RIP to da servers
A few weeks ago I mentioned that Michigan was set to have a Signing Day unlike any they'd experienced since Signing Day became a thing. There are usually a smattering of commits and maybe a flip or two. This year was looking to maybe double that level of activity even before Michigan got it in their head to pull the ol' Bobby Bowden out:
Because of the Signing of the Stars event on National Signing Day, I am expecting most (if not all) of Michigan's remaining pledges to be silently committed to the staff until February 3rd. If they don't, it's either because Michigan believes it's their only chance to publicly secure said kid or the kid just doesn't want to wait to make it public.
Obviously that's not 100% with three commits in the last day. In Uche and Mbem-Bosse's case they had officials scheduled so the commits eliminate those schools as threats unless the recruits take the Nate Johnson path.
We have a plan for Signing Day, but if Michigan gets ten commits all bets are off. Let's hope RAILGUN™lives up to its badass name. In lieu of flowers please donate to a fund to investigate Ole Miss recruiting.
Visit weekend fallout other than three commits
— Donald Stewart (@Donald_Stewart8) January 23, 2016
NJ WR Donald Stewart declared Michigan his leader. With Nate Johnson trending to Notre Dame and the rest of the WR class comprised of smaller guys, the 6'4" Stewart brings a unique skillset and should definitely be a take. He just visited his two finalists, so Stanford has little ammo left to catch up with.
Status quo with NJ DE Rashan Gary but we have a little section on him below for the clicks.
Ditto FL WR Eddie McDoom. He did not commit publicly; he did tell various people things were going really well after saying that he would commit if things went, you know, well.
AZ DE Connor Murphy hasn't talked to anyone yet about his visit. Michigan is generally regarded the favorite; his mom came up with him.
We project all of the above in the class in addition to Uche and Mbem-Bosse. On to guys who are still relatively open…
NJ CB Jordan Fuller doesn't say much, and when he does say stuff it's carefully calibrated to not give anything away. He did tell Scout's Brian Dohn that Don Brown showed him "really cool stuff" and that Michigan's defense looked "really fun to play," but for insight you have to go to second-hand stuff.
So let's do that. Dohn says he "knows the job Michigan did with Jabrill Peppers" and "loves" Michigan's academics but that ND and OSU were ahead pre-visit. He cancelled his trip to PSU and is thus down to three; Wiltfong doesn't think ND is much of a threat.
Tim Sullivan notes that rumbles from both ends of Fuller's recruitment seemed positive:
The Michigan staff is feeling good, and perhaps just as telling, we've heard rumblings that the Ohio State coaches are worried about the progress Michigan has made there.
And Rivals mid-Atlantic analyst Adam Friedman on Gary and Fuller:
— Adam Friedman (@RivalsFriedman) January 25, 2016
The Buckeyes have limited slots and just flipped a DB recruit from Louisville. They would likely still take Fuller. OSU 247 guy Alex Gleitman still thinks it's OSU but offers considerable uncertainty as he says that. Fuller is very much in play.
— Devin Asiasi ⛅️ (@asibo_) January 23, 2016
Finally, reports from CA TE Devin Asiasi and CA DT Boss Tagaloa and people close to them were highly positive, as they usually are. ESPN's Erik McKinney caught up with them. Tagaloa:
"It was much more than I expected. This visit was by far one of the best I've taken. They are really high on my offer list right now and there's a good possibility I could be going there, too."
Asiasi had similarly positive but not definitive statements. UCLA, Washington, and USC are all in play for both. The duo took trips together to the former two and have USC set for next weekend; Asiasi cancelled a midweek visit to Alabama. Lorenz reports that Michigan believes this is one package deal with a high chance of coming to fruition. I believe it. When you're taking all your officials as a pair, that means something.
Whether that's good or bad is in the eye of the beholder. West Coast folk tend to think Asiasi is much more open to departing than Tagaloa. Scout's Greg Biggins:
"…with Boss, it would still be a surprise if he left the state but not as much with Devin, he's very open to everyone right now and fits that Michigan offense really well."
Wiltfong also thinks Tagaloa will stay in the west, with Asiasi an option.
If this is indeed a package Michigan is hoping that Asiasi is the guy driving the bus here, as Michigan is school on his list most likely to let him play tight end for the duration of his career. At this point all of the finalists seem like they're in play.
[After THE JUMP: nothing at all has changed with Rashan Gary but you are still going to click through to confirm this]
Harbaugh antics of the week
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) January 19, 2016
He proceeded to spend the night at AZ DE Connor Murphy's house, whereupon Murphy either displayed an ignorance of memes or—more likely—deliberately tried to set twitter's server farm on fire:
— Connor Murphy (@CMurph_90) January 20, 2016
Twitter survived. Murphy reports that he played chess against Harbaugh when he was 12 and lost. No word on whether Harbaugh then took him to laser tag.
Business is boomin'
— David Long Jr. (@dee_knowz) January 19, 2016
Tim Sullivan understands what this is about even if we don't
CA CB David Long commits during Recruiting Nation on ESPNU this evening. Show starts at 6 PM. Even Washington mods who will fight you if you suggest players are not going to Washington have resigned themselves to their fate. They are probably fighting themselves now.
Other recruitments with a likely positive outcome in the near future
1. NJ DT Michael Dwumfour told Sam Webb that the "main reason he didn't flip" is that his high school coach wants him to handle things "in a respectful way." That sounds like he's about to let PSU down easy this weekend. It's not you, Penn State. It's me. We have put in a ballz for Dwumfour to Michigan; Sam issued a gut feeling.
One note: Dwumfour is not qualified yet. He says he's "very close" but just "has to finish up a few things." He also gave Webb some enticing intel on Rashan Gary.
2. PA S and MGoBlog fave-rave Khaleke Hudson left his official visit to Michigan with the Wolverines as a clear leader; Tim Sullivan reports that Michigan goes in-home today in the hope of getting Hudson to pull the trigger. Even if Hudson follows through on planned trips to PSU and Pitt he seems likely to end up in a winged helmet by Signing Day. Webb reports "overwhelming confidence" from Ann Arbor.
