in town for free camps
Ace is on vacation this week.
Rashan Gary is never impressed
NJ DT Rashan Gary, the consensus #1 player in the country, has been on Michigan's radar for a while. Michigan has been the tentatively presumed leader after they hired Chris Patridge, Gary's high school coach, to be their recruiting coordinator. Gary himself hasn't said much, but after a swing through the Midwest on visits that's beginning to change.
Sam Webb recapped Gary's visit on the Scout message board($). Gary's mom:
"Michigan hit every detail," Jennifer Coney said. "EVERY detail."
There's a bunch more at the link. The vibes there are pretty good; Gary is planning one more trip this summer, to Georgia, and then they plan on narrowing his list. It does not sound like OSU is going to be a main competitor.
But it's never easy with a guy as highly touted as Gary. 247's Steve Wiltfong:
— Steve Wiltfong (@SWiltfong247) June 29, 2015
Sounds good... except that Wiltfong put in an Auburn Crystal Ball for Gary. Gary's mom again($):
“You can know for sure Michigan is going to make the cut,” Jennifer Coney, Gary’s mother said. “You know Auburn is going to make the cut."
That would be a top two, then.
Michigan is also in on five-star CA LB Caleb Kelly, who was in attendance for a satellite camp in his area. He has a very practical take on things:
"It's like any other coach: you get told what to do, and you go ahead and you do it. It's just cool to have it be from the Michigan coaches. It's a big-name school and that's cool."
He has a who's who of offers; Oklahoma is currently strong on his Crystal Ball.
The New Jersey Migration of the Early Harbaugh Epoch
A pile of New Jersey (and environs) players made it out to Ann Arbor last week, with great success. Four star NJ DE Ron Johnson is already in. Four star NJ WR Brad Hawkins, Johnson's teammate, is probably next. He is scheduled to announce on Friday; Michigan and South Carolina are pretty much the only contenders; he has a visit scheduled to Michigan for July 19th.
Rule eight of following recruiting is that "a recruit who has a visit scheduled for after an announcement is going to the school he is visiting." (Rules 1, 3, 7, 13, 50, and 121 are "DON'T TWEET AT RECRUITS." Number 144 is "SERIOUSLY.") Also, Michigan has fielded every Crystal Ball pick since February.
Ahmir Mitchell has a bowling trophy
Fellow NJ WR Ahmir Mitchell is also nearing a decision. Star-Leger reporter Todderick Hunt:
2 teams stand out 4 Mitchell although he's not ready 4 me 2 release them at this time. But seems to B gettin closer. pic.twitter.com/BEOgONFUZF
— Todderick Hunt (@TodderickHunt) June 27, 2015
Michigan is one of those teams. OSU is the other according to Rivals. Mitchell just announced that he would not be doing any more interviews before his decision, so he's clearly thinking about making one in the near future. Lorenz is hearing positive things($), and the Crystal Ball is an M blowout.
BTW, Mitchell's pretty good($).
There are few players in the country that are comparable to Mitchell. His size, explosiveness, competitiveness and reliable hands were on full display on Saturday. Cornerbacks that tried to jam him at the line of scrimmage were quickly dispatched and errant passes were hauled in with ease. There was one pass that Mitchell hauled in with one hand between two defenders. He had to pin it against his body because the defender was holding onto his other arm.
In not-quite-New-Jersey-but-pretty-much, Philly-based PA TE Naseir Upshur came back from the trip beaming, rating it a "ten of ten($)". He's got a commitment date scheduled for August 8th. Rule nine of following recruiting is "a recruit who issues a commit date soon after a visit is probably going to that school." When that doesn't happen, it's usually because another school swoops in with a visit before the announce date and changes things. That is a possibility here($):
*Alabama is still very likely to add another tight end to its current 2016 haul of two standing commitments at the position, and one of their top targets - Naseir Upshur - a 6-foot-2, 233-pound four-star prospect out of Philadelphia, will be visiting Tuscaloosa with his family on July 17. Michigan is trending with Upshur on the Crystal Ball at 74 percent at the moment. Upshur plans to commit on August 8.
We saw Alabama grab Khalid Kareem. It could happen, but Steve Lorenz notes that($) "Michigan's lead has reportedly grown into a very strong one at this point" and that he is one of the safest bets on Michigan's board" at the moment.
Finally, 2017 NJ OL Cesar Ruiz was on the trip, picked up an offer($), and sounds very excited about it. Michigan is a tentative early leader.
Sometimes I get the feeling that a certain player is not going to end up at Michigan despite everyone assuming they'll end up at Michigan. This usually happens when Michigan's lead goes on and on and on without a commitment actually happening. See: Parrker Westphal.
