Monday Recruitin' Goes Off The Board

Monday Recruitin' Goes Off The Board

Submitted by Ace on July 7th, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Four-Star Vine, I'd Say

It's perhaps the biggest week in camp season, as the Elite 11(-ish) is underway and Nike's elite camp The Opening begins tomorrow. Quarterback Alex Malzone is representing Michigan in both events, and linebacker Darrin Kirkland will join him for The Opening; tight end Chris Clark was also slated to attend the latter event, but pulled out due to personal reasons, per Tim Sullivan ($).

Day one of the Elite 11 finals is already in the books, though the meat of the event takes place today. Malzone measured in at 6'1", 202 pounds when he arrived, and told 247's Barton Simmons of his recruiting plans for later this week:

"I've built some good relationships with a lot of our top targets," he said. "Auden Tate and Michael Weber are a couple guys I'm looking to talk to. Keisean Lucier-South is another big one. Ray-Ray McCloud is another. The coaches have mentioned some guys I should talk to, but I've done most of the work on my own. I'm looking forward to meeting all the players Darrin (Kirkland) and I have been talking to and finding out the interest."

Simmons suggested both Malzone and Kirkland are poised to move up in 247's rankings if they turn in solid performances this week; Malzone recently moved into high three-star territory (and picked up a fourth star on the 247 Composite) and seems likely to earn a fourth from 247 sooner or later. The E11 quarterbacks who haven't already been selected will also get the opportunity to play for a spot in the Army All-American Bowl. In a brief, free update from the first day of E11, Simmons praised Malzone's presence, focus, and arm strength. So far, so good.

If you're looking to watch any of the camps, The Opening will be televised on ESPNU starting tomorrow night; the full schedule is here.

Happy Trails: Four Off The Board


I'm equally confused, Tim.

Four prospects holding Michigan offers went off the board since last Wednesday; three decisions went as expected, while one came as a bit of a surprise.

Nobody was shocked when both five-star OLB Justin Hilliard and four-star DL Jashon Cornell committed to Ohio State during simultaneous announcements last week; each favored the Buckeyes recently and stated a desire to play together. Jumbo WR Miles Boykin's commitment to Notre Dame was similarly predictable.

Then there's three-star TX WR A.D. Miller, who holds offers from the likes of Arizona State, BYU, Miami (YTM), Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington. He chose...

Okay, then.

With Boykin and Miller off the table, expect Michigan to make a hard push for another big wideout, 6'4" FL four-star Auden Tate, whose recruitment may come down to a battle between the Wolverines, Florida State (the presumed leader), and Florida. With the other offered receivers on Michigan's board likely ticketed elsewhere, it wouldn't surprise if some new offers went out, as well.

Michigan stopped recruiting Cornell because he'd gained enough weight to project inside; they'd previously wanted him as a weakside DE, and the top option there remains five-star California prospect Keisean Lucier-South, who gave an update on his recruitment to Brandon last week. As for outside linebacker, U-M is high on the respective lists of UT four-star Osa Masina and in-state four-star legacy Tyriq Thompson. Four-star TN ILB Joshua McMillon, who's had very good things to say about the Wolverines recently, could also project to the outside.

2015 Visit Updates

Per 247's Ryan Bartow, four-star NC CB Mook Reynolds, a current Virginia Tech commit, will visit Ann Arbor for July 27th's BBQ at the Big House. While a few other big-name schools are also in pursuit, that's the only visit he's got planned for now. He'll be at The Opening, as well, where he'll likely get some attention from Michigan's pair of commits in attendance.

Also planning a BBQ visit is three-star NC DE Kengera Daniel, whose ranking belies an impressive offer sheet that includes Alabama, Miami (YTM), and Tennessee in addition to Michigan. According to Tim Sullivan($), Daniel plans to take his official visits before making a decision during his senior season; securing one of those officials will be key for landing his commitment.

2016 Updates

Scout's Sam Hellman caught up with recently offered four-star NJ ATH Ahmir Mitchell, who told him that unlike all the other schools that have offered him as a receiver, Michigan is recruiting him as a safety ($).

Four-star IN DE Auston Robertson, who camped at Michigan and is expecting an offer relatively soon, will be back in Ann Arbor for the BBQ, per 247's Steve Lorenz ($). While Notre Dame is his early leader, he said that the Wolverines would join them at the top of his list if they come through with an offer.

Five-star Cincinnati (OH) Elder OL Tommy Kraemer told Lorenz that Michigan could join a pair of familiar foes at the top of his list should the coaches, as expected, extend him an offer ($):

Kraemer, who holds offers from Ohio State and Notre Dame among others, says the Wolverines would immediately join that top group with an offer.

"They're the team I grew up following," he said. "My dad coached a former Michigan player and I've always been told about how great of a place it is there. I would want to visit and see it for myself first, but I am pretty sure they would be right there with the other schools I'm highly considering."

