Rivals100 Update: Clark, Cole Move Up
Rivals updated their 2015 top 100 today, and one of the biggest risers on the entire list is a Michigan commit. After excelling at the Rivals elite invite-only camp, TE Chris Clark vaulted up 90 spots to #56 overall, where he's in a dead heat with UCLA commit Alize Jones for the honor of top-ranked tight end:
Clark had a fantastic showing at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge Presented by Under Armour in Baltimore. He is a complete tight end, not just a glorified receiver. His film shows that he is an excellent blocker. In Baltimore, Clark showed that he can run and catch like a hybrid tight end. There was a heated debate about whether he should be the top tight end in the country, over Alize Jones. The two are ranked No. 55 and No. 56 in the country and the smallest of differences were part of an extensive discussion. -- Friedman
Also mentioned among the top risers on the list is NC SDE Darian Roseboro, who many feel will be a Wolverine—myself included—when he announces his college choice on August 29th. He rose 37 spots to #42 overall, just 12 spots away from five-star status:
Roseboro is a defensive end in a defensive tackle's body and that's a good thing. He has the explosiveness and nose for the ball one hopes for in a defensive end and the size of a defensive tackle. Roseboro has the natural ability to play with good leverage as well. This helps him anchor down against the run. -- Friedman
Aside from Clark, Michigan has two other commits in the top 100: CB Garrett Taylor, who stayed put at #48 overall, and WR Brian Cole, who moved up from #106 to #89. (Cole's nearly caught up to former commit George Campbell; the one-time five-star slid to #78, as concerns about his hands continue to hurt his stock.)
Also of note: Michigan's top-ranked remaining target, CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South, climbed five spots to #30 overall, earning him the final five-star designation on the list.
While RB commit Mike Weber didn't crack the list despite being ranked at #103 the last time around, it's doubtful he drops much, if at all—after strong showings at multiple camps, he's impressing Rivals Midwest analyst Josh Helmholdt in fall camp:
The full Rivals250 and further rankings updates will be out this week.
[Hit THE JUMP for updates on a couple Cass Tech prospects, Asmar Bilal, Michigan's pursuit of a top-five 2016 prospect, basketball recruiting, and more.]
Cass Tech Visitors
Weber attended the open scrimmage on Saturday night, accompanied by his 2016 teammate, four-star CB LaVert Hill, who told 247's Clint Brewster it was a "real cool visit." The younger brother of M safety Delano Hill has been on campus three times in less than a month; he pulled in a Michigan offer in June, and he'll be back in Ann Arbor for the season opener.
If you're thinking Michigan is the likely destination for Hill whenever he decides to end his recruitment, you're probably correct.
Unfortunately, the Wolverines have more work to do to be in the same position for Hill's Cass Tech classmate, four-star OL/DT Michael Onwenu. The massive (6'2", 310) junior maintains Ohio State as his leader despite pulling in a Michigan offer at the BBQ—the Buckeyes offered first, which helped them in this situation—and per 11W's Mike Rockstedt, he's being recruited by good friend and incoming Buckeye freshman Damon Webb:
Onewu's teammates at Cass Tech, Joshua Alabi (Ohio State) and Mike Weber (Michigan), are actively recruiting him to their prospective schools. They have been talking to him about the potential of them playing together and continuing pipelines to Michigan and Ohio State.
There is one thing Michigan lacks, and that is ace recruiter Damon Webb. "Me and Damon Webb are good friends," Onwenu said of their relationship. "He is telling me to never be satisfied and always stay hungry. He told me that if I went to go to a school that is dedicated to me, I should come to Ohio State."
Onwenu said he grew up rooting for Michigan and MSU, and there should be a heated battle for his signature among the rival schools.
Bilal Down To Two
Four-star IN prospect Asmar Bilal has emerged as seemingly the most likely candidate to fill Michigan's 2015 hole at outside linebacker, and he told The Wolverine's Brandon Brown that his recruitment is down to Michigan and Notre Dame ($):
"It's pretty much just Michigan and Notre Dame for me," Bilal revealed. "Neither of them have an edge right now. I don't have any type of leader at this point, I'm still completely undecided."
