Thursday Recruitin' Takes The Blame

Thursday Recruitin' Takes The Blame

Submitted by Ace on May 7th, 2015 at 2:02 PM

Hoosier Leader Now?

Michigan hosted a pair of four-star Indiana prospects on Monday, and it was well-known that the Wolverines were working from behind on each. Wide receiver Austin Mack, considered an Ohio State lean, forged a stronger connection with the new coaching staff, per Scout's Josh Newkirk ($):

"This visit really helped a lot," Mack said. "This is the second time I was able to get down and speak with the coaches and build that relationship. It definitely ranks them a lot higher in my eyes.

"Seeing how beneficial the education and the coaches are at Michigan. Knowing that the next few years they won't be losing like they have been. Success is going to come and it's definitely going to come from hard work. They have definitely moved up and are team to think about."

Mack told Newkirk that he has no leader heading into his June 7th decision; the general consensus, however, is that Michigan made a move but still has ground to make up on the Buckeyes.

That's also the case with defensive end Auston Robertson and Michigan State, though Michigan managed to replace another rival in his top three, per ESPN's TomVH ($):

“I don’t really have a relationship like that with Ohio State anymore, so why keep them in the top three,” he said. “So now it’s Michigan State, Notre Dame and Michigan."

Robertson admits the Wolverines have some ground to make up on the other two schools on the list, but says he will give them a shot to do so. 

Robertson wants his mother to visit each of his top three schools before he also decides on June 7th, so while Michigan still needs to make a push, they should get that opportunity.

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

Monday Recruitin' Gets Trolled

Monday Recruitin' Gets Trolled

Submitted by Ace on April 6th, 2015 at 4:52 PM

The Tipping Point?


Is Desmond Fitzpatrick the next to drop? [Fuller]

Michigan added a trio of football commits and even a basketball commit over the last few days. If you missed them, here are links to their respective Hello posts:

Jim Harbaugh got himself a backfield in one weekend, and it's a very Harbaugh backfield: Peters is a 6'4" quarterback with decent athleticism, Davis is a load of a running back at 6'1", 230 pounds, and Reese would bring a linebacker's build and mentality to the fullback position.

Where Reese ends up is still in question; he told GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz he'll start out on defense despite reports that indicated Michigan was recruiting him at fullback, and he'll get a head start on figuring out which position he'll play ($):

“Coach Harbaugh said I could play any position and wherever my heart is at I can play. I’ll be playing linebacker. If I don’t start at linebacker I’d be open to fullback.

“I can see myself playing anywhere on the defense,” added Reese. “Inside, outside linebacker. Just to be around that energy and I’ll be an early graduate as well.”

Peters, meanwhile, told Sam Webb he knew "a couple weeks ago" that he wanted to go to Michigan, and he's not shying away from the crowded depth chart at quarterback ($):

“I know there are a bunch of quarterbacks there right now, but that doesn’t stop me.  You’re just going to have to go there and you’re going to have to compete and earn a spot.  That’s fine with me. I love to compete.  Also at the same time, it is a special opportunity to play for Coach Harbaugh.  I think things are going to really start going in the right direction and I really want to be a part of it. I loved it there.  The atmosphere was awesome.  The fans are awesome as well.”

Peters added that he's "definitely" going to recruit other prospects, starting with in-state receivers Donnie Corley and Desmond Fitzpatrick.

Speaking of Fitzpatrick, many expected he'd join the weekend commitment party after his friend and teammate, Reese, joined the class. Those expectations grew to near-certainty when Fitzpatrick teased a major 8:00 pm announcement on Twitter yesterday.

The announcement? His dad is in a sitcom that debuts this month.

That is top-notch trolling, young Mr. Fitzpatrick. He told 247's Steve Wiltfong that he feels "really comfortable" at Michigan, but wants to be 100% sure before making a switch, so there's still a very good chance the post I may have written yesterday ends up seeing the light of day.

