Tuesday Recruitin' Does The Inevitable

Tuesday Recruitin' Does The Inevitable

Submitted by Ace on May 27th, 2014 at 2:35 PM

Happy Trails, Shaun Crawford

It felt like only a matter of time, and so it was...

Shaun Crawford is no longer a member of the 2015 class after following through with his expressed desire to visit Notre Dame and scheduling an Ohio State visit for this weekend. Michigan is recruiting other cornerbacks—the timing of the recent offer to TN four-star Cameron Ordway was no coincidence—and while they'll pursue Crawford, his recruitment isn't heading in the right direction:

247's Notre Dame insider believes a commitment to the Irish could be imminent, which would not surprise. Wherever he ends up, best of luck to the young man—if your sentiments are markedly different, consider refraining from commenting on this post. Fair warning.

Other Than That...

Yes, today's roundup started on a sour note, but the rest of the recent developments in the 2015 class are actually quite positive.

Things are looking especially good with four-star CT TE Chris Clark, who named Michigan his leader after his last visit and plans to see Ann Arbor again—along with Tennessee, Arizona State, and possibly North Carolina and Ohio State—before announcing his decision at The Opening on July 10th. The return trip is a good sign on its own, and the recruiting efforts of Alex Malzone appear to be paying off as well, per 247's Rusty Mansell ($):

There are few top prospects that Clark says he would like to play on the next level with.

“Oh man, that is a tough one, there is a couple of them, I like Matt Burrell a lot,” he said.”If we are talking quarterbacks, I definitely wouldn’t mind catching passes from Brady White (ASU commit), or Alex Malzone, who just committed to Michigan.” 

Mansell, writing that post for 247's Georgia outlet, commented that he thinks Michigan is the ultimate destination. 11W's Jeremy Birmingham has the same gut feeling, as well. That would be especially tough for OSU given their other top TE target, Hale Hentges, committed to Alabama over the weekend. (Hentges also held a Michigan offer, but it's clear the Wolverines have dialed in their efforts on Clark.)

Meanwhile, Michigan made a slew of top lists for some quality 2015 targets. Four-star OH OLB Justin Hilliard named the Wolverines to his final five along with Notre Dame, Iowa, Ohio State, and Alabama, per Rivals' Josh Helmholdt ($):

"Michigan is definitely a school I have a lot of comfort with," Hilliard said. "Coach [Greg] Mattison, the linebackers coach, is very cool, very experienced and coached some of the greatest linebackers in the League. He is very involved in my recruiting right now.

Hilliard expects to make a decision before his senior season.

Michigan landed in the top three for OH DE Dre'Mont Jones, though they still have work to do to reach the top of his list, per 247's Tom Loy ($):

“Ohio State is No. 1 right now, then Michigan, then Notre Dame,” Jones mentioned. “Ohio State has the edge because I always have a great time when I’m up there. I like how they run their practices and I like how the coaches treat the players and it’s a great school.”

It's tough to see Jones ending up anywhere but Columbus, but Michigan at least has a shot—Jones plans to see Ann Arbor as one of several summer visits.

Cass Tech RB Mike Weber cleared up any misconception that U-M isn't among his top schools, telling Scout's Josh Newkirk they're in his top five with MSU, OSU, Wisconsin, and Tennessee, while also discussing Doug Nussmeier's offense in a very positive light ($):

“He coached a lot of great backs that are in the league right now or are going to the league,” Weber said. “So when he tells me things, I believe – because there is proof. He’s going to be good.”

Weber was slated to visit over the weekend, rooming with his old CT teammate David Dawson. After he seemed to cool on the Wolverines over the course of last season, it seems like the Nussmeier hire has really helped Michigan get back into serious contention.

Funchess-sized four-star IL WR Miles Boykin put Michigan in his top ten, as announced on Twitter. Aside from Florida and Oregon, it's a very Midwest group. According to 247's Steve Wiltfong, Michigan is up near the top of that group, and Boykin is set to visit on June 6th ($).

U-M also appears in the top ten for four-star TX S Khalil Haughton, whose list shows he's very willing to consider out of state schools.

[Hit THE JUMP for details on the latest strong camp showing from Alex Malzone, who Michigan's quarterback commit is recruiting himself, and MSU fans not grasping the core concept behind rankings changes.]

