND, which sucks mostly because we had crystal balls for them to Michigan.
VA DT Darnell Ewell hasn't committed yet, but after an OSU/M/ND swing this was his mom's reaction…
"Notre Dame is one of a kind … Michigan was nice too."
…so that's not happening. Also nevermind all the Baylor defectors, who were split up by Texas and Oklahoma like the jerks they are.
Maybe we can split him in half
AJC reporter Jeff Sentell appeared on the DawgNation podcast (DawgNation appears to be an AJC silo for Georgia athletics content) to talk recruiting, and naturally struck on GA DT Aubrey Solomon. Sentell talked to both Solomon and mom and came away saying that "from listening to [Solomon's] mother, that's 100% committed right there" and that he would be "stunned if Aubrey Solomon went anywhere but the University of Michigan." Sentell further reports that Solomon ducked out of the visit for a moment, claiming he had to go to the bathroom, so he could call his mom and get her blessing to pull the trigger. That's the opposite of a high-pressure pitch that might backfire as time goes by.
So of course the Georgia 247 site is reporting that Solomon will visit Georgia in July. This isn't as bad as it sounds: the visit was planned in advance of the sudden turn in Solomon's recruitment. It's common for guys to follow through on their word when coaches ask them to. I wouldn't be worried about that visit; any subsequent ones would be game on.
FWIW, that article contains a number of positive quotes about Georgia from Solomon's mother that were gathered before the trip to Ann Arbor. While I don't doubt Georgia is at least some threat the article gives off a bit of a whiff of saving face amongst subscribers—Sentell appears to have the latest, and he's considerably more neutral than a team site.
Give 'em the clamps, Holmes
CA CB Deommodore "Clamp Clampington" Lenoir hasn't drawn much mention around these parts since he first popped up on the radar, but Brandon Brown catches up with him and discovers he is planning an official, ideally when CA CB Darnay Holmes comes in. That would be all right. Argh Dave Brandon, part MCMXI:
"I really wanted to go to Michigan against Michigan State or Ohio State but those are both away."
Nebraska and Oregon are the other officials he's certain of. [UPDATE: Lenoir committed to Oregon yesterday. Nevermind.]
Speaking of Holmes, it looks like David Long's presence in Ann Arbor means at least a little something:
— Darnay Holmes (@DarnayHolmes) June 22, 2016
Holmes also has three officials he knows he'll take: Nebraska, OSU, and Michigan. The date for the M visit is also up in the air; he'll go to Columbus for the Game. UCLA's also involved heavily.
I see that eyebrow, but don't scoff at the Cornhuskers. Nebraska is doing some work in California this year. They've got two commits from Holmes's teammates, both four stars.
On Wednesday I mentioned that Steve Lorenz had fired off a crystal ball for FL WR Mike Harley to Michigan. Yesterday Brandon Brown interviewed Harley, who says Michigan is his #1 and he will be pulling the trigger "either this weekend or next weekend," which gives other schools vanishingly little time to catch up.
Despite our KJ Hamler-related garment-rending, Harley looks like a solid pickup should he follow through. His stock is on the rise after an excellent Five Star Challenge…
— Mike Harley Jr. Ⓜ️ (@harleyxvi) June 22, 2016
…and whatever spurred 247 to put him on the ol' rankings rocket:
Blue is 247, green the composite. (That line is also an excellent demonstration of the usual pattern for recruits: get ranked, drop slowly as more dudes get slotted in front of you, big change only when you get re-evaluated.)
Baylor recruits released
Per Texas sources, Baylor's released five of the seven players who wanted out. The main guys of interest to Michigan fans in the aftermath of the Devery Hamilton are the two offensive linemen; Barking Carnival believes that TX OL Patrick Hudson will head to Texas and that TX OL JP Urquidez is a possibility "depending on mutual interest and swiftly tightening [scholarship] numbers." Urquidez is a 6'6" tackle and composite four-star who Michigan did have some early contact with. Longshot, obviously.
AL OL Toryque Bateman named Michigan and Tennessee leaders. He'll announce a top eight shortly, one that presumably includes those two schools. CA OL Chuck Filiaga has no top list but definitely wants to visit. Moving to Texas this fall so distance probably not much of a factor.
On the other hand, Lorenz moved UT DT Jay Tufele up on 247's listing of Michigan's prospect as he is "far and away" the DT Michigan would most like to pair with Solomon. An OSU/M battle could be on the way; Michigan has a Polynesian edge in that case.
MI S Jaylen Kelly-Powell on Jourdan Lewis:
"He's a great player, a phenomenal person," Kelly-Powell said of Lewis. "He's humble, he's a great person just to be around. ... I watch him a lot and try to be just like him, try to be as good as him."
Kelly-Powell remains the lockiest lock on the board.