"They really want me, and they think they can use me in many ways. They say safety - like a nickel - and maybe running back.”
3. It's status quo for MO TE Chase Allen; he has no visits scheduled and Michigan is a heavy leader. Sam issued a gut feeling on him as well.
4. FL WR Eddie McDoom decommitted from Oregon, who subsequently pulled his scholarship, and currently has a list of "Michigan and… uh". He told Scout that he's planning on pulling the trigger this weekend if he "loves it."
I would be surprised if any of these gentlemen did not end up in Ann Arbor.
Gary panic of the week is downright relaxing
Our brief regional era of was kicked off by a couple of Ole Miss crystal ballz from guys who work for the Rebel 247 site. At the time I noted that they were speculative predictions from guys who had no record of ever talking to NJ DE Rashan Gary or his mother and that actions spoke louder than words, so like chill man.
Days later, lo, the ball has unflipped:
…the news that he is returning to Michigan this weekend on his own dime, factored in with his former high school coach on the Michigan staff, the numerous recruiting ties the Wolverines have with players at Gary's high school, and the reports that his mother did not see or was unable to see the Ole Miss coaches Monday when they were there, seems to be bright writing on the wall.
All of these things save the last were true when the ball flipped in the first place.
Gary's official on the 29th may or may not happen; I'm leaning towards "will" after this Scout article:
According to his mom, Jennifer Coney, his last official visit will be to either Alabama or Clemson, and he could visit one officially and the other unofficially. She said a decision on which school will get the official has not been made.
"The final visit will be between Alabama and Clemson," she said. "We may do both. ...We're not sure which one officially."
That notes Gary is going to be in Atlanta next weekend to pick up some award for being awesome, so he's going to be near those two schools anyway. Even if said visit occurs the kind of things that might push either of those two schools past Michigan have already been attempted by Ole Miss, and rejected.
Finally, USC did hire their DL coach. He's a former Trojan DE who spent the last couple years as an assistant strength coach. Not likely to move the needle.
[After THE JUMP: less good news on Jonathan Jones, a massive massive visit weekend, another class projection, and some 2017 news of note.]
we will take the McOne Ring to him
The pealing of bells, ringing of klaxons, and riders with tidings you heard around midnight last night was a name coming back to us. And yes, it is the One Name: FL WR Eddie McDoom. McDoom abruptly decommitted from Oregon and a few minutes later:
— Brice Marich (@BriceMarich) January 18, 2016
Marich also mentioned that Jedd Fisch never backed off even after his commitment; this staff has never heard of a "gentleman's agreement" except as something to poop on.
You may remember that McDoom's Oregon commitment was the one that seemingly closed off Oregon as an option for CA WR commit Dylan Crawford, so this is a mega-crootin development. Ryan Bartow caught up with McDoom, who said that Oregon yanked his scholarship because he wanted to visit Ann Arbor and he hasn't been talking to anyone else. A couple of West Coast analysts fired off CBs in the aftermath. This close to Signing Day it seems inevitable that McDoom does indeed commit.
So… that's bizarre. FWIW, the Oregon 247 guys believe the Ducks will spend their remaining scholarships on defense and won't take another swing at Crawford.
What about Young and Stewart?
Your guess is as good as mine, man. NJ WR Donald Stewart took his official to Stanford this weekend, where he had a good time while being sort of threatened:
"I met with the dean of admissions, and we had a general conversation. … He literally said about 10 times, 'This school is very hard and you need to meet expectations.' He said it about 10 or 15 times, and I was like, 'OK, I think I get it.'"
On the other hand, he met Condoleeza Rice, noted CFP member.
Stanford was always kind of assumed to be the leader but the vibe from this article is that he might have been a little put off. Meanwhile he is from New Jersey and thus knows about 30% of Michigan's recruiting class personally.
Meanwhile FL WR Pie Young took an official to Louisville this weekend that hasn't yet spawned articles. He takes an official to FSU this weekend that was set up just recently. Given the chatter around him I assume he's a silent commit, for what that's worth. It is worth something but not everything, especially with Young lining up visits to FSU and possibly USC and Alabama before signing day.
The Dwumfour gambit
Sounds like a Star Trek episode, is actually Michigan's attempt to flip NJ DT and PSU commit Michael Dwumfour. Dwumfour, a teammate of NJ RB enrollee Kareem Walker, announced he would spend the past weekend in Ann Arbor about 30 seconds after I posted Thursday Recruitin'. This is good for two reasons:
- Dwumfour is a nose tackle type at 6'2" and Michigan needs one of those; as a PSU commit who had a good senior season he's a solid prospect.
- He is super-tight with Rashan Gary. Webb held back part of an interview with Gary and Walker at the UA game because Dwumfour wanted to tell PSU coaches he was visiting before the news broke; in it Gary refers to Dwumfour as "his boy" almost constantly.
We haven't actually heard about an offer yet and Lorenz was told to hold off on a Crystal Ball for him, so there's some uncertainty going on there. Dwumfour reportedly really wanted an offer from Michigan early in the process but one did not come. I enjoy the fact that he is avoiding the "committed, but…" cliché:
"There is a chance I could flip my commitment to Michigan. I wouldn't be visiting them if there wasn't a chance."
Webb reports that Dwumfour "raved about Michigan," as did his parents. Dwumfour has a visit scheduled to Penn State next weekend. PSU is poking around a bunch of defensive tackles; they seem nervous.
[After THE JUMP: an encouraging Gary Panic Of The Week, Khaleke Hudson as Clark Kent, wobblers, best-guess lists, and more.]
Let's have an overview
It's a three-week sprint to the finish line now. Michigan has 24 commits and is likely to go to 27 or 28. Steve Lorenz was pretty positive that it's 27 but that was before Willie Henry's departure. Sam Webb reported today that Michigan's max number was now 30(!), about which more later.
