Monday Recruitin' From New Jersey To California

Monday Recruitin' From New Jersey To California

Submitted by Ace on December 2nd, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Oh, Right ... That


Photo via NorthJersey.com

There hasn't been a recruiting roundup since Jabrill Peppers tweeted his intention to take official visits after the season, catching not only Michigan fans off-guard, but also his fellow commits and even his own coach, Paramus Catholic's Chris Partridge—notably, the man who sets up all of Peppers' visits. After the tweet set fire to this corner of the internet, Peppers released a statement through Partrige:

I am still 100% committed to the University of Michigan and that is the place where I want to go to college.  With the rumors about Coach Hoke possibly not being there I need to make sure that I have options and have seen other places in case the University of Michigan decides to go in a different direction.  For the sake of my future I need to make sure I have other options.  No need to look into it any further! Go Blue and beat TDS

Peppers reiterated that he's not decommiting and just wants to use any potential visits as a "security blanket," to Scout (via Sam Webb's latest column in the Detroit News).

Michigan has already begun efforts to assuage Peppers' fears, certainly with an eye on keeping him from taking any visits, which would put Brady Hoke in quite the bind as he balances the massive need to keep Peppers in the fold with the possibility of angering other commits—and displaying what could easily be interpreted as hypocricy by Michigan targets and their coaches—by not enforcing his no-visit policy. Dave Brandon's statement in support of Hoke specifically mentioned Michigan's national recruiting "from New Jersey to California, from Michigan to Florida." I don't believe New Jersey is in there by accident; in fact, the whole statement seems to be as much a response to the Peppers situation as it is to any fan discontent.

There are a few things working in Michigan's favor. Peppers and his Paramus Catholic squad play in the state championship game this weekend; the following weekend he's set to take his official visit to Michigan. Peppers didn't talk to Hoke when he made his statement last week—Hoke had a few other things to worry about—but he'll definitely find out where things stand when he's in Ann Arbor; if the coaches (and Brandon) can convince him that the program is on stable ground, it's entirely possible that this whole thing blows over without him ever setting foot on another school's campus.

Even if Peppers still wants to explore other schools after his Michigan official, the timing is tough; an NCAA-mandated recruiting dead period goes into effect after next week's visit, so he wouldn't be able to visit any school until mid-January, just a couple weeks before Signing Day.

For his part, Peppers certainly seemed committed to Michigan during The Game on Saturday, tweeting out his support multiple times during the game and indicating afterward that he'd be taking part in it next season, and not as a Buckeye. While the fact that Peppers even needs reassurance that Hoke will still be at Michigan next year isn't a good sign regarding his recruitment or the program, I don't think there's a lot to worry about here unless Peppers actually goes on other visits—for now, only his trip to Ann Arbor is set to go.

[After THE JUMP, Michigan drops the 'grey shirt' distinction for Brady Pallante, visit reactions from The Game, and a roundup of the latest on Michigan's commits who are still alive in the playoffs.]

Monday Recruitin' Fails To Self-Destruct

Monday Recruitin' Fails To Self-Destruct

Submitted by Ace on November 25th, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Buckle Up

As reported on multiple outlets, including this one, Michigan is in line to get a commitment sometime this week. Brandon promised the prospect he wouldn't mention his position, class, or location (or name, obviously), so I'll say that he is a football player, and his pledge will come as welcome news. This post will self-destruct in 3... 2... 1...

[EXPLOSION]

Darn, I was really hoping that would get me out of writing the rest of this post. The above was the good news. Here's the bad, per Scout's Allen Trieu ($):

Michigan also recently offered Williams and he was considering a visit to Ann Arbor but he now says he is ready to shut things down.

"As far as right now, I'm done with recruiting. My top two are Notre Dame and Missouri and just want to decide between those two. I'm just trying to figure it out."

That's 2014 Berrien Springs (MI) DE Jhonny Williams, whom Michigan offered immediately after they missed out on Da'Shawn Hand. Williams took an official visit to Notre Dame last weekend, had a great time, and decided he'd either stick with his current commitment to Missouri or flip to the Irish. So it goes.

A potential backup option to the backup option is WI TE/DE Gaelin Elmore. Elmore is a Minnesota commit; 247's Steve Lorenz reported that Michigan's coaches got in contact with him last week ($). Brandon caught up with Elmore to get more details, and for now he doesn't sound like a realistic option:

I'm not sure exactly what the coaches are planning with Elmore but he was pretty clear with how he is currently feeling. "I'm not really interested in Michigan at this point. It'd just be interesting to see what they had to say."