"I'm not sure if I'll need to visit Michigan or Notre Dame this fall or not," he explained. "I might if I haven't decided by then. I'm not sure when I will make my decision right now. Hopefully I can figure out a date soon. I doubt that it will be during August but I'd like it to be soon."
That article posted on Friday, so presumably the interview occurred before the Notre Dame academic scandal came to light—there was no discussion of it in the article, at least. It's unclear if/how that will affect Bilal's decision. Former Michigan commit and current ND pledge Shaun Crawford told TomVH that the investigation "has no impact" on his recruitment.
2016 Updates: M In Frequent Contact With Rashan Gary
Per 247's Steve Wiltfong, Michigan's Roy Manning is putting a lot of effort into recruiting five-star 2016 NJ DT Rashan Gary, the #4 overall player in his class, and Gary's transfer to a new school could also help out the Wolverines ($):
When talking to the staff at Paramus Catholic, perhaps the coach Gary talks to the most frequently is Roy Manning at Michigan. The jewel of the Wolverines 2014 signing class hails from Paramus Catholic in freshman defensive back Jabrill Peppers, and the Maize and Blue also inked four-star offensive tackle Juwan Bushell-Beatty from the same school as well. Gary just transferred to Paramus Catholic so while he didn’t play with those guys, head coach Brady Hoke and his staff have earned a lot of trust and respect from the Paladins program.
Gary, who's receiving interest from just about every major national program, hasn't yet narrowed the focus of his recruitment; it sounds like Michigan is positioned well, however, and making such inroads at an emerging talent factory like Paramus Catholic is a major positive whether or not it ultimately nets them Gary.
Top-50 WI OT Ben Bredeson has Michigan among four schools that currently stand out to him, per Brown ($):
If Wisconsin isn't a lock they are likely the team to beat but at least three other schools are sticking out to Bredeson right now.
"I don't really have a set top group yet," Bredeson admitted. "But the ones that have stuck out to me are Wisconsin, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. I mean those are kind of my big ones and I've been to all of those so that helps.
Wisconsin has the advantages of being the in-state school and having a great recent track record with their offensive lines; Michigan has a family connection now that Bredeson's older brother, Jack, committed to the baseball team while the family was in town for the BBQ.
Brown also caught up with four-star PA TE Naseir Upshur, who's still in the early stages of his recruitment—he plans to cut his list to 15 at the end of his junior season. That said, early returns are good; Upshur said he was "very impressed" by Michigan, but not so much by the top in-state program ($):
A special trip must be arranged for Upshur to check out Ann Arbor, but that is definitely not the case for the in-state Nittany Lions. New head coach James Franklin has been on a tear on the recruiting trail but may have dropped the ball a bit with Upshur.
"My feel on Penn State...it's okay," Upshur admitted. "I feel like it could really be better. They waited a long time to offer me. I've been to the school and I've seen them a couple of times and I was excited to get that offer. I just need to go down there with my parents and see how they feel about it."
He mentioned Maryland and South Carolina as destinations for fall game visits, and he'll "try and come" to a Michigan game, as well.
I forgot to mention this in the last update: 2016 commit Jon Teske went from unranked on 247 up to #105 overall (#12 center). He was already due for a bump up to four stars on Scout when they do their next re-rank; it would not surprise if Rivals and ESPN followed suit. Beilein talent identification FTW.
Michigan remained a constant as 2016 five-star PG Derryck Thornton Jr.'s father updated Scout's Josh Gerson on the schools that are recruiting his son the hardest ($):
In May, Derryck Thornton, Sr. told Scout.com that five schools were recruiting his son the hardest - Kentucky, Michigan, California, USC and UConn.
That list is now at six, with some changes.
"Kentucky, Michigan, Duke, Miami, California and Louisville are recruiting him the hardest," Thornton, Sr. said, adding that UCLA, Arizona, USC and Florida are also seriously pursuing his son.
The elder Thornton added that they'll "definitely" visit for a football game this fall.
Four-star 2016 Detroit Jesuit PG Cassius Winston visited campus last week with his father, per The Wolverine's Chris Balas ($):
"There are great people up there," Reg Winston [Cassius' father] said. "That's a good program with good coaches. We like them a lot.
Happy trails to 2015 four-star SG Prince Ali, who committed to UCLA on Saturday.