The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
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($) before a decision. Stanford is a heavy leader.
This is my final post on mgoblog (aside from the remaining opponent previews, which are already written and should be published in the next week or so), so I'd like to thank everyone for reading, and of course Brian for the great opportunity over the past couple years. Congratulations and good luck to Ace and Heiko.
On to the recruiting...
We already knew that Michigan was likely to take two wideouts in the 2012 class. The departure of Je'Ron Stokes changes that to a certainty, and even opens the door to taking a third.
Who are the main prospects on the board?
IA WR Amara Darboh finally has a highlight video on Youtube, thanks to 24/7 Sports:
Darboh has narrowed to a final five ($, info in header). Given that he's visiting Michigan for the season opener against Western, it's safe to say the Wolverines are in good position for him.
For those who were expecting a commitment from OH WR Monty Madaris at the BBQ and dismayed he didn't make it in, fear not, as Michigan's "stock is on the rise" ($, info in header) with him.
OH WR Dwayne Stanford participated in a chat with Rivals readers last week, and had a few things to say about Michigan:
Q: Will you take an official to Michigan?
Stanford: I don't know if Michigan will be one of my officials yet ... I only know Alabama and LSU so far.
Q: Since LSU isn't recruiting Adolphus does that move Michigan high on your list?
Stanford: Yes, it does ... it's something we've talked about ever since I started getting recruited. Michigan does have a chance .... especially with me and Adolphus both liking them. They made the short list. They're right there in the mix
Q: Has Michigan's 2012 recruiting class caught your attention?
Stanford: Yes, it has ....
Q: How important are academics to your decision, and do Michigan's strong academics help them?
Stanford: 1. They're important but college is what you make of it
2. Yes, it does ... I know they're a great academic school
Q: What was your favorite school as a kid?
Stanford: I would say it was Miami & Michigan when I was a kid ...
Conventional wisdom has Michigan outside his top group right now, but if the staff can get him on campus, they stand a chance. Stanford has eliminated Miami (YTM) thanks to their impending doom.
CA WR Jordan Payton is the other hot name on Michigan's board right now, and he'll visit Ann Arbor for the night game against Notre Dame.
IL OL Jordan Diamond is sticking to his plan of waiting until after his senior season to commit:
Diamond simply will not allow college recruiting to interfere with a high school season in which he hopes the Wolverines [ed: not those Wolverines] "finish the job" with a state title. "I'm not going to bring recruiting here to Simeon," Diamond said. "I'm not going to use that as a distraction to my teammates. I'm not even going to deal with it during the season, it's going to be after the season."
Though Michigan's coaches would love to have him, if the class fills up before he's ready to commit, Michigan won't be the choice. He's OK with missing out on opportunities by waiting:
Diamond doesn’t fear schools will rescind his scholarship offers as time passes. If some do, that’s fine with him. “Whoever wants me at the end,” Diamond said. “It’s going to be a dog fight. Anything is possible. The main thing is holding out and seeing where the real coaches are. The real coaches who stick there with you. That’s what I’m looking for.”
With Michigan's loss of Tony Posada, they may be more willing to wait on an elite lineman like Diamond. It probably means they'll take at least one more lineman.
Speaking of the offensive line, Duane Long ranks OH OL Commit Caleb Stacey as the #48 overall prospect in the Buckeye State:
The most underrated offensive lineman in Ohio. This kid is just a solid football player who has been well schooled. Ohio players get so much more exposure if the Buckeyes showed interest but Stacey is a guard, a very good guard. The Buckeyes have been offering tackles this year. I am sure we will see him in the Michigan starting lineup in three years time.
Go Caleb, go. Long's employer, Bucknuts, has ranked Caleb's fellow Michigan commit, OH DE Chris Wormley, as the top prospect in the Buckeye State.
Michigan is still on MI TE Ron Thompson's list, though it's unlikely that he could join Michigan's class.
CA S Shaq Thompson doesn't include Michigan in his top 5, the schools to which he'll take official visits.
24/7 Sports throws down the gauntlet in the race to be the first service to rate prospects, with their initial 5-stars for 2013, along with the Top247 prospects in the class. Of note, MI OL Steve Elmer was one of the prospects close to 5-star status.
Last week's Sam Webb recruiting column in the Detroit News covered MI LB Jon Reschke. He sounds just about as Green-and-White as they come, but Michigan is making a move:
A return trip to Ann Arbor a month later for the "Barbecue at the Big House" also earned significant praise. "I went down there with my good friends Shane Morris and Wyatt Shallman," Reschke said. "It was great. We got to see the whole campus, the whole Big House, the locker room — everything. It definitely made me want to go to Michigan a little bit more."
He says Michigan coaches are waiting to see film of him playing linebacker (he was a defensive end for Brother Rice last year) before they'll extend an offer. He wants to make a commitment prior to his senior season.
Duane Long continues to wonder why Ohio State hasn't offered OH S/RB Dymonte Thomas:
His offer list is better than most seniors to be and he has not even stepped on the field as a junior. His grades are outstanding. He is know to be a high character kid. His measurables are legit. The argument that the Buckeyes are so deep at running back carries no weight. Thomas may be a better safety than he is a running back. I think he is, and he could not care less which position he plays. Baffling non-offer.
He seems like a Michigan lean, and the longer it takes for OSU to offer, the more the Wolverines can build that lead. Additionally, if it takes the Buckeyes too long to offer, Thomas could help sway his cousin, 2012 OH RB Bri'Onte Dunn, to Michigan.
Duane Long runs through some more 2013 prospects of interest.