There are a number of commits on the fence. MD CB Sir Patrick Scott decommitted yesterday; I believe maybe three more decommits are on he way. In addition one commit is a grayshirt offer hoping for the Clark/Pallante bump. (And he knew this from the drop.) Given that, my guess is that Michigan has four current commits who don't sign for various reasons and will take approximately eight additional players.
They are done at QB and RB.
The situation at the other positions:
- OL: Texas grad transfer Jake Raulerson, a center, is the top priority. If he goes elsewhere Michigan looks set to pursue MD OL Stephen Spannelis, a UVA commit. They will poke at Jean Delance to make sure he's sure.
- WR: Michigan is still recruiting NJ WR Donald Stewart and FL WR Pie Young. They are in good shape for both. Before the number 30 got batted around I assumed they could not take both, but maybe they would now.
- TE: MO TE Chase Allen is expected to commit on his official. Michigan will get an official from CA TE Devin Asiasi on the 22nd. Asiasi appears to be very open at this juncture. FL TE Jacob Mathis is also on the board.
- DL: NJ DE Rashan Gary is kind of a big deal, M still seems like a strong leader despite recent Ole Miss talk. AZ DE Connor Murphy comes in the 22nd. TX DE Levi Onwuzurike is still an option but seems unlikely ATM. Asiasi's teammate and CA DT Boss Tagaloa will visit Michigan at the same time. Michigan is also looking for additional options here.
- LB: FL LB Jonathan Jones is an M/ND battle and signing day decision. FL LB/DE Joshua Uche has been treated as a DL by many but he's 6'1", 210, he's a LB. He visits, wide open. TX LB Dontavious Jackson is on the board but mysterious.
- DB: CA DB David Long is giving Washington a chance to change his mind this weekend; if they don't he's in the boat. MI CB Lavert Hill is taking three officials and isn't the lock he was but M still seems to lead. NJ CB/S Jordan Fuller is down to the four big Midwestern programs and will visit OSU, M, and PSU. OSU may lead but it's fluid. PA ATH Khaleke Hudson probably fits most neatly at S.
- K: MI K Quinn Nordin is the only name on M's board and seems likely to flip from PSU.
Before Henry left I'd been expecting Michigan takes eight additional recruits after they lose those decommits; now it could be nine or even up to eleven.
Wait, 30? That's unpossible.
It's never been personally relevant so I've never looked up the specifics of what the NCAA and Big Ten rules actually are and how they intersect. A thorough Googling has clarified things.
There is an NCAA limit of 25 signees a year, but you can back-date midyear enrollees. Michigan can backdate all 7 early enrollees since their class last year was 16. They could hypothetically go up to 32 signees. Transfers do not count against that cap.
The Big Ten has a different limit that is essentially a "good faith" estimate of all the scholarships you have available plus three. The 28 number that gets kicked around is a misconception.
I still don't see where all the space is going to come from
Michigan is at 19 now so, yes, there is going to be some turnover. Given that Lorenz had a solid number of 27 for a couple months prior to recent events it seems clear that Michigan is already aware that several players will leave the program, likely those that have no road to playing time.
Meanwhile, remember those reports that last spring certain graduates were essentially trying out for their fifth year? Michigan is going to do that again, which is why only Terry Richardson has announced a departure amongst those players. Guys like Bars and Gant and Strobel will stay with the team through spring and possibly beyond if Michigan has room.
This means it will look like Michigan is oversigning when they're actually not. They will be over 85 because they are keeping their options open with fifth-year players in case there is unanticipated attrition. They will not be asking guys without degrees to leave.
Michigan is not dealing with Allen and Glasgow as scholarship players right now. There's a 99% chance they will get scholarships as slots always open up between spring practice and game #1, but those two slots are open for recruits.
- 19 spots
- high probability of a Derrick Green transfer
- ~3 fifth year guys who will be kept through spring but are not likely to be on the 2016 roster
- ~2 walk-ons who are year to year
Michigan really has 25 spots now and clearly anticipates a few playing time transfers.
Anyway, on to events…
Visitors this weekend
The following uncommitted recruits will take visits:
- PA ATH Khaleke Hudson. Hudson talked to Rivals, giving generally positive and unrevealing takes on his four finalists. Seems like a Michigan-Penn State battle.
- MO TE Chase Allen. It would be a surprise if Allen didn't commit on the visit.
- Texas grad transfer OL Jake Raulerson. It sounds like Raulerson is likely to commit; UCLA appears to be the main competition.
- Maybe MI CB Lavert Hill. Hill cancelled his USC official and there is chatter he may take his umpteenth unofficial to Ann Arbor instead. There is a surge in MSU chatter from everywhere except the kid himself. He has an official scheduled there next weekend, and then a Clemson visit that is probably 50/50 to get canceled.
Webb reports that FL LB Joel Dublanko's visit has been moved to next weekend, which is the big one for Michigan. Dublanko doesn't have an offer yet.
Meanwhile the opposition will take swings at a number of Michigan targets:
- CA CB David Long visits Washington. Harbaugh has an in-home immediately after on Monday. A commit could come at that in-home or shortly after; vibe there still excellent but crootin. In Long's case he's already been to UW a couple times so the chance they show him something that changes his mind seems low.
- CA TE Devin Asiasi and CA DT Boss Tagaloa also visit Washington. The Washington 24/7 mods will fight you if you assert either is going to Michigan.
- TN WR commit Nate Johnson visits Miami. While that quote I highlighted recently convinced many that he was not likely to stick, he told Rivals that Miami would have to "show [him] a lot to be right up there with Michigan." I think it's 80/20 they keep him.
- FL WR Pie Young also visits Miami. He tells Rivals that it will be "hard" for Miami to catch Michigan but "it's not a big gap, anything can happen." Uh. I think the former sentiment is closer to accurate since recruits rarely downplay a host's chances like that.
- NJ WR Donald Stewart visits Stanford. Conflicting info on how his recruitment will go, with Scout's Brian Dohn projecting Stanford and 247's Steve Wiltfong on Michigan.
- TX S Chris Brown and TX LB Dontavious Jackson visit Florida. Your guess is as good as mine with those guys.