Thursday Recruitin' Finds Another Funchess

Thursday Recruitin' Finds Another Funchess

Submitted by Ace on April 24th, 2014 at 2:55 PM

This is my last post of the week, and I'll be taking next week off to do anything that doesn't involve sitting in front of a laptop. I just wanted to thank everyone for reading along through football and basketball season, and tease that I've got some fun content lined up for my return. (Think dunks. Lots and lots of dunks.) Have a great week, everyone.

Offer Bonanza! (Does Not Include QB)

Michigan's thrown out offers left and right over the last week, as Brandon has covered in detail in this mgoboard thread. In fact, they're going out so fast a couple more offers didn't make that list; since Tuesday, the coaches have extended offers to four-star VA OT Matthew Burrell, three-star GA OT Zach Giella, and five-star GA WR Preston Williams (Tennessee commit).

Burrell generated a lot of buzz when he visited for the Notre Dame game last season; he showed genuine interest, though we'll see how much that's changed given how long it took for U-M to decide to offer him. Giella's three-star ranking belies his impressive offer sheet, and he's currently got LSU as his leader with Ole Miss running second ($); just getting a visit from him would be an accomplishment. Williams, the top-ranked receiver in the class, is looking around at other schools but it's unclear if he'll take a visit to Michigan, per 247's Steve Lorenz.

While the Wolverines may be on the outside looking in for those three prospects, they're looking good for two recent offer recipients at wide receiver. IL four-star Miles Boykin is being recruited at both wide receiver and tight end due to his 6'3", 212-pound frame. Michigan sees him as a Funchess-type wideout, and per Tim Sullivan that's precisely how Boykin wants to play ($):

The 6-3, 212-pounder is open to both spots, but prefers to be out on the edge making plays in space. Fortunately, that's where Michigan would like to see him line up, should he choose to become a Wolverine.

"I'd rather play receiver, but if my body grows I can't really do anything about that so I'm open to playing tight end, too," Boykin said. "[Coach Mallory] said because of how difficult I am to cover, that's why they're offering me as a wide receiver, not a tight end."

Boykin visited Ann Arbor for the spring game-ish thing and told Tim he'd like to see Michigan again before a potential preseason decision. All of the major Midwest schools, among several others, are in on Boykin; Michigan looks to be among his top schools, and that return visit will obviously be key if he sticks to his current timeline.

Meanwhile, three-star FL WR Auden Tate told Scout's Amy Campbell that Michigan was his childhood favorite, and it's a "dream come true" to hold an offer from them—as you'd expect, this has the Wolverines in a very good spot ($):

Now that Michigan has offered, Tate says it’s easily his number one school. “They’re the top, I’m going to try to visit them soon,” he said.

Tate added an offer from his favorite’s rival, Ohio State, earlier this month. While he wasn’t as ecstatic about it as he was the Michigan offer, he was still very happy to add an offer from such a historic program. 

Tate's offer sheet suggests he should eventually climb in the composite rankings, and he told Campbell he plans to make a decision "sometime after summer" once he's had the chance to visit his top schools, which also include the likes of Clemson, Miami, and South Carolina. While Michigan will have to sweat out those visits, they'll also get one of their own, and for now they're in a great position to land him.

One reported offer that's been refuted by multiple reporters, including Sam Webb($), is 2015 four-star dual-threat QB Deondre Francois. While Michigan watched him throw this week, no new QB offers have gone out recently, according to Webb.

[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on Grant Newsome, Darian Roseboro, where Michigan stands for several top 2015 targets, and more.]

21 Targets for 2015

21 Targets for 2015

Submitted by Brandon Brown on April 16th, 2014 at 9:37 AM

At the request of several readers, the list below is of prospects that could actually become a part of the 2015 class. Obviously anyone with an offer could potentially wind up on this list if a visit were to be set up, or the coaches decided to put some serious pressure on. But that list gets unwieldy; who wants to watch 100 guys of whom three will probably end up in Michigan's class.

The prospects below are those who've already demonstrated legitimate interest, be it by setting up visits, releasing top lists, or clear statements expressing a high level of interest in Michigan. Each of them will score between a 3 and a 5 on “The Vibe." I expect no more than 4 or 5 of them will end up in the class, but 20% > 3%.