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

Monday Recruitin' Reveals Nefarious Plan

Monday Recruitin' Reveals Nefarious Plan

Submitted by Ace on March 30th, 2015 at 3:00 PM

Michigan Football: The Clone Wars

Michigan hosted a large group of visitors last weekend, and reactions are beginning to come in, including those from a couple of the top defensive linemen in the country.

The nation's #1 overall prospect, NJ DT Rashan Gary, told Rivals' Adam Friedman that one of the highlights was seeing his former high school coach ($):

"It was exciting seeing coach Partridge again," Gary said. "I gave him a hug as soon as I saw him. 

"The visit was a lot like Ohio State," he said. "As soon as I walked into the building the coaches were giving me high-fives, giving me hugs. It was good to see all that love. The campus is set up basically like my hometown is with how the houses are. Everything is together on campus and I like the way it looks. I got to see Michigan's academics. They showed me their great plan for the student athletes."

Gary was also excited to see Michigan offer his 2017 teammate, DE Corey Bolds, on the trip. He told Friedman that both Michigan and Ohio State—considered by many the two programs to beat in his recruitment—will make it into his next top group, which should be determined when he's done with a lengthy list of visits. Among other tidbits, Sam Webb posted on The Victors Board that he believes Michigan made a better impression on Gary than Ohio State ($).

Top-100 IL DE Josh King saw a significant difference in the quality of Michigan's practice under the new regime, per 247's Steve Wiltfong ($): 

“Oh man it was pretty cool,” King started in. He had been to Ann Arbor in the past and was really high on the Wolverines prior to last fall.

“Michigan was different with Coach (Jim) Harbaugh stepping in. He completely turned it around. I remember last year we went there and they were struggling to this year they were flying around. They looked better. They look like a much different team.”

King added "you're not going to find a coach like [Harbaugh] anywhere else." It sounds like Michigan is working their way back into the thick of his recruitment.

Four-star PA TE Cary Angeline mentioned to Wiltfong that OH NO CARY THAT WAS OUR LITTLE SECRET ($):

“Coach Harbaugh, his past of breeding tight ends, he’s one of the best at doing that and he said he’s trying to build an army of big fast tight ends and it’s intriguing how he uses his tight end.”

PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE LARGE MACHINE BEHIND THIS CURTAIN. IT'S OUR COFFEE MAKER. WE'RE VERY PROTECTIVE OF OUR COFFEE PRACTICES, AND IN NO WAY CLONING AN ARMY OF COBY FLEENERS.

ANYWAY, Michigan made a strong impression on top-100 NJ WR Ahmir Mitchell, per 247's Steve Lorenz ($):

"They moved way up my list," Mitchell said. "I don't really know specifically right now how much, but I loved this visit. I like it a lot there."

Mitchell, who also visited Ohio State this weekend, also had the Buckeyes in his top group along with Rutgers (leader), Notre Dame, Ole Miss and Virginia Tech.

I'm quickly becoming familar with the Rutgers Effect, in which they offer talented in-state prospects early in the cycle, stake claim to an early lead, and then watch helplessly as other programs shoot past them. The Sun rises in the East, and sets as far away from Piscataway as possible.

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

Thursday Recruitin' Hits The Road

Thursday Recruitin' Hits The Road

Submitted by Ace on March 26th, 2015 at 2:05 PM

Now Touring: The Jim Harbaugh Experience


Show, meet road. [Left via MLive, right via The Wolverine]

Remember last summer, when Penn State coach James Franklin ruffled some feathers by hosting satellite camps in Florida and Georgia? Jim Harbaugh is taking the same tack. The Wolverine's Brandon Brown reports that Michigan's coaches will run a camp at Prattville High School in Alabama, which produced 2015 signee Keith Washington, one June 5th. Four days later, they'll do the same in Dallas, per MLive's Nick Baumgardner. It wouldn't surprise at all if additional camps were set up in, say, Florida and California before all is said and done.

This is a great situation for Michigan, of course. The coaches get to see a ton of prospects in states they can't get to during the season, make connections with local coaches, and hopefully make some progress with recruits they've offered. There's really no downside to this that I can imagine.

