Friday Recruitin' Is A Ninja

Friday Recruitin' Is A Ninja

Submitted by Brian on December 9th, 2016 at 12:23 PM

Bruh you gotta take that ring to Mount McDoom

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enjoying the fact that this picture's filename is 0_0.jpg [Scout]

4* CA OL Aaron Banks is announcing in a few hours. The recruiting world's expectations: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. This is one invisible four-star recruit. Until yesterday he had got one Crystal Ball, that a year old from the weirdo who puts in a pick for every recruit in the country way early and then forgets about most of them.

One thing we can probably deduce from Banks's visit schedule: it's Michigan or Notre Dame. He took officials to those two schools and Oregon, which just imported a new staff. If Oregon was still in it he'd delay his announcement to catch up with the new guys. Cal and Stanford, the local-ish schools, aren't in it. There was some UCLA chatter after Jim Mora had an in-home, but he hasn't been to Westwood since this summer. Apparently that was the first time Mora had ever met Banks. That would be a weird way to pick up a commit.

FWIW, Lorenz says Banks is take and that he doesn't know what'll happen; Brandon Brown first said Michigan would pass but then backtracked on that; Wiltfong notes that ND has really been putting on a full court press, while Michigan sending Jay Harbaugh to close the deal instead of the head man could be construed as something other than all-out effort.

The most definitive opinion is from Scout's Greg Biggins, who feels pretty strongly that it'll be Michigan since "it's the only school he talks about" to the point where coaches from other schools on official visits mostly hear about Seoul Street's Korean street food, renovations to the IM building, and Stadium Boulevard being closed until spring. We have put a crystal ball for Banks to Michigan mostly because that's the most definitive take out there. Tom Loy, naturally, put one in for Notre Dame. Neither outcome would surprise.

[UPDATE: we've now flipped our CB to ND as Biggins reports that Michigan passed.]

DB cancellations

The perils of naming any visit list ever: CA CB Darnay Holmes and PA S Paris Ford will not be on campus. That's a minor bummer. Sam Webb says that Michigan is focusing on ND commit Elijah Hicks as their fifth DB at this point. As of a few days ago Hicks's imminent flip from ND had been downgraded to "up in the air" after a hard ND push. You'd think that 4-8 and not having a defensive coordinator would make it hard to push.

Brad Hawkins can get up

4* NJ WR Brad Hawkins is a rare prep-and-follow guy for Michigan who actually came through and joined the next recruiting class. I was surprised, and now I'm not.

You know it's a good WR highlight video when the wide open touchdowns are in the second half; that is a man who can go get footballs.

The above and news that Michigan might not have room for one of the four very good WR prospects they're pursuing means we can shelve Hawkins-to-safety talk for the time being. Wiltfong told the ND 247 site that Michigan had removed itself from pursuit of 4* IA WR Oliver Martin because they were more or less full at wide receiver, which is a very good sign for the three names other than Martin currently on the board. 4* CT WR Tarik Black announces in a week and 5* MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones is an early enrollee whose last visit before a decision is to Michigan this weekend; only 4.5* AL WR Nico Collins looks set to take it to signing day.

Obligatory Najee Harris section

5* CA RB Najee Harris told Bleacher Report that he wanted to take all five officials before deciding, which... uh... probably not since that would mean two visits in addition to Michigan before the 12th. Cal is feasible because it's nearby, and it appears that the Bears did indeed host Harris. They sent him a party bus and everything. USC is maybe less realistic.

Anyway, that Bleacher Report article is yet another in which Harris's quotes about Harbaugh are eyebrow-raising, especially in direct comparison to Nick Saban:

"He's a legend in my area in a way," Harris said. "What Harbaugh did—to go to the NFL and do that, then go to college at Michigan and do that again—that's one of the best coaches."

He acknowledged Harbaugh and Alabama head coach Nick Saban are "extremely" different coaches but noted "they're both good people."

Harris observed Saban operates with a "straight business" approach, while Harbaugh is "juiced" and "full of energy." Most importantly, they share a penchant for developing winners.

