This Week's Obsession: Class of 2015 Roundtable

This Week's Obsession: Class of 2015 Roundtable Comment Count

Seth February 11th, 2015 at 2:14 PM




I changed up the format this week since the question was a seven-parter. A reminder of who everyone is:

  • Brian: Blogger of mighty repute.
  • Ace: Lead reporter, recruiting/basketball guy.
  • Seth: Associate editor/site business guy
  • BiSB: A funny person.
  • Adam Schnepp: Press correspondent (Heiko's old job) and hockey guy.
  • Alex Cook: Basketball correspondent
  • Dave Nasternak: J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Lead Backend Logistics Strategist and Associate Vice President of Name Day Nittany Lion Taunting and Corporate Titlery (i.e. a responsible adult)
    The Question Seven Questions:

Brian: Best recruit? Most important? Most likely to outperform ranking? Best name (nationally)? Guy who got away who will haunt you? Guy you are most irrationally enthusiastic about? Overall class hot take? Harbaugh?



BiSB: Brian Cole. He's a fantastic athlete, but more importantly Cole is a guy with speed in a position where, despite the assertions of some, SPEED IS A GOOD THING THAT CANNOT BE TAUGHT AND IS A GOOD THING. One caveat: Roquan Smith takes this category if he picks Michigan.

Five votes for the superlative in-stater. [Allen Trieu/Scout]


Seth: Brian Cole. In a terribly weak in-state class, this player this year was the perfect opportunity for Dantonio to flip the in-state script—no weird families or MSU connections or coaches who lock players in their cars during their Michigan visits or questionable transcripts.

AND he's a great player at two positions of need. Other than Borgesian leapers at receiver there's Canteen and Drake Harris's un-Dude hamstrings. Safety is an even greater need; if by some holy luck Peppers stays through 2018, Michigan would have two safeties in 2018. I'd gladly take Cole and four more just like him.

Adam Schnepp: Zach Gentry. I am an unabashed fan of gun-slinging giants who causes Physics and Anatomy to get into a fight over who left THAT loophole open. I think about fitting him into a Harbaugh-ffense and find myself chortling under my breath. If you're a commit who makes me chortle when thinking about your fit with Michigan's system then you too could be a contender for next year's Best Recruit.

Dave Nasternak: Probably Brian Cole. I can see arguments for Gentry, but I think that Cole is the best overall player, right now. And I think (hope?) he is the only member from this class who will not see a 2015 redshirt...if for no other reason than they just will not be able to keep him off of the field. There are a handful of places that he should be able to contribute early -WR, Returner, ST coverage, etc.

Ace: Another vote for Cole. He's such a good athlete that it's hard to imagine he won't end up contributing somewhere, and he's especially impactful with the ball in his hands.

Alex Cook: Brian Cole. The whole "the best players from Michigan go to Michigan" thing is, um, patently false, but there's a good chance that Cole will be the best homegrown recruit in this cycle. Oh, and he was a presumed State lean before committing to Michigan - and he stuck through the coaching change? Great. I'm sold.

Brian: I'm going with Zach Gentry. You do not get guys flying past safeties 50 yards downfield at 6'8" anywhere, and Gentry improved considerably over the course of his career. John Navarre running Buffalo 100 Meter Dash? I'll take it. Gentry has higher bust potential, yeah, but that upside. Yooooooo.

[Hit the jump for most important, sleeper, best names, the one that got away, and bloggers going squeeee]


Signing Day Liveblog

Signing Day Liveblog Comment Count

Brian February 4th, 2015 at 1:31 PM

FL RB Karan Higdon: flips from Iowa to Michigan
CT TE Chris Clark: inexplicably chooses UCLA
AL CB/QB Keith Washington: flips from Cal to Michigan
MI RB Mike Weber: sticks with OSU
GA LB Roquan Smith: picks UCLA

TN WR Van Jefferson: 1:30? 3:45? Vision quest? 
FL DE Shelton Johnson: 3 PM
NY TE/DE Ty Wheatley Jr: 3:15 PM
CA CB Iman Marshall: 4 PM 



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To participate, hop on twitter and send a Q to @mgoblog.