In related news, FL LB Jonathan Jones still maintains that Michigan is his leader($):
Sam Webb: It seems like someone is committing to Michigan every day. Is the number of scholarships they have left something that is on your mind at all?
Jonathan Jones: “Not really. I’ll be honest when it comes to all my top schools. Four years is a huge part of my life and I’m going to train that out and I’m not going to rush myself for any school. … I’m going to be honest with you, I’m real pressed to go there. There my leader most definitely, but it just wouldn’t be a wise decision to check out that school and leave all my other options unsettled."
Jones wants to take all his officials and may decide as late as signing day, and doesn't appear to be the type of guy to get sped up because Michigan is filling up. Michigan would definitely take him now. Will they take him in December or January? Depends on a lot of things.
FWIW, Jones has an academically-oriented top five of M, Notre Dame, Duke, Stanford, and Oklahoma and seems to be the kind of guy who Harbaugh is after.
"Jim Harbaugh is their new coach and he has a lot of NFL experience," he discussed about the Wolverines. "He can translate that to the college game, and I can gain a lot of knowledge from what he has to offer. I have a lot of family on my father's side that lives in Detroit. That's not too far away so I'll have them there to support me if I went there. Their academics stand out."
They'll have to beat out some heavy hitters here. Alabama, FSU, Georgia, and Clemson are also on his list. Kelly came out to Sound Mind, Sound Body, so there's real interest there. Wiltfong says Michigan is "very much in it."
Michigan's also recruiting AZ DE Connor Murphy, who relates his weird history with Harbaugh on the tubes:
This one's a longshot, but Michigan's trying to get GA DE Antonneous Clayton on campus for a visit($).
Swenson still around
IL OL Erik Swenson has been committed to Michigan for over a year now—his recruiting profile is going to start the same way Tyree Kinnel's did—and Nick Baumgardner would like to remind you of his existence:
"The first thing (Harbaugh) told me was 'you're a lot bigger than you look in pictures,' " Swenson laughed. "He's a great guy. He's not the guy he sometimes gets portrayed as in the media, the guy who is always yelling and screaming, doing anything for a win. He wants to win, obviously and he can be serious, but he's funny, relaxed. He's got a great personality."
Swenson's now a part of a great OL recruiting class that is currently four deep on touted prospects and could add a fifth any day now if MD OL Terrance Davis decides to drop.
Reese maybe not so much
Michigan has a couple of wavering linebacker commits. One is instater David Reese, who apparently committed as fullback but is now having second thoughts. This might have something to do with MI WR Desmond Fitzpatrick's recruitment. The two are teammates and Fitzpatrick seemed like he was about to flip from Louisville to Michigan… and then didn't.
That and Reese's desire to play linebacker have him poking around. He took a visit to Maryland:
"I just want the initial opportunity to play linebacker because that's where my heart is. But I understand that if I didn't start for two years then I would want to see the field-of course I want to play. So of course I would go at fullback. But I feel like I can actually play at linebacker."
He offered the "I'm committed but keeping my options open" spiel as well. If I had to bet I'd guess he ends up flipping elsewhere.
Etc.: 2017 TN RB Cordarrian Richardson is a guy to keep an eye on.NC OL Landon Dickerson sets an official for Oregon State. Michigan has faded with CA CB David Long but he is planning a visit($) before a decision. Stanford is a heavy leader.
"Pace Yourself" Isn't In The Harbaugh Lexicon
Michigan's already reeled in ten commitments this month, and with several highly interested prospects set to visit campus soon, recruiting shows no sign of slowing down.
Three-star FL OLB Jonathan Jones has been among the handful of prospects most expected to join the class sooner or later, arrived on campus today for what will be a five-day unofficial visit, per Steve Lorenz. That long a visit is almost unheard of, and while Jones made the very reasonable request for people to stop asking if he'll commit, it's definitely on the table.
Starting next Wednesday, a whole crew will arrive from the east, per Lorenz: four-star PA TE Naseir Upshur, four-star NJ WR Ahmir Mitchell, four-star NJ WR Brad Hawkins, four-star NJ DE Ron Johnson, and 2017 four-star NJ C Cesar Ruiz will all spend three days on campus. Upshur and Johnson both have Michigan at the top of their lists, Mitchell seems like a strong possibility, and Hawkins has Michigan and South Carolina tied at the top.
2017 four-star Paramus Catholic OLB Drew Singleton is expected to visit on Friday, per Lorenz. His five-star 2016 teammate, DT Rashan Gary, told Rivals' Adam Friedman that he plans to be in Ann Arbor on June 25th, and his mother will come along with him ($).