That's the third article where the reserved Harris says some effusive things about Harbaugh. Will it be enough? Like Banks, nobody knows. Harris's mom has a twitter account that is very heavy on 'Bama stuff; Sam Webb's gut declared that people inside Schembechler think they lead. But nobody really talks to Harris outside the odd BR or newspaper article, so nobody's got a read.

You go to hell and you die, Georgia

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Sometimes crystal balls are silly, like when Rutgers led on Isaiah Wilson's for four months

Georgia was a thorn in Michigan's side last year and they may be again. Unlike last year, location plays in Michigan's favor for 5* NY OL Isaiah Wilson. Alabama is perceived to be the main competition, but with the primary Bama 247 guy flipping his crystal ball to Michigan a couple days ago it appears the only thing standing between Michigan and Wilson is this weekend's official visit to Athens.

Nobody is talking about this outside of the Georgia sites because nobody expects much to come of it. Wilson told Adam Friedman* that his mind was just about made up a few days ago:

“The school I’m thinking of just seems perfect. That’s the best way I can put it. I’ll leave it at that. People can go on an do their guessing. I think I pretty much know where I’m going."

Always some small danger, but I'd be much more worried about Bama for an out-of-region recruit. To Wilson they probably look the same except one has Nick Saban and the other has Bootleg Nick Saban.

*[Yes, the guy who said Wilson was an OSU/Clemson battle earlier this year. This is a direct quote so Friedman's tendency to say CLEMSON EVERYTHING does not interfere.]

Meanwhile Michigan has a road game against Georgia (and Alabama, and apparently the rest of the SEC) for 4.5* GA DT Aubrey Solomon. Solomon just announced that he's going to spend that fifth official on the Bulldogs. Or not, and instead they'll spend it on Auburn.  He's already been to Bama and M; his January schedule will take him to USC on the 13th, Georgia or Auburn the following week, and Florida just before Signing Day. Right now it seems like Michigan is where he wants to go, but they've got to dodge a ton of bullets to get to the finish line. UGA 247 reporter Kipp Adams has it about right:

This is an all-out war. Every school should be worried about everyone.

I dunno, man. Auburn—which has not been involved so far—kind of seems like another southern option that might be a compromise between Michigan (where Solomon wants to go) and Somewhere Close (where mom wants him to be). USC does not fit this narrative, admittedly, but I go back to that recent interview where Michigan seemed to be the choice.

I though that about DaShawn Hand, too, so don't take that too seriously.

Reitmaier set to stick with Oregon?

There's a poster on Rivals's board who is clearly connected with TN DT Rutger Reitmaier; he asserts that after Willie Taggart's hire at Oregon Reitmaier looks set to stick with his commitment. Message board rando discounts apply but this guy in particular seems consistent and credible.

I wouldn't write him off just yet, since it seems clear where his parents want him. Reitmaier's dad talked with Sam Webb for a very long piece, which is usually a good sign. In it he's pretty open:

When Coach Harbaugh and Coach Mattison reached out to us and once I started talking to them and doing the research I'm like, ‘oh boy, this is a really good school, and obviously, the program is great.’ But I didn't realize how (great) on the academic side it is. So (what you’re) kind of trying to figure out as a parent is, you want to have him play where he wants to play, but also give some (perspective) to the youth that doesn't have experience.

Michigan probably doesn't have room for all four of the DL currently on the board but they really need at least one NT type, and Reitmaier is in the Glasgow mold. 3.5* MI DE/DT Deron Irving-Bey probably tops out as a three-tech. Getting at least one and preferably two of Solomon, Reitmaier, and 4.5* UT DT Jay Tufele is neck-and-neck with a ready-to-play tackle as the most pressing need remaining in the class.

Etc.

FL LB Jordan Anthony has set a commit date of 12/22 per this Epic Oskee-level video on Hudl. Speaking of!

Lorenz reports that Anthony will visit Ann Arbor on an unofficial this weekend instead of taking an official to Maryland. If so that is game over, man. Anthony's announcement will have zero suspense, which is the way I like my announcements.

MS LB Willie Gay is at one of those State versus State All Star games and sounding like a pretty good Peppers analogue: "Gay is really fluid and speedy from his linebacker position and he's got safety cover ability to go with his heat-seeking run support style." Michigan is still after him hard.