CROOTAGEDDON: Signing Day Primer

CROOTAGEDDON: Signing Day Primer Comment Count

Ace February 3rd, 2015 at 6:05 PM

Tyrone Wheatley Jr. (far right) on his recent visit.

This post will be updated as new info comes in.

6 PM TUESDAY UPDATE: Added Shelton Johnson to the board.

7 PM TUESDAY UPDATE: Added Keith Washington to the board.

10 PM TUESDAY UPDATE: Added Karan Higdon to the board.

National Signing Day is tomorrow and the action gets started early for Michigan, as tight end target Chris Clark is slated to announce at 8:30 am ET. Here's eveything you need to know heading into the biggest day on the recruiting calendar.

The Current Class

Michigan currently sits at nine commits, headlined by in-state ATH Brian Cole—who's expected to end up at receiver, though he could also play safety—and New Mexico QB Zach Gentry, a recent flip from Texas. The list should hit ten by tomorrow; as you probably gathered yesterday, three-star Brother Rice WR Grant Perry, who was offered this week and decommitted from Northwestern last night, is expected to commit... well, any moment now.

The Board

The current list of propsects with offers and legitimate Michigan interest is down to eight prospects, including Perry. Here's the rest of the board, with their announcement time (if they've scheduled one) and my best guess at M's chances:

FL CB Jarius Adams (Rutgers commit) — 3-star, #125 CB, #1388 Overall (247 Composite)

Adams is a Rutgers commit who took an official to Michigan last weekend, and he's down to those two schools. He's actually expected to announce his destination sometime today, and it appears he'll stick with his current commitment.

CT TE Chris Clark — 4-star, #2 TE, #85 Overall

The one-time Michigan commit (and, previously, UNC commit) will choose between Michigan and UCLA at 8:30 am on ESPNU/WatchESPN. While Clark has been arguably the new staff's top target, insiders from both sides believe he's leaning towards UCLA. Of course, Clark's recruitment has been tough to predict all along, so we'll just have to wait and see.

TN WR Van Jefferson (Ole Miss commit) — 4-star, #11 WR, #108 Overall

Jefferson's recruitment is hard to pin down, as well. He committed to Ole Miss on January 25th, got a Michigan offer three days later, and took an official visit to Ann Arbor last weekend. Rumors swirled of a possible flip when he left campus, but a recent report from 247's Barton Simmons indicates he's expected to stick with the Rebels, albeit while leaving open the possibility that he'll change his mind.

CA CB Iman Marshall — 5-star, #1 CB, #4 Overall

The pipe dream. Marshall has long been expected to end up at USC and that hasn't changed despite a solid official visit to Michigan a couple weeks ago. Florida State is also a factor; after visiting FSU, M, and LSU, Marshall cancelled a planned official to Oregon. He's announcing his decision on ESPNU/WatchESPN at 4 pm ET.

GA LB Roquan Smith — 4-star, #5 OLB, #47 Overall

While there was a fair amount of optimism after Smith's official visit in January, spurred by his strong bond with DJ Durkin, that's all but vanished in recent days. Steve Lorenz reports that Smith is expected to choose between in-state Georgia and (of course) UCLA, with the Bruins the surprise favorite to land him ($). He'll announce at 11 am ET on ESPNU/WatchESPN.

MI RB Mike Weber (Ohio State commit) — 4-star, #9 RB, #78 Overall

The Cass Tech star has totally shut down communication with the media in recent weeks, and it doesn't seem like insiders on either side have a clear idea of what he's going to do. Since Weber sat down with Jim Harbaugh last week there's been increasing optimism from Michigan's end, however, and in the last day or so that's leaked over to the Ohio State side of things. We'll see.

NY ATH Tyrone Wheatley Jr. — 4-star, #12 TE, #312 Overall

Wheatley is another prospect who's gone quiet with the press, but an out-of-the-blue trip to Ann Arbor last week provided a great deal of hope that he'll join his father at Michigan. According to Lorenz, the team with the best chance of stealing Wheatley away from Michigan is, in fact, UCLA, who's come on strong of late ($). He's expected to announce around 3:15 pm ET tomorrow.