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

Thursday Recruitin' Plans Ahead

Thursday Recruitin' Plans Ahead

Submitted by Ace on February 26th, 2015 at 1:33 PM

In-State Updates: Michigan Moving Up

While 2015 was a down year for prospects in the state of Michigan, 2016 boasts a solid crop of in-state recruits, and there's no question Jim Harbaugh has to work from behind for many of them; he's just getting to know players who've been recruited by the likes of Meyer and Dantonio for years, in some cases.

Visits over the last few days have spurred progress in that regard. In four-star Cass Tech OG/DT Michael Onwenu's case, so did a certain issue with a teammate, per Rivals' Josh Helmholdt ($):

"[My Ohio State interest] lowered a little after the (Mike Weber) incident," Onwenu said. "My position is they should have told him anyway. He had a bond with the coaches, and if I had a bond with a coach and was excited to play for that coach, that is something I should know."

Onwenu, who'd previously named the Buckeyes as his leader, now claims no favorites. He visited Michigan, which is one of a couple schools recruiting him for offense, last week.

Four-star Detroit King WR Donnie Corley also made it campus last week, and his father told Sam Webb that M is moving up his son's list ($):

Sam Webb:  Before it seemed like Michigan was on the outside looking in. It seemed like Michigan was like fourth or fifth on his list. Do you think Michigan is more in the picture with him now? 

Donnie Corley Sr.:  “Yeah, most definitely.  It was real impressive.  We were real impressed with it.”  

Three-star Farmington WR Desmond Fitzpatrick, who recently added a Michigan offer, was back on campus Tuesday for a practice and also plans to attend the Spring Game, according to Allen Trieu.

The father of four-star Plymouth OT Michael Jordan told Webb that the new staff is "very high" on his son, and he plans to camp at Michigan for a day this summer ($).

2017 Orchard Lake St. Mary's LB Josh Ross, younger brother of James Ross, told GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz that the new staff "definitely does" help Michigan's chances to land him ($). The coaches have re-affirmed Ross' offer from the previous staff.

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

Thursday Recruitin' Is Rendered Speechless

Thursday Recruitin' Is Rendered Speechless

Submitted by Ace on February 19th, 2015 at 1:56 PM

The Best Players In Michigan...

...well, at the very least, they're getting offers from Michigan.

Tuesday's MSU game gave Michigan the opportunity to host several in-state prospects and dole out some offers. 2016 four-star Southfield RB Matt Falcon received one, though with Tennessee as his stated leader it'll be an uphill climb to gain his commitment, per MichiganPreps.com's Branden Hunter ($):

"It was pretty sweet seeing two quarterbacks on their way to the league. Something special," said Falcon. "I really enjoyed spending time with the coaching staff, and getting to know everyone and how they operate. I think Coach Harbaugh has his team headed in the right direction. He will do big things with the Wolverines. I could see myself playing there, but I don't know if that will happen. I still have to enjoy the process."

While there's plenty of time to catch up to Tennessee, the Vols are in strong position right now. Michigan should get more traction with a couple more offers from the evening. Three-star Farmington WR Desmond Fitzpatrick, a Louisville commit, grew up a Michigan fan, and his father told Allen Trieu that the offer meant a lot to him ($):

"As he got older," Fitzpatrick continued, "and watched the program struggle, it appeared those childhood feelings faded. When he received the offer last night, his reaction surprised me. He was a little emotional."

Fitzpatrick remains committed to Louisville, but it sounds like he's quite open to the possibility of playing closer to home. So is four-star Cass Tech DB Demetric Vance, who also added an offer Tuesday night, per GBW's Josh Newkirk ($):

“I was real excited,” Vance said of Michigan offer. “I really liked the coaching staff. They made really think I want to go there. It was just a good experience. For me to meet the new coaching staff, it seem liked I already knew them for so long. It feels good.”