Lorenz also reports Michigan thinks 3.5* OH DE James Hudson's senior film is really good too. He and Stueber are probably the most underrated guys in the class.

4* 2018 MI LB Ovie Oghoufo is a Notre Dame commit but sounds very open about listening to Michigan, as you would expect after Notre Dame went 4-8. 4* 2018 GA LB commit Otis Reese just got a trio of heavy-hitting offers: Bama, Georgia, and Florida. If there's going to be wobble in his recruitment it'll start now. He sounded very committed just a couple weeks ago.

MI CB Ambry Thomas commit process details. Similar article on AL S commit J'Marick Woods.

Friday Recruiting Is Watching Colorado Tonight

Friday Recruiting Is Watching Colorado Tonight

Submitted by Brian on December 2nd, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Apparently the Pac-12 championship is tonight. Is this new? Have I never watched the Pac-12 championship before? I'm very confused. I thought I'd tell you in case you are unprepared for a Friday game.

Anyway:

Woods re-affirms

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AL S J'Marick Woods, a wobbler, ceases wobbling:

"It was really hard to make my final decision because I like Arkansas a lot, but I am picking Michigan," said Woods.  "I just prayed about it and the Lord showed me signs.  I feel good about my future as a Wolverine."

He's an early enrollee so this should be a definitive end to his recruitment. There are two visit weekends before the dead period and afterwards he'll be in Ann Arbor. Kind of get the feeling the Arkansas/Mississippi State dalliances were manufactured to provide his school with an excuse to do some hat stuff.

Keeping Woods is important with Michigan's need at safety and the lack of other names on the board at the spot; Scout makes him sound a lot like Jeremy Clark:

Woods is a defensive back with great length. He is lean and will need to add weight to his frame when he gets to the next level. He could get a look at cornerback, but he is likely a free safety in college. His length is an asset in coverage and recovery.

I'll take another Clark.

All hands to the tweet decryption stations

Michigan's coaches are on the road this week, visiting anyone and everyone they're still recruiting. CA OL Aaron Banks lives in El Cerrito, California, and this may or may not mean anything.

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I have an emoji for this.

1f914

Possibilities:

  1. Harbaugh finally got his latte after like 15 minutes
  2. Clash of Royale Strike level up
  3. Banks is announcing for Michigan on the 9th.
  4. Harbaugh's making telescopes? And selling them for profit? I guess?

It's times like these I wish Michigan had a TOOT TOOT ALL IN FOR THE GOVERNOR wink wink commit thing, like many schools do. Just a few hours prior to the above tweet, Lorenz reported that Michigan had little idea what Banks would do. Reports that Banks was not a take appear to be incorrect.

FWIW, Brice Marich hears that the in-home with Banks "went excellent and was very informative too."

Dominate the hyphens

Michigan's quest to dominate the state of Hyphen continues unabated after their setback with Brelin Faison-Walden. Next up might be MI DE Deron Irving-Bey, who is set to announce at the Army game. With just two visit weekends left before the dead period and one official visit in the books, some tea-leaf reading is possible:

  • His list of six is really a list of four. He's visited Tennessee, plans to visit Maryland this weekend, and has been on the MSU and UM campuses many times for unofficials. Syracuse and Cincinnati are window dressing.
  • Webb reports that he'll take an official to Michigan for their huge December 9th weekend. That should be his last in person recruiting contact before his commitment, since the dead period starts the 12th. In a dead period you can only interact on the phone or by text.

While you can't entirely rule MSU out since he's familiar with the program, Michigan is perceived to lead and gets the last crack. Also he has a hyphen in his last name.

Linebacker board static

Sorry for leaving FL LB Jordan Anthony off the recruiting overview post on Wednesday. That was an oversight only; Michigan is still expected to get him. That does rather complicate things in the projected class, which had MS LB Willie Gay on it and then did not when I inserted Anthony.

Despite that omission, Gay remains very high on Michigan. Per Lorenz, Partridge stopped in on Tuesday and Gay said it went "better than I would have ever thought," which is kind of a weird statement and also very encouraging. This is still in "believe it when I see it" territory. If Gay schedules an unofficial back to Ann Arbor, then I will start thinking it's happening. I remember Fletcher Cox and will not discount Mississippi State for an instate kid, ever.

