Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs Nebraska

Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs Nebraska Comment Count

Brian September 26th, 2018 at 4:46 PM

[Eric Upchurch]

image-6_thumb_thumb5_thumb_thumbSPONSOR NOTE: Reminder that Matt is hanging out at the Charity Tailgate at 327 East Hoover (if you were at the preseason MGoEvents this year and last it's the same place). Food trucks, beer, TVs, and also those things. When not tailgating Matt is also a person who will get you a mortgage right quick from the comfort of your own home. If you need one, he's the man, man.

FORMATION NOTES: A bit more balanced, with Michigan going shotgun (or pistol) on about 40 snaps and under center on the other 30. All murderback snaps were three TE ace sets:

mason form

Nebraska stuck in a 3-4 with their line shaded to the run strength for most of the day, frequently adding their strong safety into the box after starting him from the gray area.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Patterson, then McCaffrey and Peters at QB. No Milton, boo. At RB Higdon a clear #1, Wilson a clear #2, and Samuels sprinkled in on a couple carries before garbage time. By the middle of the third it was Samuels and a debuting Christian Turner. Mason got some run at RB, obviously. Jared Wangler got some backup FB snaps.

Collins and DPJ your primary outside WRs with a healthy dose of Oliver Martin, who stayed out there deep into the game. Ronnie Bell got a bunch of second-half snaps; Ambry Thomas got three total. TE the usual with maybe a little more Eubanks because of the 3TE sets and garbage time. Redshirt freshman walk-on Carter Selzer got snaps in the fourth quarter, which is a definitive statement that Schoonmaker and Muhammad are redshirting.

OL was the usual on both first and second units, except that Michigan brought in Andrew Vastardis at C after one drive and bumped Stephen Spanellis out to RG. Stueber and Paea got the last drive.

[After THE JUMP: down G over and over]

Comments

I Ate My Own Heart Out Of Contempt For Your Feebleness

I Ate My Own Heart Out Of Contempt For Your Feebleness Comment Count

Brian September 24th, 2018 at 1:16 PM

[Eric Upchurch]

9/22/2018 – Michigan 56, Nebraska 10 – 3-1, 1-0 Big Ten

In the aftermath of an implausible beatdown there is always a race to identify the most emblematic stat of the day. I have participated. I have scoured the box score. I have consulted with the learned elders. This one takes the cake. Prepare thyself. Ensconce. All right: Adrian Martinez had 22 passing yards with a long of 32.

You rn:

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Those 32 yards came when a hunted Martinez hurled a 500 ball skyward that one of his receivers was accidentally in position to come back to. Michigan was one arm punt away from a statistic that would implode the fundamental nature of football. Alas.

At least they won? And Martinez finished with negative total yards?

--------------------------

The strangest thing about a game like this is how the goalposts move in the middle of the first quarter. If Nebraska had been moderately feisty and the defensive tackles had been a major factor in a 3.0 YPC day from the Cornhusker ground game, we'd be talking about how they passed a major test against a couple of senior guards who Big Ten coaches thought were pretty good. Instead Michigan held Nebraska's top three backs to ten yards total.

Nebraska now proves nothing. It might prove something later, if the tough-luck Nebraska that outgained Colorado by 150 yards but conspired to lose thanks to Laviska Shenault making absurd plays re-emerges. If Michigan also continues looking like a juggernaut instead of the sad mess that took on Notre Dame, this game will be retroactively upgraded from "accidentally played another MAC team" to the turning point when the Warinner hit and the corner got turned.

For now this was the sort of game where your sack celebration is ripping out and eating your own heart, because nothing else is going to be a challenge.

Precisely calibrating exactly how much to take from an unexpected hamblasting of a Big Ten team is far more pleasant than many things you can do after a football game. But we have been here before. With the exception of last year Harbaugh's Michigan teams have paved lower-tier teams flat. This is good! This tends to fling you up very far in predictive ranking systems. Michigan is now 5th in S&P+, like they seemingly always are, and S&P+ is designed to tell you who will win football games in the future. Paving people flat is a characteristic of very good football teams that win many games and leave you with a rich satisfied feeling that we are assured is something football fans can feel after the conclusion of a season.