LATE ADDITIONS: FL DE Shelton Johnson — 3-star, #20 SDE, #364 Overall

Late Tuesday afternoon, 247's Clint Brewster reported that two sources are telling him Michigan has a legitimate shot with Johnson, who visited in January. Johnson is also considering Florida State (the presumed favorite) and Miami. He's high school teammates with Markel Bush, who could be in line for a late offer.

AL CB Keith Washington (Cal commit) — 3-star, #76 ATH, #954 Overall

This is a suprising name to add to the board, as Washington initially rebuffed Michigan and never visited campus, but I'm told he'll choose between M and Cal at 8:30 am ET.

FL RB Karan Higdon (Iowa commit) — 3-star, #40 RB, #478 Overall

Higdon will choose between Michigan and Iowa at 8 am ET, according to Hawkeyes247's Andrew Kulha, despite previously announcing that he'd reaffirmed his commitment to the Hawkeyes after taking an official visit to Ann Arbor last weekend.

Last-Minute Offers?

Michigan has at least five open spots left in the class (assuming Perry takes a spot), and it doesn't look very likely that they'll get five players from the above group, so there's a decent chance we'll see a late offer or two go out, Dennis Norfleet-style. While the very nature of these offers make them pretty tough to predict, two names come to mind as potential candidates.

Unranked FL CB Markel Bush took an official visit a couple weeks ago; if Michigan misses out on Adams and Marshall, as expected, he could fill a need at corner. Bush doesn't hold any offers and would likely jump at the opportunity.

Cass Tech three-star LB/FB Michael Oliver, a Central Michigan commit, has come up as a potential late offer, and he could fill a need at either linebacker or fullback.


Thursday Recruitin' Makes Surprise Visit

Thursday Recruitin' Makes Surprise Visit Comment Count

Ace January 29th, 2015 at 2:28 PM

T-Minus Six Days

As we reach the last week before Signing Day, Jim Harbaugh and Co. don't seem to be sleeping, and they're being sustained by meals eaten on in-home visits. (Sorry, guys, but Bryan Mone is already on the roster.) Steve Lorenz published a free rundown of everything that happened just in the last 24 hours, and it was necessary.

I'll start with the latest round of offers. Michigan went after a trio of committed running backs, and while two—Texas Tech pledge Corey Dauphine and future Arizona Wildcat Orlando Bradford—politely declined to take official visits, Wisconsin commit Titus Booker will be on campus this weekend. Booker is one of the few prospects whose 40 time contains no FAKEs; he ran a 10.68 100-meter dash to finish second in the state of Illinois last year. He's a solid all-around athlete, as well—the Badgers recruited him as a cornerback.

Michigan also convinced two committed receivers to take officials this weekend. Four-star TN WR Van Jefferson received interest from the previous staff, and while he's an Ole Miss commit now, the Wolverines aren't as unlikely of a choice as one might expect from a recruit with his profile—Jefferson is a Detroit native who didn't leave the area until his junior year, per Lorenz. The coaches also offered CA WR Deontay Burnett, a Washington State commit. Given what he told Rivals' Adam Gorney, Burnett may be harder to convince to flip than Jefferson ($):

It could be tough to pull Burnett away from Washington State especially since he likes the pass-happy offense so much and that he's been committed for months. The three-star sees a lot of opportunities in Pullman so a late push even by Michigan might not be enough.

"I love the offense there," Burnett said. "As a receiver it's pretty attractive that their offense throws the ball a lot."

Finally, M also offered three-star AL CB Keith Washington, who committed to Cal just four days ago. I haven't seen any indication regarding whether he'll visit.

[Hit THE JUMP for news on Ty Wheatley Jr. Chris Clark, Iman Marshall, Mike Weber, and more.]