Meanwhile, MI LB Antjuan Simmons decommitted from Ohio State, making that one guy's article about Meyer's recruiting coup look a bit silly. Do not expect Michigan to get involved. Simmons still appears salty about Michigan's lack of enthusiasm early in the process. Even after he started looking around and must have had an inkling that he was not going to end up in Columbus, his twitter feed was... uh... aggressive about Michigan.

This is mostly disappointing because I wanted this screenshot to be a wall of block Ms:

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Seven out of eight wouldn't be bad. Webb's hearing Arizona may be Simmons's landing spot, which would be something. Notre Dame is also a strong contender.

NJ LB Drew Singleton will be at The Big Recruiting Weekend.

Rutger is fine, it's just the S that makes it a problem

Webb reports that the parents of TN DT Rutger Reitmaier are in Michigan's corner, and with Oregon in flux they will have a great shot to flip him. Reitmaier's dad has been on campus more than some committed recruits:

The elder Reitmaier made his way to campus for a game weeks before his son came up for an official visit.  It gave dad an opportunity to spend some quality one-on-one time with Harbaugh.  They built on that when the entire Reitmaier family came up for Rutger's official visit a few weeks ago.

A recent OSU offer may be the main competition if Reitmaier follows through with a visit.

Why the Herbert wobble is a thing

This is why:

“I want to play right away," he said when asked what he's looking for in a school.

“Miami says I can come in and play right away, Florida says that I can come in and play, and Michigan says that I have to come in and compete with [junior tackle Juwann Bushell-Beatty] and probably another tackle [current Michigan commit Joel Honigford].”

It is unrealistic that Miami and Florida don't have guys at least on JBB's level. If Herbert's takeaway from those two competitors is "I should go to another school," that sounds like the kind of reason that's not the real reason. He's the only guy in the class I think is a serious threat to voluntarily decommit.

Edges of the board still active

Marich also reports that CT CB Brandon Sebastian plans a mid-January official and that AZ S Isaiah Pola-Mao has tentative plans to official at some point during that month as well. That's good timing for Michigan, as a lot of questions about who will and will not be in the class will be resolved by the time either guy gets around to making a decision.

Meanwhile, chaos at Oregon has seen a number of their top prospects decommit or Explore Their Options; delightfully named OL/DL Popo Aumavae is one of them. He's setting up a suite of visits and he'd like Michigan to be one of them.

Obligatory Najee Section

Tom Van Haaren puts a not-at-all-completely-arbitrary chance on CA RB Najee Harris flipping:

Committed to: Alabama
Chance he flips: 50 percent
Toughest competition: Michigan

!!!

I like that number. It is a high number. Lorenz reports Harris will follow through on his plan to visit Michigan for The Big Recruiting Weekend. Like Irving-Bey, that should be the last in-person crack anyone gets at him before he enrolls early. (Or commits, in Irving-Bey's case.)

Etc.

Matt Wenzel interviews MA RB commit AJ Dillon, who missed a chunk of his senior season with a broken leg. He's taking some visits but it doesn't seem like a serious situation:

Dillon, who said he would have considered enrolling early at Michigan but his school doesn't allow it, will take his first of five allotted official visits to Boston College this weekend and then go to Ann Arbor the following week. He's also considering visits to Nebraska and Iowa, but nothing is arranged yet and he's still firmly committed to Michigan, which he's been watching from afar all season.

"I was really impressed with them, they're still doing great."

A Notre Dame visit would be something to watch out for given Dillon's family ties; I doubt that Nebraska, BC, or Iowa have the recruiting mojo to flip Dillon without an external bombshell named Najee.

Happy trails to TX LB Baron Browning, who committed to OSU. GA WR Jeremiah Holloman isn't really a happy trails since Michigan hasn't been on his list since shortly after his decommit almost a year ago, but if you're curious he just committed to Georgia.

Keep an eye on the FAU job. Bruce Feldman reports that Mario Cristobal is a candidate; if he gets it that would greatly aid Michigan's chances with Alex Leatherwood.

