Happy Trails, Shaun Crawford
It felt like only a matter of time, and so it was...
Shaun Crawford is no longer a member of the 2015 class after following through with his expressed desire to visit Notre Dame and scheduling an Ohio State visit for this weekend. Michigan is recruiting other cornerbacks—the timing of the recent offer to TN four-star Cameron Ordway was no coincidence—and while they'll pursue Crawford, his recruitment isn't heading in the right direction:
247's Notre Dame insider believes a commitment to the Irish could be imminent, which would not surprise. Wherever he ends up, best of luck to the young man—if your sentiments are markedly different, consider refraining from commenting on this post. Fair warning.
Other Than That...
Yes, today's roundup started on a sour note, but the rest of the recent developments in the 2015 class are actually quite positive.
Things are looking especially good with four-star CT TE Chris Clark, who named Michigan his leader after his last visit and plans to see Ann Arbor again—along with Tennessee, Arizona State, and possibly North Carolina and Ohio State—before announcing his decision at The Opening on July 10th. The return trip is a good sign on its own, and the recruiting efforts of Alex Malzone appear to be paying off as well, per 247's Rusty Mansell ($):
There are few top prospects that Clark says he would like to play on the next level with.
“Oh man, that is a tough one, there is a couple of them, I like Matt Burrell a lot,” he said.”If we are talking quarterbacks, I definitely wouldn’t mind catching passes from Brady White (ASU commit), or Alex Malzone, who just committed to Michigan.”
Mansell, writing that post for 247's Georgia outlet, commented that he thinks Michigan is the ultimate destination. 11W's Jeremy Birmingham has the same gut feeling, as well. That would be especially tough for OSU given their other top TE target, Hale Hentges, committed to Alabama over the weekend. (Hentges also held a Michigan offer, but it's clear the Wolverines have dialed in their efforts on Clark.)
Meanwhile, Michigan made a slew of top lists for some quality 2015 targets. Four-star OH OLB Justin Hilliard named the Wolverines to his final five along with Notre Dame, Iowa, Ohio State, and Alabama, per Rivals' Josh Helmholdt ($):
"Michigan is definitely a school I have a lot of comfort with," Hilliard said. "Coach [Greg] Mattison, the linebackers coach, is very cool, very experienced and coached some of the greatest linebackers in the League. He is very involved in my recruiting right now.
Hilliard expects to make a decision before his senior season.
Michigan landed in the top three for OH DE Dre'Mont Jones, though they still have work to do to reach the top of his list, per 247's Tom Loy ($):
“Ohio State is No. 1 right now, then Michigan, then Notre Dame,” Jones mentioned. “Ohio State has the edge because I always have a great time when I’m up there. I like how they run their practices and I like how the coaches treat the players and it’s a great school.”
It's tough to see Jones ending up anywhere but Columbus, but Michigan at least has a shot—Jones plans to see Ann Arbor as one of several summer visits.
Cass Tech RB Mike Weber cleared up any misconception that U-M isn't among his top schools, telling Scout's Josh Newkirk they're in his top five with MSU, OSU, Wisconsin, and Tennessee, while also discussing Doug Nussmeier's offense in a very positive light ($):
“He coached a lot of great backs that are in the league right now or are going to the league,” Weber said. “So when he tells me things, I believe – because there is proof. He’s going to be good.”
Weber was slated to visit over the weekend, rooming with his old CT teammate David Dawson. After he seemed to cool on the Wolverines over the course of last season, it seems like the Nussmeier hire has really helped Michigan get back into serious contention.
Funchess-sized four-star IL WR Miles Boykin put Michigan in his top ten, as announced on Twitter. Aside from Florida and Oregon, it's a very Midwest group. According to 247's Steve Wiltfong, Michigan is up near the top of that group, and Boykin is set to visit on June 6th ($).
U-M also appears in the top ten for four-star TX S Khalil Haughton, whose list shows he's very willing to consider out of state schools.
[Hit THE JUMP for details on the latest strong camp showing from Alex Malzone, who Michigan's quarterback commit is recruiting himself, and MSU fans not grasping the core concept behind rankings changes.]
Another Camp, Another Strong Showing For Malzone
The Midwest Elite 7-on-7 tournament took place in Auburn Hills over the weekend, and once again Alex Malzone had an excellent performance. Rivals' Josh Helmholdt named him the #3 performer on the weekend ($):
Malzone was in total command of his Michigan Elite Black offense Saturday and moved his team down the field with ease during each possession he was under center. The ball did not seem to come off his hand with as much pop as we're used to seeing, yet he still got it there with plenty of velocity and was pinpoint accurate with his throws. There were several big-name quarterbacks in attendance Saturday, but none went through their progressions and moved the chains as efficiently as Malzone.
That list also includes top in-state target Brian Cole at #1 and Boykin at #10—there was plenty of competition. GBW's Josh Newkirk also came away impressed ($):
Michigan QB 2015 QB commit Alex Malzone made a surprise visit and played for Michigan Elite. The future Wolverine dazzled all afternoon with his strong arm and accuracy. He made a couple laser throws down the middle of the field that went for instant scores. His team scored on every drive but one, and on that drive he threw an interception late in his fourth and final game. Besides the one mishap, Malzone looked sharp and U-M certainly got a good signal caller of the future.
Newkirk caught up with Malzone to discuss his recruiting efforts—Malzone was reportedly talking up U-M to Cole at the event—and it looks like Michigan's latest QB commit is spending plenty of time on his smartphone ($):
“On the offensive side of the ball I have been talking to Chris Clark, Mike Weber, Damian Harris, Brian Cole, Auden Tate, Miles Boykin, Hale Hentges, Grant Newsome, Garrett Thomas,” Malzone said. “I would say those are the core guys. I have been just telling them all the great things Michigan has to offer.”
Not a bad list.
Freep link warning, but you will probably enjoy this article on MSU fans getting a bit touchy about the whole star rating thing in the wake of Malzone earning his fourth star on Rivals while they simultenously dropped Spartan commit Brian Lewerke from a four-star to a three-star. This part, especially:
In particular, Cassidy said, Lewerke struggled in terms of accuracy and reading defenses, though his physical ability remained impressive. The ranking decisions were made after a week of discussions between Farrell and the analysts — and right before Lewerke excelled at an Elite 11 quarterback camp in Oakland, Calif., earning a coveted spot in the summer finals in Oregon.
Rivals.com has set rankings periods. The Elite 11 performance will be part of Lewerke’s August ranking, when that coveted fourth star could return.
“The unfortunate thing here is the cutoff,” Cassidy said. “And it’s hard to explain that to Michigan State fans.”
Maybe try using pretty pictures next time.