I'm back from parts unknown—okay, Phoenix—with definitive proof that TomVH, not myself, is the recruiting analyst with the vacation-commitment curse (or gift, depending on your perspective). It's been mostly quiet on the recruiting front for the past week, save for Michigan finally pinning down a big-time visit.
Roll Out The
Red Blue Carpet
LA RB Leonard Fournette would like some extra barbeque with his barbeque, please:
New Orleans (LA) St. Augustine 2014 running back Leonard Fournette has been talking about visiting Michigan for some time now.
On Sunday, Wolverine247 insider Steve Lorenz confirmed that Fournette, the Nations top running back, will visit Michigan for an extended visit next week.
This year's BBQ at the Big House is a two-day event slated for Saturday/Sunday; Fournette will arrive in Ann Arbor on Thursday and spend the weekend — accompanied by both of his parents, per GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz ($). Fournette and his family remain adamant that the nation's top back doesn't have any leaders despite everyone expecting the Louisiana native to stay in the Southeast. Michigan is still a longshot and I will continue saying that until there's very concrete evidence to the contrary; Fournette staying for a long weekend with his parents, however, certainly indicates serious interest.
Fournette won't be the only 2014 running back in attendance at the BBQ; Michigan has long been among the top schools for New Jersey three-star Jonathan Hilliman, whose offer sheet far outstrips his current rankings — he'll be in town this weekend, but the Wolverines have ground to cover, per Rivals's Adam Friedman ($):
Hilliman's top five schools were, in no order, Ohio State, Alabama, Rutgers, Michigan and Vanderbilt but he already knows of one school that will make it to the next round.
"I'm going to cut down to three," he said. "Ohio State is still the leader. We're keeping in contact and it's easy for me to see how interested they are. I know Ohio State is going to make the cut and most likely Rutgers will also but I want to see how the visit goes. I'm not sure of which school will be that third one.
The BBQ gives Michigan a good chance to be that third school; Ohio State is obviously the team to beat. I'll have the full rundown on BBQ visitors on Thursday, once I've had a chance to settle back in and more recruits confirm whether or not they'll attend.
[Hit THE JUMP for news on early enrollees, the latest on Adoree' Jackson, and updates on several underclassmen, including Tyrone Wheatley Jr. and the two choice eliminations from his recruitment.]
Early Enrollin': Canteen & Watson
Via The M Block, we now have a non-Jungle Beats video for Canteen/Watson
Per Scout's Brian Dohn, SLOT Freddy Canteen and CB Brandon Watson will both begin classes at Michigan in January, bringing the list of 2014 early enrollees to a robust seven — QB Wilton Speight, WR Drake Harris, OL Mason Cole, DT Bryan Mone, and LB Michael Ferns are the others. That tops 2013's count of six EEs and is the most Michigan has had since 2009 (also seven).*
If you're interested in seeing Canteen and Watson do something besides hypnotically dance through ropes and tires, The M Block unearthed some recent 7-on-7 highlights above. Canteen has one unfortunate over-the-shoulder drop and otherwise displays the crisp route-running that's quickly become his hallmark; the stop-and-go route at the :40 mark is a thing of beauty. Watson's performance is less impressive on film, though 7-on-7 isn't the best showcase for his physical style of play.
In other commit-related videos, enjoy an omg-shirtless-heavy look at Jabrill Peppers, Juwann Bushell-Beatty, and the rest of their Paramus Catholic squad as they prepare to defend their state title:
Not Quite Happy Trails, But We're Getting There
Two articles on five-star CA CB Adoree' Jackson after a (very good) visit to Tennessee, zero mention of Michigan. Track coach or no, this recruitment isn't trending in the right direction — at this point, I'd be more surprised if Jackson ended up in the class than Fournette, and that's saying something.
ESPN released their new Junior 300, leaving Scout and Rivals in the trail position for unveiling 2015 rankings that will look remarkably different when they actually matter. The M Block has a rundown of top Michigan targets to make the list, including FL ATH George Campbell, who comes in at #3 overall. The Wolverines also have an offer out to the top overall player on the list, MN DE Jashon Cornell, and they could very well be the favorites for the #20 (KY RB Damien Harris), #49 (OH CB Shaun Crawford), and #294 (MI RB Mike Weber) prospects.
Cracking ESPN's list at #51 is Cass Tech DE Josh Alabi, who recently put Michigan among his top five schools:
Alabi and Weber have visited Michigan several times together and look like a possible package deal.
The #217 player on the list is a name you'll doubtlessly recognize, Tyrone Wheatley Jr., who told ESPN's Josh Moyer that he's still open to all suitors. Well, almost:
But there's a lot of time left before his college career begins, so that's one element he's not worried about. For now, he's just trying to perform his research on schools, bounce ideas off his parents and prepare to defend Canisius' undefeated 2012 season. And he's open to every school.
Well, almost every school.
"No Ohio State or Michigan State," he said with a laugh. "I can't do it. Those are just two schools that, even if I don't go to Michigan, I can't do it. My dad would have a heart attack if I committed there."
Your father is a wise man, young Wheatley.
Michigan and Louisville are the two schools standing out early for 2016 Trotwood-Madison QB Messiah DeWeaver, per ESPN's Brad Bournival ($). He's taking up Michigan on their invitation to the BBQ, though we're likely a ways off from the coaches offering a 2016 quarterback prospect.
2016 Traverse City West OL Thiyo Lukusa was in attendance for Michigan's technique camp, and in talking to Steve Lorenz it sounds like he's a good bet to commit should he earn an offer ($):
"I learned what the Michigan Difference was when I was at camp," he said. "The level that Michigan's at compared to other schools that I camped at (Lukusa camped at Michigan State, Penn State and Northwestern) is just different. They're on a whole other level. I've always been a Michigan fan. It was great to go there. After camp, I got to go on a two-hour tour of all of the facilities. I saw Glick Fieldhouse, the weight room and a bunch of other stuff. The Big House is the Big House, but I really liked Glick as well."
Lukusa has been fielding interest from some big-time schools, including Florida State, and he'll also be driving down for the BBQ.
Weis Gonna Weis
Real compelling recruiting pitch you've got going there, Charlie:
Just to keep this straight: the "pile of crap" is the Kansas football team, while the "pile of goo" is the head coach they'll soon mutiny against.
*Talk about a star-crossed group — the 2009 early enrollees were Tate Forcier, Will Campbell, Vincent Smith, Brandin Hawthorne, Anthony Lalota, Mike Jones, and Vlad Emilien. That's two years of starting out of seven EEs, with a few big-time flameouts. And if you want a real EE-related gut punch, click here.