Kraemer was invited to the BBQ, but is unlikely to attend because of a conflict with his high school team's camp; he's looking to set up a visit before that camp starts on July 17th. With Kraemer planning to make a decision after his junior season, expect Michigan to throw their hat in the ring whenever he gets on campus.

Tuesday Recruitin' Shuts It Down

Tuesday Recruitin' Shuts It Down

Submitted by Ace on July 1st, 2014 at 2:06 PM

Starting With The Good...

It'll take, at most, four plays for you to yell "DO WANT."

2015 TN ILB Joshua McMillon visited Michigan back in April, and it apparently made quite the impression on him. McMillon told GBW's Josh Newkirk that the Wolverines "stand very high on the charts" in large part because of their focus on academics ($):

They separate themselves from everybody else because they set their [academics] standards so high,” McMillon said. “So they actually expect their student-athletes to actually be students first instead of athlete-student. I love that about them. They make sure they get their work. They base their schedule around their major instead of around their athletics. Even though they are on athletic scholarship, they make sure they get an education.”

McMillon is planning a return trip to Ann Arbor with both his parents in tow—only his father was able to accompany him on the previous visit—and he spoke very highly about his rapport with the coaches, especially Greg Mattison (who, surprise!, busted out the Ray Lewis comparison). U-M is firmly in McMillon's top five as he nears an August decision, and they could very well be on top already while waiting for the all-important Mom Stamp of Approval. They've already got one from McMillon's dad, per 247's Steve Lorenz ($).

It's been a while since we've heard a major update on NY TE/DE Tyrone Wheatley Jr., and after Chris Clark's commitment there was concern it'd negatively affect Michigan's chances to land the son of the great U-M running back. Not so, says the younger Wheatley himself, per Sam Webb ($):

Many observers wonder if Clark’s presence in the Wolverines’ recruiting class will adversely affect their standing in Wheatley’s eyes.

“No,” he replied swiftly.  “I actually know Clark.  I’ve been talking to him for a while.  He actually contacted me a while back.  We’ve just been talking about the recruiting process and different schools. He had a lot of big schools as well.”

Wheatley named Michigan to his top five alongside Alabama, USC, UCLA, and Miami (YTM), and he plans to take official visits to all five schools.

The Wolverines are poised to make the top five for another top target, five-star CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South, per Tim Sullivan ($):

"Right now, I don't know who'll be in the top five yet, I'm still figuring it out. [UCLA and Michigan] probably," he admitted with a chuckle. "I think they're going to be in there. I know the coaches, they're good to me, and they're always talking to me, so they're probably going to be in that list. All the other schools are still talking to me too, so it's going to be really hard to see what my top five is going to be."

KLS will see Ann Arbor for the first time when he takes an official visit for the Penn State game, which should be a huge recruiting event.

Three-star FL WR/TE Auden Tate, whose ranking belies an excellent offer sheet, checks in at 6'4", 200 pounds and Michigan is recruiting him as a big wideout in the Devin Funchess mold. U-M's pitch that Tate could eventually replace Funchess looks to be working—he's planning a visit for this month's BBQ at the Big House, and Michigan is also in line to receive one of his officials despite an upcoming planned decision, per Scout's Amy Campbell ($):

Tate hopes to have his decision wrapped up in the next month, but he plans to take several officials this fall too.

“Florida State and Michigan will be official visits, I don’t know about the other three yet,” he said.

Florida State—the presumed team to beat—and Clemson should be the biggest competition here. Florida is also a factor.

...And Moving On To The Less Good

Three Midwest prospects who at one point or another have been top Michigan targets will their respective decisions tomorrow, and the outlook isn't good for U-M.

MN DL Jashon Cornell and OH LB Justin Hilliard are holding press conferences at the same time tomorrow morning (10 am ET), and it looks like Ohio State will be the ultimate destination for both of them. Michigan stopped pursuing Cornell recently after he bulked up to interior lineman size—U-M isn't taking a DT in this class—but Hilliard was their top target at outside linebacker, a position they've recruited heavily for 2015.

Michigan has a slightly better shot at landing IL WR Miles Boykin, but not by much—Notre Dame is the prohibitive favorite to get the commitment when Boykin announces on Twitter at an undetermined time tomorrow.

If a Hello post goes up tomorrow, it'll be written from scratch.

2015 Top247 Updated

247 updated their 2015 rankings, and they featured rises from Darrin Kirkland and Alex Malzone. Kirkland slotted just inside the top 200 after impressing on the camp trail:

Darrin Kirkland Jr. – Michigan is getting a good one in Kirkland. Checking in at No. 199 overall, Kirkland was arguably the top linebacker in attendance at the Ohio Nike Camp and he’ll be looking to raise his stock even more at The Opening.

While Malzone didn't quite get his fourth star on 247, he improved his standing and closed the gap between his ranking and that of Ohio State QB commit Joe Burrow:

Heading into the Elite 11 in Columbus, Michigan commit Alex Malzone was rated as 3-star with an 86 grade. Ohio State commit Joe Burrow was a four-star with a grade of 90. After watching them workout side by side at the event, we’ve moved the two to the same grade of 88. Burrow has more physical and athletic upside and we like we he does with his feet on film but after watching him throw in person for the first time, he’s still got some work to do in his consistency as a passer. Malzone on the other hand is a little bit undersized but has outstanding feet in the pocket and a really live arm. He doesn’t have the ceiling of Burrow but he’s the more college ready player right now.

