Brian is out of town until tomorrow and I'm desperately trying to finish up my HTTV obligations before taking some much-needed time off, so posting will be light today.
Big Ten Recruiting, SEC-Style
After replacing Bill O'Brien with Vanderbilt's James Franklin, Penn State's become a most unlikely source of SEC-style recruiting insanity. That refers both to their ability to haul in top recruits—the Nittany Lions rank second in the 2015 247 Composite rankings—and their general approach to promoting the program. Let's check in on OL coach Herb Hand and various other members of the PSU coaching staff to see how their Easter weekend went:
If you've seen something like this before, it's highly recommended that you stop mixing hallucinogens with your morning bowl of Trix. If you continue to see such images, seek immediate professional counseling.
Big Ten Recruiting, B1G-Style
Iowa assistant Eric Johnson was a member of Kirk Ferentz's original Hawkeye staff in 1999 as a grad assistant, and since 2003 he's been the program's recruiting coordinator. Until yesterday, that is, when Marc Morehouse reported that Johnson left the program to "pursue opportunties outside of football." After 15 years, that must've been one heck of an opportuni--
In the most Big Ten thing to ever Big Ten in the Big Ten, a Big Ten recruiting coordinator chose opening a franchise of a Wisconsin-based fast food joint specializing in butterburgers and frozen custard over a major college football coaching job.
Thanks for keeping up appearances, Iowa.
The Wolverines hosted a few top targets over the weekend, including four-star CT TE Chris Clark, who'd been high on Michigan before committing, then subsequently decomitting, from North Carolina. He spoke highly of his time spent with Jake Butt, the coaching staff, and the M-PACT program when he recapped his visit to 247's Steve Lorenz ($). After capping off his weekend with a visit to Ohio State, Clark told 247's Bill Kurelic his recruitment could very well become a classic Michigan-OSU battle ($):
“Honestly, it’s starting to feel a little like Ohio State and Michigan,” Clark said. “Both are right there. I like both schools a lot. I don’t know if I’ll visit Auburn now. Those two schools (Ohio State and Michigan) are definitely the best schools I’ve been to so far.
“I want to get back to Ohio State and Michigan with my mom,” Clark said. “My mom has to see both schools (before I decide). I’ll probably visit both in June.”
Caveats about here, however. Clark committed to UNC in a surprise move last month, only to have that commitment last a week before he opened his recruitment back up. He seems like the type of kid who gets blown away by a lot of his visits—this isn't a knock on Clark, just a reason why his recruitment is difficult to predict.
That said, Auburn is the only other visit Clark has set right now—one he's considering canceling after seeing U-M and OSU—and he did see Notre Dame at the end of March, so there's reason to believe his current top two will stick. The tentative plans for return trips to both schools are big here. Proceed with caution, but leave room for optimism.
Four-star VA DE Clelin Ferrell also left Ann Arbor impressed enough to want to see it again, per Lorenz ($):
"I want to come back (to Michigan)," he said. "It will either be sometime this summer or for an official visit. I haven't fully decided where I want to take my official visits yet, but there's a good chance that Michigan will be one of them. I just want to take some more unofficial visits to get a better idea of the types of schools I want to consider and will go from there."
Ferrell is working on narrowing down from a list of 11 schools, so his process should take more time than Clark's.
I haven't seen a full article yet, but 247's latest Inside Michigan Recruiting post($) includes a one-word visit reaction from the top tackle seriously considering U-M, VA four-star Grant Newsome: "awesome."
Newsome spent all weekend on campus with his father, so expect to hear more on him soon. His recruitment could come down to Michigan and Penn State; in this case, fellow tackle Sterling Jenkins's heavy interest in PSU could actually help the Wolverines.
Recently anointed five-star 2016 WI OT Ben Bredeson took the trip with his mom, who was very impressed with the M-PACT academic presentation, and told Lorenz that Michigan should be in it for the long haul ($):
"Michigan has it all, and I've been able to see that now," Bredeson noted. "Their academics are great, the athletics are amazing and the people within the program are all really good people too. Michigan is definitely going to be a strong consideration for me throughout the process."
Michigan, Ohio State, Tennessee, and Wisconsin have all offered in the last couple months, and interest in Bredeson won't stop there. While it should be a battle for his services, it's a good sign that he's taken two unofficials to Michigan in a three-week span.
Two New Offers
According to multiple outlets, Michigan offered a pair of top-100 2016 receivers in the last week, Tampa (FL) Catholic's Nate Craig and Sicklerville (NJ) Timber Creek's Cameron Chambers.
Michigan is on the outside looking in for Craig, as he named Auburn his leader among a top five that didn't include the Wolverines just a couple days ago, per 247's Keith Niebuhr ($). He held his U-M offer by that point, so they're a longshot at the moment.
Chambers is more focused on Midwest schools, namely Ohio State, and it looks like Michigan could get into the running with him—he certainly looks like a more likely option than Craig.
The Wolverine's Brandon Hunter checks in with 2016 MI OL Thiyo Lukusa, who came close to committing to Michigan in February but has decided to take his time ($):
Many expected Lukusa to become Michigan's second commitment in the 2016 class, but didn't pull the trigger when he visited Ann Arbor in February. Still, Michigan is in excellent shape with the talented young lineman, though he no longer claims any school as his favorite. A commitment from him may come later on in his process, as he plans to visit more schools and participate in summer camps.
"All the schools are cool for now," Lukusa said. "I haven't seen enough from anyone to say they are my favorite yet."
Lukusa mentioned that Michigan has been the school in closest contact with him; while he may not claim a favorite, U-M is still in very good shape.
The NCAA has stopped accepting coursework from 24 "nontraditional" high schools run by a company called K12 Inc. While Eastern Christian Academy, the football-focused school with online courses that produced Freddy Canteen and Brandon Watson, isn't among the listed programs, it's difficult not to wonder how long it'll take before the NCAA starts taking a hard look at them, too.
Alabama, being Alabama, hauled in four blue-chip recruits last weekend. Among them was five-star NJ CB Minkah Fitzpatrick, who held a Michigan offer; happy trails to him.