Vance plans to decide after the summer. Michigan's main competition should be MSU, though Pitt and Tennessee are also involved. Vance's teammate, elite 2017 WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, could hardly talk when Harbaugh offered him, per The Wolverine's Brandon Brown ($):

"It happened at halftime of the basketball game," Peoples-Jones explained. "Coach [Jim] Harbaugh came and talked to me one on one and told me that I had a scholarship offer from the University of Michigan.

"I was honestly at a loss for words. I managed to say, 'Thank you coach, I really appreciate it.' It felt great to know that I could possibly be coached under a man with so much success."

Peoples-Jones is a national-level prospect and his recruitment could very well come down to a Michigan-OSU battle.

M also hosted a couple prospects already holding offers. 2016 Farmington Hills Harrison four-star DE Khalid Kareem is now seriously considering the Wolverines, his father told 247's Steve Wiltfong ($):

“It was amazing. It was a good atmosphere. It was my first time going up there with the new staff, and to be honest with you it was probably one of our best visits. We had the opportunity to get a lot of 1-on-1 time with Coach (Greg) Mattison and Coach (D.J.) Durkin. When we got there they kind of immediately gravitated towards us, ate with us, took us in the meeting room, watched film, saw how Khalid fit in their defense, different body types, things like that.

“It opened up his mind to the idea of playing for Michigan.”

Kareem previously committed to MSU for all of two days before his parents helped convince him it was too early to make a commitment. Let's hope this goes the way of Lawrence Marshall.

Rounding out the Cass Tech contingent was 2016 four-star OG/DT Michael Onwenu, who told 247's Steve Lorenz that the coaches were jokingly fighting over which side of the ball he'd play in Ann Arbor ($).

2016 Southfield LB Will Small self-reported an offer, but that's been refuted by multiple outlets.

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

Junior Day Visit Reactions

Junior Day Visit Reactions

Submitted by Brandon Brown on February 23rd, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Nuss and Harris

Damien Harris and Nussmeier, BFFForeverever!!!! [MFRHQ Facebook Group]

I plan to add to the few prospects that I didn’t hear back from yet, but I wanted to post the information that I did gather. Still waiting for responses from some of them; those will be added as they come in this evening.

2015 Commits

CB Shaun Crawford - It was great! We toured campus, ate together, and watched the game!

K Andrew David – It was awesome! I’ve never been to a basketball game there before but it was a crazy atmosphere! I couldn’t have picked a better first game though. I got to catch up with some of the other guys which was nice too. I talked with Jake Ryan and Dymonte Thomas who are close friends of mine. I was with Shaun Crawford and Tyree Kinnel most of the time. I was next to Thiyo Lukusa for a while during the game and he was enjoying it to say the least. (laughs) I talked to a couple of the 2016 guys. They seemed really enthusiastic with everything.

S Tyree Kinnel – It was great!

2015 Targets

ATH Brian Cole

LB Tyriq Thompson – It was nice, I had a good time. I got a chance to meet the entire staff for the first time. It was a laid back visit. I just sat back and enjoyed the game. Of course I like Michigan but I don't have a leader right now. I'll probably visit again when spring practices start. After that I want to focus on my senior season and my team before I even think about making a decision. No commitment plans or anything like that will happen until my senior season is over.

LB Darrin Kirkland Jr. – It was a great day and a great overall experience. I really hope they pull the trigger soon! The coaches and I did talk about an offer a little bit. They said that they would call me later this week. I could see myself as a Wolverine and if they offer I will strongly consider them.

LB Troy Henderson – It was amazing! From talking to the coaches, the game, meeting the other recruits, and seeing the facilities. I could definitely see myself rocking the Maize and Blue!

LB Asmar Bilal – It was good. Great tradition, winners, with nice facilities! The stadium was huge! Yeah, it was nice overall. The coaches didn’t mention an offer they just said they were going to keep in tough and that they brought me there for a reason. I could possibly see myself playing there.