That boosted Malzone's score enough to be a four-star, ranked #300 overall and #10 among pro-style quarterbacks, on the 247 Composite. 

Michigan's other commits in the Top247:

  • Garrett Taylor is the team's highest-ranked commit at #77 overall (#10 CB), up two spots from when he committed.
  • 247 remains the least bullish on Chris Clark, also moving him up two spots to #189 (#5 TE).
  • Grant Newsome held steady at #192 overall (#23 OT).

2016 Updates

Sam Webb's latest at the Detroit News is a feature on 2016 Eastern Christian Academy OLB Dele' Harding, whose high opinion of U-M in the wake his recent offer hasn't changed. Harding's father said Dele' was "elated" upon receiving the offer, and Dele' himself said the presence of his two former high school teammates will be a factor when he considers U-M:

Said Harding: “I would probably say (Canteen and Watson being at Michigan) helps just for the simple fact that they are my coolest teammates and talk to me almost every day. So I would say it would probably be a plus.”

Harding has tentative plans to make a decision after his upcoming junior season. USC seems to be the main competition among schools that have offered, though Harding noted that he's not nearly as familiar with the new Trojan coaching staff as he was with the Kiffin regime. While it's still early, U-M looks to be in very good position for him.

Michigan offered 2016 TX S Brandon Jones, the top-ranked safety in the class, last Thursday, per Jones himself. As you'd expect, Jones has a very impressive offer sheet, and so far all 13 picks on the 247 Crystal Ball have him heading to Texas A&M.

After a recent visit and Michigan offer, four-star PA RB Miles Sanders has Michigan in his top three, per Sam Webb ($):

Miles Sanders:  “Right now I have Penn State first and Michigan and Michigan State tied.”

Sanders has a Michigan connection, as he attends the same high school (Woodland Hills in Pittsburgh) that produced Steve Breaston and Ryan Mundy, both of whom have talked to Sanders while stopping by their old school.

Michigan is one of six schools standing out for behemoth four-star guard Richard Merritt, per 247's Ross Martin:

"I don't have any favorites right now, " the 6-foot-5, 345-pound Washington D.C. product said. "but the schools that are standing out are Alabama, Florida State, Michigan, Michigan State, West Virginia, and Virginia Tech."

Offensive lineman highlights aren't always the most interesting watch, but you're gonna want to click play on the reel embedded above. Merritt is ranked as the #53 overall player and #2 guard in the early composite rankings.

Four-star NC RB Robert Washington told GBW's Josh Newkirk that Fred Jackson informed him an offer should come within the next week ($).

OH BABY

This has nothing to do with Michigan, in all likelihood, but it must be posted here. 2017 FL WR Emmanuel Greene already holds offers from Clemson and Miami, and this video gives you a pretty good idea why:

via EDSBS

If this was the And1 tour, Greene would've just chucked the ball out of bounds after the third juke, and the entire camp would've ended at that moment. Life should be more like the And1 tour.

Friday Recruitin' Reads 8.0 On The Kugler Scale

Friday Recruitin' Reads 8.0 On The Kugler Scale

Submitted by Ace on June 20th, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Introducing The Kugler Scale™


slight mismatch here

After making a previous, short-lived commitment to North Carolina, newest Michigan commit Chris Clark wasn't taking any chances before making another pledge, checking out all of his top options before announcing yesterday he'll be a Wolverine. Clark ensured Brandon, in an interview posted here this morning, that this decision is final:

"When you look at recruiting, decommitting happens all the time. I'm not necessarily saying that it's the right thing to do, but when someone commits, later on sometimes it just doesn't feel right." Clark expressed. "I know because I've been there, but that's in the past for me. I'm very happy that it worked out like this and I ended up at Michigan. I'm sure people are going to be like, 'Well how is he not just going to do that again?' Well, I know now that I found the school that is right for me. I have now visited all of the schools that I'm interested in. There isn't another school out there that I'm interested in that I haven't seen. Michigan is the best school out of all of the schools that I really liked, that I was considering. Michigan's the spot, I'm not changing my mind. When I committed to UNC I hadn't visited Michigan, Michigan State, or Ohio State. Now that I've seen them all, Michigan is the spot for me."

That nearly wasn't the case, according to Clark. The Spartans made a strong push on Clark's visit to East Lansing, just a day before he committed on his unofficial in Ann Arbor:

Honestly, if the visit didn't go how it went today, I was probably going to end up at Michigan State. Today just went so well. My mom and dad loved the coaches, as did I. I've known that for a while obviously, my relationship with them has been great for a long time, but today couldn't have went any better."

