landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
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.
All Star week part two
Dylan Crawford is a top-100-ish WR
UA is over (as is Semper Fi) and now it's on to the Army game. Multiple recruits of major interest plan to decide at the game. CA WR Dylan Crawford is definitely doing so. With Oregon full at wide receiver it's not even certain who Michigan is competing with in his recruitment. His only officials have been to Michigan and Oregon; he also lists Washington, Stanford, Miami, and UCLA. I guess UCLA could be an option since he must have taken an unofficial there at some point, but this looks like a slam dunk.
Meanwhile MI CB Lavert Hill's ever-shifting commitment plans briefly maybe probably shifted to an Army announcement:
“I’m not for sure,” Hill said at check-in Sunday. “I got to talk to my mom and see what she says about it. It’s kind of up to her.”
Hill said he's down to Michigan and Michigan State, and that he talks to Jourdan Lewis "probably every day." Then Clemson offered, Hill reset his announcement for Signing Day, and said he would visit Clemson.
Anyway… there was a brief flurry of Michigan State optimism based on the idea that Hill and MI WR Donnie Corley would be a package, but with Corley trending towards OSU that package is falling apart. If Hill did decide at the Army game it was only going one way, and that's to Ann Arbor. Clemson getting involved is a potential hitch, but I'd be surprised if they could overcome the longstanding relationships and brother angle.
Finally, FL TE Isaac Nauta is announcing at the game, and while the universe expects it to be Georgia he provides a glimmer of hope in an interview with the AJC:
“I fly home on Jan. 10 and gather up my stuff and go,” Nauta said, who added that the events of this week can factor into his decision. “I’ve got it down to two in my head and I’ll be able to make a decision sometime this week.”
It is likely that Alabama is the team that got cut since Nauta has filed enrollment paperwork with UGA and Michigan but not Alabama. Steve Lorenz also offers a sliver of hope; while cautioning that he still expect Georgia to be the pick he relates that people in the Michigan program think they've got "more than a puncher's chance."
This is very much a "so you're saying there's a chance" situation. Door isn't 100% closed yet.
The already committed
In addition to the not-yet-committed, Michigan also has a trio of committed fellows that we'll get a bunch more data on. Those gentlemen are TX DT Jordan Elliott, MI OL Michael Onwenu, and IN QB Brandon Peters. Onwenu is a physical marvel:
The scale didn't go high enough to weigh Onwenu. We'll call it 350+. But the MIchigan commit was really impressive in that he's not a sloppy big body and he has extremely long arms. In fact, though he's only 6-3, only one offensive lineman had longer arms than Onwenu.
Meanwhile Elliott was one of the most impressive players on the first day of practice.
— Damon Sayles (@DamonSayles) January 4, 2016
— Greg Powers (@GPowersScout) January 4, 2016
— Jason Howell (@RivalsJason) January 4, 2016
Elliott must be poised for a move up in the Rivals rankings, as they currently have him a nondescript three star. All the other services have him much higher—he may be making a case to move up even there.
Elliott also offered up this spectacular quote about Jim Harbaugh:
"He's just a mystical person. He always looks at you in the eyes when he's talking and then he'll say things when he starts to look away. It's pretty funny. I've never described anybody as mystical before either."
Elliott got in a bit of a twitter tiff with EJ Holland and continues to insist his recruiting process is 100% done; unfortunately he believes that Michigan is not going to get TX LB Dontavious Jackson.
Signing Day Decisions
Michigan has never really been a school that does much on Signing Day: they'll pick up a few guys, generally lower-rated ones, but the kind of ESPNU I-commit-with-a-hat-and-maybe-a-dog thing has never been the way Michigan recruits.
Harbaugh is set to change that in a major way, as the following players are all planning on announcing on February 3rd:
- NJ DE Rashan Gary, who you may have heard of. Michigan is a heavy favorite.
- TX LB Dontavious Jackson, who maintains no leaders or top list. You can piece together an approximate picture of M, UCLA, FSU, Bama, Florida, and Texas. Jackson took officials to the first three, plans officials to Bama and UF, and is local to Texas. FSU may lead.
- FL WR Pie Young, who has maintained Michigan as his leader for a while. Miami may be the nearest competitor but really who knows?
