Friday Recruitin' Didn't See Your Text

Friday Recruitin' Didn't See Your Text Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 16th, 2018 at 12:00 PM

This week saw the release of a new Top247 in which most of Michigan’s commits stayed near their prior ranking. There were two moves worth discussing, though, as GA OL Trente Jones (pictured above) shot up and CA RB Zach Charbonnet entered rarified, dangerous territory. Charbonnet moved up from #41 to #26 in 247’s rankings, which puts him six spots over the five-star threshold. Michigan’s recent history with five-star running backs is woeful enough that an Angry Michigan Five-Star Running Back-Hating God may have been invoked at some point, but how can you watch Charbonnet’s highlights and not give him a fifth star?

 

I also recommend watching this video for the runs at 3:05 and 3:27. There’s a very useful every-touch/block video that someone cut up from the second half of Charbonnet’s playoff game two weeks ago, and that shows that he’s a pretty good blocker as well.

247’s Greg Biggins wrote about Charbonnet in the aftermath of Oaks Christian’s playoff victory last weekend and there are so many pull quotes you should just read the whole article.

His ability to make something out of nothing, take a pounding but not flinch and look even stronger in the 4th quarter than he did in the 1st really makes him special. His game translates really well to the college level and there is no question he has the ability to see the field as soon as next year at Michigan.

Biggins goes on to say that Charbonnet should be considered one of the best backs to come out of Southern California in the last decade and will eventually play in the NFL barring injury, so that seems good. Whereas TN RB Eric Gray’s visit this weekend was probably necessary for Michigan to keep him in the class (more on that after the jump), Charbonnet’s visit be this Saturday is the opposite. Steve Lorenz notes that Charbonnet spoke with 247 a few weeks ago and said he wasn’t sure whether other schools were pursuing him because he doesn’t respond to his texts and doesn’t check his phone much these days.

Jones may not have ended up as high in the rankings as Charbonnet but he did jet up 266 spots (!), earning a fourth star in the process. He also is reportedly his high school’s highest-graded lineman this season, which is very much worth noting as he is teammates with #9 overall prospect Wanya Morris. You may remember Morris from last week’s roundup; he’s the player who was taken first overall in the UA All-America Game draft, one spot ahead of Charbonnet.

[Hit THE JUMP for the longest 2019 update in a while]

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Friday Recruitin' Leaps Tall Humans In A Single Bound

Friday Recruitin' Leaps Tall Humans In A Single Bound Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 9th, 2018 at 12:00 PM

This space has been so focused on breathlessly detailing the recent spate of visits from highly ranked recruits that there hasn’t been much digital ink spilled on some of the highly ranked players already in the class. With no visits this weekend, new intel available, and a recent return from injury, it’s a great time to look at who CA RB Zach Charbonnet has been running around or, more recently, over. And by “over” I don’t mean truck-stick style, I mean literally over, as in Ben Mason hurdling a dude. So yes, click that link. He’ll have a chance to leap over even larger and more athletic guys than usual this January, as Todd McShay tweeted yesterday that Charbonnet was selected second overall in the Under Armour All-America Game Draft. Not a small accomplishment considering 13 current five-stars are on the game roster; Wanya Morris, the player selected ahead of Charbonnet, is ranked #7 overall and is the top offensive tackle in the 2019 class.

It’s not much of a surprise, then, that Michigan has plans to use Charbonnet next season. 247’s Steve Lorenz confirmed this week not only that he fully expects Charbonnet to have a big role in 2019, but that Charbonnet will get a head start on bringing that prediction to fruition when he enrolls in January.

One more 2019 running back who’s also expected in the class: Eric Gray. Lorenz reports that Michigan’s staff still thinks that they’ll be able to sign Gray, who has taken multiple visits to Tennessee and has an Ole Miss official slated for early December. Gray has one final opportunity to visit Michigan this season, so keep your eyes open for his name on visitor lists for the Indiana game. If Gray doesn’t make the trip up, he will have gone the entire season without experiencing the gameday atmosphere in person and without having set foot in the state since camp season while visiting other southern schools multiple times. Writing will be on the wall then, it seems.

