I'm beginning this draft on Thursday morning, and four-star IL OL Jamarco Jones is scheduled to choose between Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State at 2 pm. It doesn't seem like any insiders have a great feel for his destination, but the general consensus is that it's unlikely to be Michigan. This means a head-to-head loss against either MSU or OSU; you can decide for yourselves which one of those is the least undesirable scenario.
PRE-POST UPDATE: It's Ohio State, as most everyone predicted. This is certainly a tough loss for Michigan, though it's worse for MSU, which needs more depth—not to mention high-end talent—on the offensive line. If you still need to feel better (and you might before the end of this section), there's always being Not Illinois:
[insert Tim Beckman derp face here]
Meanwhile, the tide appears to have shifted dramatically in the recruitment of FL WR Artavis Scott, who said this after a return visit to Clemson last weekend, per Rivals ($)...
So, which school is recruiting him the hardest to ensure they get an official visit?
"Clemson. I'm building a great relationship with Coach [Tony] Elliott and Coach [Jeff] Scott. When I'm there I talk to Coach [Dabo] Swinney and guys like Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins. They tell me how it is and my bond is growing with Clemson," stated Scott.
...then promptly moved up his decision timeline:
The Opening starts on Sunday, though Scott's announcement will likely come later in the event, which runs through next Wednesday. Regardless of when he makes the call, it's a bad sign that Scott suddenly decided to announce (1) on the heels of a Clemson visit and (2) before a planned trip to the BBQ at the Big House. For his part, though, Scott is at least keeping up the appearance of being undecided:
It should come down to Michigan and Clemson; the Tigers appear to have the edge.
Scott's five-star 2015 teammate, ATH George Campbell, told Scout's Amy Campbell that he still wants to visit for the BBQ with Scott and commit Mason Cole, but he's unsure it it'll happen—though it appears this depends more on Cole's plans than Scott's ($). Campbell also mentions plans for a return trip to Clemson, saying "it's basically family," so... crap. Projections have quickly shifted from Michigan potentially getting all three of the East Lake trio to just the one they have in hand.
To keep the good vibes going, Tim Sullivan caught up with CA CB Adoree' Jackson; recent buzz surrounding Jackson and Michigan has been quite positive, but this is a cold dose of reality ($):
"That's going to be the main factor," [Jackson] said of a school's track program. "That's the biggest. It's probably one of my biggest things right up there with education."
Michigan's standing in his recruitment may suffer from Jackson's intense focus on track. The Wolverines are currently without a track coach following the retirement of longtime coach Fred LaPlante, and U-M's program has not been on the national stage in quite some time - the last national title came in 1923.
Jackson still plans to spend part of the summer in his native state of Illinois, but told Tim that he's "not really worried about" taking the time to head up to Michigan's BBQ. The Wolverines are still slated to get an offical visit, per Scout's Greg Biggins($), but at this point they're a heavy underdog against the likes of USC, UCLA, Florida, and LSU.
So, not a good week for pipe dream class projections, then. Please don't shoot the messenger.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup. I swear there's good news in there.]
Commit Watch, Commence?
Oh, just another underclassman prospect on the verge of a Michigan commitment. Tim Sullivan posted on The Wolverine's board that 2015 OH CB Shawn Crawford plans to make a decision a couple days after visiting Miami (YTM) this weekend ($). Crawford nearly committed to Michigan on the spot when offered last month and came back to Ann Arbor for camp two weeks ago; a Wolverine fan since childhood, he's been participating in Michigan's camps since he was a rising freshman. Unless he's blown away by the Hurricanes (sorry), Crawford should become Michigan's third 2015 commit within the next week.
Five-star 2015 DT Tim Settle accompanied fellow Virginian Da'Shawn Hand—whom he calls a "big brother/mentor figure"—for the Columbus NFTC (and corresponding OSU visit); according to Steve Lorenz, the same could happen for Michigan soon ($):
Earlier today, I reported that top 2014 prospect Da'Shawn Hand may visit Michigan for the BBQ in July. If he is able to end up attending, expect Settle to come along with him. Hand's interest in Michigan has not been lost on the younger star.
"It wouldn't hurt my interest for sure (if Da'Shawn committed to Michigan)," Settle said. "I don't know how much of a factor it would be at this point. Playing together is something we've talked about a few times. We want to major in the same thing as well, so there's that too."
