Oh, Just Another Imminent Probable Commitment
Shaun Crawford (#17) makes a tackle (via Cleveland Plain-Dealer)
2015 four-star OH CB Shaun Crawford has long been on commitment watch, and now we know precisely when to watch for said commitment:
"I will be making my decision public on August 23rd," Crawford told Scout.com. Lakewood St. Edward has a scrimmage scheduled that day with Warren Harding, and the Crawford announcement is expected at 5 p.m.
While Crawford spoke positively of Miami (YTM) and Notre Dame after visiting those schools over the summer, he named Michigan as his leader following the BBQ at the Big House and hasn't taken any visits since. It would be quite a surprise if he didn't choose the Wolverines.
For more on Crawford, Maize n Brew's Anthony Mammel just happened to post a lengthy breakdown of his game this morning. Purely coincidence, I'm sure.
The Glenville Duo Speaks
Glenville prospects Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith were surprise visitors for last month's BBQ, but in the time since we haven't heard much from them about their respective recruitments. Scout's Bill Greene finally caught up with the pair to talk about their trips to Ohio State (for their Friday Night Lights event) and Michigan; here's Lattimore on the BBQ ($):
On Michigan: “It was my first time out there," he stated. "It was nice. I’m considering them, too. It was everything. It was just the coaches, everyone was laid back. It’s like a team up there. It was nice to see the chill side of the coaches and see how they really are outside of football. I liked it.”
And Smith ($):
"It was my first time being at Michigan," he added. "It was actually better than I thought it would be. I really enjoyed myself. All the coaches were there. Coach [Brady] Hoke was a lot more active than I thought he would be. I got to establish a relationship with the coaches. They were down to earth. I feel I could fit in there."
Lattimore added that Michigan and Ohio State will both receive official visits from him this fall — notably, he didn't name any other teams in the running for officials — and presumably he'd be accompanied by Smith on those visits. Both prospects still hold Ohio State in very high regard, but Michigan is at least making a push. In Smith's case especially, the Wolverines appear to have a decent shot at landing a commitment; it's uncertain if OSU will have room in their sanction-limited class to take him.
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on Parrker Westphal and Kalen Ballage, updates on a couple top underclassmen recruits, a look at the new 2015 Scout 300, and more.]
IL CB Parrker Westphal's recruitment long appeared destined to end with a Michigan commitment; since Brandon Watson's pledge to the Wolverines, however, Northwestern and Vanderbilt have become serious contenders for his services. Over at 247, the Crystal Ball picks have rapidly shifted from 100% Michigan to a Northwestern majority, and Steve Wiltfong dropped this tidbit in his free Big Ten recruiting roundup:
Top247 cornerback Parrker Westphal spoke with Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald recently, and the Wildcats head coach has basically taken over the recruitment for the Bolingbrook (Ill.) High talent. There is a lot of momentum right now regarding Northwestern and Westphal on the recruiting trail.
Michigan is full at corner unless more spots open up (or, perhaps, if Lattimore wants to join, but that's still a longshot), and the coaches seem to like Smith and Montae Nicholson more than Westphal as safety prospects. At this point, Westphal appears unlikely to end up in the class.
Meanwhile, if Michigan is done recruiting CO ATH Kalen Ballage — who projects to running back — then they haven't told Kalen Ballage, per Rivals's Rob Cassidy ($):
"I'm going to wait until after football season to take the visits," Ballage said. "That's probably the only time I can do it. I just want to focus on right now. For right now, I plan on visiting Michigan, Boise State, Michigan State and Nebraska. That's subject to change, but that's it. I'm still kind of looking for a fifth. I want to take five."
We'll see if that comes to fruition; in all likelihood, Michigan won't take a running back in the 2014 class, and they're full at Ballage's other high school position (linebacker) as well.
Five-star MN WDE Jashon Cornell is perhaps Michigan's top priority in the 2015 class who hasn't already committed; that's been made clear by the coaches — Greg Mattison has made sure to remind Cornell that he's the only prospect Michigan has offered at his position — and also by his fellow recruits, per Steve Lorenz ($):
"I talk to George (Campbell) every other day or so," Cornell said. "At first it was a lot of talk about Michigan, but since then I think we've developed a good bond and friendship. I've been hearing from Damien (Harris) as well, along with Moe Ways, Drake Harris and Mason (Cole). I've heard from Wilton (Speight) too. They're coming at me really hard right now."
