Surprise Visitor Surprised By Visit
Most of the recruiting buzz last week centered on a surprise visitor who didn't want his name to be revealed. That visitor turned out to be five-star CA QB Josh Rosen, the first quarterback offered by Michigan in the 2015 class. Rosen had already set a March 20th decision date before his trip to Ann Arbor, and UCLA was—and still is—his expected choice. He told Scout's Greg Biggins, however, that Michigan made the choice more difficult ($):
“I was honest and told [Doug Nussmeier] that I didn’t see myself picking Michigan. He told me I should still come up, no strings attached but said to just come up and check out the school for the experience and I have to, it was a lot better than I thought. I was actually hoping to get up there and not like it to reaffirm my decision but I really loved it there, Michigan is an incredible place.”
Just getting Rosen on campus is impressive; the program leaving that level of an impression even more so. Unfortunately, it appears this will be a moral victory, as Rosen still plans to keep his current timeline, and he told Rivals's Adam Gorney that his ultimate decision is unlikely to change ($):
"Coach Nuss is a very convincing guy," Rosen said. "He talked about the pro-style versus the spread offense and how my skill set would fit in one versus the other. He took me to The Big House and there were a lot of academic meetings and there is a great support staff at that school.
"I'm going to step back and think a little bit. I'm pretty positive, I'm pretty sure I'm going to stick with who I originally thought of, but it makes the decision harder.
While it's unlikely Michigan ends up getting Rosen, that doesn't mean the weekend was all for naught. Word spreads quickly among top recruits, and Michigan is targeting several California prospects. While Rosen will likely be recruiting for UCLA, the Bruins can't land everyone in the state, and a good word for Michigan could help get other recruits on campus—and that's often all this coaching staff needs to make a huge move in a prospect's recruitment.
[Hit THE JUMP for a potential commit watch from a big-time recruit, visit reactions, other 2015 QB updates, and more.]
Sophomore highlights. Junior single-game cut-ups are on Taylor's Hudl page.
VA CB Garrett Taylor, the #92 overall player on the 2015 247 Composite, also made it to Ann Arbor over the weekend, and he told 247's Steve Lorenz the trip was his best yet ($):
"Michigan was my best visit," he said. "They really have and showed me the total package as far as academics and athletics are concerned. I don't have any top schools specifically, but Michigan is definitely up there. I am going to be talking with my coach tomorrow and with my family about narrowing things down. I may be making my decision within the next month or so, but it's not for certain yet."
Stanford is the believed leader at this point, with 94% of the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions in favor of the Cardinal. However, it looks as if Michigan made a strong statement on this visit.
The outlook becomes even more positive after adding the context from Allen Trieu's article, in which Taylor says Michigan, Stanford, and Tennessee are the three schools he's primarily focused on, and after seeing Ann Arbor he might not take further visits ($):
Initially wanting to wait longer before making a commitment, Taylor's timeline has been accelerated by his recent visits.
"A decision definitely could happen pretty soon. I know I definitely have to sit down with my family and talk things over, but as of this point, I think we've been everywhere we need to be. I don't know if any more visits are going to happen, but after going up to Michigan and already going out to Stanford and Tennessee a couple times, I've kind of seen those places thoroughly. As far as exact timing, I don't really know, but it might happen soon."
To lay it out: Taylor's seen Stanford and Tennessee multiple times, said Michigan was his best visit, and left Ann Arbor talking about an accelerated decision timeline. Both Sam Webb and Steve Lorenz are dropping the kind of HINT HINT language on their respective boards that indicates a high level of optimism regarding a potential commitment.
More Visit Reactions
It's a loaded week when a five-star with high interest making a visit is buried this far below the fold. OH LB Justin Hilliard made his sixth trip to Ann Arbor in nine months, per Lorenz, and "really enjoyed" his first overnight stay; he plans to narrow his list soon, and Michigan is in position to make the cut ($):
"Once I get it down to four or five, I will take officials to those schools and go from there," he said. "Those are the schools I will take the visits to; even if I've been there a lot."
What does that mean for the Wolverines?
"At this point I'd say they're going to be an official visit for sure," Hilliard said. "I just want to make sure I see other schools first before fully committing to taking those visits anywhere though. I want to be as thorough as possible."
Ohio State and Notre Dame are other presumed favorites, as is Iowa, where Hilliard's brother CJ is an incoming freshman running back (may the football gods have mercy on his soul/knees). This may not just be a Midwest battle, however, as Hilliard specifically mentioned interest in visiting Alabama, Florida State, and Florida before cutting down his list.
Four-star OH TE CJ Conrad also took an unofficial to Ann Arbor, and per GBW's Josh Newkirk the coaches laid out what he'll need to do to earn an offer ($):
“It was good,” Conrad said on visit. “I got to talk with Coach Hoke, Coach Ferrigno and my recruiting coordinator, Coach Mattison. Basically what they told me was that they love my film and want to coach me live in person. So if I want to get an offer I am going to have to camp this summer.
“I might go to another spring practice. I am going to come up for a camp. They said they would come visit me in the spring to check me out and see how I was doing. They want to watch me workout.”
While Michigan is in good shape with four-star NY TE Tyrone Wheatley Jr., they just missed out on another offered four-star tight end, Chris Clark, who committed to UNC over the weekend. That could open the door for Conrad to earn that offer, especially if Wheatley extends his recruitment into the fall, as expected.
Lorenz has a free update on 2015 Brother Rice QB Alex Malzone, who took another trip to Ann Arbor over the weekend. This gave him a chance to sit in on a QB meeting and meet Nussmeier face-to-face for the first time. His situation is still the same—no offer until Nussmeier gets a chance to see him throw.
Eastern Christian Academy QB David Sills also made it onto campus over the weekend, though word hasn't come out yet on how his visit went. That'll be interesting to see, as it's unclear right now whether Michigan would take him even if he wanted to flip from his tenuous USC commitment.
Lorenz also posted a free update on five-star FL QB Torrance Gibson, who says he's close to a Michigan offer:
"I feel like they're going to offer me really soon," he said. "We didn't get into the specifics about it, but I don't feel like Michigan is the type of school that would waste time on players they weren't interested in. They're definitely a school I'm interested in as well. I know about their history with Desmond Howard winning the Heisman Trophy and that they have so many fans in their stadium that you can lose count. I don't know much more on them than that, but it's a school I would start to do some research on now that they're interested in me."
While Gibson is showing some interest, Michigan may be too late to the party. He's already got a loaded offer list with Miami (YTM) and Ohio State currently standing out; in an interview with 247's Miami outlet, he discussed his strong bond with the Hurricanes coaching staff and plans to visit Columbus (as well as LSU and Oklahoma) with no mention of Michigan ($).
If you missed it, Brandon posted an update on three-star TX S Prentice McKinney, who's currently very high on both Michigan and Notre Dame.
Four-star FL OL Jake Fruhmorgen told Scout's Chad Simmons that he plans to make a decision in the next few weeks, and Clemson is his favorite ($). Michigan is in his top four, but a happy trails mention appears inevitable.