OH DE James Hudson reports back from his visit over the weekend, telling Brice Marich it was a "ten of ten". Hudson also provided some clarity on what spot Michigan is recruiting him for:
"I fit right into their defense because of my size. It means a lot (hearing about early playing time) and I feel like I could be a dominant 3-tech for them. They do a lot of the things that I do at my high school.”
Hudson's already 280 so that makes sense. If Hudson is a DT prospect for Michigan then you can fit a guy like CA DE DJ Johnson in the class relatively easily.
A Rivals reporter caught up with TX LB Baron Browning after his trips to Michigan and Notre Dame last weekend. Browning doesn't tip his hand at all, but making those trips with his brother and former Harbaugh player Barry can't hurt. Baron on Barry on Harbaugh:
“…he said ‘One thing I will say about Coach Harbaugh is that he is going to get the best out of you. He said that Harbaugh is really competitive. … He said that Coach Tolbert would definitely have me right and ready to compete."
A second planned unofficial to OSU next month is off. No indication where he's leaning or even where he might visit officially. Dude is one of the mystery recruits of the cycle.
Josh Henschke reports from Michigan's NorCal camp, which appears to be one of the more loaded camps they've had. CA DT Popo Aumave, CA DE DJ Johnson, CA TE Josh Falo and CA OL Aaron Banks all say they will take visits; CA RB Najee Harris also attended and worked out.
Johnson told Rivals that Michigan is "around his top schools" in part because Michigan will let him wear #1. I can get behind a DE with 1 on his jersey. Aumave says he'll officially visit M, USC, and probably Oregon.
So here's this guy
Also in dramatic smokebomb recruit entrances: GA LB Dennis Bell tells Maize and Blue News that he was on the verge of committing to Michigan:
Working at the U-M’s Shine Time Camp this week, he impressed the coaching staff enough to receive a scholarship offer from the Maize and Blue on Thursday. That was significant for Bell, who originally planned on committing the instant the offer came through, describing Michigan as his dream school. Ultimately though, cooler heads pulled him back from making the early decision.
“I was going to announce it today on Twitter, but then my coach was like ‘don’t do it yet,’” Bell said of his plan to commit. “He said wait until later in the summer. I think it will probably be the week before we go back to school.”
Bell, a former teammate of Elysee Mbem-Bosse, is a two-star only ranked by two sites and only has Georgia State and Miami (Not That Miami) offers per 247. His composite ranking is around 1700.
I'm dubious that this is actually a thing. Michigan appears to be "offering" people for PR purposes. For example, there was recently a farcical exchange between various sites about an offer to NC QB Jackson Gibbs, who is 1) a 2017 QB and 2) the grandson of Joe Gibbs. Gibbs reported an offer; various reporters said this was not a thing; Rivals got quotes that insisted it was a full offer, not a PWO; Rivals then clarified that this offer was not in fact committable. Soooooo… yeah. The destruction of the English language for marketing purposes continues apace.
Anyway, I don't expect anything to come out of either recruitment.
Happy trails to CA OL Wyatt Davis, who announces today. Nobody expects it to be Michigan; OSU appears to be it.
Ace is on vacation! This post is already long! I'm posting it today!
On the Solomon commitment
Solomon and Reese [Sam Webb]
These days, the flood of "he won't stick" assertions in the aftermath of an unexpected commit from a far-flung high school prospect is inevitable. They certainly rolled in for GA DT Aubrey Solomon, both from the Michigan and SEC ends. Just like "offers" and OFFERS there are "commitments" and COMMITMENTS. The concern with Solomon is that he's issued the former.
Despite the fact that there's no evidence behind this assertion, people thinking this are not crazy. Michigan's already seen a GA commit peace out once the big local teams came in. But outright pessimism is unwarranted. Reasons Solomon will stick:
- Solomon already has big time offers and just visited Alabama and Georgia, who were previously thought to be the main contenders. He's seen what his leaders have to offer already and it's not like a bigger school than Bama or UGA can throw their hat in the ring.
- Michigan also picked up a commit from 2018 LB/S Otis Reese, a teammate. Reese had Michigan way out in front; he'll be there until Signing Day.
- Michigan's depth chart is attractive for a nose tackle. They have three-star Michael Dwumfour in the class ahead of him and not much else. Meanwhile the prospect of playing with Rashan Gary, even for just a couple years, is appealing.
Reasons it won't:
- The glow of the visit might not last.
- Parents might not be such a big fan of the decision.
Michigan's benefited from the latter a few times—Lawrence Marshall was an OSU commit for ten seconds before his parents put the brakes on—and suffered from it a few times. Solomon did talk to his mom on the phone before pulling the trigger:
“At first she was a little shocked because she’s never heard me trying to commit somewhere just like that,” Solomon said. “So she said I must be in love with the school and I told her that academically I would be good there."
