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Thursday Recruitin' Never Lost That Loving Feeling
Damien Harris: Not Gone, Gone, Gone, Woooooaaaahhhh
Sam Webb caught up with Damien Harris's mother in the wake of the former commit's visit last weekend; she had very positive things to say about Doug Nussmeier, and it sounds like her son still has Michigan on top ($):
“It was the same comfort,” Ms. Harris reported. “I know for me it was. I really haven’t gotten a chance to sit down with Damien and discuss it (at length) because he has been in school and practice since we got home. I did ask him (Monday) night, ‘did the feelings come back that you had initially with Michigan?’ He was like, ‘the feeling never left. I never loss [sic] any of the feeling that I had for Michigan.’
In fact, Ms. Harris went on to say that she believes her son's recruitment is a Michigan-OSU battle and the good guys have the edge. There are several visits yet to come—Alabama, Florida, FSU, Miami, and Wisconsin all got mentions—and a long way to go until Signing Day, when Harris now plans to announce his decision. Still, this is a very positive sign, and per 247's Steve Lorenz, Harris may be back on campus in the near future ($):
"I haven't talked to Damien about it yet, but I believe we will be back up in the spring, and possibly the summer too," [Ms. Harris] said. "There are other schools he's looking to visit right now, and if we're not able to make it during the off-season, we will be up for at least one game."
All indications since Harris's decommitment have been that Michigan is still his favorite school and he just wants to utilize the entire recruiting process to check out other schools and ensure he makes a well-informed decision. In my opinion, nothing has changed there; if anything, Harris developing a relationship with Nussmeier has only strengthened Michigan's position.
Speaking of top 2015 targets, in-state four-star ATH Brian Cole also visited over the weekend, he told Tim Sullivan what he's looking for in his recruitment ($):
"I'm just trying to find the truth," he said. "That's basically it, just trying to find the truth, see who's real and not real. I don't know how I'll figure it out.
"Everybody's even. Everybody's No. 1 right now."
Michigan State and Michigan have been his presumed leaders for a while, with the Spartans seemingly holding the edge. Cole had to cancel a planned trip to Wisconsin recently that he plans to reschedule; he's also fielding increased interest from Alabama and could visit there, too.
[Updates on Michigan's 2015 defensive back commits, a look at U-M's options at linebacker, and more after THE JUMP.]
Crawford Recruits, Kinnel Film Breakdown
It's been a while since we've checked in on Michigan's two 2015 defensive back commits. Shaun Crawford spent last weekend in Ann Arbor, and he took the opportunity to do a little recruiting, per Tim Sullivan ($):
On his most recent visit to Ann Arbor yesterday, he tried to help convince a former U-M pledge - five-star Damien Harris - to unseat him as the top-ranked future Wolverine.
"Of course I tried to put in a good word [with the uncommitted guys]," Crawford explained.
Kinnel has been well schooled during his prep career and will enter college with a high football IQ. He’s fully capable of going sideline to sideline to make plays showing great lateral pursuit and the ability to get over the trash. A solid tackler who has no problem using power to take down the ball carrier, Kinnel at times does get high and will need to correct this issue at the college level.
Berk also lauds Kinnel's ability to cover a lot of ground when playing zone; his ability in man-to-man is tough to evaluate since he mostly plays deep safety for his high school team. Scout considers Kinnel a cornerback prospect who could also play safety; the other three services all have him pegged as a safety, and given Michigan's lack of safeties in the 2014 class it's very likely he'll end up there in college.
2015 Linebacker Picture: Options Abound
According to 247, Michigan has already offered 11 linebacker prospects for the 2015 class, and ten of them remain uncommitted (the exception: Clemson OLB/S commit Tanner Muse). The Wolverines look to be in good shape for in-state legacy Tyriq Thompson, who told GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz that he likes the idea of Greg Mattison being his position coach after Mattison gave him the usual pitch ($):
“And at one point Coach Mattison took me into his office and he showed me all of his pictures and he had a picture of Ray Lewis when he was coaching the Ravens and he told me in a couple years he wants to have a picture just like it right next to it of me and him, so that was pretty cool.”
Thompson adding on what his role would be for Michigan, “They would be blitzing me quite a bit.”
Thompson is taking the process slow and plans to take his five official visits, so while Michigan looks to be in the lead there's a lot of time for other programs to enter the picture.