But because of Certain Events and Certain Circumstances Leading To Third-String Quarterbacks all that feels hollow even if you're gripping onto the random, bloody-minded universe theory with everything you've got. We've been taught that paving folks doesn't correlate with winning the games that might cause the most annoying people in the universe to shut up for at least three seconds. That's not rational, but it sure as hell is sports.

The goalposts are going to keep moving until someone, probably Devin Bush, tackles them and glues them to the floor. Michigan has one more friendly double-digit spread next week against Northwestern, and then we get to play the games that will determine your state of mind, and, perhaps most importantly, the tenor of the takes we will have to endure for eight months of barren, dumb offseason.

Have fun storming the castle! Or paving it! Please pave it.

HIGHLIGHTS

AWARDS

Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

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[Upchurch]

-2535ac8789d1b499[1]you're the man now, dog

#1 Devin Bush. Bush's main accomplishment was getting up to nine tackles on a day where Michigan's constant rotation and Nebraska's inability to stay on the field spread defensive stats incredibly thin. Michigan's next highest tackler had four; 12 different guys had TFLs. Bush had 2.5 of his own, a sack, and got sideline to sideline to blow up Nebraska's perimeter run game. He is reaching the Mo Hurst level where he is so consistently excellent it's hard to find new talking points about him.

#2 Rashan Gary. Just a half of play from him but it was a monster half. He's got his own section below. Felt terrifying in the way we were hoping he would before the season.

#3 Karan Higdon. The holes were there for him. He took advantage. His power was welcome after some YAC struggles last week, and if he hits the open field he'll outrun a lot of angles. Also he was the only offensive player to, like, feature.

Honorable mention: Will Hart is gonna get on the board if Michigan ever punts six times in a game. DPJ had a punt return TD. The tackles didn't give up a pressure? Is that true? I think it might be. The 10 guys with TFLs not mentioned.

KFaTAotW Standings.

4: Chase Winovich (#1 ND, #3 SMU), Devin Bush(#3 ND, #1 Nebraska), Rashan Gary(#2 WMU, #2 Nebraska), Karan Higdon (#1 WMU, #3 Nebraska)
2: Ambry Thomas (#2 ND), Rashan Gary(#2 WMU), Donovan Peoples-Jones(T1 SMU), Zach Gentry(T1 SMU), Josh Metellus(#2 SMU).
1: Devin Bush(#3 ND), Shea Patterson(#3 WMU)

Who's Got It Better Than Us(?) Of The Week

You gotta put some style points on it.

Honorable mention: The first half.

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

Khaleke Hudson is ejected on a dubious targeting call and will miss the first half against Northwestern.

Honorable mention: Injury worries for Gary, who was holding his shoulder, and Kwity Paye. Harbaugh passes on a potential program-record field goal. Four commercial breaks in the first eight minutes of gametime.

[After THE JUMP: Ol' Murderback]

Comments

Preview 2018: Running Back

Preview 2018: Running Back Comment Count

Brian August 27th, 2018 at 6:06 PM

Previously: Podcast 10.0A. Podcast 10.0B. Podcast 10.0C. The Story. Quarterback.

[Bolded player rules: not necessarily returning starter, but someone we've seen enough of that I'm no longer talking about their recruiting profile. Extant contributor.]

FEATURE BACK Yr. SHORT YARDAGE Yr. 3RD DOWN YR.
Karan Higdon Sr. Karan Higdon Sr. Chris Evans Jr.
Chris Evans Jr. Chris Evans Jr. Karan Higdon Sr.
Tru Wilson Fr.* O'Maury Samuels So. Tru Wilson Fr.*
Christian Turner Fr. Hassan Haskins Fr. Christian Turner Fr.

Like every other thing about the run game, this was a story in two parts. Michigan started the year trying to be the kind of team that can run inside zone 80% of the time and make that work because they're just so good at repping it that all attempts to swamp it get outsmarted.

This did not work at all, in part because first-level defenders were continually left alone. The running backs had their hand in those early failures too. When not getting hit in the backfield by DEs they were often running directly into linebackers, thus spurring a UFR complaint about "zero cut running":

Too frequently Michigan guys are running straight the whole play. When the opposition has put an extra guy in the box you need to get someone to waste themselves without occupying a blocker, and misdirection is the way to do that. There's play-level misdirection that gets filed under Rock Paper Scissors, and then there's an in-play misdirection where you threaten one gap and then show up in another. There's a reason you hear a lot about "great one-cut runners" and not great zero-cut runners. ... Evans [just] runs directly into Bentley here:

image_thumb[5]

Cut. You are 210 pounds; he is 260. You have the advantage when he changes direction. Purdue has pinched their line here to get this exact thing, but the risks are clear: on either side of the Great Wad in the middle of the play are big pockets. Don't take their bait.

