Crap, This Again
Just when Michigan had finally received some good recruiting news, 247's Tom Loy dropped a big ol' WELP this morning ($):
I've confirmed with a source in [Michigan commit Shaun] Crawford's camp, who gave the green light to report this information at this time, that Shaun, accompanied by his father, brother and a close friend, will take an unofficial visit to Notre Dame on Sunday. They will arrive early in the morning, stay for most of the day, and then head home Sunday evening.
Crawford has not decommitted from Michigan and he's informed the staff that he will visit South Bend this weekend.
This isn't the first time Crawford's considered a post-commitment visit to South Bend, and this time it's more than just a rumor. He had very serious interest in the Irish early in his recruitment but didn't have an offer from them when he pledged to Michigan; when Notre Dame replaced departed DC Bob Diaco with Brian Vangorder, Crawford picked up that offer.
Notre Dame isn't the only school Crawford is planning to visit, either, as 247's Bob Kurelic confirmed he'll also check out Ohio State on May 31st ($).
Crawford maintains he's committed to Michigan, and it's important to note that he informed the coaches ahead of time about his intentions to take visits—not doing so was a major issue for this staff in the cases of Pharaoh Brown and David Dawson. The infamous "Policy" is going to get a lot of play as Crawford takes these visits, so let's clear up what this really means:
There's a huge difference between "recruiting your spot again" and completely breaking off a commitment. Michigan is likely to look around at other cornerbacks, though they could decide not to—it's not a huge position of need in the class and they've also got top-100 corner Garrett Taylor in the fold. If Crawford decides he still wants to be at Michigan after looking around, it's highly unlikely that door is closed; remember how Dawson's recruitment played out, and he was far less up front with the coaches about his visit intentions than Crawford.
This isn't good news, of course. Crawford is a hell of a prospect, and if he goes elsewhere it'll be difficult to replace him with a similar talent. Before hitting the panic button, however, let's see how these visits play out.
[Hit THE JUMP for what's actually an entirely positive recruiting roundup save for what you've already read, including more on Alex Malzone's commitment, three top 2015 prospects showing very serious Michigan interest, and more.]
With that out of the way, how about some good news? Tim Sullivan caught up with Brother Rice head coach Dave Sofran to talk about his quarterback and Michigan's newest commit, Alex Malzone ($):
"A lot of being a good quarterback is I think decision-making, and he's a very good decision-maker," Sofran said. "He's a quick thinker and he makes good decisions. He doesn't force things too much, he kind of lets the game come to him. That's one of the things that I think is unique about him. You do have guys that you see that have a great arm and they try to show off their arm all the time. He's a guy that has some touch on the ball, and if it's not there, he's going to go to his next read and let the game come to him.
Malzone's ability to change up speeds and put the right touch on the ball shows up in his film, and it this point we've got plenty of confirmation from various sources that there's little to worry about in terms of arm strength. For example, when Rivals ranked the top quarterback performances from all of this spring's Rivals-exclusive camps, Malzone came in at #6 in part due to his ability to throw a football pretty dang hard ($):
Malzone walked up to the Detroit RCS and walked away with position MVP honors after a day in which he was pinpoint accurate and also unleashed his cannon arm. He entered the weekend with offers from Pittsburgh, Wake Forest and a host of Mid-American Conference schools. The next morning he threw for a contingent of college coaches that included Michigan, Minnesota and Penn State and reportedly was just as impressive there, it came as little surprise that Michigan offered and Malzone committed just yesterday.
Meanwhile, Malzone picked up offers from Virginia Tech and Cincinnati since his commitment. He's not a flight risk—he's a lifelong fan who waited patiently and worked like crazy to get his Michigan offer—so it's nice to see other programs saw the same potential in Malzone that U-M did.
As for his potential contributions on the recruiting trail, 247's Steve Lorenz posted a forum topic in which Malzone says he "immediately got to" recruiting some of Michigan's top targets after his commitment ($). The 2015 has lacked a Morris/Speight/Ferns-type of commit who'll rally his fellow recruits and push fellow prospects to join up ever since Damien Harris decommited; they've got that now in Malzone.
More 2015 Updates
Michigan made the unordered top ten for four-star NC SDE Darian Roseboro:
Top247 defensive lineman Darian Roseboro of Lincolnton (N.C.) High School announced on his Twitter account Wednesday night that N.C. State, Michigan, Clemson, Tennessee, Ohio State, Florida, LSU, North Carolina, Alabama and Duke currently are his top 10 college choices.
Roseboro made a three-day visit last month that put the Wolverines at or near the top of his recruitment, and Steve Lorenz reports that he'll return for another unofficial visit in July.
In addition, four-star NJ OT Grant Newsome has set a return visit to Ann Arbor for June 7th, two days after he visits Penn State. Those two schools are believed to be the two most likely to land him.
Another four-star visitor will be on campus even sooner, as IN ILB Darrin Kirkland Jr. tweeted yesterday that he'll visit Michigan this weekend. Like the two prospects mentioned above, the Wolverines are in great position with Kirkland.
Michigan offered 2016 four-star Cleveland (OH) Benedictine WR Justin Layne this week, per Scout's Bill Greene ($):
"This offer means a lot to me, and I could see myself going there," [Layne] continued. "They are definitely up there as one of my favorites. They have a great atmosphere and their coaches are great, so I'm very interested in Michigan."
Layne mentioned Ohio State and Florida State as two schools likely to join the fray soon—Urban Meyer apparently called shortly after hearing about the U-M offer—and he's already received offers from Miami (YTM), Michigan State, Pitt, and West Virginia. His recruitment will be hotly contested; it's good to see U-M getting in relatively early here.
For a really interesting look into the business side of recruiting, check out this post from 11W's Kyle Rowland, who talked with Ohio State director of player personnel Mark Pantoni and 247's J.C. Shurburtt for the piece. You may be surprised to see which Big Ten school has by far the smallest recruiting budget.