I asked most of them directly if they belonged on a list of recruits that were seriously considering Michigan. In some cases the responses were more forward than I expected and that tells me that Michigan is in serious contention with some of them.

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Athlete (DB/WR)

Brian Cole – Heritage – Saginaw, MIBrian Cole

The battle for the top athlete in Michigan seems to be between Michigan and Michigan State. Cole has visited Michigan several times and has recently been visited by the coaching staff. Even though he’s an in-state recruit, he’ll be able to go anywhere he wants, and there's time yet for national programs to make their plays.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Defensive End

Jashon Cornell – Cretin Derham Hall – St. Paul, MN

Cornell will make his decision at the end of the summer on August 28 during his season opener. Cornell keeps to himself but a lot of people think thatJashon Cornell 2 Notre Dame may have an edge as many former athletes from his high school have wound up in South Bend. Cornell plans to take a west coast tour this summer to check out UCLA, USC, and Stanford. Michigan is in good shape but it’s going to be a battle for such a talent.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Keisean Lucier-South – Lutheran-Orange County – Orange, CAKeisean Lucier-South

KLS has not been shy about how much he likes Michigan but reeling in Cali-kids is always tough to do. He had good things to say about Michigan though. “Michigan is actually doing really good in recruiting me. They send me letters every day and I think I belong on their list of possible commitments.” KLS doesn’t have any Ann Arbor visit plans lined up yet and the logistics of being in California will prove difficult.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Clelin Ferrell – Benedictine – Richmond, VAClelin Ferrell

It’s being reported that Ferrell will be in Ann Arbor this weekend, which bodes well for his recruitment. Before I learned of his visit plans, I’m not sure I’d have put him on this list. Ferrell told me he is really looking forward to checking out Ann Arbor for the first time, but he’s not close to a commitment at this time.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Darian Roseboro – Lincolnton – Lincolnton, NCDarian Roseboro

Roseboro really likes what he knows about Michigan so far but said he can’t exactly rank them right now since he hasn’t visited yet. He plans to set up some visit arrangements soon and said that he definitely belongs on the “seriously interested” list.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Dre’Mont Jones – St. Ignatius – Cleveland, OH

Conidered an Ohio State lock, Jones recently told me that he is really feeling Michigan and that the Buckeyes aren’t a shoe-in after all. He admitted that OhioDre'Mont Jones State was his leader but the Michigan coaches are doing very well with him and aren’t out of it yet. Jones visited Ohio State this past week and many thought he’d commit while there. He did not which makes his comments about Michigan seem more genuine.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Joshua Alabi – Cass Technical – Detroit, MIJoshua Alabi

Alabi is another Cass Tech recruit so he’s always going to be a possibility. He told me that he is a realistic possibility for the class and even though he doesn’t have any immediate plans to visit soon, he’s trying to set them up with his parents.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Linebacker

Darrin Kirkland Jr. – Lawrence Central – Indianapolis, INDarrin Kirkland Jr.

Kirkland Jr. will announce his decision on May 30 and recently told me that Michigan will definitely make his Top 8. He also told me that he’d like to visit Michigan again before he makes his decision.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Asmar Bilal – Ben Davis – Indianapolis, INAsmar Bilal

Michigan offered Bilal and Kirkland both on the heels of a Josh Barajas surprise commitment to Penn State. Bilal loved his Michigan visit and says he’d like to return soon. He may also take an official visit to Ann Arbor before his commitment. Even though he doesn’t have any sort of order in his offer list, he did say that Michigan is “in his tops.”

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Justin Hilliard – St. Xavier – Cincinnati, OH

Hilliard is being pulled in a lot of different directions by some of the top programs in the country. 

