"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
The Opening Updates: Michigan Commits
The Opening, Nike's questionably named elite camp, is now under way out in Beaverton, Oregon—the location is not helping matters, Nike. Brandon Peters has already been out there for a few days due to the Elite11 quarterback camp, which runs in conjunction with The Opening, and he's now joined by Michael Onwenu and a slew of Michigan targets.
Peters has consistently been mentioned by recruiting analysts as being among the top on-field performers at the Elite11. That didn't change on Tuesday, when he was one of just three quarterbacks to hit all six throws in the 7-on-7 drive-the-field drill, which earned him the #3 top performer spot from 247's Barton Simmons:
3. Brandon Peters (Michigan commit)
Stats: 6 for 6, 2 TDs
Quietly, Peters continues to be one of the most consistent performers in this Elite 11 group. There was never a doubt on any of his throws, he spun it well and put it on the money for every throw. Rarely do you see Peters throw a wobbler or skip a football.
Onwenu, meanwhile, impressed both onlookers and those running the camp yesterday. 247's Brian Perroni ranked Onwenu fourth among offensive linemen after a strong performance in the OL/DL one-on-ones:
The 6-foot-3, 365-pound Michigan commit is stronger as a run blocker on tape but he was pretty much impossible for the defensive tackles to move on Wednesday. He had the entire offensive jumping up and down when he threw a defender to the ground like a rag doll.
The camp agreed with the recruiting analysts, selecting Onwenu as one of the "Final 5" offensive linemen who get to face off in a best of the best one-on-one session with the top five D-linemen, which included five-star M target Rashan Gary.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Sound Mind, Bad Posture
Harbaugh demonstrates my "big recruiting weekend" resting position. [Bill Rapai/MGoBlog]
There's no way I'm getting this post up today unless I go rapid-fire and skip any commentary. If you've got questions you'd like answered, I'm planning a recruiting mailbag this week, so either email me or tweet me (use the hashtag #mgomailbag, please) your questions.
First, the essentials: If you missed it, Michigan added commitments from FL CB Antwaine Richardson and FL DE/TE Rashad Weaver over the weekend. They could be close to more: safeties Devin Gil and Josh Metellus, who visited campus along with linebacker teammate Devin Bush Jr., decommitted from Miami (YTM) and Georgia Southern, respectively, while they were in Ann Arbor.
Michigan had a ton of weekend visitors due to the nearby Sound Mind Sound Body camp. Reactions ahoy.
Top-100 KS DE Xavier Kelly had "a great visit," per 247's Steve Wiltfong ($). He has a who's-who list of offers and claims no favorites at the moment.
Top-100 FL WR Binjimen Victor stopped by campus after SMSB, and he's now considering the Wolverines, per TMI's Brice Marich ($):
“I’m pretty interested now in Michigan," said Victor. "I’m wide open for everybody, so I’m just giving everybody a chance and see what they've got. I canceled my top four and basically I am wide open to everybody. I’m just opening up to everybody and giving everybody a chance. I want to see what schools bring to the table and basically show me what they got. (Michigan) brought it to the table, so I like them.”
Florida (the presumed leader), LSU, Ohio State, and Tennessee were Victor's top four heading into last week.
Top-50 FL CB Trayvon Mullen told Marich that Michigan is "in it with me and I'm interested," and mentioned a desire to come back to campus ($). He'll be a tough pull from the usual SEC/ACC suspects.
Three-star CN TE/WR Chase Claypool got a lot of attention from the coaches at SMSB after visiting campus earlier in the week. He told TMI's Josh Newkirk that Michigan is now in his top three with Oregon and Washington ($). Notably, that list only includes schools he's visited, so it's subject to change, but it sounds like M made a significant move for him this week.
Another tight end possibility, three-star Sean McKeon, put Michigan in his top group along with Syracuse, Pitt, Boston College, and Virginia after his visit, per Marich ($). McKeon plans to decide at the end of this month.
In the 2017 class, four-star Cass Tech S Jaylen Kelly-Powell named Michigan his leader following the weekend, per 247's Steve Lorenz. Lorenz also reports($) that Michigan and Michigan State are the two schools out in front for four-star 2017 OLSM WR KJ Hamler.