Brandon Brown lists the various guys who plan to enroll early. I was not aware of a couple of these names. For the record: JaRaymond Hall, Donovan Jeter, Corey Malone-Hatcher, Ben Mason, Benjamin St-Juste, Jaylen Kelly-Powell, J'Marick Woods, Donovan-Peoples Jones, Ambry Thomas, Tarik Black, Cesar Ruiz, and Najee Harris all plan to enroll early. Michigan should have room since they'll have a ton of guys who want to get done with school this semester so they can prep for the NFL draft.

FWIW, Brown has also dropped a couple hints that Rivals will give Solomon a fifth star when their next re-rank comes out. That would be a second; Scout gave him one after the first few games this year, and reports that CT WR Tarik Black denied that he ever named Alabama his top school.

Jedd Fisch visited FL WR Mike Harley in-home. Harley is a WVU commit who's probably flipping somewhere; Michigan was involved just before he went off the board.

Tuesday Recruitin' Jumps The Line

Tuesday Recruitin' Jumps The Line

Submitted by Ace on November 29th, 2016 at 12:12 PM

Black Moves Up Decision Timeline

This is quite notable in conjunction with last week's news that Michigan's impending numbers crunch is likely to cost either Oliver Martin or Tarik Black a spot in the class.

Even though Black recently named Alabama as his leader, this looks like Black securing a spot in Michigan's class ahead of Martin. SECCountry's Chris Kirschner explains:

So, what do I make of him saying Alabama is his current leader? I don’t really think much of it right now. I truly believe this may be a case of a prospect talking up Alabama shortly before committing to a different school.

My pick for Black is Michigan because I know the Wolverines covet him more than the Tide currently do. Again, there are three committable offers out at the receiver position: Smith, Ruggs and Collins. If Alabama misses on any of those receivers, that’s when they’ll go to Plan B, which Black currently is.

I fully expect Black to commit to Michigan, even though he says Alabama is his top school.

Wolverine247's Steve Lorenz reports Jedd Fisch will do an in-home visit with Black on Thursday, and he still expects Black to end up in Ann Arbor.

Among the many in-home visits taking place this week, Lorenz mentions a couple notables taking place today: Chris Partridge will check in on top-100 MS LB Willie Gay and Jay Harbaugh will visit with top-50 OT and LSU commit Austin Deculus.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]

Tuesday Recruitin' Has Pros And Cons

Tuesday Recruitin' Has Pros And Cons

Submitted by Ace on November 8th, 2016 at 4:08 PM

Visit Reactions: M Winning Solomon Back?

yeah, still want

After gaining a commitment, losing it, looking out of the picture, and then crawing their way back in, Michigan made their latest push for four-star GA DT Aubrey Solomon on his official visit for the Maryland game. Solomon was accompanied by his mother, who came very prepared, and the most critical aspect of the visit from M's perspective was winning over—Solomon's interest in Michigan has always been very strong while his mom has been a skeptic. According to Sam Webb, they pulled out all the stops:

Front and center for most of the visit were Gwen Bush and Devin Bush Sr.  They were with mom a ton with one observer offering, “Gwen hardly left his mom’s side.”  And as we speculated heading into the visit… “Momma Gwen” having sent her own questionnaire out during her son Wayne Lyons’ recruitment before deciding to send him to school on the other side of the country (from Florida to Stanford) really appeared to help forge a connection. For good measure Wayne was also on hand for the Solomons to meet.

The vibe between Mom and Bush Sr. was noticeable.  One observer said, "they went back and forth like they've known each other for years."

Rashan Gary and his mother, who was visiting for the weekend, hosted Solomon, though his mom wasn't able to get together with Gary's; she did, however, have lunch with Greg Harden, Michigan's director of academic counseling—he played a big role in landing Gary.

Both Sam and Steve Lorenz believe Aubrey himself wants to go to Michigan, but they still have work to do to win over his mother. Lorenz:

If the choice was 100% his, there would likely be some 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions coming back the Wolverines' way. However, it appears to not be fully his decision. We reported on Sunday that mom was impressed with what Michigan had to offer. That remains the case in the grand scheme of things, but according to a second source we spoke with on Monday, the visit reportedly could have gone better from Michigan's standpoint regarding impressing Solomon's mother. 