- AZ DE Connor Murphy visits USC. USC just lost their recruiting coordinator so that's not good timing. They have a new DC Murphy will meet. Murphy named a final five of M, Bama, USC, Oregon, and ASU.
- NJ CB Jordan Fuller visits Ohio State. OSU is thought to lead but Fuller is hard to read.
- FL LB Joshua Uche visits Auburn. Uche is a Don Brown kind of guy but his recruitment has a distinct southern flavor. The Auburn 247 site thinks Florida is the favorite.
More on Raulerson
Jake Raulerson has two years to play two and is essentially a JUCO who Michigan can take because he's a high-academic kid who got a degree in three years. If he gets admitted to Ross he's likely to come:
“It’s the position I played at Texas the whole time and like to play,” he said. “I want to get my MBA, so that’s a big deal, and I’m trying to make sure I have the maximum opportunity to do that but also play in a great program, win some games. I know both Michigan and UCLA will be good next year, offenses and defenses, so what’s the best opportunity?"
As a transfer he can wait as long as he likes before making a decision. Michigan has clearly prioritized him.
Unpleasant Lavert Hill rumbles evaluated
MSU fans started getting excited about getting MI CB Lavert Hill in the aftermath of teammate Donnie Corley's commitment, to the point where their 247 site is saying things like this:
The key here is for the Michigan State staff to get Hill's mother on campus for his official visit to MSU. If Hill's mother gives him the green light, look for him to pull the trigger on the Spartans.
No quotes from the kid, just second-hand stuff including vague tweets from MSU commits who know Hill that could mean anything.
Cause for concern? Clearly some, yes. I'd still peg Michigan a heavy favorite. Wiltfong says he "hasn't heard anything that makes [him] believe he won't be a Wolverine" and that he "damn near enrolled early" at M, FWIW. Flipping mom is going to be a tough task after a million visits to campus, and if Hill's worried about the depth chart one conversation with someone who isn't trying to sell him on MSU should clarify—Michigan loses both Jourdan Lewis and Jeremy Clark next year.
Handicapping Donald Stewart
NJ WR Donald Stewart is surging back up crootin radars after Wiltfong ballz'd him to Michigan. The Stanford Rivals site catches up with him to provide some more context. Stewart has been admitted to Stanford, which is always a hurdle. On the other hand, he twice says he "absolutely loves" Michigan. One of these:
"I'm still not sure right now," Stewart said. "I'm just going to visit these next two schools. These are my top two. Like, I absolutely love Michigan."
Despite the who-you-talk-to factor the article is encouraging for Michigan's chances. Stewart doesn't say anything about a timeline except it'll come after his officials the next two weekends to his finalists.
Names that probably won't come to much but here they are
Lorenz reports that Michigan might get a visit from IL DE Daniel Joseph, a four-star Penn State commit. Interestingly, he notes that this intel is coming from Joseph's end, not Michigan. That might mean Joseph is seriously thinking about a move after PSU DC Bob Shoop's departure.
Also, KS S Isaiah Simmons reports that Greg Jackson just left his school. Simmons is an uncommitted four-star.
One final round of All Star evals
Brandon Huffman reports on the West team; David Long "has great ball skills and closing speed" while Dylan Crawford is a "polished route runner."
Allen Trieu has an extensive article covering all of the Michigan commits and targets. His take on MI OL Michael Onwenu:
Whenever he has had top competition in front of him at camps and other events, Big Mike has stepped it up big and he again impressed this week. He's tough to move and anyone who tried to bull rush him, even All-Americans, quickly got stone-walled. He's powerful, but can really bend for a kid his size and that extends his leverage advantage. He can be as good as he wants to be and he had a very good week.
Can't wait to see Onwenu develop into a sui generis player.
And while this isn't an Army eval, Steve Lorenz likes IN WR Chris Evans quite a bit:
Surveying Michigan's current commitment list in 2016, Evans is one player I feel is a safer bet to outplay his ranking than a lot of the players on the board. He has versatility and speed that can't be coached, and is one of those players that simply makes plays when the ball is in his hand.
Michigan's feelings are equally strong after fending off Ohio State for his signature.
2017 things or "items" or what-have-you
I've mentioned FL CB CJ Cotman a couple times already; Brandon Brown interviews him for Rivals:
“I paid really close attention,” Cotman said. “I think I watched every game that they played this year. I think I can fit into that offense. I would also like playing both ways and they used Jabrill Peppers for that.”
And Lorenz for 247:
I want to play on both offense and defense in college and the fact that Coach Harbaugh will give players an opportunity to do that makes me like them a lot. I know he is one of the best coaches in college football too, and that's something my family has talked about.
Not sure just yet if Cotman is really really interested in Michigan or if he's a kid who is equally excited about several different schools, but he's done a lot of talking to Michigan sites early and should be a guy high on your radar going in to next year.
He declared FSU his leader in August. That was before a bunch of other teams including M offered, however, and Cotman told both Lorenz and Brown he's looking to go out of state. We have put in an admittedly speculative crystal ball for Cotman. Who you talk to is important; Cotman has now given interviews to the three major Michigan sites in short order.
- CA CB Jaylon Redd says he's "very interested" after fielding a Michigan offer. He's a four-star on Scout.
- FL OL Robert Hainsey is at IMG and is originally from Pittsburgh. He visited for the OSU game, is coming back to the Midwest for college, no leaders.
- FL DE Guy Thomas picked up an offer, friend.
- NJ RB Bo Melton, a teammate of Ahmir Mitchell, also got an offer.
There are plenty of visits and offers but it's hard to tell who's a major target this early. With 2016 still coming together we'll wait a couple weeks to put together the picture for 2017.
Rashan Gary panic(!)
There was a disturbance in the Force late last week that you may have felt. A full explanation is forthcoming because you better believe we're going full Kremlinology on NJ DE Rashan Gary's recruitment.