[After THE JUMP: Breathlessly detailing the recent spate of visits from highly ranked recruits ]

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Friday Recruitin' Overstocks Tea Leaves

Friday Recruitin' Overstocks Tea Leaves Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 2nd, 2018 at 12:55 PM

We got a break from obsessively checking the hour-by-hour chance of precipitation, wind strength, and “feels like” temp with the bye week but it’s time once again to open your favorite weather app: 2019 LB/RB Quavaris Crouch is coming to town. Crouch, you may remember, continues to express a great deal of interest in Michigan and a great skepticism about its weather.

Things literally and metaphorically look good for his official visit right now. According to Weather Underground, it should be partly sunny during the game, feel like 43 degrees with virtually no chance of precipitation, and have winds tapering off from nine to two mph as the night progresses. According to Sam Webb, the outlook is good with regard to Crouch’s travel party, too. It wasn’t clear whether Crouch would be bringing family members or just his former head coach/mentor on this weekend’s official visit, but Webb confirmed two days ago that Crouch’s mother and grandmother will be in Ann Arbor, and his former head coach/mentor is also likely to be in attendance. That shows how seriously Crouch is considering Michigan, which he named tied for his top school with Clemson while including a weather caveat.

Family input is expected to have some influence over Crouch’s decision, especially that of his grandmother. Webb published a lengthy interview with Sam Greiner, the aforementioned former head coach/mentor, in which he says distance isn’t as much a factor as it once was because they realized all of his top schools are a couple hours away, the difference being whether that’s by car or plane. Greiner goes on to detail the pitches some schools are using, as well as what Crouch likes about Michigan and Clemson. He notes that Crouch and his family have been to multiple Clemson games but none of them have seen a game in the Big House; it’s tough to overstate how important this visit will be. 

Crouch most recently took an official to Florida State last weekend, where the game itself couldn’t have gone much worse. Not only did they get obliterated by No. 2 Clemson at home, but they got obliterated by No.2-and-tied-for-first-for-Crouch’s-services Clemson at home. The things he told Rivals’ Adam Friedman after the game about how the history of the football program is good and they’ll be good after they repair the current culture make it sound like he isn’t headed there.

Where he’ll be headed won’t be known anytime soon, though, so don’t expect a commitment to come out of his visit to Michigan. Not publicly, at least. Crouch plans to announce his chosen school at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on January 5, but told the Charlotte Observer’s Langston Wertz Jr. that he plans to silently commit before publicly announcing so that he can start the early enrollment process.

[Two weeks worth of updates after THE JUMP]

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Friday Recruitin' Orders A New Box Of Lanyards For All These Name Tags

Friday Recruitin' Orders A New Box Of Lanyards For All These Name Tags Comment Count

Adam Schnepp October 12th, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Perhaps you’ve heard that there is a football game that will be played at Michigan Stadium this weekend. Teenagers from around the nation are flocking to Ann Arbor to observe the dairy-engorged behemoths from Wisconsin clash with the Herbert-engineered athletic specimens from Michigan under the  glow of very long banks of electric lights.

One teenager who won’t be in Ann Arbor headlined last week’s post as a would-be visitor, and his absence is not necessarily a bad sign for Michigan. Word got around on Monday that five-star NC ATH Quavaris Crouch would no longer be on campus this weekend. 247’s Steve Lorenz reported yesterday that the decision was mutual, and that Michigan’s staff would rather have Crouch, whom he noted is one of the staff’s top two or three remaining targets, on campus some weekend where there aren’t so many other visitors, thus allowing them to focus more attention on Crouch.

This makes some sense in light of Rivals and 247 reporting that five-star OH DE Zach Harrison will be taking an unofficial visit this weekend. 247’s Steve Lorenz reports that Harrison took an unofficial to Ohio State on Wednesday to learn more about their academic offerings. Lorenz notes that Harrison and fellow unofficial visitor 2019 OH S (but really Viper) Joey Velazquez, one of the commits recently featured in FBO, are good friends who grew up together, so maybe being on campus together makes a difference for what will be Harrison's fourth Michigan visit.

It makes even more sense when considering that there are only three official visitors this weekend, two of which are already committed to Michigan with the other happening to be their likely top priority on the offensive line. IL OT Trevor Keegan took an official to Ohio State last weekend and still has officials to Penn State, Georgia, and Clemson planned; 247’s Steve Wiltfong CB’d him to Georgia last week. That’s a lot for Michigan to have to counter, so rescheduling Crouch for a different weekend, risky though it may be, is understandable.

