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Thursday Recruitin' Is One Of Those Programs Now
Today's recruiting roundup covers Michigan's latest offers to 2015 and 2016(!) prospects, campus visits by Braden Smith and Danny Burns, and more.
We Offered A Freshman. A 6'4", 248-Pound Freshman.
As the recruiting process continues to speed up, programs are getting in on top prospects earlier and earlier in their high school—or, if you're USC or LSU, middle school—careers. Michigan took a big step in that direction this week when Greg Mattison offered 2016 GA TE Isaac Nauta, the first freshman to earn that distinction in program history, per Tim Sullivan ($):
"We called Coach Mattison, and he just explained to me how they watched my film, the tight ends coach really liked me over there, and they wanted to offer me early," Nauta said. "He said that they actually don't offer kids this early, so it was kind of a special for them which I thought was really cool. It was pretty humbling because apparently I'm the first freshman that they've ever offered."
The Wolverines aren't even the first program to get in on Nauta, who also holds offers from Clemson, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech. This is the case because Nauta is, well, not your typical high school freshman—he's listed at 6'4", 248 pounds, and recorded six TD receptions and eight sacks for the Buford High School varsity squad, which won the Georgia Class AAA state title. Aside from some rawness in technique, there's little in his freshman film to suggest that he is, in fact, a freshman.
If Michigan is going to continue offering kids this early, I support the "offer man-child first, ask questions later" tack. Nauta says he plans to visit Ann Arbor in June, and he's taking his time with the recruiting process—which, yeah, is probably a good idea.
Michigan sent out a 2014 offer to AZ WR/DB Jalen Brown, according to Scout's Jason Jewell ($). The 6'2", 185-pound athlete now holds 29 scholarship offers, including USC, Stanford, Ohio State, and Oklahoma.
The Wolverines also sent out a 2015 offer this week to Plano (TX) West RB Soso Jamabo, per 247's Clint Brewster ($). Jamabo also holds offers from Ohio State and Oklahoma; at 6'2", 200 lbs., he's one to watch down the road, both for his talent and his name.
[Hit THE JUMP for visit reactions from a pair of 2014 linemen and more.]
Denard Seems To Be "Coincidentally" Around A Lot Of Recruiting Visitors
Michigan hosted five-star KS OL Braden Smith for an unofficial visit on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Smith's father told 247's Steve Wiltfong($) that his soon "looked very comfortable," on the trip. The elder Smith detailed the visit, which included a (cough) chance encounter with a certain EA Sports spokesman:
“He got to see practice,” Dave began. “He really enjoyed that a lot. He got to see what the line does and how they do their 1-on-1s and line drills. He enjoyed that very much. He got to see the Big House of course. That’s always impressive because he’s never seen a place that big. He got to meet Denard Robinson. That was pretty cool. We ended up luckily running into him. He’s a very nice gentlemen.
Well done, Denard.
Smith is in the midst of a swing that also includes stops in Columbus and South Bend, and he's also recently checkout out Alabama, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M. The key to getting in the mix will be securing one of his official visits, and Wiltfong suggests that the Wolverines put themselves in a good position to do just that.
Smith wasn't the only offensive lineman taking a mid-week visit. OH OL Danny Burns was on campus on Tuesday, and while he doesn't yet have an offer, that didn't stop the visit from making a big impression on him, per Scout's Dave Berk ($):
“We went up to Michigan on Tuesday to meet with the coaches and tour the facilities,” said Burns. “We toured the weight room and locker rooms and I honestly can say they are the best facilities I’ve ever seen.”
Burns was quick to answer when asked if he would give the visit a score of ten.
“The visit was a perfect ten,” said Burns.
The coaches told Burns that they'd like him to camp at Michigan this summer, where it sounds like he has a solid shot at earning a scholarship—with limited line spots available and the Wolverines pursuing some big-time prospects, the coaches are being judicious with their early offers.
Scout's Brian Dohn reports that NJ RB Jonathan Hilliman has altered his plans, cancelling several planned visits—including one to Michigan—in the comings weeks due to a busy schedule. That hasn't stopped Hilliman from planning to trim his list, and the Wolverines are still in a good position ($):
Hilliman added a deeper glimpse into his top 10 by discussing schools he plans to visit this summer.
“Definitely Michigan,” he said. “Definitely Ohio State. Definitely in the backyard at Rutgers. Definitely UNC, Arkansas and Georgia. Those are the places that I really, really want to get a chance to branch out and see. Those are the schools that have been pushing the hardest since the beginning of my junior year.”
That's good news, as NC RB Elijah Hood—who's previously listed Michigan as high as #2 on his list—has reevaluated his recruitment and plans to stay closer to home, per TomVH ($):
Running back Elijah Hood (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic) had his list narrowed dow to Notre Dame, Michigan and Ohio State and seemed destined to head North. That changed recently, though, as Hood and his family have been talking about his future plans.
"I'm talking with my family and probably going to have to reconsider some of my schools," he said. "Just the ones further away. I kind of want to stay close to home I believe."
Adjust your 2014 running back expectations accordingly. Hilliman and Hood are (or at least were, in Hood's case) two of the more realistic-looking options in the class, with California prospect Joe Mixon also interested but getting a ton of national attention.
The proposed deregulation of electronic communication between coaches and recruits got an override—meaning it won't be instituted as planned—and will be reviewed by the D-I board of directors in May. Coaches will now return to ignoring the current rules without consequence, and nothing will really change.