Monday Recruitin' Is A Believer

Monday Recruitin' Is A Believer Comment Count

Ace January 26th, 2015 at 2:24 PM

Recruiting +3

I don't think #60 is gonna catch him. [Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal]

Michigan landed three new commitments over the weekend; if you missed the action, click the names for the full Hello posts on DE Reuben Jones, QB Zach Gentry, and OL Nolan Ulizio.

Gentry's commitment post focused a lot on his athleticism and mechanics, so this quote Scout's Greg Biggins gave to MLive's Nick Baumgardner about his arm strength proves useful:

"He's got an NFL arm, I've seen him flick the wrist and it's effortless, he doesn't have to wind up, the release is tight and he can throw it," national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins said Sunday. "A lot of times you see young quarterbacks try to get more velocity by winding up, and they lose accuracy. With him, it's effortless. He just flicks the wrist and the accuracy and mechanics stay the same.

"Mechanically he's strong, and I love his arm strength."

Three of the four recruiting services rated Gentry as a four-star—Rivals and ESPN have him just outside the top 100—with the only holdout being 247. That doesn't mean 247 doesn't see his potential; when running down the best of the 2015 class, Barton Simmons pegged Gentry as a boom-or-bust candidate with serious upside:

3-star that could play like a 5 – Zach Gentry

A recent Texas decommit and Michigan commit, Gentry is the single most unique talent in this class. He’s huge at 6-7, he has a big arm, he doesn’t have good footwork but he is also extremely athletic, he’s extremely raw, plays shoddy competition in New Mexico but he’s got a world of potential. Still following? Bottom line: Don’t be surprised if Jim Harbaugh turns Gentry into a first-round draft pick as a quarterback, but also don’t be surprised if Gentry goes the Blake Bell route and ends up at tight end either.

Nolan Ulizio's commitment post was a little light on scouting reports; since that published, ESPN gave Ulizio a three-star rating and posted an evaluation ($):

Ulizio is an OL prospect with good size and a physical, lunch pail type style. Little better football player then he is overall athlete and ceiling may not be real high, but with some continued development good prospect that has flown under the radar some and can be a productive contributor to an FBS OL potentially as a RT or could very well see a move inside to OG.

Ulizio's high school coach also discussed his game with The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan ($):

"The great part about Nolan is he's a very physical, aggressive player," said Cox. "He plays with a nasty attitude and enjoys being an offensive lineman. He takes his job of protecting the quarterback and running backs really seriously. He's 6-5, 285. For a high school senior, that's pretty special. He plays with a chip on his shoulder, he plays to the whistle, and he finishes really really well. Secondly, I think Nolan does a great job of conceptualizing what you're trying to do offensively. He can think on his feet, with the defense a moving object that he reacts to quickly. 

That last bit is important—a big part of a lineman's job in Harbaugh's offense is identifying the right man to hit when pulling, which isn't always easy to do on the fly.

The Wolverine's Brandon Brown caught up a position coach at Reuben Jones' school—former M OL Ricky Barnum ($):

"He's one of the players that I love to coach against and coach with," Barnum said. "He's an extremely hard worker and he's very strong. I'm not just saying that either. In games, he gets double and tripled-teamed and he manages to fight through it. You can watch his highlight where he runs plays down from the backside. I'm talking 40 or 50 yards down the field. On the field he really has a motor. That's the one thing I'd say about him, he has a motor."

With the three additions, Michigan's 2015 class jumped 22 spots in the 247 Composite team rankings to #69 overall. That's still well off the pace M would like to be at, obviously, but they're poised to push into the top 30 if they round out the class as expected, which would be quite acceptable given the small group of commits compared to other schools.

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


Thursday Recruitin' Stocks Up On Snake Oil

Thursday Recruitin' Stocks Up On Snake Oil Comment Count

Ace January 22nd, 2015 at 3:00 PM

Zach Gentry: Eyes Off Texas?

In recent days, Texas has turned up the heat on their pursuit of 2015 five-star QB Kyler Murray, a Texas A&M commit, even getting him to take an unofficial visit to Austin.