Michigan has yet to offer Settle, but that seems like a foregone conclusion given his status as a blue-chip recruit. If he and Hand make it up for the BBQ, hopefully Professor Needs A Raise will be in attendance, too.
Four-star Saginaw rising junior Brian Cole has made several visits to campus, but last weekend's was a little different: he brought his mom, per GBW's Josh Newkirk ($). Cole isn't talking favorites but the Wolverines are in a strong position with him early. Michigan has offered the 6'2" athlete as a wide receiver, though he's being recruited by other schools—including MSU and OSU—as a cornerback.
The Wolverines could be in even better position for 2015 Southfield corner Ray Buford, who's also made several trips to campus and gave Newkirk a glowing review of the school after his most recent visit ($):
“It was pretty good,” said Buford, on his visit. “I have always loved Michigan. I got a pretty good feel for it. I looked around at other things, of course, I looked at the Big House and saw all the facilities. I felt I had a lot of love from the coaches and they really liked me. I got a sense of family up there.
“[A Michigan offer] would mean a lot,” Buford said. “It would be a great honor. I would smile forever if I got that offer. But I wouldn’t make the decision right off the bat.”
Buford holds early offers from Eastern Michigan and Toledo. Should Michigan join the fray, they would be tough to beat.
247's #2 cornerback in the 2015 class, New Jersey product Minkah Fitzpatrick, told Tim Sullivan that Michigan is among the schools he plans to visit this fall ($). Fitzpatrick attends the same school as 2014 RB target Jonathan Hilliman.
The Opening Preview...
...is very short this year. Michigan had a very strong presence at Nike's elite invite-only camp last summer, but this year TE Ian Bunting will be the only Wolverine commit in attendance—you can see which Michigan targets will be there in this free 247 article. Drake Harris was also expected to participate, but he has other priorities:
As of right now, that means Harris joins Mason Cole, Michael Ferns, Bryan Mone, and Wilton Speight among 2014 commits planning to enroll early. I'll take Harris getting a jump start on competing for a starting job over his participation in a high school camp any day.
In other commit news, Sam Webb watched Chase Winovich play with his summer league basketball team and put forth the (totally not happening) hypothetical ($):
Much was made of the admiration Brady Hoke has for Mitch McGary. What if John Beilein were to hold Winovich in similar regard?
“I’d have to stick with football,” Winovich responded laughingly. “I think football is my ticket. I play basketball for fun and competition. I think football is ultimately my ticket. I love football because I can let loose and go hit somebody. You really can’t do that in basketball.”
Mitch McGary begs to differ:
But yes, football is fine, Chase. John Beilein doesn't seem to need the help.
PA WR K.J. Williams now has an order to his top three: Syracuse, Michigan, then Mizzou, per 247's Evan Flood ($). The Wolverines could turn the heat back up should Scott land elsewhere; camp offer Freddy Canteen is another strong candidate at receiver.
Oh, and apparently PA ATH Malik Hooker, who named Michigan to his final five with Ohio State, Penn State, Pitt, and West Virginia, per 247's Clint Brewster ($). At 6'2", 190 pounds, Hooker could play either receiver or defensive back at the next level.
Five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter did not leave Ohio State with the best of impressions, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
What was your impression of Ohio State? “I didn’t really get to see anything. None of the coaches were there. Coach Meyer left before I got there. Nobody was there. It was just (offensive coordinator Tom Herman), the coach who recruits me – he was there with his son. We just walked around their football building and saw the indoor field and the practice fields. Then we got dinner. When I woke up, (defensive line coach Mike Vrabel) came. We ate breakfast, went by the stadium and Buckeye Grove. And that’s it. We left. Ohio State was just a drive-through. We didn’t really do anything.”
Was that a bummer not to see more at Ohio State? “It was kind of disappointing but it was whatever. “
If somebody from the Oregon football program asks for your Rivals account info, give it to them and then CALL THE NCAA IMMEDIATELY. Payback for Pharaoh Brown, right there.
Vanderbilt coach James Franklin sees you offering eighth-graders, SEC, and raises you UNBORN CHILDREN. No, he's not joking. Recruiting is something you should take very seriously in every way.