It was heartening that Michigan's running backs repaired this deficiency over the course of the year. A shift towards more power rushing helped, as did a general surge in competence after Juwann Bushell-Beatty was inserted. More room and a more familiar patterns helped but to your author's eye the just flat-out got a lot better. After they nuked Minnesota:

 

Earlier in the year I complained about "zero cut" running that left no question about where you were headed, and requested a cut. Michigan's backs have started doing this very well on power plays.  The most whizbang example was on the long Higdon touchdown, which happened in part because Higdon's path convinced #8 that he needed to be farther outside:

 

... Higdon had less spectacular results on better and more subtle cuts. This is a much narrower gap that he commits to late; once again that safety is in the wrong gap:

These are decisive shallow cuts that allow Higdon to maintain speed and exploit thin gaps in the defense. The big missed cuts from early in the year are gone. He'll occasionally miss a crack or do something somewhat suboptimal, but the caverns power plays carve out aren't a surprise; he's benefited from the power focus as much or more than the OL.

Some of that got swamped in the general malaise—safeties made contact two yards from the LOS I don't know how often, but the rushing renaissance was real. Despite a bunch of personnel changes and the limitations imposed by the passing game, Michigan finished last year 14th in rushing S&P+. This wasn't just on the backs of Rutgers and Indiana and Minnesota, either: Higdon and Evans combined for 122 yards on 22 carries versus OSU. Give 'em some breathing room and things could be real nice.

RUNNING BACK: I CALL HIM MINI-ROCK

RATING: 4.5

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stop! collaborate and listen, ice is ba—where are you all going [Patrick Barron]

There wasn't much question about which running back would get top billing here after KARAN HIGDON ended up six yards short of being Michigan's first thousand-yard running back since Fitz Toussaint, but any lingering doubts were obliterated by this offseason's favorite slice of S&C porn:

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Higdon went from 187 pounds on last year's roster to 202, and apparently if you're 5'10" adding 15 pounds of muscle turns you into The Rock. Since Higdon was already a pad-popping runner who brings the "run behind your pads" bit of scouting jargon to vivid, YAC-filled life, expectations have ratcheted up a notch. This was Higdon last year:

Higdon this year is going to be fun.

[After THE JUMP: a caveat and a running mate]

Comments

2018 Recruiting: Christian Turner

2018 Recruiting: Christian Turner Comment Count

Brian August 15th, 2018 at 3:57 PM

Previously: Last year's profiles. S Sammy Faustin, S German Green, CB Gemon Green, CB Vincent Gray, CB Myles "Spider" Sims, LB Cameron McGrone, DE Taylor Upshaw, DE Julius Welschof, DE Aidan Hutchinson, OL Jalen Mayfield, OL Ryan Hayes, TE Luke Schoonmaker, TE Mustapha Muhammad, WR Ronnie Bell, RB-ish Michael Barrett, FB Ben VanSumeren, RB Hassan Haskins.

 
Buford, GA — 5'11", 200
 

original

24/7 4*, #672 overall
#37 RB, #60 GA
Rivals 3*, 5.7 rating
#18 RB, #47 GA
ESPN 4*, 80 rating
#21 RB, #45 GA
Composite 3*, #978 overall
#49 RB, #11 MO
Other Suitors ND, Wisc, VT, Miami, MSU, UF, Tenn
YMRMFSPA Darius Walker
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace.
Notes Twitter.

Film

Junior:

 

 

There are a number of guys in this class who were thrown in the generic three-star bin for understandable reasons. If you take a deep dive on a kid you may come back with reasons he would outperform his ranking or even believe that a recruiting service or three was wrong, but you could still see why a QB in Connecticut slated for TE or a WR everyone expects will play basketball in college doesn't get a top 100 ranking.