Also of note: Sam is getting the "distinct impression" that Clemson, not Alabama or Georgia, is the school closer to home with the best shot at Solomon. I'm not sure how to take that: on one hand, that looks like some tough competition is taking a step back; on the other, well, head-to-head recruiting against Clemson can be quite the experience. Michigan made progress this weekend; we'll see if it sticks after more visits.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]

Friday Recruitin' Fills Out Questionnaire

Friday Recruitin' Fills Out Questionnaire

Submitted by Ace on November 4th, 2016 at 3:55 PM

Solomon, Collins Headline Weekend Visitors List

You may be wondering why there's a document and not, say, a highlight video embedded above. That's because it's the official visit questionnaire created by Sabrina Caldwell, the mother of four-star GA DT Aubrey Solomon, and after some twists and turns Caldwell and Solomon will get those questions answered in Ann Arbor this weekend. While Michigan has an uphill climb to get Solomon back in the fold, getting his mom on campus with him is a significant development; Solomon's initial Michigan commitment didn't stick in large part because Caldwell hadn't accompanied him on his unofficial visit, and winner her over may be more difficult than her son.

Three other uncommitted recruits will take official visits this weekend, per The Wolverine's Brandon Brown:

  • Four-star AL WR Nico Collins paid his way for multiple unofficial visits over the summer, and now he'll return on Michigan's dime for an offical. While Alabama and Georgia have made this closer than once thought, Michigan is in great position to get Collins.
  • Four-star CA OT Aaron Banks had high praise for the program after visiting for the BBQ. He's often omitted in discussions of the potential O-line haul; he shouldn't be, especially since many other programs pushing for him—Notre Dame, Oregon, UCLA, and USC chief among them—are having down years.
  • Three-star VA OT Mekhi Becton holds a Michigan offer, but he's almost certainly not a take right now with all the blue-chip linemen still on the board. Virginia looks to be his top option, so the Wolverines should be able to slow-play him and still have a shot if their board empties out a bit.

It's also worth noting that safety commit J'Marick Woods will take his official visit. He took an official to Arkansas last month and had a positive reaction; this weekend provides M a chance to solidify his pledge.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]

Tuesday Recruitin' Crunches Numbers

Tuesday Recruitin' Crunches Numbers

Submitted by Ace on August 16th, 2016 at 9:57 AM

Bama's Gain Is... Michigan's Gain, Too?

Alabama picked up two commits on the offensive line at the end of July, and they're expected to add five-star OT Jedrick Wills any day now. That may not seem like news that would lead a Michigan recruiting roundup, but word from multiple Bama insiders is the numbers crunch in Tuscaloosa will have a direct impact on at least one top Michigan target. Here's 247's Steve Lorenz on four-star IMG OC Cesar Ruiz:

I spoke with Hank South, our Alabama insider this morning, who confirmed that Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy Top100 offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz is NOT a take for the Crimson Tide, and barring more than one change to their current class, would not be regardless

When that news made its way over to the Scout board, their Bama insider, John Garcia Jr., confirmed he was hearing the same about Ruiz and added that four-star NY OT Isaiah Wilson could also get squeezed out by Wills:

Bama took in state OL Hunter Brannon on July 23, a kid who earned the offer at camp (UA wanted Ruiz to camp but he didn't make it). Numbers are tight and tackles are a much bigger need at this time. I'm not even sure they would take both Wills and Wilson should each want to join the class. Like with Nico Collins, a late spot may not be there for Wilson. Things can change but Bama feels good about each, the difference is Wills is much closer to ending his recruitment.

Alabama has been considered Michigan's primary competition for both Ruiz and Wilson. Ruiz said at the beginning of this month that Alabama, Michigan, and Oklahoma were tied at the top of his list; only a few days later, the Sooners landed four-star center Creed Humphrey. If Ruiz sticks to those top schools, his decision may have been made for him—he's also mentioned North Carolina as a school of interest recently but I haven't seen any indication they'd beat out Michigan.