Justin Hilliard

He has visited Michigan multiple times but the competition for his signature may be as stiff as any recruit on this list. He’s been rumored to be a Notre Dame lean, an Ohio State lean, and possibly an Alabama lean. Those three schools recruit as well as anyone in the country, but Michigan is putting in work as well.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Osa Masina – Brighton – Salt Lake City, UT

The state of Utah has sent a recruit to Michigan a couple of times in the pastOsa Masina few classes and that bodes well for the Wolverines as Masina has a connection with them. Osa says that he likes Michigan “A LOT” and while he has been to Michigan before, he doesn’t have any plans to return right now. He says they are definitely in the mix for him.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Joshua McMillon – Whitehaven – Memphis, TN

I didn’t think Michigan had much of a chance with McMillon but after he spent an entire weekend in Ann Arbor recently that’s clearly not the case.Joshua McMillon McMillon said that Michigan is definitely a contender for him and that he really enjoyed his visit. He’s in SEC country but Michigan has done well with him.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Tyriq Thompson – Detroit Martin Luther King – Detroit, MI

A lot of people assume Michigan is the eventual spot for Thompson as he’s a legacy (father is mid-'90s safety Clarence) offer and an in-state kid with a still-growing offer list. Tyriq himself isn’t so quick to say that. “I can’t really say if Michigan has a good chance with me or not Tyriq Thompsonsince it’s going to be a while before I’m close to a decision. I’m just taking things slowly from here on out.” With the class projecting to contain about 12-15 members, Thompson may miss out on an opportunity to commit if he’s even considering that.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Offensive Tackle

Grant Newsome – The Lawrenceville School – Trenton, NJ

Michigan recently missed out on Jake Fruhmorgen and Sterling Jenkins has completelyGrant Newsome ruled them out as a possibility. That leaves Grant Newsome as the lone highly rated OT with serious Michigan interest. Newsome told me that he definitely belongs on Michigan’s list of highly interested prospects. “I’m only visiting the schools that I’m really interested in.” Newsome will visit Michigan this upcoming weekend, but he won’t make a decision until the summer.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Running Back

Damien Harris – Madison Southern – Berea, KY

I’m not sure much needs to be said here. Once a commit, now a highly covetedDamien Harris decommit. Harris is being vigorously pursued by Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes, he still remains a top priority for the Michigan coaches. He and his mother both really like Michigan still but it will be a battle between the good guys, Ohio State, and Kentucky.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Jacques Patrick – Timber Creek – Orlando, FL

Patrick is one of the more sought after running backs in the class and while he is aJacque Patrick Florida recruit, he has roots in Michigan, making his interest in the Wolverines not seem so out of place. Patrick told me that he plans to visit this summer and is thinking about taking one of his five official visits to Ann Arbor this fall. He just barely makes this list as I think he ultimately stays in the sunshine state.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Mike Weber – Cass Technical – Detroit, MI

Once thought of as a written-off prospect, the hiring of Doug Nussmeier (and Damien Harris's decommit) rekindled the flames between Michigan and Weber. The stout running back has Mike Webervisited Michigan multiple times and has posted several Michigan-centric images on Twitter and Instagram. Michigan State and Ohio State are also heavily involved so when he commits it’ll either be cause for celebration or worry.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Tight End

Chris Clark – Avon Old Farms – Avon, CTChris Clark

The recruitment of Chris Clark has been a roller coaster as he surprisingly committed to North Carolina about a month ago, and not so surprisingly decommitted just about a week ago. He plans to take several visits including Michigan this weekend. Clark has always spoken highly about the Wolverines and I think his visit to Ann Arbor this weekend could put Michigan squarely in the mix.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Hale Hentges – Helias – Jefferson City, MOHale Hentges 2

I asked Hentges straight up if Michigan was a school that actually had a chance with him and he said, “Yes I think so. I’m very interested in Michigan.” Hentges would like to commit before his senior season starts but says he doesn’t have a leader yet. He also says he’d like to visit Michigan again before he makes a decision.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Tyrone Wheatley Jr. – Canisius – Buffalo, NY

Everyone seems to think Wheatley Jr. is a Michigan lock anTyrone Wheatley Jr. 2d while he may wind up a Wolverine, TJ isn’t ready to call Michigan his leader. “Everyone still has a chance. My recruitment is very open.” Wheatley Jr. may be slow-playing his true intentions, or he may actually be interested in writing his own story that doesn’t involve following in his dad’s footsteps.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Wide Receiver

Juval Mollette – Randleman – Randleman, NC

Personally, I don’t think Michigan has a great chance with Mollette, but he did recentlyJuval Mollette include the Wolverines as part of his top 5. He hasn’t planned any sort of visit yet but Michigan is putting in the necessary effort to stay in his mind. “Yeah I think I should be on Michigan’s short list. I keep a good relationship with Coach Manning and them up there. They have a chance.” I’ve heard Clemson is an early favorite for Mollette and a recent visit to Death Valley proves his high level of interest.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