- As mentioned, MI CB Lavert Hill is, at this instant, deciding to decide on Signing Day.
- NJ S Jordan Fuller is packing almost his entire recruitment in the last month and could realistically go to any of his four finalists.
- FL LB Jonathan Jones is more or less down to Michigan and Notre Dame.
In addition to those primary targets there will be six or seven guys announcing who Michigan might be involved with depending on how the class works out, including TX S Chris Brown, CA TE Devin Asiasi, CA DT Boss Tagaloa, and AZ DE Connor Murphy, plus a couple guys under the radar. Batten down the hatches.
Rashan versus MechaRashan
Would you like additional hype on NJ DE Rashan Gary? Probably? Okay.
Gary walked onto the field the first day of practice as the No. 1 rated player in the nation and he walked out off the field of the Citrus Bowl distancing himself and securing that spot atop of the rankings, where he will sit when they are updated for a final time before signing day in February.
Gary also landed a couple of made-up awards from Mike Farrell, including best motor…
Gary has a non-stop motor and even if you play him right, he will push you back into the pocket no matter what. He was taking as many reps as he could in practice, he could have taken the head off the quarterback numerous times and he was nasty in the game. You can’t teach desire and drive and he has plenty of both to go along with impressive talent.
…and the most consistent player, along with the best player, period. ESPN concurs:
Gary possesses a wonderful combination of size, power and athleticism and maximizes those attributes with a high-effort style of play. … An impressive aspect of his game is his hand usage. That activity, combined with his strength and motor, can make him extremely difficult to keep blocked and that was evident in his performance throughout Saturday's game. …
In addition to his impressive physical attributes, Gary also conducted himself in a five-star manner off the field. Gary is as good a No. 1 overall prospect that there has been since we began with the recruiting nation player rankings, and long as he remains coachable and focused, all the tools are there for him to an impact player for whichever program he signs.
Along with the evals come a pile of Michigan folks re-asserting that the Wolverines are heavy favorites. You can read the Sam Webb version ("Michigan is the overwhelming favorite") or the Tim Sullivan version ("Michigan will be all-but impossible to beat"); I like 'em both.
Other UA evals
This column discussed WI OL commit Ben Bredeson's UA performances a bit on Friday; he seems like he'll maintain his current near five-star ranking. A bit more confirmation from Tim Sullivan:
While he has been a brick wall at tackle for his high school team, the likes of five-stars Rashan Gary and Marlon Davidson (both on his own team for practices) are a different animal, and he stood up well.
Scout's Josh Newkirk concurred, noting an "impressive week":
He showcased good feet and didn’t struggle with faster defensive ends throughout the week. While he might end up at offensive guard at Michigan, he proved that he is versatile enough to play on the outside. And looks the part of a player who can hit the field early on in his career.
You might pencil him in as a redshirt freshman starter in 2017, if you were so inclined.
FL LB commit Devin Bush Jr. didn't get a lot of chatter from national guys good or bad and seems likely to maintain his rankings but not move up. Sullivan:
He doesn’t look the part physically, just because he’s shorter than the other linebackers, but when drills go live, he immediately displays that size isn’t everything. He’s quicker than everybody else, and moves well. He was in the backfield a couple times during team drills, and one of his biggest assets – hitting like a ton of bricks – wasn’t on display with the practice not at full-speed.
Bush sounds like an excellent fit for a Don Brown defense. Brown likes his linebackers small, quick, and mean.
NJ RB Kareem Walker is the lone guy who is likely to take a rankings hit after the UA and Semper Fi games. Walker didn't have much opportunity to show what he can do since he was put behind a shaky offensive line trying to contest Gary, and PSU commit Miles Sanders performed better. Sam Webb:
…never saw much daylight between the tackles (none of the black team’s backs did because of the relentless d-line play led by Gary), and he was forced to bounce many of his carries to the outside. That just isn’t where his bread is buttered. Walker is a downhill, one-cut, and go back… and that’s how he’ll be used in Ann Arbor.
A dollar says he'll drop to just outside the top 100 most places. 247 already has him there.
Semper Fi evals
PA S Khaleke Hudson: DO WANT
Well, one: I watched the first half and change and came away very impressed with PA S Khaleke Hudson. Hudson displayed terrific closing speed, finished plays with a thump, and had multiple PBUs against wide receivers. Dude filled up the box score:
Khaleke Hudson had seven tackles, two tackles for loss, forced a fumble and had a game-high four pass breakups, with no other player having more than one in the game.