Wilson, meanwhile, set up official visits to Florida State (Nov. 11), Michigan (Nov. 19), and Alabama (Nov. 25), with dates for Georgia and USC to be decided based on his basketball schedule—we'll see if those latter two materialize, as Wilson plans to make a decison in December. In the aftermath of his BBQ visit, he told Sam Webb that Michigan's "family atmosphere" stood out and played it coy about where the Wolverines currently stand:

These most recent Michigan experiences reconfirmed for Wilson why he has the storied program in his top five.  They’ve also caused those observing his recruitment to wonder if the Wolverines have moved up his list.

Said Wilson, “my response to that question is, Go Blue!’”

Take that how you will.

Yet another four-star lineman, CA OT Aaron Banks, is set to cut his list down to ten soon. After a better-than-expected BBQ visit, Michigan should make the cut:

"The trip to Michigan was cool," said Banks.  "It was nice.  It was better than I expected.  The school was bigger than I expected it to be.  I was with Coach (Tim) Drevno and one of his assistants.  We met up with Coach (Jim) Harbaugh but didn't get to spend as much time with him.  I met up with Jay Harbaugh some too.  Then we went to one of the stores and got some of the new Jumpman gear."

Banks plans to enroll early. Getting him back for an official visit will be of great importance if Michigan wants to push for his commitment.

Oh, and Scout's main analyst in SEC country, Chad Simmons, is projecting that Michigan will get four-star OG TJ Slaton:

This is probably the toughest one out of this group.  Slaton likes to keep to himself, a lot about his recruitment is unknown, and he could end up at a number of program.  Today though, over six months out, Michigan is the favorite.  The Wolverines landed his good friend, teammate Kai-Leon Herbert over the summer, and this only helps UM.  Herbert made his mind up when him and Slaton were in Ann Arbor a couple of months ago.  Clemson is in this, Florida State is there, and we will see what Slaton does this fall in terms of visits.

While Slaton isn't a lock, he's kept Michigan on top for a while now despite seeing other schools. There's a very real chance Michigan picks up three more elite O-line prospects, at which point one or two current commits might take a look around. No matter how it shakes out, it's hard to see a way in which Michigan doesn't have a great finish at OL.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]

Tuesday Recruitin' Devours Leftovers

Tuesday Recruitin' Devours Leftovers

Submitted by Ace on August 9th, 2016 at 2:22 PM

BBQ Leftovers: Hudson Commits

Three-star OH DT James Hudson committed to Michigan yesterday, giving the Wolverines a head-to-head win over Michigan State. TMI's Brice Marich made his way to Toledo for Hudson's announcement and scored an interview afterwards in which Hudson detailed the reasoning behind his decision:

"Michigan is just a different type of feeling," he said. I could really connect with lot of the players there like Carlo Kemp and Rashan Gary, me and those two get along really well. Me and Rashan, we speak almost every day. We're great friends and we're going to be great teammates."

"I really spoke with Coach Mattison of course, DL oach, also spoke with Coach Brown and Coach Zordich. My relationship with Coach Matty is great. He's definitely my favorite D-Line coach I've met. Coach Matty has a plan for me and I like that."

That plan is for Hudson to play three-tech. Some sites still list him as an SDE, but he's reportedly up in the 290-pound range already. We'll (eventually) see what Brian comes up with for a YMRPFSPA; Hudson's impressive strength reminded me of Willie Henry when I watched his highlights.

The Wolverine's Brandon Brown caught up with Hudson's high school coach, who in detailing what he's working on with Hudson this spring may have explained why Hudson's first step doesn't stand out on film:

"Here’s how good his camp’s been thus far. We’ve been focusing on his first step being a little bit too big. That gets him a little overextended sometimes. That’s it," Dempsey said. "His hands are great, his feet are great, his motor has been great. It’s been very limited in terms of what we need him to work on.

"The biggest thing is that we’re going to watch him since he’s playing both ways so much. The effort he’s been putting into offensive tackle has been just as good as what he’s been doing on defense. We’re expecting a lot so I’m glad he’s expecting a lot out of himself. He’s a disruptive force at this level. He’s really started to master his position so I’m very excited for his senior season."