RB Damien Harris

TE Austin Ervin – It was really good. I was able to see the practice field, walked onto the game field, interacted a lot with the coaches, and of course the basketball game was fun. Talking with the coaches was real casual. Coach Ferrigno wants me to come to camp this summer to see my blocking skills. He already likes how I can spread out, my athleticism, my hands, my ball skills, but he wants to see me block on the line.

TE David Edwards – It was great! It really stuck out to me that the coaches are extremely committed to making sure that you're set for life after football. Their athletic advisors set up a program and they have this huge networking. There was a lot of emphasis on education.

TE/OL Harrison Moon – Loved it! I had a great first visit! We didn’t talk about an offer but hopefully one will come through. I got to meet the coaches, see the facilities and the academic areas, eat, watch the basketball game and toured The Big House. The Big House was crazy! It was the coolest stadium I’ve ever seen. It’s a special place. If Michigan decides to offer me I’d still keep my options open because it’s early, but they are definitely a place of interest. I would really like to go back up there and just keep building the relationships. I think we will try to get back up there this spring or over the summer.

2016 Targets

ATH Daelin Hayes – The visit was great. (Daelin said he is waiting until tomorrow for other comments.)

OL Thiyo Lukusa – It was sweet, super fun! I decided to put my commitment on hold for now. I just have to be 100% sure. The visit and the activities were 1st class as always. I’m still all Michigan right now but I just want to enjoy my recruitment.
 
WR Desmond Fitzpatrick (via his father, Greg) –
It was a great visit! We took a tour that included the academic center, The Big House, the weight room, and we also met the entire staff. After all of that we attended the basketball game. We also spent time with the new offensive coordinator, Doug Nussmeier and spent a ton of 1-on-1 time with Coach Heck. An offer wasn’t specifically mentioned, but I feel as though Desmond is on the right track based on the growing relationship and the evaluation of his film. We never talk about potential offers. He knows that if he continues to get bigger and stronger, the offers will come. The coaches were shocked when they saw how much he’s grown since they last saw him. He measured in at 6’2” and 184 lbs. He’s working hard hitting the weights, running track, and playing 7 on 7. That’s the regimen for the next few months. We develop this work ethic now and it becomes second nature later.

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

*Dre’Mont Jones, Mike Weber, Ray Buford Jr., and Kentrail Moran didn’t end up making the trip.

Michigan State Visitor List

Michigan State Visitor List

Submitted by Brandon Brown on February 21st, 2014 at 11:50 PM

This weekend’s basketball game has huge implications in the B1G standings and something like above would be marvelous. Taking advantage of the expectedly electred atmosphere in Crisler Arena, the coaches scheduled a junior day for the big game. A few younger prospects will also be on hand for the biggest recruiting event of the year thus far. I heard back from about 50 prospects and each one will be listed and labeled with information as I dig it up.

GOING

2015 Commits

CB Shaun Crawford
K Andrew David
S Tyree Kinnel

2015 Targets

ATH Brian Cole
CB Ray Buford Jr.
DE Dre’Mont Jones (maybe, basketball schedule may interfere)
LB Tyriq Thompson
LB Darrin Kirkland Jr.
LB Troy Henderson
LB Asmar Bilal
RB Damien Harris
RB Mike Weber
TE Austin Ervin
TE David Edwards
TE/OL Harrison Moon

2016 Targets

ATH Daelin Hayes
OL Thiyo Lukusa (commit watch)
RB Kentrail Moran
WR Desmond Fitzpatrick

NOT GOING

2015 Commits

OL Jon Runyan Jr. (will visit March 8 & 9)