I don't know if the coaches were caught completely off guard by Hand's commitment to Alabama; it sure looks like they're scrambling to find a suitable replacement in the class.

[Hit THE JUMP to see which pair of highly-ranked 2015 targets have Michigan among their top schools, updates from last weekend's high school football action, and where Wolverine commits and targets stand in the updated ESPN 300 for 2015.]

Talking With Jhonny Williams

Talking With Jhonny Williams

Submitted by Brandon Brown on November 22nd, 2013 at 9:40 AM

Missing out on potentially the #1 player in the country is never good but luckily for the Michigan faithful the coaching staff got back up and back on the recruiting trail. I’m sure the coaches felt like they took one on the chin when Da’Shawn Hand decided to commit to Alabama, but they wasted no time in trying to find an adequate replacement.

Jhonathon Williams

Less than an hour after Hand announced, the coaches extended an offer to Jhonny Williams. Williams is currently committed to Missouri but has been getting a lot of attention on the recruiting trail lately, most notably from Notre Dame and the in-state Wolverines. Williams hails from the tiny village of Berrien Springs in southwest Michigan, the village itself covers just over one square mile. The small school population and low level competition made for a late start in the recruiting game for Williams but on film his size, speed, and athleticism are very apparent. In his high school games and at 6’6” and 230 lbs. Williams stands out like a green hat with an orange bill.

Jhonny seems like a very well-rounded kid and that sentiment was easy to identify the first time I contacted him as he responded with a very business-like but polite text that read, “I’m not ready to comment on the recent events. I’ll let you know my thoughts when I gather them. I need time. Thank you.” I was able to catch up with him Thursday evening and he was much more open this time around.

What exactly is going on in your mind now that you have a Michigan offer? Well, I’m committed to Mizzou, but it was definitely an exciting thing to have that happen.

How seriously are you going to look into Michigan? Are you planning to take a visit? There’s a chance I will visit for the Ohio State game but nothing is scheduled yet.

I’ve read in some other places that a commitment flip is possible since you now have the in-state Wolverine offer. Did you grow up a Wolverine fan and is there any truth to that? (Laughs) I haven’t completely thought about that yet. I never really had a favorite football team growing up. I don’t really want to go into where I was born and raised but it wasn’t in Michigan anyways.

I was also able to find out that the coaches really haven’t been very aggressive toward Williams. He says that the coaches haven’t really called him much at all since the offer. He plans to make a decision by this time next week on whether he will visit for the Ohio State game or not (obviously since the game is next Saturday) and I think that decision will say a lot about how serious his interest in Michigan is. I will try to check in with him again in a few days to see if he has indeed made that decision.

Monday Recruitin' Moves On

Monday Recruitin' Moves On

Submitted by Ace on November 18th, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Life After Hand

It goes on, believe it or not. Michigan responded to missing out on Da'Shawn Hand by immediately offering Berrian Springs (MI) DE Jhonny Williams, a Missouri commit since September, and judging by his comments to Brandon he's taking his new opportunity very seriously:

Williams wasn’t shy about being excited to hear from Michigan for the first time just recently when we first spoke. After receiving his offer, Jhonny texted me last night with a very respectful message as he sorts through his options.

"I’m not ready to comment on the recent events. I’ll let you know my thoughts when I gather them. I need time. Thank you."

He didn’t hide the fact that he’s juggling some thoughts now that Michigan has offered and I expect the Wolverines to get some consideration.

Williams is a three-star, #42 strongside DE, and #15 prospect in the state according to the 247 Composite; while the rankings are middling, interest in him has picked up of late, as Notre Dame offered him last week. He looks impressive, albeit against relatively low-level competition, in his senior highlights on Hudl.

Shooting Down ALL THE RUMORS

Lose out on a top prospect in the midst of a very ugly stretch for the football team and now even the most outwardly faithful commits have to deny rumors of jumping ship. Rivals posted clickbait so obviously clickbait that I refuse to link it in which they suggest that Jabrill Peppers could join Hand at Alabama despite acknowledging in the very same article that Peppers hasn't spoken with the Tide in months. It even features speculation by a certain national analyst with the quote "I have nothing to back that up."

Meanwhile, Scout's Brian Dohn actually talked to Jabrill Peppers—a novel concept—and Peppers shot down the notion that he's looking around at all ($):

“I’m going to try to go out there for the game against that down south team,” Peppers said. “Everybody is worried about all of the recruits because of the losses, but that is why it’s called rebuilding. We have a new coach (Brady Hoke). He’s bringing in the talent.

