Michigan Out For McDowell?
Michigan entered last weekend with one last shot at impressing Malik McDowell before the top-50 prospect from Detroit made his Signing Day decision. With McDowell's parents firmly in Michigan's corner, the hope was that they'd help the coaches sway Malik from an apparent Michigan State lean during the Wolverines' in-home visit.
Michigan made their final push, and McDowell's recruitment still looks like it will come down to his wishes to attend MSU versus his parents' desire for him to go elsewhere. One problem: "elsewhere" now appears to mean "out of state," per TomVH ($):
“As far as myself, I think he should leave town. I think he should leave the state because he has some friends who aren’t athletes,” [Malik's father] Greg said. “I don’t want them to be a distraction. If he stays close to home, they’re capable of driving up and distracting him. I want him to establish himself on his own.”
McDowell's parents are pushing hard for him to choose either Florida State or Ohio State, Malik's two finalists not located in the state of Michigan. 247's Steve Wiltfong notes that Malik still wants to attend MSU; again, his father is quoted as being strongly against this ($):
“From when we talked Friday he’s coming around because he knows how adamant we are about him not attending Michigan State,” the elder McDowell said. “I don’t have anything bad to say against Michigan State but I don’t think they’re the school for my son. I think the coaches are cool and they’re establishing a good program, but this is my son and I choose to not want him there. If he were to choose Michigan State I don’t know what I would do. It is what it is. I just want my son away from this environment and Michigan. I want him out of here.”
Malik himself hasn't been available for comment in quite some time (aside from tweeting his top four last week) and that's unlikely to change before his planned 9:30am NSD announcement. All indications, however, point to him choosing any of the three schools besides Michigan.
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest wave of 2015 offers, Jashon Cornell's visit plans, ALABAMA DANCEOFF, and more.]
2015 Offers: All Of The Offensive Tackles
Aside from their continued pursuit of McDowell, the coaches have moved their focus entirely to the class of 2015 and beyond, with another group of offers going out in recent days.
As Brandon covered last Thursday, Michigan offered Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas teammates WR Devante Peete and CB Rashard Causey; while both expressed interest in visiting, it's unlikely either will ultimately be a part of Michigan's class. Also falling under that distinction is five-star TX DB Kendall Sheffield, who Doug Nussmeier previously recruited at Alabama, per Steve Lorenz($)—at this point, Sheffield looks likely to stay in Texas.
After landing a commitment from OT Jon Runyan Jr., the Wolverines were content to wait on four-star PA OT Sterling Jenkins (and, to a lesser extent, LA four-star OT Garrett Thomas, who's shown much less interest than Jenkins) to potentially fill the other open tackle spot... for a while, anyway. In the last couple weeks, Michigan offered top-ranked tackle Mitch Hyatt and FL four-star OT Jake Fruhmorgen, then put forth four more offers to offensive tackles yesterday:
Four-star PA OT Ryan Bates
Four-star NJ OT Grant Newsome
Four-star AZ OT Keenan Walker
Four-star TN OT Drew Richmond
All four rank within the top 250 overall prospects (and top 20 OTs) in the 247 Composite and boast lengthy and impressive offer lists. None of them seem exceedingly likely to end up at Michigan—Bates and Newsome are taking hard looks at Penn State, which could actually be good news in Michigan's recruitment of Jenkins, while Walker seems to have his eyes on a warm weather school after telling 247 that the cold affected his outlook of Ohio State following a visit there ($). Richmond, meanwhile, boasts the strongest rankings and best offer sheet of the four, plus he grew up an Ohio State fan, though he gave an encouraging quote to GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz ($):
“Pretty much everyone knows I grew up an Ohio State fan and that I hated Michigan,” Richmond said. “But I have to understand what Michigan can do (for me) after football and I love tradition and Michigan has a great deal of tradition.
“What’s not to love about it (Michigan)?”
Richmond hasn't set a visit schedule yet and mentioned that he "hope[s] to" make it up to Ann Arbor at some point.
It's obvious from the recent spate of offers that Michigan really wants another offensive tackle for 2015, and a highly-ranked one at that; Jenkins still appears to be the most likely candidate to join Runyan in the class among the offered tackles.
One recent offeree Michigan could be a major player for is four-star GA TE Jalen Wilkerson (Hudl highlights), who told Steve Lorenz he was very excited by the Wolverine offer ($):
"My coaches called me into the main office and wanted to tell me that Michigan had offered me a full-ride scholarship," Wilkerson said. "I was just really excited and feel blessed. I never thought I'd see the day where a school like Michigan would offer me a scholarship to play football for them."
Despite being ranked among the country's top 150 prospects, Wilkerson's offer list only includes Michigan, Miami (YTM), Minnesota, and Louisiana-Lafayette to this point. He's enamored with Auburn and visited there over the weekend (post-Michigan offer) with the potential for a commitment on the spot should the Tigers have offered; they didn't, so there's a window for Michigan to make a move if they can get him on campus.
Scout's Allen Trieu caught up with Michigan's top WDE target, MN five-star Jashon Cornell, to discuss his future visit plans ($):
"I think I want to cut it down further beginning of March or towards the end of March after I take the next couple visits. We talked about going to Nebraska and Wisconsin and then Michigan, Michigan State and then probably an unofficial to Ohio State probably before spring. Then I'll go back to California and meet some of the new coaching staff at USC, Stanford and Cal."
The Wolverines are currently in a large top group of 15 schools.
2016 GA TE Isaac Nauta, one of Michigan's first offer recipients in his class, told Sam Webb that the Wolverines one of five schools "sticking out," along with Florida State, Auburn, Georgia, and Clemson ($).
Greg Mattison got the #7 spot on ESPN's list of the nation's top ten recruiters among assistant coaches ($). Mattison and Ohio State's Larry Johnson (#9) are the only coaches on the list who aren't either in the SEC or entering their first year at a shiny new NFL gig.
Here's hoping more recruits understand the brief period of time in which they wield enormous power over millionaire coaches and make situations such as this the norm in recruiting:
"We walked in and the first people we saw was the entire Auburn staff standing there on our left and to my right was Kirby Smart and the Bama staff," Alan [Evans, father of five-star OLB Rashaan Evans] told al.com. "The coaches shook hands and talked but you could tell they were there for one thing and one thing only. Then the live band started playing and the Alabama and Auburn coaches hit the dance floor.
"It was unbelievable. I just couldn't stop laughing."
DANCE FOR MY SIGNATURE, CLOWNS.
Cam Cameron takes recruiting creepiness to new heights. SBNation compiles the most ridiculous NSD stories. Roll Tide Roll sees that Alabama is going to find a way to get rid of eight scholarship players who have yet to graduate in order to make room for what should be a full 27-man class, realizes that perhaps they're on the wrong side of history/morality when it comes to oversigning. Board poster corundum unearths a spreadsheet of Tom Lemming's rankings dating back to 1990; I'll be looking at this for offseason content, and in the meantime—go nuts, diarists.