The California Of The Midwest
OBVIOUS BUCKEYE PHOTOSHOPPED PROPAGANDA 5/5 FAKES
Between last weekend's Sound Mind Sound Body camp and the ongoing U-M technique camp, Michigan's had the opportunity to see many of their top recruits in person over the last few days. Among those prospects were two 2016 California quarterbacks, five-star dual-threat Malik Henry—who wowed at SMSB before making his way to campus on Sunday—and four-star pro-style QB KJ Costello, who also made it into town on Sunday. A beautiful spring weekend in Ann Arbor made Costello feel right at home:
NOBODY SAY A DAMN WORD.
SMSB: Malzone, Kirkland Stand Out
Michigan's two participating commits didn't disappoint in front of their future coaches at SMSB, as both Alex Malzone and Darrin Kirkland turned in outstanding performances. After not having his best showing on Thursday, Malzone came back with a standout showing on Friday that impressed GBW's Josh Newkirk ($):
Malzone came to work on day two. Maybe, just maybe, having his future coach Doug Nussmeier in attendance was an added incentive as well. The future Wolverine looked sharp in drills and listened closely whenever Nussmeier addressed him. In the one-on-one portion of the camp, Malzone excelled. He showcased his arm – like always – and made nice precise throws. He doesn’t seem to mind the added attention of being Michigan’s quarterback of the future, even when everyone is watching. An overall great performance by the four-star prospect.
247's Clint Brewster concurred, saying Malzone showed he could "make all the throws" with excellent accuracy and solid velocity. He sounded even more impressed with Kirkland, praising his coverage and blitzing ability after giving rave reviews of his play against the run ($):
Kirkland Jr. immediately stood out among the defensive players at the camp because of how well put together he is. Kirkland has an NFL linebacker type of body with a thick muscled frame. You can easily point him out among the linebackers there. Kirkland was able to overpower running backs in one-on-one coverage and he doesn’t wait to attack. He plays with good body-lean and pad level to get underneath ball carriers and gain leverage. Kirkland isn’t going to Wow you with his athleticism or quickness but he plays so hard. He closes on ball carriers and takes the right angles because it seems like he wants to make the tackle more than the next guy. His intensity and technique is really what stood out to me.
Kirkland continues to sound like a prototype MIKE; it's gonna be fun seeing Brian try to come up with a YMRMFSPA for his recruiting profile that isn't David Harris.
[Hit THE JUMP for a couple happy trails, updates on a pair of 2015 running backs, where Michigan stands after offering Dele' Harding, a few camp offers, and more.]
Happy Trails: Jashon Cornell, Shaun Crawford
According to Sam Webb, Michigan is no longer recruiting top-50 MN DL Jashon Cornell, at one point considered their top defensive target. The reason is simple: U-M isn't taking any interior linemen in this class, and Cornell has bulked up to the point that the coaches now think he'll end up at tackle.
While that may surprise you, this probably won't: OH CB Shaun Crawford committed to Notre Dame on Sunday, a move that's been expected since he and Michigan parted ways. Happy trails to both Cornell and Crawford; they may very well end up as college teammates.
Michigan didn't take too long to send out their first offer to a cornerback since Crawford's decommitment, extending one to four-star Virginia Tech commit Mook Reynolds, per Brewster ($):
"I talked to Coach (Roy) Manning on the phone and we were just talking about Michigan and stuff in general and then at the end of the conversation he told me I had an offer."
The Michigan offer also resonated with Reynolds Father.
"He was just really proud when I told him because Michigan is a prestigious program. He could barely hold it together. I know he would be ok with me going to Michigan."
Reynolds has been open to other schools for a while, and told Brewster that Michigan, Notre Dame, and Tennessee are making the strongest efforts to flip his commitment. He's planning to visit in August before making a final decision in the summer, so things should move relatively quickly in his recruitment.
Your Semiweekly Running Back Update
The Wolverine's Chris Balas gives us further evidence that U-M is on the verge of breaking back into Cass Tech RB Mike Weber's top group ($):
Ohio State and Michigan State are Michigan's main competition, while Wisconsin and Tennessee are in his top five. He'll also visit Miami soon, but U-M is making a move.