2015 Targets

CB Garrett Taylor (will visit for a spring practice)
CB Minkah Fitzpatrick
DE Darian Roseboro
DE Jake Pickard (will visit during the summer)
DE Josh Alabi
DE Jashon Cornell (visiting Ole Miss this weekend, no plans to visit at this time)
LB Josh Barajas (visited for Wisconsin game, may visit again for spring practice)
LB Jerome Baker (will visit for a spring practice)
LB Jake Cooper (has frequent contact with staff, no plans to visit at this time)
LB Justin Hilliard (would like to visit for a spring practice)
OL Drew Richmond (has no plans to visit at this time)
OL Sterling Jenkins (will visit for a spring practice)
OL Gabe Megginson (high interest, would like a Michigan offer)
OL Grant Newsome (will visit for a spring practice)
QB Nick Johns (will visit during his spring break)
QB Brandon Wimbush (will visit for a spring practice)
QB Ryan Willis (focusing more on schools that have offered, waiting on more interest)
QB Alex Malzone (will visit for a spring practice)
QB Riley Neal (not much contact since hiring of Nussmeier)
QB Jon Wassink (very interested, not much contact since hiring of Nussmeier)
RB Andrew Dowell (would like to visit for a spring practice)
S Omari Stringer (would like to visit for a spring practice)
TE Chris Clark (will visit March 22)
TE Tyrone Wheatley Jr. (will visit for a spring practice)
TE Austin Dorris (will visit March 1)
TE CJ Conrad (will visit for a spring practice)
TE Cole Chewins (has no plans to visit at this time)
WR David Dowell (would like to visit for a spring practice)

Monday Recruitin' Goes Wholy Holy

Monday Recruitin' Goes Wholy Holy

Submitted by Ace on July 29th, 2013 at 3:51 PM

If you think the headline contains a typo, try listening to better music.

George Campbell, Mayor Of Twitter

As Michigan fans tried to decrypt Wilton Speight's Twitter teaser, Saturday afternoon bled into Saturday evening with no word about a commitment. Would it be Shaun Crawford? Sterling Jenkins? Erik Swenson? Maybe even Malik McDowell? Any would've been great; the real answer, though, elicited a rapturous response.

George Campbell's commitment briefly turned the entire Michigan twittersphere into Robin and Brady Hoke into the proudest papa.


Mason Cole's Instagram also features ... are those tears, Coach?

It also attracted the attention of the CEO of Twitter, Michigan grad Dick Costolo.

Modified rule: Don't tweet at recruits — unless you're the CEO of Twitter. [Side note: This is a story. Get here already, football season. Also, Matt Hayes must be stopped, and this is one of a very short list of things Michigan and Ohio State fans can agree upon.]

Why is everyone so excited? Because if "500" was an Olympic sport, George Campbell would win the gold, silver, and bronze.

Also, have I mentioned he's 6'4" and runs a 4.36 40-yard dash?

I mean...

Wow, indeed.

Yes, Campbell still has work to do when it comes to his hands and route-running — this video from the Columbus NFTC highlights both the best and worst parts of Campbell's game right now — but with two more years of high school ball to play, his potential is terrifyingly vast. Scout's Jamie Newberg provided a detailed scouting report of Campbell after his commitment, and even the areas for improvement section features one of them good problems ($):

What may be of concern: Campbell catches the ball well but is not a natural pass catcher. Sometimes he fights it but he is getting better and better. Size is also an issue because you just can’t forecast just how big this cat is going to get. He has a giant frame and long arms so there is no telling what his size will be like in three or four years. Remember, he still has two high school seasons to play before he gets to Ann Arbor. Will his growth prompt a position change? If so, how will that impact his develop?

All of these are concerns but I see them as minor concerns because Campbell is such an outstanding athlete. Recruit him now and worry about it later.

Oh no he might be even more giant and still probably really fast.

Campbell's commitment does more than just give Michigan one of the top prospects in his entire class. It also looks like he'll be a major recruiting conduit in the tradition of Morris, Speight, Ferns, et al — Campbell reportedly struck up a close friendship with 2015 MI ATH Brian Cole, and he's already reaching out to other top prospects on Twitter. Others, including 2015 MN LB/DE Jashon Cornell, ESPN's #1 overall recruit in the class, took immediate notice after Campbell tweeted out his commitment announcement.

Oh, and some other guy passed along his congratulations.