What does this have to do with Michigan? Well, Texas already has a 2015 QB commit: 6'7", 230-pound NM four-star Zach Gentry, who pledged to the Longhorns last May and has turned down overtures from the likes of Alabama and Tennessee since. With Texas eyeing Murray, Jim Harbaugh visited Gentry in Albuquerque on Monday, and things are moving quickly. Gentry removed "committed to Texas" from his Twitter bio, and multiple outlets, including Wolverine247, report that he'll take an official visit to Ann Arbor this weekend.

Just like that, Michigan may very well be the favorite to end up with him:

What would the Wolverines be getting? Scout's free evaluation makes him sound like an ideal fit for a Harbaugh offense:

Gentry is an intriguing quarterback with NFL size but surprising mobility for a big man. He has a downfield arm and can make every throw but also shows the ability, when flushed out of the pocket, to run for positive yards. He looks to have a good feel in the pocket and doesn't panic when the rush comes at him. He can keep his eyes down the field and throws an accurate ball whether in or outside of the pocket-Biggins

The film backs that up; other than some mechanical issues with his delivery, there's little not to like there.

Jay Harbaugh checked out another under-the-radar QB, California prospect Anthony Gordon. Gordon, like McLane Carter, was very productive in high school on a title-winning team but hasn't generated much in the way of college interest or attention from the recruiting services.

[Hit THE JUMP for a couple impending announcements, a rundown of weekend official visitors, and much more.]


Monday Recruitin' Is Father Figure And Fashion Icon

Monday Recruitin' Is Father Figure And Fashion Icon Comment Count

Ace January 19th, 2015 at 2:20 PM

Official Visits Wrapup

While Michigan's big official visit weekend hasn't yet produced a commitment, it certainly moved the needle for some of the program's top targets. Four-star CT TE Chris Clark—who appears to have rocked khakis on his visit, based on the above picture—was already familiar with Michigan's campus. He came to Ann Arbor to meet Jim Harbaugh, and told MLive that couldn't have gone much better:

"It's crazy, he's really intense, and you really like that," Clark told MLive on Sunday. "He grew on me a lot. I didn't know what to think at first, I wasn't sure what he'd be like. But once I left, he really, really grew on me.

"He's the best coach I think I've sat down with. I just think he's awesome."

An important note: Clark had an in-home with UCLA's Jim Mora last week. Clark now says his two finalists are "neck and neck" heading into this weekend's official visit to UCLA; Harbaugh will have an in-home with Clark after that visit, hopefully allowing him the last word in the process. Momentum looks to be swinging Michigan's way, though we'll see if that changes after Clark sees UCLA's campus for the first time. Clark is slated to make his decision on Signing Day in a televised ceremony on ESPNU.

Michigan also made significant progress with top-50 GA LB Roquan Smith; per TomVH, the Wolverines are poised to make the cut when Smith narrows his list to three ($):

Heading into the trip, Smith had Florida, Georgia, Michigan and UCLA as his likely top four. He has yet to take his official visit to UCLA, but says he should have news before that trip. 

"[Michigan is] in my top and I'll be coming out with a final three next week," he said. 

I'd assume Florida is the odd team out here—the main reason Smith looked at Michigan in the first place is because they hired DJ Durkin, who'd recruited him while at UF.

Three-star FL CB Damon Arnette, a South Carolina commit, got some important perspective from his player host, Jabrill Peppers, per Scout's Amy Campbell ($):

“Me and Jabrill had this conversation, just based off of speaking to him, he’s ready, you know what I mean? I can tell he’s going to be a great player, and I think that’s maybe something I want to be a part of. Him being back there behind me,that would be great. I can tell, since he got hurt, that put a drive in him,” Arnette said.

“Speaking with Jabrill, he was saying when he got hurt, he was going crazy because he didn’t know what else he could do, but then he realized he’s getting a great education. God forbid something happens to me, if I end up going to Michigan, I still have my education to fall back on.”

Arnette sounds like a strong candidate to commit; he had effusive praise for the coaches and even said he loved the weather—not exactly the norm for a Florida kid visiting Michigan in January.