Four-star 2017 MD DE Josh Kaindoh added an offer shortly after visiting campus this weekend, per The Wolverine's Brandon Brown.
The top-ranked 2017 quarterback in the country, Hunter Johnson, was on campus this weekend, per 247's Steve Wiltfong ($). Other campus visitors included four-star 2016 IL DE Daniel Joseph, four-star 2017 GA CB Jamyest Williams, four-star 2017 Detroit King CB Ambry Thomas, and five-star 2017 Cass Tech WR Donovan Peoples-Jones.
Michigan even extended another 2018 offer, this one to Oak Park OG Marquan McCall, per Wiltfong. McCall is teammates with 2017 four-star OT JaRaymond Hall. Michigan looks to be in very good shape with both of them.
[Take a deep breath, then hit THE JUMP.]
More On Weekend Commitments
The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan caught up with Antwaine Richardson to talk about his commitment and what he'll bring to the table ($):
"I'm a 6-0, 170-pound cornerback," he said. "I love pressing, I'm aggressive, love to tackle. I can jump up for the ball and catch it. I don't like nobody to catch the ball on me. Basically you're going to get a lockdown corner. Now, since Michigan plays a shuffle technique [in the defensive backfield], I would love to improve that. I'm good at it right now, but I want to be great at it. I would love to improve that.
"The camp was good. I came in their competing. During the drills, when we did the shuttle drill, we were going against the DB group, and nobody could [beat] me out there in the shuttle drill. Working hard throughout every drill, I was asking questions, and once it came to position drills, I did good too."
Over on Scout, Corey Bender posted an article on Rashad Weaver with an evaluation tacked on the end:
Weaver is a big-bodied athlete with the makings of an impressive strong-side defensive end. He shows good change of direction for a player of his stature, and does a good job of disengaging off blocks and making a play on the football as well. The defensive lineman simply reads and attacks.
Weaver has a frame that should be able to pack on an additional 20-30 pounds without hindering much of his athleticism in the trenches. He's a kid who's still fairly under the radar after surfacing earlier this offseason, but you can expect that to change.
He's a high-character and coachable kid that the Wolverines loved a few weeks back at their satellite camp in Davie, Florida. Weaver is just scratching the surface of his potential with his best football yet to come.
Weaver really looks like a 3-4 end, and that should prove valuable in DJ Durkin's defense.
Meanwhile, Michael Onwenu once again was a standout at a camp featuring lots of talent. This time, he came in fifth on Rivals' list of the top SMSB offensive performers ($):
The 6-foot-4, 368-pound Onwenu had an outstanding performance at the Five-Star Challenge last week, and he carried that momentum into the Sound Mind Sound Body Camp. After having competed against the best defensive linemen in the country out in Baltimore, Onwenu was easily able to dispatch all comers on Friday, displaying outstanding power and very good feet.
With all these solid camp performances, Onwenu is a good bet to move up the rankings.
More Offers, Visits, Etc.
Michigan appears to be open to taking a second 2016 quarterback after offering three-star CA ATH Victor Viramontes, who earned a lofty comparison from Harbaugh:
— Justin Hopkins (@JHopkins247) June 12, 2015
The Wolverines also offered 2017 top-100 ATH Bruce Jordan-Swilling, per 247's Sonny Shipp.
After working with M's coaches at the Dallas satellite camp, four-star OLB Jeffrey McCullough told Sam Webb that the Wolverines "will be there to the end" of his recruitment ($).
Three-star NC WDE Jimmie Taylor told Scout's Michael Clark that Michigan is one of four schools standing out to him, and he'll visit campus on Thursday ($).
Top-100 2017 WR Tarik Black will be on campus Friday, per Tarik Black.
Four-star 2017 FL WR Daquon Green, who added a Michigan offer after the South Florida satellite camp, also attended SMSB and told Rivals that Michigan, Ohio State, and Florida comprise his early top three ($). Green plans to visit Ann Arbor in either June or July.