That's a solid 8/10 on the Kugler Scale™.*

Clark's commitment caught the attention of one of Michigan's top 2015 targets, five-star CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South, who sent out a cryptic tweet when the news broke; he later elaborated to 247's Steve Lorenz ($):

One player who tweeted immediately regarding the commitment, and says it has an effect on his outlook with the Wolverines is five-star defensive end Keisean Lucier-South.

"That's great for Michigan," he said. "Right now it definitely makes them more attractive to me. Michigan is a great school though; it is not a surprise that big time players want to play there."

Getting talented commits helps recruiting in and of itself; Clark's also on the record as saying he committed yesterday so he can get a head start on recruiting for Michigan before The Opening, saying he plans to get in touch with such prospects as Damien Harris, Miles Boykin, and Justin Hilliard.

[*Current U-M center Patrick Kugler, if you don't recall, visited East Lansing several times, looked poised to become a Spartan, took a trip to Ann Arbor, and committed to Michigan one day before another scheduled MSU visit. State fans, as you can imagine, didn't take too kindly to this.]

U-M Camp Makes Huge Impact On 2016 Recruits

Michigan's technique camp already paid off in the form of an offer to, and subsequent commitment from, four-star 2016 OH QB Messiah deWeaver. DeWeaver's commitment post focused almost entirely on his ability as a pocket passer, so I'll add this bit from Tim Sullivan's extensive scouting report ($):

DeWeaver is a true pocket passer, but he is slightly underrated as an athlete on account of it. While he'll never be a scrambler first, he does have the wheels to escape pressure and throw on the run (or even pick up a few yards on the ground if his team needs him to). 

Meanwhile, after working closely with Darrell Funk and Brady Hoke during the camp, five-star 2016 Cleveland St. Ignatius OT Liam Eichenberg, whose recruitment is shaping up to be a battle of the Midwest powerhouses, told Lorenz he has a new leader ($):

"Michigan has the upper hand right now," he said. "They're a lot like St. Ignatius and I really liked working with the coaches yesterday at camp."

Notre Dame and Ohio State round out his top three. Encouragingly, Michigan's lead isn't a product of Eichenberg seeing them more than his other leaders; he camped at Ohio State last week for the second year in a row and took an unofficial to Notre Dame back in March, so he's had a chance to compare all three schools. Landing Eichenberg, who most experts peg as a future Buckeye, would be a coup.

Michigan also extended a couple new 2016 offers, including one to the son of the former boxing heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield, three-star GA RB Elijah Holyfield. The younger Holyfield gave his reaction to the offer to Tim Sullivan ($):

"Coach Hoke just told me that he looked over watching my film, and he looked at my film from camp," he said. "He said he really liked what I did, and that I could help out the program. Then he said that he wanted to offer me a scholarship.

"I was really excited. I told him thanks and everything like that. A Michigan offer is real big. It's always been one of the teams I grew up watching, and they have a long history that I know about. I'm really excited to have the chance to be a part of that."

While Holyfield isn't close to making a decision, Michigan has positioned themselves well to be in it until the end.

Speaking of famous names, Michigan offered a 6'6" prospect named... Michael Jordan. This MJ isn't a lanky shooting guard from North Carolina, however, but a 265-pound rising junior offensive lineman from nearby Plymouth High. Michigan is the first team to offer Jordan, who told Scout's Allen Trieu that it's too early to be thinking commitment ($):

With it being so early, making a commitment is not on his mind yet.

"Michigan has a very good program," he said, "but I have to decide that later. I haven't made any decisions yet."

If he eventually commits, that Hello post is going to be impossible to put together in a timely fashion.

ESPN 300 Updated

ESPN updated their top 300 prospects for the 2015 class, and the movement for Michigan commits was minimal:

  • TE Chris Clark dropped from #104 to #108
  • CB Garrett Taylor dropped from #106 to #110
  • S Tyree Kinnel dropped from #182 to #188
  • OT Grant Newsome dropped from #235 to #240
  • MLB Darrin Kirkland moved up from #265 to #263

No change of more than six spots leaves little room for commentary.

In other news, 247's Ryan Bartow released a list of the 15 prospects who best fit the school to which they're committed, and Garrett Taylor came in at #10:

10. Garrett Taylor, CB, Michigan - High academics, storied tradition of producing big defensive backs, can play man and zone equally well. ... The fits don’t slow down for Taylor in Ann Arbor. He could develop into an All-Big Ten type of player for the Wolverines.

The list seems more focused on a school's reputation of putting players at certain positions into the NFL than anything else—playing man and zone concepts isn't exactly a signature scheme—so take it for what it's worth.

Weekend Visitors, 2015 Updates

Per Steve Lorenz, Michigan is hosting a few weekend visitors: commit Tyree Kinnel, 2015 four-star IN LB Asmar Bilal, and 2016 four-star DE Janarius Robinson. Kinnel should help the coaches try to close the gap between Michigan and Notre Dame, Bilal's (NTB) current leader, while Robinson will be seeing Ann Arbor for the first time.