The only uncommitted official visitor who doesn't sound like a distinct possibility to end up in the class is three-star FL DE Shelton Johnson, who said the visit was "pretty good" to Scout's Corey Bender ($). Nothing he said in there gave the impression Michigan should challenge Florida State, the presumed leader, for his commitment.

Meanwhile, five-star CA CB Iman Marshall is on campus. There will be much more on him later in the week.

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


Thursday Recruitin' Attacks The Day

Thursday Recruitin' Attacks The Day Comment Count

Ace January 15th, 2015 at 2:23 PM

Unleash The Harbaugh

The dead period is over, meaning coaches can once again have in-person contact with recruits. I have a hunch Jim Harbaugh is ready:

Harbaugh has already been spotted at Detroit Catholic Central, and you can bet he'll be visiting Michigan's top targets throughout the area. That would likely include Cass Tech's Mike Weber, and lo and behold, Tyrone Wheatley made his way to CT earlier today.

There will be much more as reactions come in over the weekend—the coaches are visiting numerous prospects around the country right now—but it's worth noting five-star CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South received a visit this morning.

A couple new names on the board talked or will talk to coaches today and look like distinct possibilities to end up in the class. The first, three-star GA ATH Chris Williamson, pulled in an offer earlier this week; he's one of the hottest prospects in the country, earning offers from Virginia Tech, Florida, Georgia, Notre Dame, and Auburn in the last couple weeks.

Per The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan, Michigan is recruiting Williamson as a defensive back, and his main factors for choosing a school are academics, playing time, and player development ($). According to 247's Ryan Bartow, newly minted assistant coach Mike Zordich stopped by Williamson's school this morning and immediately made things happen ($):

Earlier this morning, Williamson bumped Kentucky out of the January 23 official visit spot for Michigan as reported by Steve Lorenz of Wolverine247. Michigan assistant coach Mike Zordich stopped by the school and set up the visit.

Williamson is visiting UNC this weekend, will see either Florida or Auburn at the end of the month, and should take a mid-week official to Georgia somewhere in between. He officially visited Cal, his current leader, in December.

Three-star Rutgers CB commit Jarius Adams is one of several Florida prospects who'll get a visit today. Per Scout's Corey Bender, Adams will speak with DJ Durkin, and he'll be "very excited" if he receives an offer; if one comes through, expect him to make it up to Ann Arbor ($):

In addition to the Scarlet Knights, Adams has solidified a visit date with an in-state program and is considering Harbaugh's program for the weekend prior to National Signing Day.

"(I'm visiting) Florida Atlantic this weekend, Rutgers next weekend, and hopefully Michigan," Adams said.

And, as I'm writing this, Lorenz reports that Michigan did in fact offer Adams.

Again, there will be much more coverage of Michigan's in-school and in-home visits next week, as this post is assuredly out of date even as I post it.

[Hit THE JUMP for this weekend's visit list, updates on new 2015 offers and scheduled visits, and a few 2016 updates.]


Thursday Recruitin' Makes Most Unfortunate Typo

Thursday Recruitin' Makes Most Unfortunate Typo Comment Count

Ace January 8th, 2015 at 2:06 PM

Two New Offers

The new (and still incomplete) coaching staff has hit the recruiting trail running, with a couple new offers to committed 2015 prospects going out this week.

TX WDE Charles Omenihu is a Texas commit whose three-star ranking belies an impressive offer list that also includes Florida, LSU, Miami, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon, and TCU, among others. At 6'5", 232 pounds, he's got the frame to be a rush end in a DJ Durkin defense that'll utilize both three- and four-man fronts. After getting the call from Greg Mattison that he'd earned a Michigan offer, he talked to 247's Steve Lorenz ($):

"I talked to Coach Mattison and he told me I had a scholarship offer," Omenihu said. "Michigan is a program I wanted an offer from since I was a kid. They are a very prestigious school. Coach Harbaugh is a cool guy too. I know he has a plan for them and it's a plan I believe in."

While Omenihu has been firm in his commitment to the Longhorns, he said he'll "definitely" consider an official visit to Ann Arbor.