There's nowhere to hide with Christian Turner, though. The subject of a rollercoaster Michigan-ND battle at one of the most talented schools in Georgia—Turner split carries with a 2018 FSU commit and 2019 four star—drawing the kind of the general yawning Turner did is weird. He even went to the Opening! Yeah, Turner didn't knock anyone's face off while there and had somewhat limited opportunities to blow up thanks to his crowded HS backfield. This still seems like an easy mid-four star kind of call, but other than ESPN that was not the case. C'est la vie.

Turner's in the bin he's in because he does not have a standout talent that recruiting sites pick up on. When they describe him they tend to say "solid" over and over again, or imply it:

"slasher ... good, not elite speed, but he is quick, he has a good burst up the field ... runs with patience ... solid [receiver]  ... flashes the ability to break tackles, but the consistency between the tackles is not there yet ... may not be one trait that blows me away, but he is solid in so many areas."

Chad Simmons:

"...knowing how he prepares and works at football makes him a safe bet. He’s not a flashy kid and he’s probably not the fastest, biggest or strongest back, but he's good at everything. He’s durable, he’s smart, he knows how to run and he can catch the ball out of the backfield. He’s just a productive running back."

Opposing coach:

“I don’t think he’s a 4.4 kid or anything, but he does run very well for his size. I just think he has an all-around game – you can tell he’s really worked on everything, and not just one area.”

Heck, Turner's self-scout is a very "solid" self-scout:

“I’d say my vision would be my best factor. Seeing things, really knowing the playbook – not just knowing the offensive side of the ball, but the defense; the different schemes and stuff they do. I think just knowing the game, is really what helps me out the most. My speed, toughness… you know I’m not the biggest running back, but I’m not afraid to lay a hit, either. I’m not afraid of contact.”

That is definitely true; a few of the plays that made his highlight reel are Turner laying the wood as a tiny middle linebacker. He gets under some pads when unblocked. And in there is where Turner impressed college coaches more than the industry guys. His coach provided the scouting report that might unravel this mystery:

“His number one strength is point of contact. His yards after contact is his strength — you better buckle up because he’s so explosive from the hips to the chest. He’s going to hit you and run you high, that’s what he’s gifted at. A lot of people don’t have that. ...  very physical ... very explosive, I think that’s what makes him so good, because he’s very fast in the hole, very explosive on contact. His footwork is really, really good.”

As a bonus, Turner is also "really good" at pass protection, in part because he understands the pickups and in part because he gets low to the ground and uses that explosion.

[After the JUMP: further unraveling the mystery]

Comments

Tuesday Recruitin' Is Immune To Dizziness

Tuesday Recruitin' Is Immune To Dizziness Comment Count

Ace September 5th, 2017 at 2:00 PM

B Button Right, B Button Left, R2

The roundup took a hiatus during previewpalooza. I'd be remiss if I didn't post this run by commit Christian Turner from last week.

Balance: Hart-like.

All The Hintons, Please

This is one of the Hintons.

It's not five-star 2019 Michigan commit Chris Hinton, however. It's his younger brother, 2020 OT Myles Hinton, who wouldn't look out of place lining up at tackle for Michigan right now. While we'll have to wait a few years to see that, it seems close to an inevitability we will; here's Myles talking with TMI's Josh Newkirk about joining his brother in Ann Arbor:

“Yes we are,” Hinton said on playing with his brother in college. “Before he committed I still liked Michigan, they were high on my list. So it kind of reassured that I love the school. I feel like I’m really close with my brother, so if we were separated it wouldn’t be as fun in college I don’t think.”

The Hintons attended Saturday's game, which couldn't hurt matters, either. They'll be back on campus for the Rutgers game. Michigan is already off to a great start in the 2019 class; a commitment from Myles Hinton would be the perfect way to begin the 2020 haul.

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

Comments

Monday Recruitin' Alpacas A Guy

Monday Recruitin' Alpacas A Guy Comment Count

Ace August 21st, 2017 at 12:11 PM

Cameron McGrone Welcomes You To Football Season

I THINK I'M READY FOR FOOTBALL SEASON.

High school ball is underway for a few of Michigan's commits, including four-star IN LB Cameron McGrone, who killed a guy. McGrone spearheaded a dominant defensive performance in Lawrence Central's 40-6 season-opening victory over a ranked McCutcheon squad that may now be in search for a quarterback whose ribs haven't been smashed into a fine powder.