Monday Recruitin' Dons Wizard Hat

Monday Recruitin' Dons Wizard Hat

Submitted by Ace on April 7th, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Three New Offers

After seeing coveted four-star 2015 IN LB Josh Barajas make a surprise commitment to Penn State a couple weeks ago, Michigan didn't wait long to offer two more four-star Hoosier State linebackers: Darrin Kirkland Jr. and Asmar Bilal. Brandon has the full rundown on both of those offers, as well as a third that went out over the weekend to 2016 WI OT Ben Bredeson, who's expected to be one of the top-ranked linemen in his class.

While the recruitments of Bilal and (especially) Bredeson should take a while to play out, Kirkland plans to announce his decision on May 30th, and his top group is murky; Penn State and Tennessee appear to stand out along with Michigan among schools that have offered him, and his 247 predictions are all over the place. Kirkland told Brandon he may make another trip to Ann Arbor before his decision. If he does, I like Michigan's chances of landing him; if not, it's quite possible James Franklin continues to tear up the recruiting scene.

[Hit THE JUMP for visitor reactions from the spring game, updates on Sterling Jenkins and Kyonta Stallworth, and more.]

Michigan Recruiting Board: 2015 Tight Ends

Michigan Recruiting Board: 2015 Tight Ends

Submitted by Brandon Brown on March 20th, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Even though Devin Funchess is more of a wide receiver these days, the tight end position is once again a prominent piece in the Michigan offense. Jake Butt had great success as a true freshman and Ian Bunting looks like a Funchess-style matchup problem who could grow into a combo star in the future. The 2015 class for Michigan is expected to be around 15 or so and the coaches would like for two of those spots to go to tight ends. At this point five tight ends have been offered and two of them do seem like possible eventual commits. There are multiple others who have been in contact with the coaches to some degree and may earn an offer moving forward. 

The Offered

Devonaire Clarington – Champagnat Catholic – Hialeah, FL (★★★★ .9535) 
Clarington is a Funchess-type of athlete at 6’6” and just over 220 lbs. and could be the same type of weapon at the next level. While he holds a Michigan offer I don’t see much of a chance he ends up in Ann Arbor. Clarington told me that he hears the most from Miami, living just miles from campus it’s easy to understand why. He also said this his entire recruitment is extremely difficult to sort through. He says that he has no leader and all teams are even right now, but I’m pretty confident that Ann Arbor won’t be his future home.

Chris Clark – Avon Old Farms – Avon, CT (★★★★ .9386)
Chris Clark surprised a lot of people by committing to North Carolina just a few days ago, including me. I intro’d Chris back in December when he only had 10 offers, a list that didn’t include Michigan at the time and when he committed he had over 40. I had actually been in pretty regular contact with Chris as he was set to visit Ann Arbor this upcoming weekend and I didn’t get the slightest feeling that the Tarheels had a chance with him. I actually thought he’d be a Wolverine, Buckeye, or a Sun Devil based on our conversations. He told me that in the end North Carolina just felt like home to him when he visited. He also cited the way that UNC uses their tight ends as a reason he liked them and that the recent success of Eric Ebron was a good testament to that. Chris was really looking forward to his visit to Ann Arbor but the charm of Chapel Hill won him over before the visit happened.

Hale Hentges – Helias – Jefferson City, MO (★★★★ .9378)
Hentges told me that he and Chris Clark are actually close friends and talked about their recruitment weekly and even he was surprised by Clark’s commitment to Carolina. That being said, Hentges may be the new top target for Michigan and they are preparing for his visit the weekend of April 4th. Hentges actually spoke with Coach Ferrigno the day I spoke with him and he said he was getting anxious to check out Ann Arbor. Hentges rattled off an unofficial top 5 of Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, Florida State, and LSU when I asked him what schools he was serious about. He plans to visit all of those schools and possibly a few others. Hentges will not camp at Michigan this summer be he said he would like to see a game during the fall. Competition will be stiff for him, but his upcoming visit to Ann Arbor could really help Michigan’s chances.