So: A couple of Ole Miss guys ballz'd Gary to the Rebels, which set off distressing rumbles from the wing of the Michigan fanbase that takes after Tweek. This was compounded when Chris Balas did the thing he frequently does where he furrows his brow at the $EC and makes grim noises about things going off the rails because people are cheating. That came just a couple days after his colleague Tim Sullivan said it would be "all but impossible" for anyone to catch up, went off like a bomb, and was deleted after a sorry-not-sorry apology didn't calm the Ann Arbor Torch & Pitchfork crowd.
In the aftermath both Scout and Rivals have reaffirmed their strong belief that Michigan leads for Gary. We're pretty good at the Crystal Ball stuff because we read between the lines, so here's my thinking. Who you talk to is as important as what you say. Rationale for Ole Miss ball flip:
The relationship the Ole Miss coaching staff has with Rashan's mother, Jennifer Coney, who is instrumental in his recruitment, is the predominant reason. It is very strong.
Okay. May be true. If it was true she might be talking to Ole Miss sites. But to my knowledge the ball-flipper's never talked to her. (After the Ole Miss official she talked to Wiltfong.) Instead it's Sam Webb who posts article after article featuring her thoughts on Gary's recruitment. One side has some vague second or third hand feelings. The other is talking to the horse's mouth. Don't panic. Crootin.
Gary visiting or not visiting or visiting
Michigan's going to have to fend off some schools, though. Gary has a line of coaches on the way in…
"Dabo Swinney is coming, (Jim) Harbaugh is coming, (Gus) Malzahn is coming, (Nick) Saban is coming, Urban Meyer is coming," Gary's mother Jennifer Coney told NJ.com. "I don't know. There aren't enough days for everyone to come, but everybody wants to come and put their last pitch in."
…and a couple officials left. One is to USC, the other still undecided but maybe Clemson, and this is a bit of a twist:
"I'll probably take a couple non-officials to the three that I'm looking at, like a student of the day visit," said Gary. "So from there, after I take those visits, I should have a good idea of where I'm going."
That's not great news since it looked like Michigan was going to be the only school to get an unofficial. I'm a bit skeptical this tour is going to happen—a lot of recruits plan to do a bunch of stuff and then scale it back—and in fact as of yesterday that plan had been pared back. An Ole Miss Scout guy said there were no unofficials scheduled, even to Michigan, causing another round of fainting and autodefenestrations, but Gary's coach told TomVH that his visit schedule looked pretty good for Michigan:
Rashan Gary leaves Thurs for USC official, unofficial to Michigan Jan. 23 is set, last official still up in the air pic.twitter.com/oWH9fnmzXW
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) January 10, 2016
Lorenz reiterates that he expects Gary along with teammates WR Donald Stewart, 2017 LB Drew Singleton, and maybe 2017 DT Corey Bolds on the 22nd. That is the most current intel. If he sticks to that we're golden.
But I learned how to spell it
Nobody really knows who leads for TX DE Levi Onwuzurike, but the previous roundup mentioned that various camps were split between his recruitment being a Michigan/Baylor battle and a Michigan/Washington battle. The implication there was obviously nice.
That appears to have been misplaced hope, as Steve Lorenz reports that Michigan "appears" to be out for Onwuzurike. That comes on the heels of a Washington 247 site interview with him—again, who you talk to is important. In it he says he's "80 percent sure" where he's going. I assume that's the Huskies*.
If Michigan is out for Onwuzurike attention turns to AZ DE Connor Murphy, FL DE Joshua Uche, and California teammates Devin Asiasi and Boss Tagaloa. Asiasi wants to play TE and Tagaloa is a DT, but Michigan already has a couple DEs in the class so like whatever man. Speaking of those guys…
*[Doubly annoying because I was going to sleuth the bad news based on "who you talk to" before Lorenz stole my thunder, such as it is. /shakes fist for various reasons]
Asiasi to visit like a Boss
Go Blue? 〽️ pic.twitter.com/CpcuZHssdD
— Devin Asiasi ⛅️ (@asibo_) January 8, 2016
Steve Lorenz reports that Asiasi has dropped his Alabama visit and will make it out to Ann Arbor for an official on the 22nd. So will Tagaloa, who named Michigan in a top five back in November. At the time Scout's Greg Biggins thought it was a UCLA-M battle, but that was before a USC offer came in.
Lorenz says Michigan has some optimism here. They do want to play together and Asiasi badly wants to play tight end; they're also NorCal guys familiar with Harbaugh's work with Stanford and the 49ers. Get the visit, see what happens. FWIW, USC gets the last word with both on the 29th.
One potential hitch in the previous bullet point
Allen's YMRMFSPA is 100% guaranteed to be Ian Bunting
Asiasi's official is set for the 22nd. MO TE Chase Allen is coming in the week prior, and Steve Wiltfong hears that Allen is a "huge, huge lean" to M. Presumably he will commit on the visit, occupying Michigan's final(?) tight end slot in the class.
This is good. Allen's picked up offers from Nebraska, Mizzou and Oklahoma State in addition to the back-to-back Michigan and FSU offers. He is under the radar because he split his time between basketball and football in high school, choosing AAU over football camps and the like. He's a high upside, high academic guy who Michigan seems eager to take.
But it does make you wonder if Michigan will still be in the running for Asiasi and potentially Tagaloa the week after. On the one hand, if there's a school in the country that can make good on TE promises it's Michigan, and they could take Asiasi as an ATH. On the other, at some point you can't cram more guys in the phonebooth.
Cram cram cram cram cram (brief pause) cram cram cram
Speaking of said phonebooth, Wiltfong also recently ballz'd NJ WR Donald Stewart to Michigan. Stewart is a Paramus guy who Michigan looked good for early and then faded for as people assumed he would go to Stanford. I and most other people had written him off entirely until he announced a Michigan official, also on the 22nd.