If that gets corrected, I really like Hudson's potential; as we saw with Henry, overwhelming strength can make up for a lot.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]

Thursday Recruitin' Tethers Self To Laptop

Thursday Recruitin' Tethers Self To Laptop

Submitted by Ace on August 4th, 2016 at 4:00 PM

BBQ Visitors: Offense

The weekend in which I can't leave my laptop for more than 30 seconds is nearly upon us. The BBQ at the Big House is on Saturday, and it features a visitor list absolutely loaded with top-end talent. 247's Steve Lorenz has the full, updated list posted for free, as well as an excellent VIP post that goes in-depth on each uncommitted 2017 and 2018 prospect who'll be on campus. I'll do my best to cover the highlights. Keep in mind that every 2017 Michigan commit save for Aubrey Solomon, Kai-Leon Herbert, and AJ Dillon is slated to be in attendance.

The headliner, of course, is #1 overall prospect Najee Harris, the California running back committed to Alabama. According to Lorenz, Bama insiders think Michigan is the top threat to flip him from his current commitment, and Harris will be accompanied by his mother on the trip. Harris won't be the only back at the BBQ; four-star UT RB Sione Heimuli-Lund is a Stanford commit who could wind up at RB, FB, or LB (or, given Harbaugh, all of them).

Michigan's top four targets at wide receiver will all be in attendance. Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins need no introduction at this point; Michigan leads for Collins and is the presumed leader for DPJ. Four-star IA WR Oliver Martin is ramping up his recruitment now that baseball season is over—this weekend should give us a good idea of where Michigan stands compared to MSU, Iowa, Wisconsin, and his other contenders. Four-star CT WR Tarik Black has Michigan in his top group, though Lorenz thinks Notre Dame and Stanford are out ahead at this point. Michigan's top tight end on the board, four-star CA TE Josh Falo, will also be at the BBQ.

With three-star AL OT Toryque Bateman naming Michigan his leading heading into his BBQ visit, the offensive line is the most likely (though far from only) source of a weekend commitment—Bateman pegged his chances of committing at 50% and potentially higher if the visit goes as well as his last trip to Ann Arbor. Four-star tackles Isaiah Wilson and Aaron Banks are also on the list; Wilson is a Michigan/Bama battle right now, while the Wolverines are hoping to lure Banks away from top-tier Pac-12 programs.

As I was writing this, Steve reported that four-star OT Henry Bainivalu will make the trip from Washington. This is the second unofficial for Bainivalu, which is especially notable for a prospect from the other side of the country—Michigan definitely has a shot, and...

...oh boy, we might have a situation here.

One prospect who'd been mentioned as a possible visitor who won't make it: five-star KY OT Jedrick Wills, who looks like a longshot at best.

In the 2018 class, four-star Oak Park OG Marquan McCall—who could also wind up at DT—will accompany his committed teammate, OT JaRaymond Hall. While I've avoided mentioning the 2019 class, early rankings have Belleville OT Devontae Dobbs as a five-star prospect; he'll be at the BBQ with a couple classmates from a program that's got a lot of young talent.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]

Friday Recruitin' Plays Point-Center

Friday Recruitin' Plays Point-Center

Submitted by Ace on July 29th, 2016 at 2:30 PM

Large Human Favors Michigan

The BBQ at the Big House on August 6th is by far the biggest recruiting event of the summer for Michigan, and the list of potential visitors—and potential commits—is growing seemingly by the hour. The biggest news of the week, in both literal and figurative terms, is that three-star AL OT Toryque Bateman will take his second unofficial to Ann Arbor of the summer for the BBQ. The 6'8"(!), 305-pound tackle released a top five yesterday with Michigan on top, and he confirmed to Wolverine247 that the Wolverines indeed lead for him.

247's Isaiah Hole posted that Bateman is a take for the coaching staff and subsequently put in a Crystal Ball for Michigan; Steve Lorenz followed suit. If Bateman does in fact commit soon, that would bring M's O-line count for the class up to five with several top prospects still on the board. It looks like the coaches are willing to go up to seven OL for the class, and if the right prospects want to join in, we might even see a current commit be encouraged to look around. (To be clear, that last bit is speculation based on Harbaugh's recruiting style, not any concrete info, and I suspect he's learned from last year's Swenson fiasco.)

One such lineman could be four-star NY OT Isaiah Wilson, who will also be an attendance at the BBQ, as will four-star CA OT Aaron Banks, whose name hasn't come up much (distance will do that) despite his high interest in Michigan.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]