Friday Recruitin' Feels The Love

Friday Recruitin' Feels The Love

Submitted by Ace on October 13th, 2017 at 12:19 PM

MSU Visit Reactions: Addison Makes Surprise Cuts

While Michigan's first big fall visit weekend didn't go as planned, the coaching staff still managed to make inroads with some of their top targets.

The highest-ranked uncommitted official visitors were a trio of California prospects, and in at least one case it looks like the Wolverines made a move. Not long after returning from his trip, top-100 CA ATH Bryan Addison trimmed his list to five schools: Arizona, Arizona State, Michigan, Nebraska, and UCLA. Two of the three schools thought to be in best position to land him were omitted, per Scout's Greg Biggins:

Two schools that Addison always mentioned previously were USC and Washington but neither made his final cut.

"I liked USC but I had to look at this as a business decision and I just felt like the other schools were better fits for me," Addison said. "With Washington, we kind of lost communication there and I haven't been hearing as much from them as the other schools."

The third school is UCLA, who Biggins says Addison nearly committed to eariler in the process. He thinks Arizona is the wild card. Meanwhile, 247's Steve Lorenz is hearing this is a Michigan-UCLA battle with the Bruins currently holding the lead. Michigan may gain an edge, however, because they're pitching Addison as a two-way player. At 6'5", 180, he's built for wide receiver, but he's also a high-level safety prospect. With USC out of the picture, at least for the moment, his recruitment just got really interesting.

Four-star CA S Julius Irvin spoke very highly of his visit to Scout's Blair Angulo:

"I had a lot of expectations for the visit since it was my first time out there and it was just an amazing atmosphere at the game. I was surprised seeing everything in person -- it's a whole different deal than just hearing about it or seeing that on TV. What they have to offer -- the education, the coaches and their willingness to put a lot of defensive backs on the field -- all stood out to me. It impressed me a lot. Getting to know the coaches and some players on the team was awesome."

Notre Dame and Washington are the two schools holding picks on his Crystal Ball, and he has tentative plans to visit Utah and USC. Michigan did their best to make him feel at home; in addition to hanging with Addison and the next recruit in this section, he spent time with California natives Kekoa Crawford and David Long.

Five-star CA WR Amon-Ra St. Brown was considered a longshot heading into the visit, and his post-visit quotes don't give the impression that's changed. Via Rivals's Adam Gorney:

“It was fun,” St. Brown said. “Finally going to see coach (Jim) Harbaugh was cool. I wasn’t up there since my freshman year when I went up there with B2G, the whole team. To finally go up there and to have the focus be more on me now and the understanding of Michigan and what they’re about, it was a fun experience.

This is probably still a Notre Dame-USC battle.

Michigan still made progress towards landing a receiver commit, as three-star Florida native Shocky Jacques-Louis, a Tennessee verbal, told TMI's Brice Marich he's "close" with grad assistant Joe Hastings, the closest thing Michigan has to a dedicated WRs coach. His UT pledge doesn't sound particularly strong:

With his official visit to Michigan now in the books, the Maize and Blue left quite an impression on Jacques-Louis and his recruitment.

“They are definitely a factor in my decision to come,” Jacques-Louis said.

As a general rule, a "decision to come" is bad news for the program currently holding the commitment. Jacques-Louis was also a Kentucky verbal at one point, and it looks distinctly possible he continues to climb the ladder with another change in destination.

[Hit THE JUMP for visit reactions from underclassmen, notable new offers, and more.]

Friday Recruitin' Has Updated Unwatchable Tape

Friday Recruitin' Has Updated Unwatchable Tape

Submitted by Ace on October 6th, 2017 at 1:11 PM

MSU Visitors: 2018 Prospects

The Michigan State game represents the first of two huge recruiting weekends for the football program, which loaded up on visitors for the two rivalry games. Using the visitor lists from 247, TMI, and The Wolverine, let's start with the 2018 prospects who will be on campus.