[Hit the JUMP for more visitors and interesting in-state 2020 interviews]

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Friday Recruitin' Has Come On A Little Bit

Friday Recruitin' Has Come On A Little Bit Comment Count

Adam Schnepp October 5th, 2018 at 12:00 PM

[Isaiah Hole]

In an otherwise slow week, word came out yesterday that NC ATH Quavaris Crouch is set to take an official visit to Michigan for the following weekend’s game against Wisconsin. There aren’t many visits as crucial as this one given the small number of sure-take prospects left in the 2019 class (Crouch is ranked 28th in 247’s composite), and it’s made all the more important by Michigan’s standing in Crouch’s mind. Clemson247’s Anna Hickey reports that Michigan is one of three schools—the others are Tennessee and *shudder* Clemson—that have separated themselves from the pack.

The game-day atmosphere for Crouch’s visit should be impactful, and 247’s Steve Lorenz is reporting as much. There’s no other game on Michigan’s home schedule—night game, ranked opponent, early fall weather—that is likely to be as much of a spectacle. Whether Michigan wins that game, though, may be less important than you might think. Crouch spoke to Clemson247’s Anna Hickey about what he has seen from the colleges he’s considering so far this season and his comments were interesting.

"Everybody started off kind of slow. It's like 'oh my god.'," he said. "Michigan has come on a little bit. But you never know, you and some other guys they recruit could come in and change the program. It might just take time, you've just got to be patient. I'm not going to say I'm used to losing, but I've played at places where you've had to build a foundation."

So, uh, thanks Florida and Georgia, and almost-thanks Syracuse and Texas A&M. It’s not only unclear what school Crouch will choose but what position he will play at said school is also up in the air. The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown recently wrote that Crouch seems to be planning to play linebacker in college, while 247’s Steve Lorenz said this week that it works to Michigan’s benefit to have a number of recent examples of two-way players they can point out to Crouch.

TN RB Eric Gray, the subject of a great deal of speculation with regard to the solidity of his commitment, is also expected to be in Ann Arbor for the Wisconsin game, according to 247. Steve Lorenz notes that Gray’s recent visits to SEC schools, including a visit to Ole Miss that ended with a few crystal balls in their favor and rumors of flipping in its wake, did not catch the Michigan coaching staff off guard. They still believe Gray is solid, and it can only help that he’ll be in town for a game in what will be his first visit back to campus since committing.

[Hit THE JUMP for more]

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Friday Recruitin' Works Its Way Into Being Productive

Friday Recruitin' Works Its Way Into Being Productive Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 28th, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Michigan added their fifth commitment of the 2020 class on Tuesday in Cornell Wheeler, and they didn’t have to go far to find him. The West Bloomfield LB, no. 466 in the composite ranking, had his fair share of ink spilled upon committing. 247’s Allen Trieu has a pair of scouting reports, one from Tyrice Grice, Wheeler’s defensive coordinator, and one from his observations from 2017 through camp season. Grice:

“Cornell's going to make sure he's a sideline to sideline player. He works hard on his athleticism because he compares himself to Lance [Dixon] which is a tough one to compare yourself to. He will fit in Michigan's defense. His instincts help him get to the ball so fast and he makes good reads and that's something we teach is understanding reads and he is good at that. It took him a while to learn it, but he worked with me and he got it and he is having a dynamic year. The mental aspect, Cornell has done well at, and Michigan runs the same defense as us and gave us everything we needed to run their defense and Coach Brown loves that.”

Trieu issued his player comparison as part of his scouting report:

“I can see some Desmond Morgan there too where, Desmond was not a combine type guy, but was smart, instinctive and worked his way into being productive. That is what I see with Cornell. And the few times that I have seen him in 7-on-7, he made a good amount of plays just by being in the right places as well.”

The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown also wrote up a player comparison in which he likened Wheeler’s game to that of James Ross.

Both have been billed as a tad sawed off while being extremely instinctive and violent when they arrive at ball carriers. Neither of them are very long but both have decent range because they run well and dissect plays in a hurry. Both also show a knack for blitzing because of how they anticipate and understand schemes and tells from the offense.