A pair of Peach State products were also in action. Three-star RB Christian Turner needed only 11 carries to rush for 128 yards and two scores in a blowout win for Buford, while four-star OLB Otis Reese put together a performance that raised his stock in the eyes of Rivals's Chad Simmons:

What is known is that he is a heck of a football player. In game one against Forsyth (Ga.) Mary Persons, he had numerous big hits including one which led to a fumble and turnover. He was around the ball a lot, he was very aggressive, and he is going to be a Rivals100 prospect when all is said and done.

Simmons also notes that Reese has gone completely quiet about his recruitment, which is a little unnerving given his recent visit to Georgia. Michigan, as expected, is going to have to keep recruiting him until the final bell. While Georgia has home-state advantage, Michigan has a couple factors in their favor: freshman DT Aubrey Solomon is Reese's former high school teammate and Reese's older brother plays at Central Michigan.

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

Comments

Thursday Recruitin' Reels In A Big One

Thursday Recruitin' Reels In A Big One Comment Count

Ace July 6th, 2017 at 11:52 AM

Quite A Catch

Five-star 2019 GA DE Chris Hinton has an important announcement to make:

oh, did you think I meant

ah, yeah, I can see why you'd think that

my bad, everyone

The Opening: Michigan Commits

Sam Webb and Josh Newkirk recap The Opening.

Nike's elite invite-only camp, The Opening, took place last weekend, and pretty much the entirety of this post will be devoted to the post-camp fallout. Michigan had four commits participate: guard Emil Ekiyor, running back Christian Turner, and defensive backs Myles Sims and Gemon Green.

Ekiyor, who was feeling a bit scrappy, had a strong weekend, earning an invite to the Army All-American Game. He showed a lot of progress in pass protection, according to TMI's Josh Newkirk, and excelled in the run-blocking portion on day two, earning a top performer nod from 247's Steve Wiltfong:

Michigan center commit Emil Ekiyor flashed athletically in offensive line drills and come the competition portion showed he can bang with the very best. He defeated Ohio State five-star defensive tackle commit Taron Vincent in a run blocking 1-on-1 drill and impressed overall with his strength and feet at the point of attack. The 247Sports Composite ranks Ekiyor as the nation’s No. 4 offensive guard but he moves to center as a senior this fall.

Ekiyor's ability to play center may further explain why Michigan hasn't gone after in-state four-star Tyrone Sampson; between Cesar Ruiz and Ekiyor, that position is well-stocked for the future, and both of those guys are better-suited to sliding over to guard than Sampson.

Sims showed that while he's considered a safety by many due to his length, he's got the fluidity to play corner. TMI's Gene Hankerson:

Michigan cornerback commit Myles Sims had a really good day.  You can’t miss him, because the kid is freakishly long and lengthy.  I watched Sims during drills, and was surprised with how fluid his hips were in and out of breaks.  He transferred that over to the 1 on 1’s where for the most part he ran stride for stride with receivers and broke up several passes.

247's Keith Neibuhr added that Sims "seemed to be in the right place a lot."

Green also made life tough on opposing quarterbacks. While I can't find any clips of him posted to Twitter, he made 247's top performers list for Texas prospects:

One of the most underrated recruits in the state, Green was extremely impressive today. The Michigan commit played shallow for his team and didn’t allow anything underneath. Green finished the day with four pass breakups and also notched a big interception.

Finally, Turner showed some wiggle in the Make 'Em Miss drill:

It was otherwise a quiet weekend for him, as the entire running back group was held in check by an impressive group of linebackers, per 247's Hank South:

Michigan commit Christian Turner looked good running routes, but didn’t show much in the 1-on-1 portion. Again, the linebacker corps dominated the entire running back position as a whole on the night.

On the plus side, at least one of said linebackers looks like a good bet to join Turner in the class.

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

Comments

Tuesday Recruitin' Attempts To Speak DaCoachO

Tuesday Recruitin' Attempts To Speak DaCoachO Comment Count

Ace May 9th, 2017 at 2:44 PM

Hey: Joe

Four-star FL QB Joe Milton's commitment (Hello post here) has been followed by the usual post-pledge scouting reports. Scout:

Milton also does a good job of transferring weight and stepping into his throws. He has packed on solid mass over the past year, and measures in at roughly 6-foot-5 when lacing up the cleats. He can continue to work on his accuracy on some of his intermediate throws, but flashes great ball placement when extending the field with the deep ball.