He is the kind of guy you get to replace a Jabrill Peppers—while he's not Peppers he ain't bad, either.
Hudson split his time at Semper Fi between safety and running back, impressing at both locations. He could fill out a bit and play linebacker. He veritably screams Harbaugh guy. Here's hoping Michigan goes after him full-steam.
Michigan's two commits in the game didn't do much. NJ DE Ron Johnson is linebacker sized and it showed; NJ WR Brad Hawkins was targeted once. Both showed very well in practice, however.
2. Ron Johnson: Right behind Jones on Friday was Johnson once again. The 6-foot-4, 228-pound is tenacious off the line, and he has the speed to get to the football that cannot be coached. The Michigan commitment has had some new things thrown at him this week, and he has adapted well, while showing a high football IQ.
5. Brad Hawkins: Most wide receivers play outside for their high school. When practice began, the coaches let them go to a spot and work. Hawkins went to the slot and has done well when the ball has come his way. He has done well catching short passes and on end-arounds, and the Michigan commitment is more fluid and sudden than many might think given his size, especially in tight spaces, where he used double moves to make defenders miss twice in a span of five plays Friday.
Johnson is a holy lock to redshirt given his size and Michigan's 2016 DL, but as a developmental guy he's promising. Similar to Mario Ojemudia.
McCaffery is the #2 pro-style QB in 2017
Michigan's top target at QB in 2017 is CO QB Dylan McCaffery (yes that McCaffery), a 6'5" gentleman in the running for the top QB in the class. With Stanford focused on a couple of the other contenders for that crown, Michigan is increasingly perceived as the favorite. That perception got two major bumps over the last week.
MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones tells 247's Luke Stampini that Michigan and Ohio State are recruiting him hardest:
“The most, without naming any favorites, Michigan is recruiting me really hard, Ohio State is recruiting me really hard, probably those two,” Peoples-Jones told 247Sports. “I do have favorites. I’ll be releasing my top ten shortly.”
Michigan is hoping to keep the elite receiver in-state.
“They’re pretty much telling me they really want me. They had a lot of coaching staff changes, a lot of changes around the university, so pretty much going forward, I’m just looking for what they can do for me.”
Florida also gets a mention but Stampini is a UF reporter reporting for a UF site so that was likely prompted while M and OSU were brought up organically. Peoples-Jones also talked to Scout's Josh Henschke:
"They've always been pursuing me," Peoples-Jones said. "Nothing's changed like that, I was just ready to see what Harbaugh was going to do and he's doing some very special things."
He's positive but noncommittal throughout; his recruitment will take a while. Michigan seems to be trending positively. His dad is an alum, FWIW.
247 says they'll be keeping an eye on IN QB commit Brandon Peters to see if they should issue a fifth star at the Army game. NJ S Jordan Fuller is down to M, OSU, PSU, and ND. He plans a visit to Ann Arbor on the 22nd. Anyone's guess as to where he's leaning. NJ WR commit Ahmir Mitchell will wear #2.
CA TE Devin Asiasi lists Michigan in his top five but has three officials scheduled over the next three weeks to other locations; he might get out to M mid-week. Never say never if that happens, I guess.
FL DE Joshua Uche got an offer a couple weeks ago and has set a visit for January 22nd. He's a generic three star but as a Miami decommit who is visiting Florida the week after he sees M he seems like a late riser.
Michigan offers 2017 AL LB Will Ignont. Ignont says he's wide open.
Christmas week is usually a week off when not in the throes of a coaching search. Ace will cover the Bryant game Wednesday but don't expect much from the site until next week, when… yes… OSU UFR is due. Send whiskey.
Also check out alum96's generally accurate recruiting overview post.
Long officially back on the market
CA CB David Long made his all but inevitable decommit from Stanford a real thing, releasing a statement about it on Twitter. In said statement he named Michigan and Washington his leaders. He has a visit set to UW on January 15th, after which a decision should be forthcoming. Long's leaving the country right after.