Brown also checked in with Rivals analyst Josh Helmholdt, and a picture of a tenacious, slightly undersized heat-seeking missile is starting to emerge. Helmholdt:

"His size and stature scream gap-filling thumper, but then he went out and nearly won position MVP honors at the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp in Chicago, an event that highlights a linebacker's ability to play in space. Wheeler is effective going forward, backward or sideline-to-sideline. He hits with bad intentions, but also has the explosiveness to blitz or cut off the alley."

Helmholdt also notes that his offer list would have seen the addition of national powers if he had decided to take his recruitment into the spring, but that Michigan pounced on Wheeler’s willingness to finish the recruiting process early.

Brown also spoke with former Michigan WR and current West Bloomfield head coach Ron Bellamy, who called Wheeler “the best middle linebacker in the state of Michigan.

[Hit THE JUMP for more]

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Friday Recruitin' Watches Sanford and Son

Friday Recruitin' Watches Sanford and Son Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 14th, 2018 at 2:00 PM

[Greg Powers]

This is Fine: Earnest Edition. Five-star OK S and no. 12 overall player in the 247 composite Daxton Hill is taking his official visit to Michigan this weekend. If frequency of texting recruits already committed to M is any indication of where Michigan stands, they’re in pretty good shape. If the path to playing time is any indication of where Michigan stands, they’re in pretty good shape. If academics are any indication of where Michigan stands, they’re in pretty good shape. Sam Webb sat down with Hill for an exclusive interview and pumped out this series of three articles, one of which further detailed Hill’s feelings on the importance of academics:

“(Academics are) real big,” he said. “(Booker T Washington) is a great school academically. Sometimes I’ll be in my room just doing homework for hours, so I take my academics serious. That plays a big part of it. I don’t want to make it too easy for me. Wherever I go I just want a challenge academically and athletically.”

That quote is so Michigan it just finished class 10 minutes before the hour. (Yeah, I’m cool, I’m with it.) Hill’s a pretty good athlete, too. Webb said this morning on WTKA that, should he commit, Michigan will not have had an athlete as good as him since Tripp Welborne and that he has the potential to start at any program in the country from the day he sets foot on campus. For quantitative confirmation, let’s turn to Hill’s test results from The Opening: 

For the man above 🙏🏼 #4.3laser pic.twitter.com/Ywq68b0hI9

— Dirty30 (@daxhill5) April 29, 2018

Sure, yeah, 99th percentile of all athletes tested in his class should be just fine. Beyond what Hill brings to the table or what Michigan can offer him are the relationships formed during the recruiting process, and Hill has been in contact with a few current commits for some time. Webb mentioned on the radio this morning that NV QB Cade McNamara is also going to be on campus this weekend, and that’s important as the two have built a friendship. Webb, in his free article about Hill’s parents perspective on his recruitment, talked to them about his relationship with other prospects:

But I know Daxton has made relationships with certain players. I won’t say the school, but he says with one school, ‘I have a relationship with more of the recruits than the others.’ I think I got a feel for which way he’s going (with that). That’s more important. One of the main (decision) aspects is his teammates – that class going in with him.”

There’s also a section in the piece about how Hill got close to committing somewhere this summer before realizing he needed more time; I highly recommend you check the piece out. One possible sticking point for Michigan could be that they don’t have a program in journalism, his desired field of study; Michigan can always point to Charles Woodson, Desmond Howard, Brian Griese, Jim Brandstatter, Dan Dierdorf, or unfurl the scroll-length list of names of The Michigan Daily alums currently writing professionally and contend that things could work out just fine. Hill’s parents think this visit will help solidify things for Daxton, but who knows whether there will be a resultant Hello post or a keening board thread. It seems fruitless to predict what a guy will do when said guy spends his free time watching Sanford and Son or Good Times instead of playing Fortnite.

[After THE JUMP: the whole D is broken]

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Friday Recruiting Keeps Meat At The Same Temperature For An Extended Period Of Time And Asks You To Adore Him As A God Because Of It

Friday Recruiting Keeps Meat At The Same Temperature For An Extended Period Of Time And Asks You To Adore Him As A God Because Of It Comment Count

Brian July 27th, 2018 at 2:26 PM

I'm Daxton You To Keep Calm

[/is showered in rotten fruit]

FINE

Anyway: Michigan picked up a crystal ball for five star OK S Daxton Hill yesterday, and since that CB was from the 24/7 affiliate of presumed leader Oklahoma that's pretty notable. Apparently Hill is skipping the Sooner version of the BBQ, and this has resigned certain OU people to their fate. Sam Webb talked to everyone at 24/7 with an opinion about Hill—a group that includes Alabama, Oklahoma, and national 24/7 guys—and came back with a fairly emphatic statement that Hill is a "Michigan-Alabama dogfight."