OFFICIAL VISITORS

  • The most notable official visitor is three-star FL WR Shocky Jacques-Louis, a Tennessee commit who had Michigan in his top group before dropping for the Vols. With UT off to a rough start and the Wolverines looking for a wideout in the class, Jacques-Louis could be on flip watch.
  • Four-star GA CB Chris Smith looks like a tough pull; he's been a Georgia commit since May. That said, this will be the second time he's been to Ann Arbor, and he told Rivals's Chad Simmons he's been in frequent contact with the coaching staff.
  • As Steve Lorenz notes, Michigan is a longshot for all three California prospects taking official visits this weekend. Five-star WR Amon-Ra St. Brown and four-star defensive backs Julius Irvin and Bryan Addison will all take their trips without any family in tow, which tends to be a bad sign for out-of-region prospects.
  • Four commits will take their officials: German and Gemon Green, Cam McGrone, and newest pledge Kevin Doyle.

UNOFFICIAL VISITORS

  • Four-star Oak Park OG Marquan McCall, a Kentucky commit, will be in attendance. Michigan didn't push for McCall before his initial commitment, but it's possible they'll try to make a move now that Emil Ekiyor is a serious threat to leave the class.
  • Commits Aiden Hutchinson, Jalen Mayfield, and Christian Turner are expected to take unofficials this weekend, likely to help serve as recruiters themselves.

I wouldn't expect too much immediate movement among 2018 prospects after this weekend unless M makes a big spash with Jacques-Louis. There's plenty of intrigue among the underclassman visitors, though, so make sure to hit...

[THE JUMP]

Friday Recruitin' Delays Decision

Friday Recruitin' Delays Decision

Submitted by Ace on September 15th, 2017 at 11:52 AM

Time To Not Watch This Highlight Video Again

After previously being eliminated in a move that came as a surprise, Michigan is back in the mix for four-star NC DT Alim McNeill. McNeill had planned to announce his decision on September 9th, almost certainly for stated leader NC State, but with some nudging from the Wolverines he's put that decision off until he can take some official visits, per Scout's Michael Clark:

“I’m going to take some official visits before I decide,” said the 6-foot-2, 272-pound McNeill. “I’m definitely taking officials to Michigan, N.C. State and Virginia Tech.”

Michigan is making a late push for McNeill.

“They’re just Michigan,” McNeill said. “Coach (Jim) Harbaugh and the coaching staff stand out. I also like the tradition and they’ve always been a top football program.

“I had a talk with (defensive coordinator) coach (Don) Brown. Coach Brown really sold me on their defensive tradition.

“He talked about how they feel they could develop me as a player and how they could use me in the defense. He said they like my versatility. I’m ready to go up there and see what they have to offer.”

McNeill maintains NC State leads the pack, while Virginia Tech is also in his top group and Florida State is lurking. That said, it's always good to be the school the causes a prospect to rethink his timeline. This one should get interesting if/when McNeill makes it to campus. Getting back into contention with him is big for Michigan, which is in contention but not the outright leader for their top defensive tackle targets in the 2018 class—adding McNeill back into a target group including Tyler Friday, Michael Thompson, and Rick Sandidge makes it that much more likely they'll land at least one coveted DT.

I continue to recommend against watching his sophomore highlight video.

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

Monday Recruitin' Isn't In The Middle Of Nowhere

Monday Recruitin' Isn't In The Middle Of Nowhere

Submitted by Ace on June 19th, 2017 at 3:01 PM

Happy Trails: Tyler Shough

Four-star AZ QB Tyler Shough had long been expected to join Joe Milton in Michigan's class, to the point it was unclear who was running second behind the Wolverines, but quarterback recruiting has a way of turning on a dime. That happened last week, when Shough committed to North Carolina shortly after visiting Chapel Hill.

With Milton already in the class, this was a miss Michigan could afford. At the same time, it makes Milton a bit more of a risk if he's the only QB in the class; while Milton is a boom-or-bust project, Shough is more polished and has a higher floor. While Shough had maintained that Milton's presence in the class wasn't a factor, Steve Lorenz's notes on the commitment suggest otherwise:

I'm told he felt that UNC was a better fit from a football sense than Michigan, which can basically be translated to earlier playing time opportunities being available.

As of now, there's still a possibility Michigan looks to take a second in 2018. The A4 camp on Saturday got a lot more interesting all of a sudden.

Unfortunately, Saturday's A4 quarterback camp didn't provide alternative options, and Jim Harbaugh at least indirectly blamed the new Individual Associated With Prospects rule, which prevented Michigan from even trying to bring in the star-studded coaching lineup of years past to work the camp:

“That’s the landscape we have,” Harbaugh said. “Even pro players, you have to do a complete background search on who do they know that is already on our team or we could be recruiting. So we stayed away, just college coaches and our players.” ...