Michigan's pursuit of five-star OH OLB Justin Hilliard looks like it'll be a fruitless one, unfortunately. Hilliard plans to make a decision within the next month or so, visited finalist Iowa—where his older brother will be a freshman in the fall—last weekend, and has final visits planned to Notre Dame and Ohio State, but he told Scout's Dave Berk that a Michigan unofficial is "possible but not planned" for now ($). Unless he finds his way to campus one more time, I highly doubt he commits to Michigan.

A visit to Tennesse allowed the Vols to replace Florida State in his top five, but four-star 2015 MD OL Pat Allen kept Michigan in his top group, per Rivals' Adam Friedman ($):

"My top five right now is Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Michigan and Tennessee," said Allen. "I wouldn't say Georgia is the leader but they're really high. Ohio State and Georgia are tied for the lead. Oklahoma, Michigan and Tennessee are third, fourth and fifth. I really think my decision is going to be based off my visits. There are still some schools I want to see like Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Michigan. Michigan might be my next visit."

That makes it sound like U-M has a decent shot to move up if they can get Allen on campus.

Talking to GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz, four-star Detroit King OLB Tyriq Thompson denied rumors that Michigan State is his leader ($):

Some rumors circulating indicating Thompson could have a leader in the form of the Michigan State Spartans, the Detroit product denied a leader of any kind, unsure of where these reports are coming from.

“I don’t know,” Thompson said. “I really don’t know what to say because I’ve heard so much.

“Somebody told me that there’s a rumor going around that I’m committed to Michigan State so, I don’t know what to say.”

He added that he plans to wait until after his senior season to fully focus on his recruitment, so Michigan has a lot of time to make their pitch to the in-state legacy recruit.

I Guess I Have To Acknowledge This Is Happening 

In case you didn't gather this from his username, newly offered Anthony Hines is a class of 2017 prospect. Hines, an outside linebacker from Texas powerhouse Plano East, is currently a (very) early Mississippi State commit who, as you also may have deduced from the tweet, already holds 42 offers.

Michigan's camp produced another 2017 offer, as Tim Sullivan reported this morning that GA DB Jaymest Williams, a camp standout with early offers from Clemson and Georgia Tech, got the call from the coaches this morning ($).

The Wolverines have now sent out six offers to rising sophomores, including Orchard Lake St. Mary's LB Josh Ross, younger brother of current U-M LB James Ross.

Etc.

Happy trails to OH SDE Dre'Mont Jones, who surprised nobody by committing to Ohio State on Wednesday.

SBNation's Bud Elliott lists Michigan as the top school that needs to start winning more on the field if they'd like continued success on the recruiting trail, which... yeah. 

If you missed it, Brandon posted updates yesterday on 2016 four-star IN WR Austin Mack and four-star 2016 OH TE Luke Farrell, who both received offers recently.

Chris Clark Is A Wolverine

Chris Clark Is A Wolverine

Submitted by Brandon Brown on June 20th, 2014 at 2:17 AM

Thursday afternoon Michigan picked up a commitment from big time tight end prospect Chris Clark. Clark's recruitment has been a bit unorthodox but after his visit on Thursday, he knew that Michigan was the place for him.

"It's been crazy. As you know I've always liked Michigan a lot. Ever since they offered me back in January I've always thought of them as a school I could end up at," Clark said. "I mean it's Michigan and they are a school I liked a lot growing up so that was always in the back of my mind. Just the visit today, after I actually had really good visits at Ohio State and Michigan State, I was just hoping to see what it could really be like at Michigan. Honestly, if the visit didn't go how it went today, I was probably going to end up at Michigan State. Today just went so well. My mom and dad loved the coaches, as did I. I've known that for a while obviously, my relationship with them has been great for a long time, but today couldn't have went any better."

Clark's orginal plan was to commit at The Opening in a couple of weeks, but he just thought that he could serve a better purpose if he was comitted before he arrived in Oregon.

"Orginally I thought it would be cool to commit while I was there but I called the guys at The Opening and asked them if it was alright if I didn't and they said, 'Of course, it's your decision'." Clark explained. "I just want to get a head start on being able to recruit kids and these three weeks from now until The Opening a lot can happen for some of these recruits. I want to be able to let people know once I get out there that I'm committed to Michigan. In the most modest of ways I consider myself a pretty high-profile recruit, so other recruits might see that I'm committed and think about the opportunity to play with me and the other commits in our class. It's already a pretty stacked class."

Knowing that he can bring more talent into his class, Clark plans on putting a plan in place with the help of the coaches so he can maximize his abilities as a recruiter.

"I'm going to talk with the coaches and they are going to give me some guys to go after," Clark said. "I'm definitely going to talk to Damien Harris and try to get in his ear a little bit. I know he was once committed to Michigan and he's still considering them. I'd like to look at some wide receivers, maybe Miles Boykin. I would say maybe Justin Hilliard, but I'm not sure he's leaning toward Michigan or not but I'll definitely try. I'm going to talk to Coach Nussmeier and he's going to give me some names of kids so that's the plan." 