That's six (six!) Michigan commits who've dedicated time to befriending and recruiting Cornell, who'll be in attendance when Michigan takes on Notre Dame — perhaps the biggest competition for the Wolverines, though several of the nation's top programs will also have their say. Cornell cites his growing relationship with both the Michigan commits and coaches as the main reason for his increasing interest in the Wolverines. Hail to the Mayor.
If Michigan can't get Cornell, a very quality backup plan appears ready to leap on an offer; the coaches have made contact with 2015 four-star CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South, who called Michigan his "dream school" a couple months ago before even talking with the coaches, and reiterated that to Steve Lorenz after talking with Coach Ferrigno ($):
"My coach told him about how I liked Michigan. When I first called Coach, I was really nervous because I didn't want to mess up," Lucier-South said, laughing. "When I was talking to him, I kept telling myself that I couldn't believe that I was talking to someone from Michigan. They are really my dream offer. If I got an offer, I wouldn't commit right away, but if I really get that Michigan offer, it would be a dream come true. Me and my family are big Michigan fans. I grew up watching them every Saturday and it'd be a really great thing if I got that offer."
Lucier-South holds early offers from the likes of Texas, Miami, Tennessee, and UCLA, but said that Michigan would jump to the top of his list if they offered. Lucier-South is a top-100 prospect, so the Wolverines may offer before Cornell makes a decision; even with a limited projected class size, it's tough to pass up that kind of talent when there's obviously a lot of interest.
Noah Furbush, Man of Mystery
2014 commit Noah Furbush is listed on the recruiting sites at anything from weakside defensive end to inside linebacker; while his 6'4", 240-pound frame suggests he'd play on the line or at strongside linebacker, Michigan recruited him as a MIKE, and after seeing him in scrimmage action Scout's Bill Greene falls in line with the coaches ($):
Noah Furbush. Kenton. Linebacker/Defensive end. The three-star prospect is committed to Michigan, and he certainly showed why Tuesday. I'm not sure where the Wolverines plan on playing him, but he was out in space a lot and looked good running to the football. Looks like a middle linebacker possibly, and he plays a physical brand of football. Had a pick and was able to chase down smaller players in the open field. Has a chance to move up in the Ohio rankings with a continuation of this performance. I hadn't seen him in over a year and he is an improved player.
Michigan's recent recruiting and current lineup (see: 274-pound WDE Frank Clark) suggests that the coaches want more size just about everywhere on the field; playing Furbush at middle linebacker would certainly follow that trend.
The initial 2015 Scout 300 was released this week and Michigan boasts two of the nation's top prospects: five-star George Campbell (#13 overall, #1 receiver) and four-star Damien Harris (#22 overall, #2 running back), the latter being just two spots away from five-star status. Harris earned the top spot among Midwest prospects; here's Allen Trieu's reasoning behind the ranking ($):
1. Damien Harris - RB - Madison Southern (Ky.)
Harris has always been a big play guy with breakaway ability, as evidenced by his 11.9 yards per carry and consistent track and 40 times. He's also, at 5'11, 195-pounds, ahead of the curve as far as build and being ready for the pounding of the college game. The main concern with him has been his level of competition, but he can't control who he plays, and he has been dominant against that competition, scoring nearly one in every four times he touched the ball as a sophomore. Harris is currently committed to Michigan.
The only in-state prospect to crack the top 100 is Saginaw ATH Brian Cole, who's the fourth-ranked wide receiver and #58 overall. Six Michigan natives cracked the full list of 300. Shaun Crawford, meanwhile, is the #98 overall prospect and ranked sixth among Ohio natives.
The Wolverine released their own list of top 2014 Michigan prospects, headlined by Malik McDowell at the top spot. OSU commit Damon Webb is #2, followed by Drake Harris (Michigan, of course) and Rutgers QB commit Tyler Wiegers. Other Michigan commits on the list are Moe Ways (#6), Lawrence Marshall (#9), and Jared Wangler (#15). Michigan State's highest-ranked commit is Byron Bullough at #10; the Spartans also boast the 11th, 17th, 18th, and 19th-ranked in-state prospects. Western Michigan has commitments from the #7 and #13 prospects. But yeah, Spartans, we're all freaking out about Jayru Campbell.