“Yeah, I think it’s silly and ridiculous,” Harbaugh said of the rule. “It’s been that way for 50 years that high school coaches can work camps and college coaches could go work camps at high schools. It’s always been that way. Drastic change.”

While the other recruiting rule changes were steps in the right direction, the IAWP rule is as much of an ill-conceived disaster as expected.

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

Thursday Recruitin' Is Not Concerned, Dude

Thursday Recruitin' Is Not Concerned, Dude

Submitted by Ace on June 1st, 2017 at 12:58 PM

In-State Tackles Come In Pairs

Michigan added a pair of high-upside four-star in-state tackles last week in Jalen Mayfield (Hello) and Ryan Hayes (Hello). As per usual, there are some additional scouting reports that have come out after the commitments. Barton Simmons detailed why 247 ranks Mayfield higher than the other three sites:

"I think with Mayfield, you're seeing a guy who already possesses a lot of the tools you can't teach," he said. "He's long and extremely athletic for his size. Then you turn on his film and you're seeing a guy who is beating the hell out of the guy across the line from him on a consistent basis. Those are really three of the bigger things you look for in a high school offensive lineman; he has them in spades. In a 2018 tackle class that isn't the strongest, I think Mayfield is a guy who has the potential to develop into a first round pick down the line. Michigan will get time to develop him and work him into a big-time player. When you trust your weight program and can find a guy like this, you're going to want one like him 10 out of 10 times over a 330-lb. tackle who may be maxing out towards the end of his high school career."

247 ranks Mayfield as the top player in the state. Rivals has him way down at #19. Rivals' Josh Helmholdt explains why he's a bit wary:

"Any time you have to put weight on a prospect there are risks involved with that," Helmholdt explains. "You can’t perfectly project how that weight is going to affect their athleticism and with athleticism being one of Mayfield’s strengths, any additional weight is going to be a bit of a concern.

"The thing that concerns me when I look at him, frame wise, is that he doesn’t have those big coat-hanger shoulders that you look for on guys who need to add weight. The guys with shoulders like that are often able to add that weight and maintain athleticism a little easier in my experiences."

Scout's Allen Trieu, who's seen more of Mayfield than anyone else from what I can tell, doesn't share this concern:

As a sophomore, Jalen was about 230 pounds when we first saw him, then 245 the next time we saw him and now he is 260 pounds and measured nearly 6-foot-6 at the NIKE Opening Regional in Chicago, which is a tad taller than what we expected, so I am not concerned about his weight at all. He will fill in easily. He has not really been able to put forth his full effort into gaining weight as he plays basketball too and I, along with most schools, would much rather have to add weight to a kid than have to cut it off of him.

In message board rumors that seem too specific to be made up, a poster on the TMI board says Mayfield fielded an Alabama offer in the week leading up to his commitment and Brian Kelly made a late push for an in-person visit that Mayfield rebuffed.

There's been much less on the scouting front for Hayes, who's a bit out of the way in Traverse City and hasn't hit the camp circuit to gain exposure. We do have a fun note from Steve Lorenz about Michigan making up a lot of ground on Notre Dame to snag him:

This is a really nice win for Greg Frey over Notre Dame, as the Irish were well out in front to begin this recruitment (as Wiltfong posted yesterday). Frey is the potential beneficiary of two in-state players that fit his mold at the tackle position to a tee. You think about how the Wolverines were victimized by Florida State (more than anyone else) with speed rushers on the edge beating tackles consistently. Hayes and Mayfield are the types of prospects with the potential to slow those types of players down at the tackles. They're two really, really valuable commitments in that regard.

Lorenz thinks Hayes is arguably M's most important commit because of the flexibility he gives the staff in approaching recruiting at two positions: tackle and tight end. As detailed in his Hello post, Hayes will begin his career at TE while adding the requisite bulk to play OT.

Meanwhile, Michigan's other O-line commit, top-100 IN OG Emil Ekiyor, had previously mentioned his contact with the coaches hadn't been as frequent as he'd like, and Alabama emerged as a potential threat. In that light, Trieu's note that Ekiyor reached out to Mayfield after his commitment and said he's "all in" is comforting. The coaches won't let Ekiyor go without a fight.

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