The Central Florida native is also comfortable when throwing on the run. Milton's fleet-footed style allows him to dissect defenses with his legs, but he also does a nice job of keeping his eyes locked down the field in hopes of utilizing his arm first.

Rivals:

After completing just 46% of his passes as a junior, unfortunately the stigma of being inaccurate is going to be there for Milton. Farrell agrees that it’s something that needs to be dealt with but doesn’t believe it will be a long-term issue for the big QB.

“He’s going to have to be a little bit more less reliant on his arm,” Farrell explained. “His teams throws the ball down field a lot because that’s what he’s comfortable doing. On short and intermediate passes after seeing him in camps this spring and watching him on film, he’s not as comfortable with touch. He loves slinging the ball down the field and he loves showing off that big arm.

Via a Freep interview with Milton's high school coach, Pep Hamilton provides a player comp:

“He got in contact with and me and said, ‘Coach, tell me about this kid, I love him,’” Hayes recalled. “He always talks about how he reminds him of Steve McNair. I thought that was pretty big. Coach Hamilton may have had the job one week and we’ve been in constant contact since he’s had the job.”

Milton's commitment gives Michigan a connection to one of the top prospects in the 2019 class. As TMI's Brice Marich notes, he's a cousin of Palm Beach Central cornerback Akeem Dent, who's ranked as the #6 overall player in the 2019 class by 247 and boasts an offer sheet to match. Incidentally, Michigan offered Dent on Friday.

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

Comments

Thursday Recruiting Has The Visits Before The Visits

Thursday Recruiting Has The Visits Before The Visits Comment Count

Brian April 13th, 2017 at 1:16 PM

Prepare your finest meats

Oblig meat picture

Michigan is having a massive visit weekend, as people are wont to do during their spring games. They're also having a massive visit Thursday. This is a bit unusual but for whatever reason Michigan has a handful of top 2019 prospects on hand today: MO ATH Isaiah Williams, NJ ATH Ronnie Hickman, KY DT Jacob Lacey, MO WR Marcus Washington, and MO LB Shammond Cooper will all be on campus today per Lorenz. The most modestly-ranked of these gentlemen is Cooper, the #127 prospect in the 2019 composite.

But wait, there's more: brothers Dyami and Khafre Brown out of North Carolina are also scheduled to be on campus; Dyami is an '18 WR/DB and Khafre is a '19 RB. Both are four stars in their respective classes. Michigan's also hosting 3* dual-threat 2018 QB James Graham out of Georgia; Lorenz say he is a take because he is a "unique" prospect in search of an offensive fit.

It's unlikely that Michigan gets a commit out of any of those guys but it would not surprise if a few of them emerge as serious targets, with one or two even expected to join the class sometime down the road. Michigan is doing work with on-campus visits these days. Take the recruitment of GA RB Christian Turner, who arrived in Ann Arbor as a silent ND commit:

In fact, it was, as Steve Wiltfong posted here yesterday, a done deal to Notre Dame coming out of his unofficial visit. However, Michigan worked some real magic on their opportunity with him, making this one a surprise commitment in my opinion, but a good one.

They've popped up out of nowhere for a number of guys, most notably Aubrey Solomon, in the last year.

So. Wiltfong has an early Michigan CB in for Williams, the #51 player in the 2019 class, FWIW, with Oregon the challenger. ND is the favorite for Lacey on the crystal ball but the vibe coming out of the Cleveland Nike camp is that Michigan has a shot to make the proverbial "move" today. Sounded like it when he talked to Scout's Josh Newkirk:

“It would mean the world,” Lacey said. “Michigan has always been a great program. I love the way they play defense. They always win and that’s what I love about it.”

Adding an offer would put Michigan in a prime spot in his recruitment too.

“They would definitely be towards the top,” Lacey said. “Jim Harbaugh is a great coach. There is nothing terrible about Michigan at all, they win, they have great academics, I can’t wait to go.”

Lacey's a straight A student with a brother at Army so he's a M/ND sort. 