Michigan is also in great position for IN ILB Josh Barajas, who told Brandon that Michigan is "definitely" still in his top group despite a wave of recent offers, adding that he plans to visit Ann Arbor again in March. The Wolverines are also contenders for five-star OH OLB Justin Hilliard and four-star UT OLB Osa Masina, though both won't be easy to land.
If the Wolverines need a backup option or two, it appears they have at least one after last weekend. Four-star IN ILB Darrin Kirkland has picked up several offers this month, including one from Penn State, but said after Michigan's Junior Day that he covets a Wolverine offer, per Scout's Allen Trieu ($):
"They are highly interested in me. I would strongly consider Michigan if they offered me a scholarship. If they offered me, I would strongly consider them in my decision."
He's looking at a December or January decision, giving the Wolverines plenty of time to work their way up his list should they offer.
Another four-star Indiana inside 'backer, Asmar Bilal, was also on hand for the MSU game; like Kirkland, he's hoping an offer comes his way, per Scout's Anna Hickey ($):
Bilal said the highlights of the visit were Michigan's win over Michigan State on the court, as well as his conversations with the Wolverines' staff. "We didn't go into specifics [about an offer]," Bilal added. "I hope it happens, though."
Bilal's most impressive offer so far is from Virginia Tech, which came in last week, so the Wolverines could be contenders if they decide to enter the picture. As was the case a couple weeks ago with Barajas, it looks like both Kirkland and Bilal are on the verge of pulling in some major offers; getting in early, should Michigan want them, would help give the Wolverines an edge.
2016 Orchard Lake St. Mary's LB/RB Daelin Hayes, who already holds an MSU offer, told 247's Steve Wiltfong that he thinks Michigan is "so close, it's ridiculous" to offering after he spoke with Greg Mattison when visiting last weekend ($):
“If I had more film,” he continued. “They pretty much told me they’re going to offer, they told me that several times. Coach (Greg) Mattison was going to watch my film that day, and they were going to offer me as a linebacker, but Coach Mattison didn’t know I only played three plays at linebacker in my scrimmage. All my film is at running back. Before they offer, he wants to get to me to camp and see me move around at linebacker to see if that’s where they want me at or keep me as an athlete, but the plan is they want to recruit me as a linebacker.”
Hayes is fielding significant interest from programs like Notre Dame, Penn State, and UCLA despite missing most of his sophomore season with an injury. From the sound of things, Michigan would be an instant contender if they put forth an offer (a running theme in today's post, apparently).
2016 IL LB TUF BORLAND* told Scout's Eric Rutter about an interesting Michigan connection after his visit last weekend ($):
“First off, I’ve talked to Greg Mattison, defensive coordinator, and he’s a great guy who I really like,” said Borland. “He actually recruited my dad coming out of high school too. Coach Mallory and all of the coaches have talked to me. Michigan seems pretty interested, which is good.”
Borland's recruitment is just starting to take off; he received his first offer, from Illinois, just a couple weeks ago. He said he's "definitely interested" in Michigan after getting the full facilities tour and academics presentation.
Scout's Brian Dohn reports($) four-star 2015 CT TE Chris Clark set a Michigan visit for March 23rd, part of a Midwest tour that'll also have him see Penn State, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Purdue.
If you missed it, Brandon caught up with recently offered 2015 NC S Stephen Griffin, and he also devised an informal rating scale for gauging prospect interest.
*Yes, the name "Tuf Borland" requires the all-caps LEVITICUS PAYNE treatment.
Like a lot of these guys want to wait until closer to signing day, at least the big guys, it will be interesting to see how the staff handles this. If anything, really means we better win 8-10 to have a legitimate chance.
Yup, it feels like alot of these recruits are taking a "wait & see" approach to find out if the program can turn it around or not.
The recruit train is absolutely sitting on the tracks. Not an issue with a good year. Bad/meh year? Board will be a battle royal.
This happens every year, and most of them are committed before the season starts. Wait until teams start telling them they only have one spot left at their position and they'll rethink that timeline.
How many years does that trick have left?