On their end, Michigan has been confident since Long's official visit. On Washington's end, the UDub 247 mods are really really confident, one of them proclaiming a Long commit was "99.9%" likely a couple weeks back. The latest:
On the surface some within the recruiting circuit believe Long to Michigan is a very real possibility.
I wouldn't count on it.
They might be right here but even in a world populated almost entirely by homers the 247 Washington site stands out. Clint Brewster reports that Michigan's coaching staff is highly optimistic and that he's close to issuing his ballz for M. Meanwhile Scout's Greg Biggins, a West Coast guy:
At this point, this race looks like a tight one. Long loved the visit to Michigan back in October and we heard rumblings shortly after, that the Wolverines could actually get a quick commitment out of him.
Washington people are hearing similar things on their end, and 247 national guy Ryan Bartow put in a dawg ballz. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Tiebreaker: a visit right before a commitment is usually a big advantage for the guys who go last.
Dylan Crawford momentum shift?
CA WR Dylan Crawford was ticketed to Michigan, then "dream school" Oregon offered and Oregon mod types were really really confident, then Oregon picked up commits from FL WR Eddie McDoom(!) and flipped OSU commitment and TX WR/QB Tristen Wallace. (The Wallace commit is a rare instance of a kid deciding he doesn't want to play QB.)
Even so, Oregon loses a ton of WRs this year and they are a spread so probably room for Crawford [RECORD SCRATCH]
Dylan Crawford and Javon McKinley remain at large and frankly I think the Ducks will only take one. I'm not sure there's enough room to add Crawford and I think the Ducks would take McKinley if he wanted to come.
That's Justin Hopkins of the Oregon 247 site, who had previously been amongst the most gung-ho about Oregon's chances with Crawford. He reiterated that stance in another post as well. Sam Webb is hearing similar things.
You have to think that the lukewarm react to Crawford—waiting to offer so long and then maybe not even having him as a take at this juncture—would play into Michigan's hands. M has been after Crawford from the drop.
But what about TN WR commit Nate Johnson? And Pie Young? Where are all these spots going to come from? I don't know. Webb says Michigan would take both Young and Crawford, which 1) just about has to mean they're looking at NJ WRs Brad Hawkins and/or Ahmir Mitchell as safeties and 2) might mean someone currently in the class as a WR type is on the verge of a decommit.
IN ATH Kiante Enis, who said a week or so back that he hadn't heard from Michigan much since his commit and visited Indiana just before the dead period, would be a guy to watch. Enis hasn't taken an official to Michigan yet, and while that isn't a big deal absent other indicators… we have other indicators.
FWIW, we flipped our* Crystal Ballz on Crawford to Oregon based partially on the Duck optimism there and partially because our expectation was that Young would commit over the OSU weekend. Now we don't really know what to do. If you have a foggy prediction and someone commits they charge that against you, so we're keeping the Oregon pick until such time as we change it to Michigan because the air tastes like copper or whatever.
*[Ace and I collaborate on a single MGoBlog ballz.]
Don Brown reacts
as noted on twitter, Don Brown looks like a NO NONSENSE COP who might have TAKEN THINGS TOO FAR THIS TIME
The reported hire of BC defensive coordinator Don Brown was evidently official enough for recruiting sites to ping various folks about their reactions yesterday. Generally the reaction is "dang."
CA CB David Long on Don Brown: "It's a big hire and only another thing #Michigan has added to an already stacked program. I love the hire."
— Brice Marich (@BriceMarich) December 21, 2015
MI CB LaVert Hill:
"Boston College was one of the top five defenses in the country," Hill said. "If they get him, I would be pretty good with that."
Hill, BTW, has set January officials to USC, MSU, and Miami. One of his infinite trips to campus this fall was his official to Michigan. Hill has long been regarded as a lock, but the defensive coordinator switch threw a wrench into those plans. M will have to fight for his signature to Signing Day, which is now the plan for both Hill and teammate MI WR Donnie Corley. Maybe. More about that later.
TX LB Dontavious Jackson broke out the mild swearing:
"It's a hell of a move," he told Wolverine247 on Sunday night. "Coach Harbaugh filled me in on what he will bring to the Michigan defense and I'm excited about it."
I am a bit spooked about both Hill and Long given the trajectories of their recruitment but on the other hand I'm feeling optimistic on Jackson based on little more than a hunch. Nobody has a good read on him except for default assumptions about Texas, and every day Strong gets closer to the Rich Rod end game that assumption looks shakier. See also: TX OL Jean Delance.