I can't imagine FL WR Pie Young and Stewart fit into the same class at this juncture unless there's unexpected attrition and have no idea who's preferred. Young just re-iterated that Michigan leads at the South Florida Express tryouts (he was a spectator) but it is possible that Young's spot is accounted for since Michigan just picked up two slot types in TN WR Nate Johnson and CA WR Dylan Crawford. He did just announce a suite of officials to USC, Louisville, and Tennessee. He is a NSD decision; that may result in Young finding there's no room in the phonebooth.
In yet further cram news, Wiltfong also believes Michigan has a "great shot" with PA ATH Khaleke Hudson; he would pick M if forced to make a CB pick. Penn State losing DC John Shoop to Tennessee at this late stage has got to help. As mentioned last week, I loved Hudson in the Semper Fi bowl and am pro-get-him.
cram cram cram cram
More crammin' with positive Long vibes
— Scott Bell (@sbell021) January 9, 2016
CA CB David Long continues to trend towards Michigan. Lorenz joins Wiltfong and Barton Simmons with a ballz in favor of M after doing the proverbial digging, and Sam's gut is all like yeah:
@SamWebb77 on Army All-American DB David Long: "My gut tells me Michigan is looking very good for him"
— The Michigan Insider (@michiganinsider) January 8, 2016
That isn't "he is going to commit" but it ain't bad; I interpret that to mean he is set on Michigan but he has that official to Washington left and people can change their minds.
If he even takes it, that is. Rivals's Blair Angulo joins the chorus of folks expecting Long to commit to Michigan, and he's hearing that might come in the next week. That would obviously preempt a Washington visit. Probably, anyway. Crootin and all.
Assumption on the situation: Long has decided on Michigan but wants to follow through with a visit he told Washington he would make. He is considering dropping it because it's a waste of time for everyone. If he does indeed go to Seattle then UW might have a shot, but this feels like an inverse Nauta.
Evans solid again
IN WR Chris Evans got a once-coveted OSU offer and for a moment there it looked like he was set to visit on the 15th and presumably flip, but he changed course and will stick with his commitment:
Thankful and Grateful for the offer but my home is Michigan!〽️
— Chris Evans (@Kidnplay_abc123) January 8, 2016
Wiltfong reports that Michigan is indeed bringing him in on offense while the OSU offer was as a defensive back.
Meanwhile other wobblers are status quo. We'll see what this weekend brings with visits.
Further Crawford evals
A bit more on CA WR commit Dylan Crawford, Michigan's prize from the Army game:
“Crawford has been very good this week,” Farrell said. “He catches everything, that’s the thing with him. I haven’t seen him really drop anything. He’s not the fastest, he’s not the biggest, but he’s a good technician. He’s a smart kid. He’ll fit right in with what Harbaugh wants to do because he’s a willing blocker as well. I think he’s a well-rounded receiver.”
He was mentioned as a top performer on Thursday:
He looked to go through the motions throughout much of the first two days of practice, but he took his game to new heights on day three. His effort really stood out today. He got free a lot during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 and made sure to finish each run when the ball came his way.
Crawford is now qualifying his plan to take officials with an "if". None have actually been set. Even if those happen Michigan is very likely to hang on to Crawford, especially if Long commits with him.
2017 combine happens, articles are written
A caution: at this juncture a lot of out-of-state players have offers but have never been to Ann Arbor. Michigan might be their biggest offer right now. Meanwhile Michigan might have offered as a way to pique a kid's interest while they continue to evaluate a bunch of targets.
So even kids who say Michigan leads aren't that likely to end up in the class. Michigan might end up turning down the heat; they might pick up offers closer to home that are the ones they actually want. (In state or proximate is different, as they've been on campus and Michigan can and will take those prospects now.)
- MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones releases a top ten with Michigan in it. Fast forward to Signing Day for that guy.
- TX DT Marvin Wilson has Michigan on his radar but a top four of LSU, FSU, USC, and Bama. Wilson is one of the top 2017 prospects in the country.
- MO WR Jaevon McQuitty really really liked his Michigan offer, telling Brice Marich that he tried to tell his parents but he couldn't because he was "shaking too much." Tentatively plans to visit in March.
- FL OL Cesar Ruiz says he's tight with "like five" Michigan commits in this class since he just relocated from New Jersey to play at IMG. Maintains no leaders and will take his time. PSU, M, and UNC may be a tentative top three.
- FL WR/DB CJ Cotman tells Josh Henschke that Michigan is the school he's "really leaning on"(?) because he likes Harbaugh and Partridge a lot. Cotman has early offers from OSU, Oregon and FSU along with M and looks like he'll be a big-timer. Hopefully leaning on someone is good. Someone who is familiar with the rap music please tell me.
- FL WR Joshua Palmer names Michigan his leader. Michigan is currently his biggest offer, as he's a three-star type at the moment. Moved from Canada to St. Thomas Acquinas in an effort to get recruited, so Michigan is closer to home than southern schools.
- TX RB Kennedy Brooks names Washington and Michigan his leaders, thus continuing this weird recruiting rivalry we've got with UDub.
VA LB Jaquan Yulee decommitted from Alabama and Michigan is "in the picture." We'll see if he sets an official. Webb says that Michigan State is in the picture with MI CB Lavert Hill, "not that Michigan State is now the favorite or anything." Still expect Hill to Michigan. In that vein, TX DT commit Jordan Elliott says “I think we are about to get about three more commits. Big time guys, DBs."
Balas says TX OL grad transfer Jake Raulerson is "trending" towards Michigan. He visits this weekend. As a grad transfer he can take his time deciding, especially if he needs to finish this semester at Texas.
Rivals reported that M had offered MD OL Stephen Spanellis, a Virginia commit and teammate of MD OL commit Devery Hamilton. Nobody else has confirmed that.
Ring the silent alarm
— Kyle (@grade_eh_tweets) January 6, 2016
IN QB commit Brandon Peters tells Sam Webb that Michigan has two silent commitments on the West squad at the Army game. "Silent commits" are always a dubious notion, but they do work out frequently—FL LB Devin Bush Jr was a silent for months—and if one of those guys is announcing at the game itself that would be a good indicator indeed.