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup]
A Very Short Week
Many of us are returning to work after a long weekend, but one Michigan target will have an even shorter week than most. Three-star NJ OL Will Fries is taking a two-day unofficial visit to Michigan today and tomorrow, per Scout's Brian Dohn ($). Dohn considers this a huge visit for Fries; if all goes well, he could see Fries' recruitment wrapping up soon after the trip. The main competition for Michigan appears to be Penn State and Rutgers, with Northwestern and Duke also factors—Fries has maintained, and his top schools show, that academics are very important in his recruitment. That should help Michigan's chances as Fries gets his first look at campus this week.
Michigan may also get one last shot at impressing four-star Indiana prospects DE Auston Robertson and WR Austin Mack this weekend. Robertson has Michigan in his top three along with Michigan State (the heavy favorite) and Notre Dame, and he told TMI's Josh Newkirk about his tentative visit plans ($):
"Going to Michigan changed the whole game," he said. "It was better than what I expected. They just popped in my top-three right then and there. I got a pretty good relationship with some of the coaches down there. I might go down there on May 30th with Austin Mack. But I'm not sure yet. But I am trying to get to all three of the colleges before I commit. I'm also trying to bring my mom there so she can potentially see where I am going to play at the next level.
If Robertson makes the trip—and, critically, if his mother accompanies him—then Michigan has an outside shot at surpassing their in-state rivals. There's less optimism with regards to Mack, who's long been considered an Ohio State lock; he's even rumored to be a silent Buckeye commit. Both prospects will announce their decision on June 7th, so it's now or never for the Wolverines to make a move.
One confirmed visitor for this weekend is top-50 2017 CO QB Dylan McCaffrey, who'll fly in on Friday and stay until Sunday, per 247's Steve Lorenz ($). McCaffrey is a Stanford legacy—both his father, former Denver Broncos receiver Ed McCaffrey, and his brother Christian chose the Cardinal—but thus far they haven't joined Michigan, Penn State, Colorado, UCLA, and Duke in offering him.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
The Latest On Rashan Gary
Michigan is widely believed to be one of the favorites—if not the favorite—to land the nation's top overall prospect, Paramus Catholic (NJ) DT Rashan Gary. Gary was expected to make a return trip to Ann Arbor this month, and while Sam Webb reports that trip has been delayed, Michigan is still making progress in Gary's recruitment—especially by connecting with his mom ($):
“I talked to Coach Harbaugh and he is a very personable entertaining guy,” Gary’s mother Jennifer Coney said. “We talked for a long while and it wasn’t even about football. It wasn’t about recruiting even though it was a recruiting call. We didn’t need to talk much football because I can find out most of that stuff when I get over there. He talked about wanting to build the man, not just the football player. He talked about academics. He talked about his family. He has six kids and he talked about trying to figure out how he was going to get his family moved over (to Ann Arbor). He doesn’t whether they were going to fly or drive. That’s why he has work all of those hours… to take care of six kids! (Laughter).
“He is an entertaining guy.”
Gary and his mother are eyeing a late June visit, after Rashan gets out of school. He has three unofficial visits lined up for mid-June: Ole Miss, Auburn, and Alabama. Michigan looks to be in very good shape, but they'll have to fend off a long list of power programs.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
TMD: A Mother Knows
2016 #1 overall recruit Rashan Gary is expected to be on campus in May, accompanied by his mother, who's playing a very important role in the vetting process. Gary discussed her role in his recruitment with TomVH ($):
“My family being able to see me play is really important. My mom is my everything. Whatever she says and thinks is positive; that’s what I’m going to consider. My mom sees what I see and says all the schools I’m considering are good schools. It’s probably going to come down to me and her putting together a pros-and-cons list and figuring it out.”
Gary visited Michigan and Ohio State recently without his mother, who took a trip to Rutgers instead. (That trip reportedly didn't go very well for Rutgers.) Gary reported back to his mom, of course, and given what she told Sam Webb it sounds like Michigan is in a great position to stake themselves to a lead when she gets to campus with her son ($):
“He liked Ohio State,” said Mrs. Coney. “He didn’t say too much of the school. I think they didn’t spend a lot of time at Ohio State. I think most of their weekend was at Michigan. I know he met with Coach Johnson because he called me and I talked to Coach Johnson. I’ll tell you the difference (between the Michigan and Oho State visits). When he talked to me about Ohio State it was football, football, football. But when he talked to me about Michigan he just told me about the environment, told me about the academics, told me about the dorms, told me about the campus. I spoke with Coach Mattison it was totally a different conversation. One was about athletics, and then Michigan was all about academics and the people, (and) the environment.”
‘Okay Rashan, let me go see it for myself. (laughter).’
Michigan's M-Pact presentation should go over quite well.
Meanwhile, Michigan jumped out to the lead for another Paramus Catholic prospect, three-star WR Donald Stewart, who was offered last week, per 247's Steve Wiltfong ($):
“I talk to Coach Partridge daily,” Stewart said. “He told me that the players he coached that played there have nothing but positive things to say. I talk to Jabrill (Peppers) and Juwann (Bushell-Beatty) and they really like the school so I want to go up there and see for myself.”