Michigan also offered three-star FL CB Damon Arnette, a South Carolina commit whose offer sheet—which includes Florida State, Louisville, Ohio State, Ole Miss, and Wisconsin—doesn't necessarily line up with his ranking. At 6'2", 185, Arnette has great size for a corner, something he told The Wolverine's Brandon Brown was a big factor in Michigan offering him; he also talked about his visit schedule, which changed in the wake of the M offer ($):

"All of my visits I've set up are realistic places for me," Arnette stated. "I'm not going just to go. I was originally going to Louisville on the 16th, but I cut them off today for Michigan. My other visits will be to South Carolina and Ohio State. Those three will probably be it."

Brady Hoke's staff didn't recruit Arnette at all, so to jump into the mix this quickly is a good sign for M's chances. As you'll see, the weekend of the 16th—just after the current dead period ends—is shaping up to be a big visit weekend for Michigan.

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


Monday Recruitin' Enrolls Early

Monday Recruitin' Enrolls Early Comment Count

Ace January 5th, 2015 at 1:58 PM

Two Down

Two 2015 commits are officially in: QB Alex Malzone and ATH Brian Cole enrolled at Michigan this week.. Given what should be an open, heated competition for the starting quarterback job next season, it's especially nice to get Malzone on campus early; while he won't be the favorite to land atop the depth chart, he's got the talent to make a run for it.

I've failed to mention this in the past couple roundups, but as you might expect, the recruits who stuck with Michigan through the turmoil of the last several months are very solid in their pledges now that Jim Harbaugh is in place. 2015 four-star S Tyree Kinnel, for instance, is back to recruiting for the Wolverines after previously considering a flip to Notre Dame, per MLive's Nick Baumgardner:

"Oh yeah I'm recruiting," Kinnel said. "I'm talking to (five-star corner) Marcus Lewis, (five-star corner) Iman Marshall, I've been texting four-star safety Shaun Crawford (a former Michigan pledge, currently a Notre Dame commit) a bit.

"And I'm still talking with Alex (Malzone), he's staying on top of everyone. He's giving me more names to keep texting. He's on top of everybody. We're trying to get this whole thing together, and I know (Michigan commit) Brian Cole has been recruiting like crazy, too. We're trying to finish this class strong."

Marshall is reportedly setting up an official visit, while Lewis is considering the same; unfortunately, there hasn't been much to indicate Crawford will reconsider Michigan.

In other news, Kinnel's senior highlight reel just posted on Hudl.

Several To Go

Surprise! Four-star CT TE Chris Clark's recruitment remains bizarre as all hell. Clark is down to Michigan and UCLA, and he's scheduled officials to Ann Arbor for January 16th and LA the following weekend, per 247's Steve Wiltfong.

Which program will land Clark is anybody's guess. He told 247's Tom Loy there's "a part of me that feels UCLA is going to be the place for me," naming UCLA as his leader even though he's never been to their campus. He's also yet to meet Jim Harbaugh in person, which could swing things the other way, and... well, you try to figure out the quotes he gave GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz ($):

Based on his previous verbal commitment to Michigan under Brady Hoke, Clark did admit that gives the Wolverines a slight edge down the stretch in his recruitment.

“I would say I think UCLA, right now, in terms of the opportunity, it’s better there,” Clark said. “But I’d say in terms of my comfort level and in terms of where I know more about, it would definitely be Michigan.

“But I think the opportunity is a little greater at UCLA from all the stuff I know now but I think in terms of where I probably feel more at home or where I feel more comfortable with, Michigan would have that advantage right now.”

Bogenschutz took that to mean Michigan holds the edge. I am the shrug emoticon.

Three-star MI ATH John Kelly spoke to Harbaugh last week; he told Scout's Josh Newkirk that the new Michigan coach is "a real cool guy," and he's being recruiting as an athlete who can pick his position when he gets to campus ($). Kelly set up official visits to Tennessee and Minnesota later this month and plans to do the same for Michigan and Michigan State before a signing day decision.

[Hit THE JUMP for updates on several top 2015 targets as well as Harbaugh hire reactions from a handful of the best 2016 prospects in the country.]