FWIW, Michigan is involved with these uncommitted players on the West squad: CA WR Dylan Crawford, MI CB Lavert Hill, CA CB David Long, MI WR Donnie Corley, and CA TE Devin Asiasi. Michigan has always seemed to trail for Corley and isn't even certain to get a visit from Asiasi so it would have to be two of the former three. Crawford seems the most likely since he's announcing at the game, has only officially visited Michigan and Oregon, and the Ducks reportedly do not have room.
Things look good for the two defensive backs but neither feels entirely certain right now. Long is down to Michigan and Washington; a mid-January official to UW looms. Long says Michigan will have an in-home with him just before his decision and that might give them "a little edge" in an interview with Brandon Brown.
Steve Wiltfong thinks it's a bigger edge as he recently ballz'd Long to Michigan after Long told him that he's "going to follow through with my schedule… but my mind is kind of made up." Webb also believes Michigan is "in the driver's seat." Long goes way back with Crawford and a couple of different articles have mentioned the attraction of playing together; our expectation is that they do in Ann Arbor.
Meanwhile Hill is officially not announcing at the Army game and will take a series of official visits in January before announcing on Signing Day. On the other hand, Corley told Eugene Hankerson that Hill has already made up his mind. So… yeah. Optimism on Hill has been off the charts for months; his desire to see a bunch of places in January reduces that somewhat. Still seems highly likely that Harbaugh and brother win out eventually.
Hopes not so much up for this one
GA TE Isaac Nauta's decision has been made. Apparently it was difficult.
— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) January 6, 2016
Hopefully the difficulty there is "disappointing people close to me" instead of "passing up an opportunity to be a Harbaugh tight end." But probably not. Webb has an interview in which Nauta says a lot of great things about Michigan; despite that I think literally everyone expects Georgia is the pick. He'll announce at the Army game.
Meanwhile, CA TE Devin Asiasi really wants to play on offense but didn't get to show much in that department for his high school team; he apparently Balled So Hard early at the Army game. Brandon Huffman was impressed:
Asiasi is a big tight end, 6-5, 265-ish, but can absolutely run and catch like a lighter tight end. He's a smooth pass-catcher with a big catch radius, has soft hands, runs tremendous routes and looks natural playing the position.
Asiasi still maintains he will visit three schools not named Michigan in January—M is trying to get a midweek visit. That doesn't sound good but if the guy wants to be a tight end there's no better place. If he does end up visiting I'd give Michigan a good chance.
Paging one more defensive end
There's probably one spot left for a defensive end and three main possibilities for the spot.
Onwuzurike Onwuzurike Onwuzurike
Depending on who you listen to, TX DE Levi Onwuzurike is either the top priority (247 and Scout) or an afterthought (Rivals). I'm fairly certain Onwuzurike is in fact the most wanted guy at the spot.
Webb gathers the opinions of a couple of Scout Texas guys, who both think Onwuzurike is a major talent (Scout has him ranked highest of any service) and think Onwuzurike is a Baylor-Michigan battle. This is good, because various other people think it's a Washington-Michigan battle, and when you're the one school amongst changing other schools you're in good shape.
If Onwuzurike does go with one of his other finalists Michigan will try to lock down either AZ DE Connor Murphy or FL DE Joshua Uche. Murphy is a Harbaugh guy after his brother made it to the NFL after passing through Harbaugh's Stanford program; Miami decommit Uche is a new offer made in the immediate aftermath of Don Brown's hire.
Murphy recently expressed frustration with a a bunch of coaching changes amongst the teams he's considering, which made it into an article at Oregon Live since the Ducks just demoted their DC back to LB coach and fired the LB coach—Murphy's primary recruiter—after blowing a 31-point lead in their bowl game.
Smh @CMurph_90 has journalists writing articles about his subtweets
— Hunter Parks (@HPonDaDiamond) January 5, 2016
And, well, yeah. Murphy's kind of a big deal. And the teams he's considering have been chaos on the defensive side. In addition to the Oregon moves, DJ Durkin left M, USC has no DC, and ASU is in flux after OC Mike Norvell became Memphis's head coach and started raiding the former staff.
Michigan at least has the Harbaugh connection and a settled staff, and the article asserts a thing I didn't know was a fact.
Arizona State, Michigan, Oregon, Stanford and USC could all still be in the mix for the dynamic defensive talent, although the Wolverines are seen as the leader given Murphy's strong family bond with Jim Harbaugh.
I put a ballz in for Murphy like a year ago but we've maintained it mostly because if we are right we get crazy points for it since it's so old—we have no real idea which way Murphy is leaning. Michigan does have a big advantage in coaching relationships despite the Durkin move. A 'Bama visit looms after Michigan's shot, though.
Not much is known about Uche's status. Miami apparently hasn't talked to him since Richt arrived and now he's uncertain if he's even on their board. He's got visits to Florida and Michigan scheduled and should be a Signing Day decision.
Elliott continues to impress
TX DT Jordan Elliott is consistently mentioned as one of the best players at the Army Bowl. Rivals:
From the beginning of the day, Elliott caught everyone's attention. His first step caused problems for interior linemen throughout the day. He was ready to play today and blew up play after play during team and inside drills. His lower body strength and quickness definitely stood out.
Elliott has stood out more consistently on the defensive side of the ball than any other front seven player. …has done pretty much whatever he's wanted. He's big, explosive, and has experience playing multiple positions, though he's at his best as an even-front 3-technique tackle.
Meanwhile Steve Wiltfong called Elliott "an elite talent":
The country’s No. 7 defensive tackle according to 247Sports took several dominant reps, shoots the gap quickly and is a strong pass rusher from the interior. One of the more physically impressive guys on the field, Elliott is also one of the better athletes in small space with his quick first step.
Wiltfong would be surprised if he wasn't in the two deep "right away," which would in fact surprise me given the depth Michigan has coming back. I'm guessing Wiltfong isn't considering what Michigan brings back when he makes that statement; all the same that's impressive praise.
FWIW, Elliott again repeatedly shot down the idea he was anything but 100% solid to Michigan. He must be wondering how many times he has to say it by now.