FL LB Jonathan Jones:
Orlando (Fla.) Oak Ridge LB Jonathan Jones on Don Brown: "Coach Harbaugh just told me about it. That's a hugeeeee pick up." @KingCaarlos
— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) December 21, 2015
Jones remains a Michigan-ND battle in which Michigan is believed to have a slight edge.
BC ATH commit KJ Gray decommitted in the immediate aftermath and listed Michigan along with almost every D-I school on the East Coast and Wisconsin. Gray is a three star WR/CB who plans to set a bunch of officials in January and then decide. M has not been involved with him to date, but if Brown likes him and sees him as a CB they might bring him in if they think things might shake out where he has a spot. That would probably require both Long and Hill to head elsewhere.
Maybe not so much on the Corley/Hill thing though
Josh Helmholdt reports that Corley is trying to enroll early, which would obviously disrupt plans to commit with Hill. Michigan is probably on the outside with Corley and would definitely be if he does enroll early:
…he took his three official visits to Michigan State, Tennessee and Ohio State. "If the graduating early thing comes up, it will probably be (one of) those three schools because that's where I took my officials to and that's where I'm most comfortable with," Corley said.
To get in it Michigan needs an official visit; if Corley is still on the market in January they will get one. (So will Notre Dame.) If you are thinking that Corley has been on campus several times already and what is one vaguely more Official visit going to do… yeah. I don't think this one is ending up Michigan's way no matter when Corley enrolls.
Top X of the week
As Steve Lorenz mentioned, TX DE Levi Onwurzrike released a top four of Washington, Baylor, Michigan, and Other Team. That other team is Arizona State. Onwuzrike momentarily had a twitter bio that read "water your plants key to success watering plants," which is apparently a DJ Khaled reference since he is doing things I don't understand on a social network I don't participate in. Probably Snappagram. But anyway that was a good twitter bio.
MO TE Chase Allen reiterated to Brice Marich that Iowa State, Minnesota, and Michigan were his top three even after he got a Florida State offer. Allen is still playing high school basketball so visits are tricky for him:
“I have taken one visit to Minnesota, but it is hard to fit visits in with my basketball schedule,” said Allen. I got one scheduled for Iowa State in January, but I have talked with them about moving it, so we will see. Definitely, it is a priority of mine to get up to Michigan and check it out."
With the dead period lasting until January 13th he has a short window in which to figure things out. The combination of Jake Butt, academics, and Harbaugh has Allen's interest piqued.
FL TE Isaac Nauta has a final three of UGA, Michigan, and Alabama. The former two are generally thought to be the main contenders. With the Allen offer and Jacob Eason recommit to UGA, things seem to be trending to the Bulldogs.
PA LB Khaleke Hudson has a final four of Pitt, PSU, UCLA, and Michigan. They get the last visit, that on January 15th.
This week in someone loves Nate Johnson
Tim Sullivan catches up with TN WR commit Nate Johnson's high school coach for a quote that will definitely make it in his recruiting profile:
"He's a terrific route-runner, number one. He's great in space, knows how to get separation, knows how to get open, knows how to recognize coverages. His hands were the best I've ever coached."
More in a meaty article at the link.
Revenge for whoever that guy was ten years ago
"Went to bed a Wolverine and woke up a Seminole" became infamous when some dude we all thought was going to commit ended up at FSU and people tried to save face. Travis Johnson? Was that his name?
Yes. First round pick in 2005.
/shakes fist at nothing in particular
Anyway, revenge is served so cold that nobody involved is still around and only me and like three other insane people will enjoy this, but enjoy this they shall:
Last Wednesday it was Top247 linebacker Devin Bush Jr., an FSU legacy, that announced he would be a Wolverine. He looked destined for the Maize and Blue for much of the process but a late charge by Florida State and Auburn made things a little foggy at the end.
Then on Thursday, the nation’s No. 2 running back in Kareem Walker chose Michigan, going back and forth between the Wolverines and Seminoles on the last day. One source tells 247Sports that Walker went to bed a Nole and by the time he announced early in the afternoon he was back to the Wolverines.
Walker turned down a compelling offer to sign up for the winged helmet, and Michigan won a recruitment they have generally seen turn against them in the past.