The 6-foot-4, 180-pound Stewart plans to see Michigan the third week of May.
According to Wiltfong, Northwestern is currently Michigan's biggest competition for Stewart.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Return Of The Three-Star Mafia
So, about the reaction to Carter Dunaway's commitment. I realize Michigan is trying to pull its way out of a nearly decade-long stretch in which "trust the coaches" went from sage advice to, well, a reason to run away screaming in terror. I realize expectations for Jim Harbaugh are ample. I realize adding a sophomore tight end with one catch and no film may not align with some of those expectations.
All of that said, the zeal with which some commenters here questioned the choice to offer and accept the commitment of Dunaway caught me off guard.* There's obvious potential—he's got the frame to come to campus in the 6'6", 260-pound range. He's got two full years of high school left, and he won't be playing behind a pair of seniors—one a D-I recruit himself—any longer. The legacy angle shouldn't be the first reason to offer him, but it also shouldn't be discounted; as an early 2017 commit, Dunaway can now start recruiting other prospects with a perspective few other recruits have on the program. There's also the whole human decency thing, but this is the internet, which requires a detailed argument in favor of acting human before that'll be taken under consideration.
I'll go ahead and post the thoughts of one specific commenter who jumped into the discussion last night: Craig Dunaway, Carter's father and a former tight end under Bo Schembechler, who handled it all with more grace than anyone could reasonably expect.
As the least objective person on the board...
It's been quite an experience reading these comments.
I thank those who've shared kind and welcoming words (YoOoBoLloBaugh, True Blue Grit, The Mad Hatter, et al.). And I appreciate those who acknowledge he still has two more years of high school to show more tangible merits (True Blue Grit, bronxblue).
I also like the comments from HateSparty. (Or maybe I just like typing HateSparty. HateSparty.)
I understand those who doubt and question an offer to unproven talent (Danwillhor, The J Davis 1, pescadero). I realize you only have the best interests of the program in mind.
To those who attribute Carter's offer to his legacy status (HarBooYa, Big Mike), I hope you realize that's just not the case. If that's all it took, brother Jack wouldn't be dipping into his 529 plan, as WolvinLA2 also points out.
And to those concerned about the dearth of offers, please understand if Carter didn't love Michigan so much, he would've looked around and collected who knows how many others. Instead, he's avoiding the strain of the recruiting process, staying close to home and going to school with his brother.The truth is there aren't a whole lot of 6'6-1/2" 233# 16-year-old kids who can run and catch out there. And that happens to be exactly the type of kid Jim and Jay Harbaugh want playing TE.Sure, Carter's lucky he's so big. He knows that. One of the first things he said after getting the offer is that it didn't seem fair he would be offered and his brother wouldn't, even after all Jack has accomplished.He's lucky to have camped at Michigan, and had so much exposure to the program while his brother was being recruited. But he also knows that means he's got to work harder now than ever before. He's got a target on his back that opponents and even Michigan fans will see every time he takes the field. It will only make him better.If you haven't met Carter or seen him play, I hope you get that chance soon. If not in the next 2 years, then in 2017 or 18, or whenever he gets to enjoy the privilege of playing for the greatest team in college football.Go Blue Forever
I'm not here to say the coaches are infallible, or that Carter Dunaway is a sure-fire All-American, or that there isn't a proper way to express dissenting opinions around here. There is, however, a time and a place, not to mention a certain amount of tact involved, and many of yesterday's comments—some of which have been cleared out by now—were disappointing in that light.
Anyway, Dunaway is in the class, and I expect this commitment will be questioned a whole lot less once he's showcased his ability on film. (People got really angry about this commitment without ever actually seeing the kid play. Which... yeah.) Brother Rice head coach David Sofran told The Wolverine's Brandon Brown that in addition to being a "coach's dream," Dunaway has plenty of potential and will be a critical part of their offense this fall ($):
"He's the type of talent that you can center your offense around. He's very athletic. He has really soft hands and catches the ball well. He can really accelerate after he catches it. I think that will separate him from a lot of tight ends. Once he catches it he can really run. Paul Jokisch (former Michigan wide receiver and Brother Rice standout) was like that. He was a huge guy (6-8, 239 pounds) that could catch and run and I think Carter will be in that conversation." ...
"I think he's probably still growing," he said. "I think once he stops growing taller he'll really start to fill out in his upper body and I think he'll keep his athleticism and be fast at about 255-260 in college down the line. He's still got some growing to do and I think he will get bigger and be even more of a problem."
Welcome to the program, Carter, and thanks for your understanding, Craig.
*Yes, I realize I should know better by now.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]