Gant visit saga

After an initial reports that OH LB Dallas Gant was undecided on a spring game visit between Ohio State and Michigan, he was first supposed to go to Ann Arbor, and then up in the air again, and now expected in Columbus. So there's that. Lorenz got the vibe that Gant's top two might be Michigan and Notre Dame, which is a thing when he's got only OSU predictions on his crystal ball; the OSU visit suggests that might not be the case.

Since Gant is in Toledo he can pop up for a visit whenever he wants; if he does so before his commitment then Michigan has a very good shot. If not it's happy trails.

Hopes not particularly up section

5* CA WR Jalen Hall is one of those California kids everyone assumes is going to USC because they always go to USC, but he says he's not necessarily going to USC:

“Everybody says ‘USC,’ and that may be the case, and it may not be the case,” Hall said.

I still think he's going to USC, but Michigan has been the destination for multiple trips already:

“Michigan is for sure in there,” Hall said. “I visited twice and I plan on visiting again. Every time I go down there, everything has been cool. I just want to talk more football with them and see more about the school.”

He's still going to USC, but Donovan Warren does happen?

Elsewhere in shaking our fists at Los Angeles-area schools, it feels like most people are resigning themselves to UCLA commitments for the Bishop Gorman duo of NV TE Brevin Jordan and NV QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Lorenz admits that Michigan "has their work cut out for them" on Jordan's spring game unofficial, which also starts today. Meanwhile, Thompson-Robinson may have his mind made up already:

Sam Webb was feeling UCLA a week or so ago and hasn't changed his tune, so it'll take one of those real good visits to overturn things here. Possible, but not probable.

If DTR's recruitment does lead him to Westwood, it probably won't take long for Michigan to find its guy: AZ QB Tyler Shough has locked in an unofficial for May 13th. Meanwhile this is an interesting development for FL QB Joe Milton, who just fielded a UGA crystal ball from a Florida 247 mod:

Just not convinced he goes to UF.

Didn't attend UF's spring game. Will be at Michigan this weekend, who might crank up the heat if Dorian Thompson-Robinson looks to be heading to UCLA. UGA has been after him hard. Overall, the recruitment is somewhat unknown, but I wanted to make a pick other than 'foggy' and UGA seemed like the best option.

That's a "not Florida" pick more than a UGA pick and with Milton on campus at the same time DTR is they could easily exit that visit with a big lead.

Michigan's got a small class on the horizon and plenty of tailbacks so I'm guessing that GA RB Christian Turner's commit closes the door for other tailbacks. Michigan might continue to recruit a few because crootin'. AL RB Asa Martin said he would take a spring visit a week or so ago; we'll see if that's still on. 3* ATH Michael Barrett is a high school quarterback who Michigan recently offered...

...and Wiltfong says Michigan has a "great shot" with him. He might be a DB for Michigan; if he's a running back going to be a tight fit.

Additional grudging 2019 bits

Here's a MI OL Devontae Dobbs highlight reel that's kind of good for a sophomore:

Wiltfong runs down the current status for various top 2019 kids and Michigan comes in for a few mentions. He still believes Michigan leads for GA DT Chris Hinton. Good news and bad news: he is visiting Stanford this weekend and has ND and Cal on his lists so this is a very academics-focused gentleman who seems relatively easy to pry out of the south. Bad news: visiting Stanford, and those jerkos have a tendency to grab prospects who are prime material in Ann Arbor.

CA DE Kayvon Thibodeaux is another USC-USC-USC guy early, which Wiltfong confirms, but he and his 4* 2019 teammate Charles Mincy Jr apparently "love Harbaugh," and Donovan Warren does happen I guess?

Michigan does not draw mention for GA LB Owen Pappoe or CA QB JT Daniels, both five stars who have had some interest in the past.

4* VA LB/DE Brandon Smith attended a satellite camp last year and is into Michigan as a result:

“I’d love to visit Michigan and am hoping to hear from them,” Smith told Wolverine247 on Monday. “I had a chance to meet Coach Harbaugh at the Old Dominion satellite camp last summer. It was a great camp. Coach Harbaugh brings a lot of energy and I really enjoyed it.”

4* OH SDE Zach Harrison recently visited:

“I’d like to go back for another visit,” he said. “I don’t know when yet, though. I’ll probably make it back for a game, because my grandparents are up there.”

Still early in his recruitment; he says he spent his youth climbing trees instead of watching football so he'll be open to anyone.

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