Now Touring: The Jim Harbaugh Experience
Remember last summer, when Penn State coach James Franklin ruffled some feathers by hosting satellite camps in Florida and Georgia? Jim Harbaugh is taking the same tack. The Wolverine's Brandon Brown reports that Michigan's coaches will run a camp at Prattville High School in Alabama, which produced 2015 signee Keith Washington, one June 5th. Four days later, they'll do the same in Dallas, per MLive's Nick Baumgardner. It wouldn't surprise at all if additional camps were set up in, say, Florida and California before all is said and done.
This is a great situation for Michigan, of course. The coaches get to see a ton of prospects in states they can't get to during the season, make connections with local coaches, and hopefully make some progress with recruits they've offered. There's really no downside to this that I can imagine.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Price Names Michigan Leader
It's not common for a Big Ten school to make an early move on a top prospect from deep in SEC country, but top-75 GA OT EJ Price isn't a normal SEC prospect—he's a Michigan native, and that's clearly helping the Wolverines in their pursuit. After Price had previously put Michigan in a tie atop his list with Auburn, he's now got the Wolverines out in front of the Tigers and Georgia, and told 247's Kipp Adams why that's now the case ($):
"The new coaching staff with Jim Harbaugh coming in," Price said. "I like Tim Drevno, the new offensive coordinator as well. With him being the offensive coordinator and the offensive line coach, it's going to be a benefit for me because you know he's going to focus on the offensive line. Just being that I'm from Michigan originally, there's a lot to think about. They've been hitting me up lately."
While there's a long way to go, there's also a lot to be excited about here; namely, Price is coming off recent visits to his two other top contenders, Auburn and Georgia, and has seen both of those schools several times while he's yet to make the trip to Ann Arbor. Usually Michigan has to work from behind when hosting out-of-region prospects; that doesn't look like it'll be the case here.
Costello To Announce Soon
In less positive news, Michigan's top target at quarterback, top-50 CA QB KJ Costello, will announce his decision on Thursday in a 5:45 ET ceremony at his school, per Scout's Greg Biggins ($). Michigan, Stanford, and USC are his three finalists, but it's expected his decision will come down to the two California schools, especially since Costello wasn't able to set up a return trip to Ann Arbor before making his choice.
That means the leading candidate to take a spot in the class at quarterback is still four-star IN QB Brandon Peters, who'll visit for the spring game and recently named Michigan to his top five, per BigRedReport's Bryan Munson ($):
"My top five are Michigan, Nebraska, LSU, Indiana and Wisconsin," Peters said. "These are the schools recruiting me the hardest and also the schools that I have built the best relationships with as well."
Peters also plans to visit Nebraska for their spring game the week after Michigan's; while there's a lot of optimism about M's chances, it doesn't quite look like a slam dunk, though of course a visit can change that outlook in a hurry.
Michigan's chances don't look so good for four-star NJ QB Jarrett Guarantano, who told Rivals' Mike Farrell in a video interview that his top three consists of Rutgers, Tennessee, and Ohio State ($). He's long been considered a longshot.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Introducing The Kugler Scale™
slight mismatch here
After making a previous, short-lived commitment to North Carolina, newest Michigan commit Chris Clark wasn't taking any chances before making another pledge, checking out all of his top options before announcing yesterday he'll be a Wolverine. Clark ensured Brandon, in an interview posted here this morning, that this decision is final:
"When you look at recruiting, decommitting happens all the time. I'm not necessarily saying that it's the right thing to do, but when someone commits, later on sometimes it just doesn't feel right." Clark expressed. "I know because I've been there, but that's in the past for me. I'm very happy that it worked out like this and I ended up at Michigan. I'm sure people are going to be like, 'Well how is he not just going to do that again?' Well, I know now that I found the school that is right for me. I have now visited all of the schools that I'm interested in. There isn't another school out there that I'm interested in that I haven't seen. Michigan is the best school out of all of the schools that I really liked, that I was considering. Michigan's the spot, I'm not changing my mind. When I committed to UNC I hadn't visited Michigan, Michigan State, or Ohio State. Now that I've seen them all, Michigan is the spot for me."