Michael Onwenu is a mutant
DT Jordan Elliott vs OL Michael Onwenu pic.twitter.com/ewnTdnMrR7
— Brian Perroni (@Perroni247) January 4, 2016
Onwenu was one of the few to stay in front of Elliott
People usually don't come shaped like MI OL Michael Onwenu, who could not be weighed at the Army Bowl because the scale only goes up to 350. Unsurprisingly, there's "no question he was the strongest offensive lineman" at the Army Bowl, but when you put "perhaps the quickest" on top of that, as Wiltfong did, that's an impressive prospect. As a bonus, despite being a 6'3" guard Onwenu comes with tackle-length arms:
[Onwenu] had the biggest hands (11 inches) and second longest arms (35 inches) of any prospect in attendance.
If Onwenu works out he could really, really work out. He did impressive work against the best DT at the game—Elliott. Webb:
No one got past him, as he consistently stonewalled defenders at the line of scrimmage. Onwenu won back to back reps versus Elliot, showing that once he gets his paws on a defender, they’re done.
"Paws" may be literal here.
Other Army Bowl reports
Reports are mixed for Michigan's other Army targets. Hill just missed ALPHA DOG status on day one according to 247. He's a "lockdown corner with elite feet, great speed and quicks," which makes him sound like a guy Hill talks to every day—Jourdan Lewis.
IN QB Brandon Peters seems to be a notch behind the five stars at the event. Wiltfong:
Michigan commit Brandon Peters has a live, accurate arm and he also showed nice touch. He’ll be fun to watch develop in Ann Arbor as the Avon (Ind.) High talent continues to work on his fundamentals.
Webb was higher on his performance:
On Monday, he looked the part. You could argue that no other quarterback was better than him. Peters was impressive, showing off arm strength and accuracy.
He doesn't have a say in the rankings, though.
Weeble wobblers are committed but visiting
Nate Johnson stiffarms the dictionary all day bruh
Behold the most crootin quote of all time (ALL TIME):
“I’m committed to Michigan right now, so everyone knows I’m going to Michigan. If nothing changes, like decommitting, which I’m probably not gonna do, but we’ll see. Everyone will know that. If I decommit from Michigan, which I won’t, I’ll definitely hold off all the way until signing day.”
-TN WR commit(?) Nate Johnson
So. Despite having 23 commits, Michigan's class is still in considerable flux. A number of recruits aren't hearing much from the staff, and a handful of other guys are doing the committed-but-visiting thing that sets your teeth to grating if you're the kind of person who occasionally screams "you mean FIGURATIVELY" at people saying they literally ate a horse. (Guilty.)
Anyway, those guys are:
- TN WR Nate Johnson, who is visiting Miami, Vanderbilt, and Penn State. He says he is 100% committed, but… you saw the quote. None of those teams seem like particularly large threats. Johnson recently got a Virginia Tech offer as well, and… I mean… you saw the quote.
- IN WR/DB Chris Evans got an Ohio State offer and will "official for sure" since OSU was the proverbial dream school. I bet a thousand dollars that if Evans flips Bill Kurelic compares him favorably to Kareem Walker even though they're completely different prospects.
- CA WR Dylan Crawford isn't even committed yet but we should throw him in this bin since he also plans January visits to Miami, Washington, and Georgia plus an unofficial to UCLA.
- FL DT Rashad Weaver has a Temple visit scheduled.
- IN ATH Kiante Enis visited Indiana and says he hadn't heard much from Michigan a couple weeks back.
- FL LB Devin Gil and FL S Josh Metellus took a trip to Colorado last month (so did Devin Bush, but he's already enrolled).
- NJ WR Brad Hawkins and NJ DE Ron Johnson may visit North Carolina, South Carolina, or neither.
There are a couple other guys who may leave the class as well; Michigan is probably going to have a significant shuffle in the next few weeks. One that won't involve Jordan Elliott.
Your 2016 early enrollees are…
These gentlemen have already arrived on campus or will as soon as they're done with the Army game:
- IN QB Brandon Peters
- NJ RB Kareem Walker
- AL RB Kingston Davis
- NJ WR Ahmir Mitchell
- MA TE Sean McKeon
- CO DE Carlo Kemp
- FL LB Devin Bush Jr.
All eyes will be on the tailbacks and Bush headed into the spring game.
- GA WR commit Jeremiah Holloman had a terrific Rising Stars camp: Jake Reuse, a Georgia reporter said he was "the most impressive offensive player at the practices," which included a lot of top 2017 kids in Georgia.
- MI CB Ambry Thomas tells Steve Lorenz that things are "going really well" with Michigan and that he's planning on deciding this spring after a swing through various SEC schools. MSU, the crystal ball favorite, doesn't draw much mention.
- MI S Jaylen Kelly-Powell is "slowing things down" and wants to visit Stanford, Duke, and UCLA; he was generally expected to drop for Michigan if he did indeed commit early. Michigan should still be in good shape since he goes to Cass and his parents are both alums. Given his list you know he's a high academic kid.
- MI LB Antjuan Simmons is just across the street from the Big House and has "really built a strong bond" with 2017 commit Ja'Raymond Hall. Simmons intends on making all his officials even so.
- MI WR KJ Hamler really wants an Oregon offer because he is small and fast as hell. He plans on camping there and it sounds like they're the real leader if they offer. Given what Ace saw this fall, I bet they do.
- FL CB Stanford Samuels III goes to Flanagan HS, which you may be familiar with since three commits in this class are Flanagan kids. That gives Michigan an in, but he's a national recruit—Scout has him #15 overall in 2017—and he'll be a tough pull.
- 2017 five-star TX S Jeffery Okudah put Michigan on his top ten list but says that Stanford and Ohio State are sticking out at the moment. He does plan a visit; early days for him.
NJ WR Donald Stewart is still planning a visit on the 22nd. He hasn't heard about Stanford admission yet, which is a major hitch for his presumed leader. No idea if Michigan will have room for him, but he remains an option.