On the one hand: hooray some people think Michigan's getting this guy. On the other: Michigan's track record on the trail against Alabama is not good. Judging from the extensive takes from Alabama folks their confidence is strong but waning daily as Hill becomes one of those "why didn't you pull the trigger for your leader yet?" players who go from locks to very much not that.

Hill plans to decide in August and has a September 15th official to Ann Arbor scheduled. Best case scenario is probably that Hill doesn't announce by that official. OTOH, Lorenz posted yesterday that if Hill was going to announce today his ball would be "squarely" on Michigan. Ace put a ball in for Michigan, because we believe in the too-late-to-pull-the-trigger theory.

[After THE JUMP: meat time, time for meat, meat time, time for meat]

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Friday Recruiting Changes The Deal

Friday Recruiting Changes The Deal Comment Count

Brian July 13th, 2018 at 3:47 PM

This was not the agreement, Steve

If you listened to our latest podcast you no doubt heard my impassioned plea for 24/7 to set a hard ceiling on CA RB commit Zach Charbonnet's ranking. You see, Rudy, five star tailbacks at Michigan generally fall over when whispered upon and fumble explosively a nanosecond from the ground. "Let's stay away from that," I begged, pleading for Charbonnet to top out at #51, a back-half-of-the-top-100 ranking that is in the feasibly productive range.

Instead:

image

Nuts to you, 24/7, for threatening the career of one of Michigan's running back commits before it even starts. Please find exactly 11 players you like more than him before Signing Day, or the dog gets it! I certainly have a dog! That I am threatening! With "it"!

The other back

TN RB commit Eric Gray had an abrupt left turn in his recruitment that started when someone got sidelined:

“After the camp, I didn’t really hear from Michigan because their offensive coordinator (Tim Drevno) was going a different route with running backs,” Gray said, calling his early interaction with Michigan weird. “Once he left (for USC), they started coming back.

“I didn’t think I wanted to go to Michigan because they used to not talk to me. I almost didn’t take the official, but taking it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. It really opened my eyes.”

Once Drevno was gone Michigan picked up the pace and secured a commitment. Gray remains the top back on 24/7 after their re-rank and actually slid up 11 spots, because his Opening was impressive:

“He’s the ideal all-purpose back,” 247Sports director of scouting Barton Simmons said, “with great pass-catching ability out of the backfield, really good burst and change-of-direction and big-play potential, and he was one of the top backs in attendance in Texas.”

I'm all for having a guy like Evans or Gray on the roster at all times; if Michigan does run up against a team that is good at shutting down the straight-ahead stuff the scatback provides another avenue of attack.

[After THE JUMP: even more re-rank positives.]

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Hello: Eric Gray

Hello: Eric Gray Comment Count

Ace July 1st, 2018 at 9:06 PM

Michigan didn't have a 2019 running back commit two weeks ago. Now they boast one of the best duos in the country in Zach Charbonnet and their newest pledge, four-star Memphis (TN) Lausanne Collegiate School all-purpose back Eric Gray, who committed via video this evening:

Gray, already one of the most decorated high school football players in Tennessee history, chose the Wolverines from a final five that also included Alabama, Ole Miss, Penn State, and Texas A&M. While late to the commitapalooza, he was on campus last weekend for the final visit of a string of trips to each of his finalists before heading off to The Opening, where he's doing stuff like this:

Update: And this!

Seems like a solid get.

GURU RATINGS

Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
3*, 5.6, #9 APB,
#21 TN
4*, 81, #17 RB,
#11 TN, #275 Ovr
4*, 95, #1 APB,
#3 TN, #95 Ovr
4*, #3 APB,
#10 TN, #175 Ovr

There's quite a spread. Rivals, despite having Gray in top camp performer articles when he was an eighth grader, ranks him by far the lowest. Both ESPN and 247 consider him a prospect worthy of their top lists, with the latter especially bullish on him.

Gray is listed at 5'10", 191. He's in the Chris Evans mold; a smaller, versatile back who can run between the tackles or make an impact as a receiver from multiple spots on the field.

[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and the rest.]

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