That nearly wasn't the case, according to Clark. The Spartans made a strong push on Clark's visit to East Lansing, just a day before he committed on his unofficial in Ann Arbor:
Honestly, if the visit didn't go how it went today, I was probably going to end up at Michigan State. Today just went so well. My mom and dad loved the coaches, as did I. I've known that for a while obviously, my relationship with them has been great for a long time, but today couldn't have went any better."
That's a solid 8/10 on the Kugler Scale™.*
Clark's commitment caught the attention of one of Michigan's top 2015 targets, five-star CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South, who sent out a cryptic tweet when the news broke; he later elaborated to 247's Steve Lorenz ($):
One player who tweeted immediately regarding the commitment, and says it has an effect on his outlook with the Wolverines is five-star defensive end Keisean Lucier-South.
"That's great for Michigan," he said. "Right now it definitely makes them more attractive to me. Michigan is a great school though; it is not a surprise that big time players want to play there."
Getting talented commits helps recruiting in and of itself; Clark's also on the record as saying he committed yesterday so he can get a head start on recruiting for Michigan before The Opening, saying he plans to get in touch with such prospects as Damien Harris, Miles Boykin, and Justin Hilliard.
[*Current U-M center Patrick Kugler, if you don't recall, visited East Lansing several times, looked poised to become a Spartan, took a trip to Ann Arbor, and committed to Michigan one day before another scheduled MSU visit. State fans, as you can imagine, didn't take too kindly to this.]
U-M Camp Makes Huge Impact On 2016 Recruits
Michigan's technique camp already paid off in the form of an offer to, and subsequent commitment from, four-star 2016 OH QB Messiah deWeaver. DeWeaver's commitment post focused almost entirely on his ability as a pocket passer, so I'll add this bit from Tim Sullivan's extensive scouting report ($):
DeWeaver is a true pocket passer, but he is slightly underrated as an athlete on account of it. While he'll never be a scrambler first, he does have the wheels to escape pressure and throw on the run (or even pick up a few yards on the ground if his team needs him to).
Meanwhile, after working closely with Darrell Funk and Brady Hoke during the camp, five-star 2016 Cleveland St. Ignatius OT Liam Eichenberg, whose recruitment is shaping up to be a battle of the Midwest powerhouses, told Lorenz he has a new leader ($):
"Michigan has the upper hand right now," he said. "They're a lot like St. Ignatius and I really liked working with the coaches yesterday at camp."
Notre Dame and Ohio State round out his top three. Encouragingly, Michigan's lead isn't a product of Eichenberg seeing them more than his other leaders; he camped at Ohio State last week for the second year in a row and took an unofficial to Notre Dame back in March, so he's had a chance to compare all three schools. Landing Eichenberg, who most experts peg as a future Buckeye, would be a coup.
Michigan also extended a couple new 2016 offers, including one to the son of the former boxing heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield, three-star GA RB Elijah Holyfield. The younger Holyfield gave his reaction to the offer to Tim Sullivan ($):
"Coach Hoke just told me that he looked over watching my film, and he looked at my film from camp," he said. "He said he really liked what I did, and that I could help out the program. Then he said that he wanted to offer me a scholarship.
"I was really excited. I told him thanks and everything like that. A Michigan offer is real big. It's always been one of the teams I grew up watching, and they have a long history that I know about. I'm really excited to have the chance to be a part of that."
While Holyfield isn't close to making a decision, Michigan has positioned themselves well to be in it until the end.
Speaking of famous names, Michigan offered a 6'6" prospect named... Michael Jordan. This MJ isn't a lanky shooting guard from North Carolina, however, but a 265-pound rising junior offensive lineman from nearby Plymouth High. Michigan is the first team to offer Jordan, who told Scout's Allen Trieu that it's too early to be thinking commitment ($):
With it being so early, making a commitment is not on his mind yet.
"Michigan has a very good program," he said, "but I have to decide that later. I haven't made any decisions yet."
If he eventually commits, that Hello post is going to be impossible to put together in a timely fashion.