I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to make sure we bring Michigan back to the Michigan we knew before.

Not only is Peppers remaining a part of the class, he's planning to head to Ann Arbor for The Game. He's even giving quotes to the Daily about his future role on the team:

“I love (playing both ways),” Peppers said. “I love being able to have as many big-impact plays on the game as I possibly can. I definitely would love doing that, but first I want make sure that I’m fully committed and understand the defense and what coach Mattison is trying to do before they start moving me around to the offensive side of the ball.

“I’m all for it and want to do it and try to make as many plays as I possibly can.”

Decommitment pending, I'm sure.

As for Mason Cole and George Campbell, Sam Webb caught up with them after their regular season finale a week ago; they seem solid, as well ($):

Before departing the field both future Wolverines posed for photos that demonstrated their Maize & Blue pride in the form of Michigan caps and ‘M’ gestures with their hands.   Upon putting on his hat, Campbell offered up an emphatic ‘Go Blue!’  When asked if that meant his commitment is solid, he didn’t hesitate.

“Yes,” he responded. “I am not listening to the calls (from other schools).”

Another "Go Blue", this time in tandem with Cole, hammered that point home.

Various tweets from other commits over the past couple weeks have driven this point home—the 2014 class is remaining firm in their commitments, at least for the time being, and there's nothing but pure speculation to suggest otherwise.

[Hit THE JUMP for a roundup of commit performances from last weekend.]

Michigan Offers Vic Enwere And Jhonny Williams

Michigan Offers Vic Enwere And Jhonny Williams

Submitted by Brandon Brown on November 15th, 2013 at 6:35 AM

Contrary to popular perception recruiting is not over. The Michigan coaches have offered 2014 prospects RB Vic Enwere and DE Jhonny Williams.

Vic Enwere

Vic Enwere

Position: Running Back
Ht/Wt: 6'1"/215 lbs.
Location: Fort Bend Austin High School – Missouri City, TX
Class: 2014
Offers: Committed to California, Arkansas State, Colorado, Duke, Houston, Illinois, Iowa State, Kansas State, LA Lafayette, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, North Texas, Rice, Sam Houston State, SMU, Texas State, Tulsa, Utah, Virginia, Wake Forest

Enwere is a big back with a pretty large, but not powerhouse-studded, offer list. He does hold an offer from the Spartans and they seem to do pretty well at uncovering lowly-rated, highly productive running backs.

Enwere is currently committed to Cal but it’s a soft commitment at best. He spoke with the Michigan coaches on Thursday about how he’d fit in to the offensive scheme and also about setting up a possible visit in the near future. Enwere told me that receiving an offer from Michigan was a big deal and that he was honored. In talking to him it was pretty clear that the Michigan offer has thrown a wrench into his thought process. I asked him what the Michigan offer meant to his commitment to Cal and he said, “I’m really not sure. I am definitely considering Michigan now that they are a real option.” As a Texas kid, committed to Cal he cited Michigan’s storied history as the first thing that attracted him to the Maize and Blue. He also said that a flip from Cal to Michigan is possible, but he just has to really evaluate all of his options now that the Wolverines are in the picture.

Jhonathon Williams

Jhonny Williams

Position: Defensive End
Ht/Wt: 6'6"/230 lbs.
Location: Berrien Springs High School – Berrien Springs, MI
Class: 2014
Offers: Committed to Missouri, Ball State, Bowling Green, Notre Dame, San Diego State, Toledo

The Michigan coaches wasted no time extending an offer to Williams once Da’Shawn Hand committed to Alabama. Williams is an in-state product with some non-power conference offers plus Notre Dame and the program he’s currently committed to, Missouri. On film Williams is quite impressive but Berrien Springs doesn’t exactly play top competition.  Regardless of who he plays against though, you can see his athleticism and his size is impressive as well.

Williams wasn’t shy about being excited to hear from Michigan for the first time just recently when we first spoke. After receiving his offer, Jhonny texted me last night with a very respectful message as he sorts through his options.

I’m not ready to comment on the recent events. I’ll let you know my thoughts when I gather them. I need time. Thank you.

He didn’t hide the fact that he’s juggling some thoughts now that Michigan has offered and I expect the Wolverines to get some consideration. Missouri has done very well this season and should continue to improve with some promising young talent on the roster, but Jhonny’s latest offer must carry some weight to stir up his mind that way. He’s been committed to Mizzou since late September so it will be interesting to see what he says in the coming weeks.