Recruits as highly touted as Clark all have dreams of playing in the NFL, but he knows that it's not realistic to bank on that alone. Life after football, specifically life after Michigan football, was something that he couldn't pass up.

"The things in place at Michigan for football players are amazing," Clark said. "I mean football is going to end at some point for everyone, some sooner than others, and playing in the NFL is such a small chance. Even if you make it, the average career doesn't last very long, maybe three years. Most people are done playing football in their mid-20's and you have to have a plan for something else. A lot of people go to college just to play football and don't really have a plan for afterwards. At Michigan they do a great job of having you set up after college and networking. They help you branch out and meet important people who can help you get into a great job. I mean I hope I get a chance to play in the NFL, but if I don't I know that Michigan will have me ready for life after football. I mean the combination of football and academics at Michigan, you just can't go wrong."

Michigan obviously won Clark over on his final visit, but is it for real? Perhaps the biggest concern surrounding Clark and his recruitment is the fact that he already committed and decommitted once from North Carolina. He also seems to fall in love after each visit to the point where a commitment seems possible. His explanation of all that should put Michigan fans at ease.

"When you look at recruiting, decommitting happens all the time. I'm not necessarily saying that it's the right thing to do, but when someone commits, later on sometimes it just doesn't feel right." Clark expressed. "I know because I've been there, but that's in the past for me. I'm very happy that it worked out like this and I ended up at Michigan. I'm sure people are going to be like, 'Well how is he not just going to do that again?' Well, I know now that I found the school that is right for me. I have now visited all of the schools that I'm interested in. There isn't another school out there that I'm interested in that I haven't seen. Michigan is the best school out of all of the schools that I really liked, that I was considering. Michigan's the spot, I'm not changing my mind. When I committed to UNC I hadn't visited Michigan, Michigan State, or Ohio State. Now that I've seen them all, Michigan is the spot for me."

Now that Michigan IS the spot for Clark, he already seems to understand exactly what that means. 

"I'm ready to win some championships and get Michigan back to the top," he said. "Especially starting to beat Ohio State, that's going to be big. I want to make sure that in my four years I don't lose to Ohio State once."

Everything that Clark said, he said with passion. He spoke about all of the things Brady Hoke preaches about when he talks about Michigan. Clark seems to understand the big picture at Michigan on and off the field. He also went on to speak about how close the recruits in his class already are as well, which is important for a small class. He said that Alex Malzone had been working on him for a while. Clark mentioned how close he already is with Grant Newsome. He's also already spent time with Tyree Kinnell at the Rivals 5-Star Challenge. Clark also spoke highly of Darrin Kirkland Jr. There's a chemistry building among this class which speaks to the character of each commit and the closeness that will hold the group together. Clark is definitely a big pickup for the class and provides some momentum moving into the rest of the summer as fall approaches.

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.]

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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' Has Different Sources

Monday Recruitin' Has Different Sources

Submitted by Ace on March 31st, 2014 at 1:59 PM

"Good Source" vs. Mom, or Just Another Day In Recruiting

Even though Damien Harris stepped back from his Michigan commitment after the firing of Al Borges, the top 2015 running back has maintained that the Wolverines are still right in the thick of his recruitment, if not leading it outright—his mother has gone so far as to say the Wolverines would still be his choice if he made it right now.

That made this Friday morning tweet from outspoken Rivals analyst Mike Farrell quite surprising:

As it turns out, Michigan fans weren't the only ones caught off guard by this. Harris released an unordered top ten—yes, Michigan is in there, as are the four schools above—within the hour with no mention of a smaller top group. Harris's mother, meanwhile, offered a flat-out denial to 247's Steve Lorenz ($):

"Maybe it's his top four after Michigan!," Harris's mother told me. "Just because he's opened up his recruiting doesn't mean Michigan has gone down on his list."

Michigan was also skeptical about the idea that they aren't in Harris's top group, as they feel good about the relationship offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier has built with the Harris camp.

The general, non-Farrell feeling about Harris is that Michigan and Ohio State are the teams to beat, with Florida making a push after a recent on-campus visit. A lot can change, especially as Harris continues taking visits, but I'd be very surprised if Michigan currently sat outside his top group.

[Hit THE JUMP for a look at Michigan's latest offer, Justin Hilliard's top ten, an update on Tim Settle, and more.]

Thursday Recruitin' Carries Extra #2 Pencil

Thursday Recruitin' Carries Extra #2 Pencil

Submitted by Ace on March 27th, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Welcome: Garrett Taylor

Michigan gained their fifth commitment of the 2015 class on Monday in VA CB Garrett Taylor, the third prospect from the talent-rich Richmond area to commit to U-M in the last three classes (joining Derrick Green and Wilton Speight). Sam Webb has a lengthy (and free) post-commitment feature on Taylor that covers his relationship with Roy Manning, scouting quotes from his coach and a Scout analyst, and the visit that drew him to Michigan:

“We got to go to the school of business… the Ross School of Business, which is really great,” Taylor reported.  “The professor toured us around, which was really great.  I’ve never had that before.  So we toured around, saw the classrooms and stuff like that.  It was really personal.  We obviously toured all the facilities and the football facilities are great.  We got to see all the resources they have in terms of their Glick Fieldhouse.  That was big to see a full indoor field, especially with the weather.  They go over there sometimes and to have that as a resource is really good.  We got to see the weight room.  Then we met with Shari (Acho), the head lady of all the academic support so that was great to see.  We got a tour of the academic side.  You’ve definitely got the support of the tutors and everything like that to make sure that you’re on track academically.  It was awesome.  It was awesome!  It really felt like they wanted me to be up there.”

