Raiding The Old Dominion
Michigan is once against looking to the state of Virginia, where they've pulled Derrick Green and Wilton Speight in the last two classes, for an infusion of talent. The Wolverines have put out offers to 2015 top-100 WDE Clelin Ferrell and heralded 2016 WR Scott Bracey, both of Richmond Benedictine College Prep. In a two-part article, Sam Webb interviewed Benedictine coach Greg Lilly to get the scoop on the pair ($):
Greg Lilly: “Coach Manning has done a great job as far as recruiting the guys. When he has had the opportunity to get to the state of Virginia has always come by and seen us and he has done a really good job when he has been here. He is a very nice guy, personable guy. I think he had a great rapport with the kids. I can’t remember if it was in January or December, whatever that recruiting period was, but Coach Hoke did come in and stop by and let us know how interested they were in both kids. I think both the guys, Clelin and Scott were impressed by that and honored by that. We’re a small private school, 275 boys. It is a military school, a catholic school. There is obviously an emphasis put on their education and them wanting to go to good academic schools and be good student-athletes and obviously Michigan offers that opportunity.”
Ferrell and Bracey have been taking unofficial visits together, and Lilly said "they are going to get out there and see Michigan," when they take some trips this summer. It appears Michigan has a better shot with Ferrell—despite being in the class below him, Bracey holds more offers at the moment—though the Wolverines are in the mix for both.
[Hit THE JUMP for a quick recap of last weekend's visits, the latest on Brian Cole and several other 2015 prospects, and more.]
Visit Weekend Recap
There were a handful of visitors on hand last weekend for the Minnesota game; Steve Lorenz put together a free preview if you'd like to see who was on campus. One such visitor was 2015 Brother Rice QB Alex Malzone, who told Sam Webb that Doug Nussmeier plans to see him throw once the dead period ends on April 15th—he's hoping to be among the next wave of quarterback offers ($):
“I was just going in to see what they were thinking,” the talented youngster stated. “I know they have a couple of offers out to some big time guys, but it looks like they’re going some other places. So maybe we’ll see happens after they see me throw.”
Malzone recently pulled in an offer from Wake Forest and his recruitment could take off in the near future; it's clear, however, that Michigan would be in a position of great strength should they put forth an offer.
Brandon caught up with Malzone's teammate and Michigan legacy, 2015 WDE Jack Dunaway, whose father Craig played for the Wolverines in the '80s. This quote from the younger Dunaway sheds some light on Michigan's current stance on both him and the scholarship situation as a whole:
Coach Mattison and I have talked about whether or not I will get an offer. He has told me that the 2015 class is going to be very small, he said it's 15 right now, and they do not intend on offering anyone at my position of weak-side defensive end. Although he said he still wants me to come to Michigan as a preferred walk-on.
Michigan has offers out to five 2015 WDE prospects—including Ferrell, top-ranked WDE Jashon Cornell, and top-50 prospect Keisean Lucier-South—all ranked within the 247 Composite top 100. For now, at least, it's elite player or bust at the position, especially since Michigan is among the top schools for both Cornell and KLS.
Cole Decision Coming Soon?
Michigan has been fighting their way back into in-state athlete Brian Cole's recruitment after he began favoring MSU during the 2013 season. Cole's father told Sam Webb his son's feelings about U-M are "better" following his visit for the MSU basketball game; that's especially important given another quote from the article ($):
“[The decision timeline] depends on Brian. I’ve talked to other families and they said the kids get tired. They say, I’m tired and I just want to make my decision now. Whether they take a visit or don’t, I know parents of kids who said that they didn’t even want to take a visit. They’re just tired. The unofficial visits wore them out. At this point and time it is hard to say. Brian may look at me and his mom one day and say, ‘hey guys I’m just ready to make my decision.’
“So what is going to happen with us? We don’t know yet. This boy might not make it through the summer. He might not make it through the next few months. We just don’t know.”
Michigan is recruiting Cole as a wide receiver; other schools have him pegged as a defensive back.
The Wolverines continue to pursue running back prospects aside from Damien Harris. Steve Lorenz reports that Michigan could be on the verge of offering unranked Georgia back Mon Denson ($):
"I should be talking to Coach Funk soon as well," he said. "I think they just wanted to make sure I was actually interested in Michigan before they put forth in offer. I just sent them my transcripts so I am waiting to hear back before things move forward."
Denson won't be unranked for long—he's picked up offers from North Carolina, Tennessee, and most recently Wisconsin, among others. The Tar Heels are his current leader, though he told Steve "if I keep getting nice offers I will have to take a bigger look at things."
Recently offered IN OLB Josh Barajas continues to see his recruitment blow up, and after a visit to South Bend he's now got a favorite, per Scout's Anna Hickey ($):
In fact, when Barajas was with [Notre Dame DC Brian] VanGorder, he almost decided to commit to Notre Dame on the spot.
"Coach VanGorder is a really cool guy," Barajas said. "He really seems like he has all of his priorities straight. He's really confident, and he definitely knows what he's talking about. That's when I thought about committing, when I was talking with him. But, I thought I should think about it a little more."
The 6-foot-3, 212-pound linebacker is also high on Michigan and Penn State.
Michigan has their work cut out for them, it appears.
Four-star offered MO TE Hale Hentges told Rivals's Rob Cassidy his offseason visit plans, which include a trip to Ann Arbor ($):
"I have some plans," Hentges said. "I'm not quite sure on all the dates, but I know I'm going to Florida State, Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Auburn. There will probably even be a few more later on."
In-state Mizzou will also be a factor in his recruitment; Hentges hopes to make a decision before his senior season.
Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Boston College form the early top five for four-star 2015 NJ WR Juwan Johnson, per Scout's Brian Dohn ($). Johnson doesn't plan to make a decision until after taking all five officials, so a lot can change here.
Four-star 2015 CA dual-threat QB Travis Waller (junior highlights) told Steve Lorenz that he's been "talking to Coach Nussmeier a lot," and will get a visit from Michigan's OC for one of his spring practices ($). He's another player to keep an eye on for a potential offer once that occurs.
Brandon has a short update from 2015 four-star LA OL Garrett Thomas.
Great secondary violation or greatest secondary violation?
Oh, Scout. One day you'll join the 21st Century Internet. One day.