Going to be really interesting to see how that latter works out. I cannot recall the last instate three-star to get the kind of out of state offers Reese did. Valdez Showers, who ended up doing not much at Florida, is the last guy I recall getting a big time offer without Michigan showing much interest—despite the commit here I think that's a fair thing to say about Reese. Hope Michigan didn't make a mistake here.
AZ DE Connor Murphy is planning January visits. USC and Michigan were known; he is now thinking about Alabama as well. Murphy took a November visit to Oregon. He's injured but says he heals "like the Wolverine," which is probably not as telling as you want it to be.
Five star 2017 FL DE Josh Kaindoh is originally from Baltimore (he is one of those IMG dudes) and tells the PSU Rivals site that schools of interest are PSU, M, MSU, OSU, ND, and Maryland since Durkin was his contact at M. PSU is an early leader; sounds like Michigan is likely to be playing with or against Kaindoh.
Michigan just offered FL DE Joshua Uche, a Miami decommit.
Vicious Vic Decommits
I've decided to decommit. pic.twitter.com/6IZroWgdrY
— Victor viramontes (@Vicious_Vic10) December 7, 2015
The MGoStaff is going to have to find a new favorite commit. Three-star CA QB/ATH Victor Viramontes decommitted last night, leaving Brandon Peters as the only quarterback in the class and, well, nobody capable of being a quarterback/fullback/linebacker. Viramontes picked up a Cal offer right around the time he decommitted; he has a better shot of sticking at QB there. I look forward to seeing him play wherever he ends up.
With so many quarterbacks on the roster, including two who redshirted from the 2015 class, it's unclear if Jim Harbaugh will feel the need to add another; Viramontes' open spot may be better served going to an additional defensive prospect, especially one at linebacker.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Durkin Leaves, Partridge Stays
Recruits care more about the man in the middle. [Fuller]
While Michigan lost a strong recruiter when DJ Durkin accepted the head job at Maryland, it doesn't appear his departure is going to have a significant impact on the program's recruiting, at least in the short term. The latest Wolverine pledge, Jordan Elliott*, summed up the general feeling among the commits:
This don't change a thing
— ChadTough〽️ (@XCV____) December 2, 2015
The reaction from uncommitted targets depends on the prospect; for the most part, their ties are more to the program—Jim Harbaugh's program—or their primary recruiter. The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan posted reactions from several prospects that included four-star TX DE Levi Onwuzurike saying that it wouldn't affect him as long as Greg Mattison stayed on staff ($). Five-star CA OLB Caleb Kelly said it affects his recruitment, but he's been considered a long-shot at best for a while now. This is worth watching, though:
Los Angeles Loyola 2016 cornerback David Long Jr.
"That would be huge [to lose him], but if [Stanford defensive coordinator Lance] Anderson replaces him it would work perfectly, but that's in a perfect world."
Despite being a Stanford commit, Long seemed more likely to end up at Michigan. We'll see what comes of his imminent in-home visit; hopefully that clears up any concern.
Meanwhile, 247's Steve Wiltfong reported today that director of player personnel Chris Partridge will not follow Durkin to Maryland, which was rumored to be a strong possibility—Sam Webb added Partridge is in line for an "increased role" with the program. While Michigan's recruiting in New Jersey has reached the point where Partridge isn't essential to their ability to land that state's top talent—more NJ recruits mention Jabrill Peppers than Partridge these days—it's still a a significant plus to have his connections there.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
More On Jordan Elliott's Commitment
Sam Webb caught up with four-star TX DT Jordan Elliott in the wake of his commitment to Michigan; the former Baylor and Houston pledge assured Webb that Ann Arbor is his final destination ($):
That’s yet another reason why he insists his commitment to Michigan is firm. So firm that he answered the question what other schools he’d be visiting before it was done being asked.
“None at all,” he said. “I’m done. No more.”
And how will he respond when other schools persist in recruiting him?
“I won’t respond,” said Elliott.
Elliott mentioned that the coaches plan to play him "all over the line," but initially he'll get the most snaps at defensive end. He's enrolling for the spring semester in April, which means he won't make it in time for spring practice but he'll get a jump start on academics and conditioning.
For more on Elliott, read his commitment post here.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]