Tyrone Wheatley Jr. – Canisius – Buffalo, NY (★★★★ .9252
“TJ” as he’s known, is thought of by most as a virtual Michigan lock, but everything he has ever told me doesn’t necessarily support that. He was very open with me when I asked him about his recruitment.

I have no leaders or favorites. My recruitment is still wide open and I’m talking to new schools every day. I was recently offered by Louisville and Auburn so I’m still just trying to get to know everyone and see all of my options. I’m still not even sure if I want to play tight end or defensive end at the next level.

247Sports has 25 Crystal Ball predictions for Wheatley Jr. and 100% of them say Michigan is the future spot for him. I asked him about that and asked him to clarify why “expert opinions” are so strong in favor of the Wolverines and his answer was pretty interesting.

I mean they probably think that because my dad played there and I have lived there, but you’d really have to ask them how they came up with that because I’ve honestly never spoken to any of them. I myself wonder sometimes how they come up with that stuff. I mean I have talked with some of the Michigan guys (I mentioned Lorenz, Webb, Sullivan) but not in a while, but there’s like 25+ predictions. I’ve talked with like four people.

Wheatley Jr. says he’d like to take officials but won’t know where to until much later in the process. He is not looking that far ahead yet, he’s just trying to succeed in the now.

It obviously wouldn’t surprise anyone if Wheatley Jr. eventually did choose Michigan, but I don’t believe it’s 100% guaranteed like many might think. TJ has a stacked offer list and Michigan isn’t the only place he could make an impact. 

Jalen Wilkerson – Coffee – Douglas, GA (★★★ .8845)
Wilkerson is a Georgia product that doesn’t appear to be leaving the south as 247Sports says he’s high on Florida State, Auburn, and Alabama. Wilkerson hasn’t responded to me recently and his name is almost never brought up in Michigan circles. He doesn’t appear to be a realistic option.

[after the jump: targets]

Tuesday Recruitin' Might Not Make It Through Summer

Tuesday Recruitin' Might Not Make It Through Summer

Submitted by Ace on March 4th, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Raiding The Old Dominion

Michigan is once against looking to the state of Virginia, where they've pulled Derrick Green and Wilton Speight in the last two classes, for an infusion of talent. The Wolverines have put out offers to 2015 top-100 WDE Clelin Ferrell and heralded 2016 WR Scott Bracey, both of Richmond Benedictine College Prep. In a two-part article, Sam Webb interviewed Benedictine coach Greg Lilly to get the scoop on the pair ($):

Greg Lilly: Coach Manning has done a great job as far as recruiting the guys.  When he has had the opportunity to get to the state of Virginia has always come by and seen us and he has done a really good job when he has been here.  He is a very nice guy, personable guy.  I think he had a great rapport with the kids.  I can’t remember if it was in January or December, whatever that recruiting period was, but Coach Hoke did come in and stop by and let us know how interested they were in both kids.  I think both the guys, Clelin and Scott were impressed by that and honored by that.  We’re a small private school, 275 boys.  It is a military school, a catholic school.  There is obviously an emphasis put on their education and them wanting to go to good academic schools and be good student-athletes and obviously Michigan offers that opportunity.

Ferrell and Bracey have been taking unofficial visits together, and Lilly said "they are going to get out there and see Michigan," when they take some trips this summer. It appears Michigan has a better shot with Ferrell—despite being in the class below him, Bracey holds more offers at the moment—though the Wolverines are in the mix for both.

[Hit THE JUMP for a quick recap of last weekend's visits, the latest on Brian Cole and several other 2015 prospects, and more.]

Thursday Recruitin' Is Compelling And Rich

Thursday Recruitin' Is Compelling And Rich

Submitted by Ace on January 30th, 2014 at 2:32 PM

McDowell Watch: Day Somethingorother

Let's go to Sam Webb, live on the scene ($):

"He talked with (Hoke) late last night," McDowell's father reported. "(Michigan's in-home) is for tomorrow. We (i.e. both parents and Malik) are going to Ohio State this weekend. Florida State is making it in tomorrow also."

Malik McDowell released a top four of Michigan, Michigan State, Florida State, and Ohio State—in no particular order—earlier this week. FSU and OSU seem like longshots—the 'Noles because of distance, the Buckeyes because it's tough to get a read on where they stand, though that could easily change after his official visit this weekend.