That guy is consensus top-100 2015 running back Damien Harris. He committed to Michigan while I was writing this post. Brian, mercifully, handled the Hello post. Commitments come in pairs, Brady Hoke poops magic, and Michigan now has their top targets at wide receiver and running back already in the fold for 2015.

Hello there, potential überclass:

Not a bad start to the week, you guys.

[Hit THE JUMP for much, much more on the BBQ, including reactions from Malik McDowell, Shaun Crawford, Sterling Jenkins, and Justin Hilliard, plus surprise appearances from a couple of Glenville's finest.]

Monday Recruitin': Linebacker Dominoes And Other Such Things

Monday Recruitin': Linebacker Dominoes And Other Such Things

Submitted by Brian on April 29th, 2013 at 11:24 AM

Running back: I guess we should get one

jonathan_hilliman01[1]

Jonathan Hilliman has two Is in his last name.

ESPN's Jared Shanker reports Michigan was visiting NJ RB Jonathan Hilliman recently. Sort of:

Michigan was at the school of RB Jonathan Hilliman today, who at the beginning of the month put Michigan No. 2 on his top 10. He said today that he would no longer rank his top seven (his original top 5 of OSU, UM, Bama, Rutgers, Stanford plus Vandy and BC) but those are the schools he is focusing on. That is very subject to change, though.

He did not get to see the Michigan coaches today, however, as they came after school and Hilliman was already gone.

They were also checking out a couple teammates, one the a spectacularly-named 2015 CB named Minkah Fitzpatrick. Hilliman is a consensus three-star who claims mega offers: not only the midwest powers but Alabama, Georgia, Oregon, Florida, etc. Sometimes those lists are a little inflated—or a lot—but Hilliman is getting Florida coaches in and the Bama 247 site seems to think got a real offer, so…

In any case, with the Smith/Green duo of a year ago and a couple of promising 2015 kids waiting in the wings, tailback is not a huge priority for this class. They'll take one.

Hand continues giving interviews, not eating reporters

Unfortunately, VA DE Da'Shawn Hand didn't respond to an ESPN guy's question about how he feels about being #4 on the ESPN 150 with "TOO LOW /consumes reporter." He did talk his top five, sounding more enthusiastic about Alabama and Florida than he did previously but reiterating he's changing his major from engineering to sports management—Michigan has a whole school for that—and talking about the Wolverines thusly:

The coaches are genuine; the players love the coaches. The town itself. It's cold, but I can get used to that. Everything… the sports management professor was amazing; he blew me away.

Hand talks up South Carolina's food. On VT:

Bud Foster's my favorite coach. When I go there I feel like I'm at home. It's like going to your grandparent's house. And then you don't have to worry about any coaches changing positions or anything or getting fired. … nobody's leaving.

One point is awarded to whoever that kinesiology professor is. Here is some super-bonus deduction: Hand mentions that he still needs to talk to the Alabama guy in that field, says the South Carolina guy is a good guy but not "amazing," and seems to have changed his major plans after his Michigan visit. (He hasn't been to Florida yet.) That bodes well for M.

Here's a guy at OSU's ESPN site telling Buckeye fans to brace themselves as "Hand is likely gone to Michigan." /selfhighfive

Linebacker dominoes

image

Google Image Search for Chase Winovich: slightly terrifying

The M Block has acquired optimism in re: PA LB Chase Winovich, a consensus three-star that is nonetheless the subject of a heated recruiting battle between Michigan and Ohio State. Pitt is the other school in his top three($), and while the Panthers actually have a good track record against Michigan for WPIAL kids* it doesn't look like Winovich is going to stay in-state. He just made a second trip to Ohio State and is returning to Ann Arbor May 10th.

As for that optimism, the M Block:

The M Block has uncovered some information regarding the final linebacker spot in the 2014 class and we feel very confident that it could belong to Chase Winovich.  Several sources close to the situation have informed us that Winovich will visit Michigan on May 10th and will have a chance to commit while on that visit.Obviously these situations are never 100% guaranteed but this one seems to be headed in that direction.