Pretty soon he'll have to change out the photo for one of Jake Ryan.
it was gold when he'd arrived for the first year or two but if his "go to" continues to be his tenure with the Ravens, I have to think other schools already mockingly joke with recruits about it. I can absolutely imagine any of our rivals mocking it. I can see Smart/Saban asking Hand "So, which Raven did he compare you to? How many times and how quickly hahaha...?". It's getting to be kind of a joke because year 3 (soon 4) & we've looked NOTHING like the Raven defense even in trying. I know you need talent, players, experience, etc. Yet, it's not even the same system let alone the insanely ineffective blitzing.......when we do. Great recruiter & DC but that is wearing thin. Every DB = Reed. Every LB = Lewis/Suggs. Every DL = Ngata. It's time to just let that go unless the kid is a crazy Raven fan ha. IMO, Harris will be a season recruit. Repeat last year and we lose him. Have a respectable year and I think he won't even wait until NSD. He won't come here with a coach on the hot seat. Not mentioned but George Campbell is gone gone with our only hope being an unlikely NC run lol.
for turning the one of the worst defenses in college football into one of the best in his first year and then consistently fielding decent defenses thereafter. yep, pretty weak sauce... Mattison is the man. I cannot wait to see what he does with the athletes he's recruited.
Hmm... the recruits say its a cool thing, and you say, based on nothibng at all, that it's time to let it go. Who should I believe when it comes to the impression on the recruits, you, or the recruits themselves? Tough decision. I'll sleep on it.
I'm not sure how I feel about Ace's Top Gun reference.
I think it's good.
sunglasses, volleyball, fancy hi-fives.... and everyone just thought it was about fighter pilots.
Honestly one of the tackiest movies ever produced (along with the Rocky movie where Rock defeats communism and steriods).
Ripping on Rocky 4 is uncool, but insulting Top Gun is absolutely out of line. I'll have none of it.
Is more about losing a loved one. If you had seen Rock and Apollo frolicking about in the water in Rocky 3 you would have a better appreciation.
It's also about how much better America is than Russia. Which can never be overstated.
Top Gun may be cheesy but it's awesomeness is well established. Shame on you for disparaging it. I expect a full report on how you plan to make amends for this shameful behavior. :).
youthful enthusiasm for the movie and its machisimo may have been misplaced. I might compare this to a crowd full of men clapping and stomping their feet to Queen at a sporting event. While I have a problem with none of it, it needs pointing out when Tom and Val are all dangerous together in the locker room. I will, as amends, rewatch Top Gun this month - with full surround sound and unironically to the extent possible - and I apologize to those in the MGoCommunity whom I've offended.
I was stationed in Norfolk in the early 80s and used to go to the officer's club at NAS Oceana on Friday nights. It was a zoo.
Back in the pre-9/11 days, women would be allowed access to the base without the requirement of a visitor's pass or anything. On a Friday night, the gate guard would see a car full of ladies in civilian dress and just wave them in without a thought.
It was a bachelor's paradise (and FWIW, for people who left their wedding rings at home). So when I watch that scene in Top Gun, it sure does remind me of a reality that existed 30 years ago.
How the hell are we going to get TUF BORLAND to not commit to Wisconsin. SEND ALL THE FLANNEL!
...that the phrase "True Blue" didn't originate by accident.
Also, in re
I'm just trying to find the truth," he said. "That's basically it, just trying to find the truth, see who's real and not real.
I hope he understands that real does in fact recognize real. So there's that.
Of Ms. Harris. She seems to be a fine and very intelligent woman. I am seeking other positive adjectives to describe my feelings for her, which I am sure will come to me over time.
Please stay in the picture Ms. Harris. Further, please keep your young man in line with positive thoughts for the good guys.
Great work as usual. Perhaps I am oversensitive, but would lose the "sic" in Ms Harris' comments.
The "sic" is in there because, I assume, whoever transcribed the quotes for GBW made a typo, which happens on that site quite often. It's in there to indicate a typo, not that Ms. Harris misspoke.
Crawford seemingly had cold feet too but now appears to be a lock. He could share his apprehensions and how he overcame them. Okay, I may be reaching here, but maybe....
Where are all these Indiana LBs coming from?
Their moms. #birdsandbees
Is it the spring game yet? please we need football...
at times does get high = welcome to Ann Arbor
how on earth does it take people on here 21 hours to come up with that? i figured 17 people had already commented on it. well done.
"Kinnel at times does get high and will need to correct this issue at the college level."