ESPN 300 Updated
ESPN updated their top 300 prospects for the 2015 class, and the movement for Michigan commits was minimal:
- TE Chris Clark dropped from #104 to #108
- CB Garrett Taylor dropped from #106 to #110
- S Tyree Kinnel dropped from #182 to #188
- OT Grant Newsome dropped from #235 to #240
- MLB Darrin Kirkland moved up from #265 to #263
No change of more than six spots leaves little room for commentary.
In other news, 247's Ryan Bartow released a list of the 15 prospects who best fit the school to which they're committed, and Garrett Taylor came in at #10:
10. Garrett Taylor, CB, Michigan - High academics, storied tradition of producing big defensive backs, can play man and zone equally well. ... The fits don’t slow down for Taylor in Ann Arbor. He could develop into an All-Big Ten type of player for the Wolverines.
The list seems more focused on a school's reputation of putting players at certain positions into the NFL than anything else—playing man and zone concepts isn't exactly a signature scheme—so take it for what it's worth.
Weekend Visitors, 2015 Updates
Per Steve Lorenz, Michigan is hosting a few weekend visitors: commit Tyree Kinnel, 2015 four-star IN LB Asmar Bilal, and 2016 four-star DE Janarius Robinson. Kinnel should help the coaches try to close the gap between Michigan and Notre Dame, Bilal's (NTB) current leader, while Robinson will be seeing Ann Arbor for the first time.
Michigan's pursuit of five-star OH OLB Justin Hilliard looks like it'll be a fruitless one, unfortunately. Hilliard plans to make a decision within the next month or so, visited finalist Iowa—where his older brother will be a freshman in the fall—last weekend, and has final visits planned to Notre Dame and Ohio State, but he told Scout's Dave Berk that a Michigan unofficial is "possible but not planned" for now ($). Unless he finds his way to campus one more time, I highly doubt he commits to Michigan.
A visit to Tennesse allowed the Vols to replace Florida State in his top five, but four-star 2015 MD OL Pat Allen kept Michigan in his top group, per Rivals' Adam Friedman ($):
"My top five right now is Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Michigan and Tennessee," said Allen. "I wouldn't say Georgia is the leader but they're really high. Ohio State and Georgia are tied for the lead. Oklahoma, Michigan and Tennessee are third, fourth and fifth. I really think my decision is going to be based off my visits. There are still some schools I want to see like Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Michigan. Michigan might be my next visit."
That makes it sound like U-M has a decent shot to move up if they can get Allen on campus.
Talking to GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz, four-star Detroit King OLB Tyriq Thompson denied rumors that Michigan State is his leader ($):
Some rumors circulating indicating Thompson could have a leader in the form of the Michigan State Spartans, the Detroit product denied a leader of any kind, unsure of where these reports are coming from.
“I don’t know,” Thompson said. “I really don’t know what to say because I’ve heard so much.
“Somebody told me that there’s a rumor going around that I’m committed to Michigan State so, I don’t know what to say.”
He added that he plans to wait until after his senior season to fully focus on his recruitment, so Michigan has a lot of time to make their pitch to the in-state legacy recruit.
I Guess I Have To Acknowledge This Is Happening
— Anthony Hines III (@2017D1Prospect) June 18, 2014
In case you didn't gather this from his username, newly offered Anthony Hines is a class of 2017 prospect. Hines, an outside linebacker from Texas powerhouse Plano East, is currently a (very) early Mississippi State commit who, as you also may have deduced from the tweet, already holds 42 offers.
Michigan's camp produced another 2017 offer, as Tim Sullivan reported this morning that GA DB Jaymest Williams, a camp standout with early offers from Clemson and Georgia Tech, got the call from the coaches this morning ($).
The Wolverines have now sent out six offers to rising sophomores, including Orchard Lake St. Mary's LB Josh Ross, younger brother of current U-M LB James Ross.
Happy trails to OH SDE Dre'Mont Jones, who surprised nobody by committing to Ohio State on Wednesday.
SBNation's Bud Elliott lists Michigan as the top school that needs to start winning more on the field if they'd like continued success on the recruiting trail, which... yeah.