And a reiteration:

I talked to 2014 LB Chase Winovich last night...I'm standing by my prediction that he'll be a Wolverine.

HOWEVA, Rivals got a different vibe($) from their just-completed Pittsburgh camp, wherein Winovich said it was "always a dream" of his to go to OSU. Commit Michael Ferns was working on him and Winovich said that M visit "could be a watershed visit"—Rivals' words, not his—with a decision soon to follow. Momentum is with OSU, declareth Rivals.

Winovich would be an interesting addition to Michigan's class. At 6'4", 205, he's got a lot of filling out to do and likely projects to the SAM spot most had assumed the 6'3", 230 pound Ferns was headed for. If Michigan adds him they'd likely bring in Ferns as an MLB.

Winovich plans to pull the trigger in July.

Also in linebacker visits that may produce commits, MO LB Kyron Watson is coming up the 20th. He'll enter that visit with an offer and Michigan as a clearly stated leader; commit watch time. I mean:

@JabrillPeppers Bro Follow Back We Might Be Team Mates One Day ...

I'd be surprised if Watson is uncommitted into June.

Side note: Watson is about to be a father. In Let's Get Way Ahead Of Ourselves Theater, that provides plenty of motivation since it seems like the place he lives is not one he'd like to stay. If he does develop into a guy with significant NFL interest, he's probably not going to pull a Lewan. This has been Let's Get Way Ahead Of Ourselves Theater.

*[Jonathan Baldwin comes to mind most prominently.]

Between two Ferns: the camp

So Ferns showed out for Rivals and came away with an invite($) to the "Rivals Five Star Challenge," which is one of these nouveau invite-only camps like the Opening. Mike Farrell on Ferns:

"He is the stereotypical Big Ten linebacker," Farrell said. "He is explosive to the football and takes great angles. He is hard-nosed and physically impressive. He is exactly what you expect when you think of a major prospect from this area at that position."

I think that's supposed to be nice, but after this most recent NFL draft I am not entirely sure. The other guy to get an invite was PA S Monate Nicholson, who's taking his recruitment easy, man. Tim Sullivan notes that he's still in contact with Darrell Funk($) and tentatively plans a summer visit.

Speaking of that Peppers fellow

260701700001_1894906946001_Peppers[1]

Not even the birth of TomVH's daughter (congrats!) could move NJ CB Jabrill Peppers's announcement date up to last weekend, but he did rumble about getting things over with a lot faster than anyone expected. Also via the M Block:

Jabrill Peppers head coach says "He is getting close to a decision. He will prob make his decision in early June to focus on Sr. year."

(Peppers retweeted that, FWIW.) That would be very good for Michigan. He's got a Stanford visit upcoming… in July($). Either that gets bumped up or it's all over but the awkward self-high-fiving at your computer.

TomVH also talked to Peppers on an ESPN podcast. He's noncommital for the most part, but does say he'll only take two officials… if he goes that long uncommitted.

UPDATE: Sam Webb talked to Peppers' coach($), who says that a Stanford visit will occur before any decision is made.

Show's over folks

WR commit Drake Harris:

I'm not talking to anymore coach's I'm happy with the decision I made, and nothing is going to change my mind #GoBlue

Send your missives, Mississippi State, and they will be ignored. Meanwhile, some guy asked Harris "do you even lift bro?" Harris said he just started a month and a half ago.

Etc.

I am not paying attention to 2016 recruits($) until they are out of the womb, okay? If I was, I might mention that there's an instate WR kid at Farmington Hills Harrison named Desmond Fitzpatrick who is probably going to be one of the top five kids in the state. But I won't, because that kid is still in the developmental stage where he's got flippers.

Happy trails to NC RB Elijah Hood, who committed to Notre Dame, which makes me sad since it's basically irrelevant. Boo on you, end of ND series. Also happy trails to PA S Dravon Henry, who didn't include Michigan in his top four.

Michigan is still looking at($) MI TE Kyle Rachwal as a FB or LB after confirming to him that Ian Bunting fills their single spot at TE.