After reading that quote, it probably shouldn't surprise you that Taylor tweets things like "properly equipped for the SAT tomorrow" with a pencil-on-paper emoji and photo of his already-laid-out TI-83, pair of sharpened Ticonderoga #2s, and pack of old-school erasers. Coaches and reporters alike laud Taylor for being a great, personable kid; Michigan's landed another prospect who fits the proverbial Pattern™.

As for how his commitment affects the class moving forward, Scout's Michael Clark provides some details ($):

After landing Taylor, the Wolverines are done at cornerback in the 2015 class. Now, the staff will turn their focus towards landing one more safety. Top targets include Whitehouse (Texas) and Texas A&M commit Justin Dunning, Dallas (Texas) South Oakcliff’s Prentice McKinney and Evans (Ga.) Lakeside’s Rashad Roundtree.

Many have asked how Taylor's commitment impacts Michigan's pursuit of five-star NJ CB Minkah Fitzpatrick. It already looked like Fitzpatrick would end up elsewhere before Taylor's commitment—Alabama, Florida State, and Ohio State are the three schools currently generating the most noise in his recruitment, and Michigan hasn't been mentioned in a while. With a small projected class containing two blue-chip prospects already slotted for corner, I doubt U-M is a serious player in Fitzpatrick's recruitment going forward.

[Hit THE JUMP for details on a couple recent offers, an update on Justin Hilliard, and more.]

Weekend Visit Reactions 3/14

Weekend Visit Reactions 3/14

Submitted by Brandon Brown on March 18th, 2014 at 9:20 AM

Rosen Visit

Michigan hosted some big time prospects this past weekend and they seemed to do very well with every one of them. It’s not unrealistic to say that three to four of the visitors could potentially become Wolverines. 

CB Garrett Taylor - St. Christopher's School - Richmond, VA
Michigan hosted highly touted defensive back Garrett Taylor this past weekend and the Wolverines are in outstanding shape with him following his visit. Taylor arrived on Friday morning and spent the entire weekend in Ann Arbor, shoving off on Sunday morning. The extended time is sitting well with him.

I loved it, it was definitely a great visit. I really felt like the coaches were really excited to have me out there and that they really want me up there. I was really impressed with the whole package. They showed off all of their facilities which are great. The Al Glick Fieldhouse and Schembechler Hall were incredible and the campus was awesome. All of the football stuff was great but so was the academic side of things. We got to go to the academic building and it was really clear that there is a great support system in place. The tutors, the mentors, just everyone to help keep you on track was really cool.

Clearly Taylor enjoyed himself and the coaches did a solid job setting him up with a fellow Virginian to ensure that he would.

I had Wilton Speight as my player host. It was really cool, I definitely got to see what the campus life was like and what the dorm life was like. His roommate was real cool, Drake Harris, another early enrollee. I got to meet some other guys like Derrick Green and Shane Morris, hung out with those guys so it was really cool to see that side of things.

Just a few minutes after Taylor and I finished speaking he released his top five via Twitter, a group made up of Michigan, Stanford, Michigan State, South Carolina, and Tennessee. He has visited all of the campuses except for South Carolina and he plans to make his decision within the next month. Right now it is a two horse race between Stanford and Michigan and with academics being a huge factor for Garrett, Michigan finds itself in unfamiliar territory as the less heralded academic institution when compared to the Cardinal.

Garrett is a stand-up young man and said when he commits, he will be a man of his word and honor his commitment, a value instilled in him by his parents. Right now it really sounds like it’s about 50/50 between Michigan and Stanford and he said he may not be able to fit in any other visits so the positive memory of Ann Arbor will be the freshest in his mind. His offer list is stacked and landing him would be big for the Wolverines.

LB Justin Hilliard - St. Xavier - Cincinnati, OH
Justin Hilliard is one of Michigan’s top targets in the 2015 class and he seems to be pretty keen on the Wolverines as well. Hilliard has now visited Ann Arbor six times on his own dime and every time he returns he has positive things to say. He was really looking forward to this visit and he was able to experience some firsts this time around.

It was a great visit! I got to see how the coaches run practices. I was able to spend a lot of time with the coaches and the players. I spent most of my time with Coach Mattison and I was with a bunch of players that night but mostly Blake Countess.