"They're moving toward the top, and it's not going to take much to get up there, either," Weber said.
Meanwhile, Sam Webb's latest Detroit News article is on four-star FL RB Jacques Patrick, who visited Michigan for the second time last week and came away impressed. While Michigan should be in it until the end, I still think he ends up at Florida State.
Michigan Offers Dele' Harding
One prospect performed well enough at SMSB to pull in a Michigan offer, and he should be a familiar name: 2016 OLB Dele' Harding, who plays for Eastern Christian Academy, the program that produced Michigan freshmen Freddy Canteen and Brandon Watson. Per The Wolverine's Branden Hunter, that connection should prove critical ($):
Harding also has offers from USC, Tennessee, and Massachusetts, and figures to be one of the top players in the class of 2016. But Harding raved about the Wolverines, and his connection with current players Canteen and Watson, could play a huge factor in his decision.
"I'm really close to Freddy and Brandon," he said. "I talk to them almost everyday. They tried to get me to commit today, so that was funny.
"I like everything about the Michigan program. It's like a family, and they have great academies. Plus the fact that I already have two teammates there too is always a good thing."
Those quotes, in conjuction with what his high school coach told Sam Webb, are very promising ($):
“He was happy (about the offer),” Thomas said of Harding. “He thought that it was great! He was really happy. Dele' is a kid that’s raised by a real good father and mother, and he is going to look at all of his options. But I would say to me, Dele' is a Michigan type guy.”
Harding plans to make his choice after his upcoming junior season; I've put in a pick for Michigan on the 247 Crystal Ball. What would U-M be getting in Harding? A prospect who performed on par with any linebacker at SMSB, per Steve Lorenz:
Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy 2016 linebacker Dele Harding is the only player in attendance to score a Michigan offer, after nearly getting one last year when camping in Ann Arbor. He was neck and neck with players like Darrin Kirkland Jr. and Tyriq Thompson on Friday as most impressive at the linebacker position, which was arguably the most loaded position at the camp. Harding is a multi-faceted linebacker that can potentially do it all.
Sounds good to me.
Camp Offers Coming In
A few 2016 prospects have already earned offers at the ongoing Michigan technique camp. Four-star IN WR Austin Mack earned one from Brady Hoke himself after properly answering a very important question, per 247's Steve Wiltfong ($):
“First thing he said to me, 115 000 people, you have a corner in the end zone, are you going to catch the ball or not,” Mack began recapping. “Are you going to choke? I said no, I’m going to catch it. He said you fit the system and you have scholarship here.”
Mack pulled in a camp offer from Ohio State last week, and told Wiltfong "it's going to be tough to decide between the two," saying both schools are even at this juncture.
The Wolverines offered a second receiver, La Cañada Flintridge (California, oddly) four-star Dylan Crawford, per Sam Webb. He's currently the #5 receiver on the 247 Composite, with early offers from Arizona State, Oregon State, Tennessee, UCLA, USC, and Washington, among others.
Michigan also offered their second four-star TE in a week, becoming the second team—after Illinois—to offer Perry (OH) TE Luke Ferrell, who told Lorenz he was very excited to earn an offer from the Wolverines ($):
"If you had told me two months ago I'd have an offer from Michigan, I probably wouldn't have believed you," he said. "It was really exciting to get one. Michigan is a great school with a lot of tradition. They are a school I will consider strongly until I end up making a decision down the road."
Ferrell is camping at Ohio State today; it'll be interesting to see if they throw their hat into the ring.
If you missed it, Brandon posted updates on 2016 Ontario DB Patrice Rene and 2016 VA CB Levonta Taylor.
Even if they come through with an offer, Michigan has work to do if they want to catch Michigan State for top 2016 in-state RB Martell Pettaway, per GBW's Josh Newkirk ($):
“They would still be under Michigan State,” Pettaway said. “Because I have been in contact with [Michigan] longer than Michigan State, and I still haven’t got an offer. I went up there eight times, and still no [offer].”
Finally, Les Miles would "love" it if his son, 2015 prospect Manny Miles, got the chance to football at Michigan. Unfortunately, Miles is a 5'11" quarterback with no current offers, so if that's going to happen it'll almost certainly be via the walk-on route.