Rusty Mansell, a reporter at the Georgia 247 site, has a skeptical take after talking to mom:
Solomon's mother was in Louisiana for a business trip at the time and told Dawgs247 the commitment caught her off-guard. She twice deemed the decision a "soft commitment," and mentioned that it is pending research. Again, her thoughts on the Georgia program were very high, and she said she is waiting to see what the outcome is in his recruitment.
Trying to figure out what Solomon will do through two separate lenses, one of them extremely red-tinted, is difficult. That doesn't sound great on the mom front.
FWIW, doesn't seem like Michigan put on a full court press. TomVH caught up with Lee County assistant coach Kevin Pych:
“The Michigan coaches are professionals,” Pych said. “They’re not sitting here blowing these kids’ phones up and they’re not pressuring them. That’s what sold these guys, that they care about making them into men.”
FL OL Kai-Leon Herbert reiterated that: Michigan coaches are amongst the lower-pressure ones out there. Sam Webb has an extensive article in the News about both Georgia commits in which Solomon tells it from his perspective:
"I was just thinking, ‘They want what's best for me, so let me call my mom.’ I'm a big momma's boy (so) I called her and talked to her about it. She was like, 'Is this really what you want to do?' and I told her, ‘Yeah, I can see myself playing here.’ Then she was like, 'Well, do what you've got do, baby. I love you,' and I said, 'I love you,' and went in there and said, 'I will commit here.'"
Whether that's good or bad is in the eye of the beholder. Hopefully mom can get on campus when Solomon takes his official.
What about Reese? While he is in a somewhat similar situation in his case a brother at Central Michigan and the fact that his commit was not off the cuff but something he'd been seriously thinking about should mean he's 90%+ to stick.
[After THE JUMP: more visit weekend fallout, new names dropping in via helicopter, Ace gets angry about KJ Hamler again despite being on vacation]
The 2017 recruiting board was updated heading into the weekend. Meanwhile, I'm taking off for vacation tomorrow and will be out until next Wednesday. Naturally, today's send-off roundup is one of the longest of the year.
D-Tackle Out Of Nowhere
— Chad Simmons (@ChadSimmons_) June 18, 2016
There was very good reason nobody saw Aubrey Solomon's commitment coming. Solomon didn't even initially plan on being in Ann Arbor last weekend; he was supposed to be on an unofficial visit to Alabama. He told Sam Webb that once he got to Michigan and found out he had an offer, things moved quickly from there:
“I came into Michigan not knowing that I had an offer,” Solomon said. “Once I found that out it really changed everything. Then seeing what they could do for me in the future, like 10-20 years after football, I just fell in love with it. It wasn't just football, it was ‘what would I do for the rest of my life after football?’"
Solomon credited Chris Partridge and Jim Harbaugh for convincing him Michigan was the place to be.
The commitment of Solomon's 2018 teammate, Otis Reese, came as far less of a shock; Reese had previously named Michigan as his leader and he has ties to the area—his older brother is a redshirt freshman receiver at Central Michigan. Reese described the scene when he and Solomon committed to Webb:
"(Solomon) was feeling it but he kind of shocked me,” said Reese. “I didn't know he was going to commit."
"Coach Harbaugh was on the phone with my mom and we were talking about my commitment. Aubrey got on the phone talking to his mom and he said he wanted to commit. It was just like the whole room was lit… full happy emotions. They were jumping around. Actually my receiver coach (who brought them up on the visit) and Coach Harbaugh traded shirts. Coach Harbaugh still has (Lee County) shirt on, and my coach has his on. It was just a happy moment and it was a blessing."
Michigan nearly added another commitment on the weekend. Three-star CT OT Andrew Stueber impressed the coaches at camp enough to pull in an offer, and in the aftermath Steuber told 247's Steve Wiltfong that Michigan is "the one to beat" in his recruitment. Based on what Sam tweeted over the weekend, it sounds like Steuber will join the class as soon as he can get his mom to campus.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Three-star CT ILB/FB Ben Mason, who picked up an offer while on an unofficial visit last month, will announce his college decision tomorrow evening:
I will be announcing my commitment on Tuesday May 3rd at 6:30 at Cover Two in sandy hook @Cover_Two_SH
— Ben Mason (@benmason41) April 29, 2016
Michigan is the prohibitive favorite; there were rumblings Mason might commit shortly after his offer came in, and all ten of his Crystal Ball selections are for the Wolverines. He's coming off a strong showing at the New Jersey Opening regional that earned him position MVP honors:
Sandy Hook (Conn.) Newton linebacker Ben Mason won MVP honors for his position group, doing well in drills, the Cat and Mouse setting and also moving well in coverage in 1-on-1s and 7-on-7s. It’s easy to call the 6-foot-2 ½, 247-pound Mason a throwback, and one wouldn’t think this would be a setting he’d shine in, but Mason did his thing and left with hardware.
Mason could be an inside linebacker, fullback, or even defensive end in college. If a commitment comes as expected, I'll have much more on him tomorrow.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]