The in-home visit from Michigan is a huge one; the general consensus is that his parents are very much in Michigan's corner, but Malik is more enamored with Michigan State. With in-homes this week from U-M, FSU, and potentially MSU, plus a final official to OSU this weekend, McDowell is on track for his planned Signing Day announcement. The biggest question at this point: how much influence will his parents have on his decision? That could very well determine if he ends up a Wolverine. The mood is tense.

Also, it's pretty clear at this point that McDowell is the only 2014 prospect left on Michigan's radar. Michigan backed off in their recruitments of running backs Jeff Jones and Marlon Mack, who flipped his commitment from UCLA to USF yesterday, while the latest Rivals update on soft Arizona State commit Kalen Ballage—who some thought Michigan would continue to pursue as an athlete—contains no mention of the Wolverines ($).

[Hit THE JUMP for the most recent spate of underclassmen offers, updates on a couple key 2015 targets, and more.]

Michigan Offers A Pair of 2015 Tight Ends

Michigan Offers A Pair of 2015 Tight Ends

Submitted by Brandon Brown on January 29th, 2014 at 9:09 PM

The Michigan coaches have been on the road, checking in on recruits from all corners of the country. Multiple offers have gone out over the past couple of weeks and two of the latest are to tight ends Hale Hentges and Chris Clark.

Hale Hentges

Name: Hale Hentges
Position: Tight End
Ht/Wt: 6'5" / 230 lbs.
Location: Helias High School – Jefferson City, MO
Offers: Arkansas, Florida State, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Tennessee, Wisconsin
Ranking: ★★★★ .9175 (247 Composite)

Hentges is one of the more coveted tight end recruits in the 2015 class according to his offer list (most of the Big Ten, Oklahoma, FSU, some SEC schools), and is a 4-star recruit according to the 247 Composite. Hale’s offensive coordinator is his father Chris, and I was able to catch up with him once I learned of the offer. Hale has a basketball game tonight so I plan on getting his opinion a little later on.

Hale tweeted about the Michigan offer and his father explains how it happened.

Evidently Coach Hoke and Coach Nussmeier said that they were looking at tight end tape this weekend and they put in some tape from a lot of tight ends around the country and they really liked Hale’s. They discussed it and came to a consensus that they’d like to offer him. Coach Hecklinski was the one who actually notified us of the offer so that was very exciting.

Chris also talked about how being the father and the offensive coordinator gives him a unique opportunity to be very involved in his son’s recruitment.

Once the coaches find out that I’m on staff it does make it convenient for the recruitment to go forward. Phil Pitts is the head coach and he’s very involved in the recruiting process as well.

With a change at offensive coordinator and two very solid tight ends on the roster already it will be interesting to see how involved the tight ends will be in Coach Nuss’s system and Chris had some insight to that as well.

The tight end is a position that the coaches really want to focus on in the 2015 recruiting class, they need to get two. They said they were looking for the best in the country and based on what they’ve seen they believe that Hale fits into that category.

The elder Hentges talked to me about how excited he and his son both were to have this Michigan offer moving forward. He spoke of Michigan’s proud tradition and rich academic and athletic history and said with a humbled laugh that the Michigan offer has definitely piqued their interest. Michigan is one of the schools Hale definitely plans to visit in the spring so that he can begin to narrow his list down to schools that fit the character and culture he will comfortable at.

Chris also spoke about the schematic fit that could best utilize Hale’s skillset which includes a toughness and ability to play with his hand in the dirt as well as the versatility and athleticism to play in the slot or out wide. Having guys like Devin Funchess and Jake Butt on the field should certainly catch the eyes of both father and son in that regard.

Chris seemed to be quite informed as it pertained to scheme which you’d expect but he was also pretty knowledgeable when it came to Michigan in general.

I’m aware that Coach Hoke has just finished his 3rd year. We follow football all across the country and we aren’t just SEC or Big 12 fans, we’re just football fans. We know of Michigan because of the big rivalry game every year with Ohio State. Ohio State is another school that’s already offered and we got their perspective on the Michigan/Ohio State rivalry and it will be really interesting to get Michigan’s take on it. We know that Michigan has an awful lot to offer academically and athletically and we are just intrigued, I think that’s the best way to put it.

With a very impressive offer list already Michigan has it’s work cut out for them but Hale’s father seemed very sincere when he mentioned the interest and intrigue involving the Wolverines. They plan to visit Ann Arbor and if they do I’d say Michigan has as good a shot as any to be a major factor in Hale’s recruitment.

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Chris Clark

Name: Chris Clark
Position: Tight End
Ht/Wt: 6'6" / 243 lbs.
Location: Avon Old Farms School – Avon, CT
Offers: Arizona State, Arkansas, Boston College, Georgia, Indiana, Miami, Michigan, NC State, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, South Florida, Syracuse, Temple, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wake Forest 
Ranking: ★★★ .8800 (247 Composite)

A little over a month ago I posted a Names To Watch article on Chris Clark and today he was offered by Michigan. Clark, while not quite as highly rated as Hentges, boasts an offer list just as impressive with schools from all over the country (Ohio State and Georgia among them) extending scholarships to the big tight end. Clark spoke highly of the Wolverines before and now that he has an offer it appears that Michigan will definitely factor in to his recruitment.

Clark didn’t hide the fact that he was pumped about his Michigan offer, tweeting the news with a pretty indicative hashtag.

I had to ask him about that along with how the offer came about and just his reaction about the whole thing.

I’m really excited about it, it definitely was a dream come true. Coach Ferrigno checked in at my school today and told my coach that I had been offered by Michigan. He made it a point to say that at Michigan they offer the best players in the country and they didn’t want to let me slip away without showing how much they want me there. He said that Michigan plans to use the tight end in mismatches as much as possible whether it be in-line or in the slot which is cool.

Clark made mention of Michigan’s current tight ends and the talent level that’s already on the roster.

Michigan is intriguing to me because they have great tight ends right now. I love to compete though. I love to show that I’m better than the guy in front of me. There are a bunch of reasons why I like Michigan, just in terms of the competition, of what every day in practice would be like, it’s awesome. At a place like Michigan you can never take a day off because there will be guys in front of you and behind you that are so talented.

Connecticut doesn’t exactly have the reputation of being a great football state or a place where a lot of talent comes from, so I asked Chris about what it’s like being from Connecticut and how it might factor into his allegiances and recruitment.

Growing up I loved Boston College because my dad went there, he didn’t play for them but he attended BC and actually a lot of my family actually did. That has no influence in my recruitment either, but a lot of people ask me if I’m going to go there because my dad and other family members. I would never make a decision based off of something like that but they were the team I really liked growing up. Obviously everyone knows about Michigan, growing up I always watched them on TV. It’s one of the few programs in college football where you say the name and just think football. Michigan IS college football in some ways, just the fans and how they feel about the team, the stadium, the success that they’ve had. It’s really just the whole package.

Clark’s recruitment has really been picking up lately as he’s added almost a dozen offers since I posted the Name To Watch article on Christmas Eve. There are already a few schools rising to the top, again referencing the #dreamcometrue comment from his tweet about the Michigan offer.

There’s a couple of schools that I would say that for where it’s like, “Wow, that offer is a dream come true.” Georgia is definitely one of them too and so is Ohio State. Some people might have taken that out of context and assumed that Michigan is #1 now, they are definitely one of my favorites, but that statement doesn’t mean that I’m definitely a Michigan guy now. I love Michigan but there are a few other schools that could also make me say that. I would say that Michigan, Ohio State, Georgia, Tennessee, and Miami are the ones that I really like right now.

Clark won’t be able to attend the Junior Day event coming up at Michigan but he did say he already plans on attending a spring practice during his March break. He said visiting Michigan is “a priority and I will definitely attend a spring practice”. In the immediate future he leaves for Athens tomorrow to check out Georgia and will visit Ohio State on March 21st.

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After talking with Hale’s father and Chris himself I fully expect Michigan to be in it toward the end with both tight end prospects. Michigan will apparently take two tight ends in the 2015 class with one of them assumed to be Tyrone Wheatley Jr., one of these young men could very realistically be the other. I like both of them on film and honestly am pretty indifferent when it comes to a preference. It seems both will definitely visit Michigan and once that happens a commitment is always a possibility.