Countess has the reputation of being a great host and Hilliard definitely seemed to enjoy himself. Hilliard has already included Michigan in his top 15 and I expect him to put them in his top ten as well when he releases that soon.

OL David Moorman - Northville High School - Pinckney, MI
As an in-state prospect with primarily MAC offers (Illinois as well) David Moorman is hoping that his recruitment will continue to gain momentum especially with Big Ten schools.

I grew up a fan of the Big Ten in general. I loved watching Michigan when Mike Hart and Coach Carr were there and as soon as Coach Hoke got the job I started appreciating Michigan football again. I’m still open to all schools and I’m just considering every option that’s out there for me.

Moorman was very excited to tell me about his experiences in Ann Arbor.

I pretty much just watched practice and got a tour of Schembechler Hall which was by far one of the nicest facilities I’ve seen. Practice was high tempo and intense and I really liked the way the coaches ran practice. All the coaches were great! I have a pretty good relationship with Coach Funk so it was good to see him again. Obviously it was really cool to talk to Coach Hoke and Coach Nussmeier too.

Moorman doesn’t hold that Michigan offer yet, but it has been discussed.

The coaches told me to be patient with them and if they can get some things worked out numbers wise an offer could come. If they did offer Michigan would for sure be at the top of my list and I would definitely highly consider them. Right now I’m training as hard as I can so in June I can go out on the camp circuit and prove that I’m one of the best offensive lineman in the country and then I’ll see what happens.

Before June gets here though, Moorman has intentions to re-visit Ann Arbor as well as some other campuses.

I’m for sure heading back to Michigan again soon and I’m going to visit Michigan State in the next couple of weeks and then probably Ohio State, Illinois, Toledo, Wake Forest, and Wisconsin.

QB Josh Rosen - St. John Bosco - Bellflower, CA
Rosen’s visit was kept under wraps for unknown reasons, but people don’t seem to care about that now. The visit happened and he enjoyed it. He’s a big time talent and getting him on campus about a week before he is set to commit was huge. Rosen is Michigan’s #1 target at quarterback but the Wolverines are playing from way behind trying to catch in-state and suspected favorite, UCLA. The coaches closed the gap but it is still going to be an uphill climb to land him.

Rosen is planning on announcing March 20th and even the Michigan coaches are wondering if his most recent visit was enough for him to rethink what everyone assumes is an eventual verbal pledge to the Bruins.

QB David Sills - Eastern Christian Academy - Elkton, MD
Freddy Canteen and Brandon Watson talked David Sills into taking a visit to Ann Arbor and he told me that it was a really good time. He left Ann Arbor still committed to USC but he said that a flip commitment isn’t completely ruled out. He told me that he is planning on visiting Oregon and Penn State before he starts to think about what’s next in his recruitment.

Sills spent a lot of time with all of the coaches, most notably Coach Nussmeier and believes that if he had wanted to commit while on the visit he could have. The coaches are still in close communication with a lot of quarterbacks so the picture isn’t clear just yet. Sills did say that he’d like to make his final decision before his senior season starts so expect Michigan to stay in the loop.

TE CJ Conrad - Keystone High School - Lagrange, OH
CJ Conrad is a very real possibility for an offer in the future as potential top target Chris Clark committed to North Carolina over the weekend. Conrad talked with me about his visit and his future expectations.

Michigan was good. I talked to Coach Hoke and Coach Ferrigno. They said that they loved my film and they want me to come to a camp in order to evaluate me better and get a possible offer. I will definitely be at that camp on June 8th.

Conrad has around 15 offers but Michigan is one that he particularly covets.

If Michigan offered me they would be right up there. Right now Kentucky is my leader because I fit their offense really well and I really like Coach Marrow. I like Michigan a lot but I’m not sure if they can pass Kentucky or not.

Upon hearing the news of Clark’s commitment I asked CJ if he had heard anything about it and he replied, “Yeah I just found out, that’s big news for me.” He saw the news on Twitter but immediately thought that he might benefit from Clark’s pledge in regard to his chances of earning a Michigan offer.

Monday Recruitin' Surprises

Monday Recruitin' Surprises

Submitted by Ace on March 17th, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Surprise Visitor Surprised By Visit

Most of the recruiting buzz last week centered on a surprise visitor who didn't want his name to be revealed. That visitor turned out to be five-star CA QB Josh Rosen, the first quarterback offered by Michigan in the 2015 class. Rosen had already set a March 20th decision date before his trip to Ann Arbor, and UCLA was—and still is—his expected choice. He told Scout's Greg Biggins, however, that Michigan made the choice more difficult ($):

“I was honest and told [Doug Nussmeier] that I didn’t see myself picking Michigan. He told me I should still come up, no strings attached but said to just come up and check out the school for the experience and I have to, it was a lot better than I thought. I was actually hoping to get up there and not like it to reaffirm my decision but I really loved it there, Michigan is an incredible place.

Just getting Rosen on campus is impressive; the program leaving that level of an impression even more so. Unfortunately, it appears this will be a moral victory, as Rosen still plans to keep his current timeline, and he told Rivals's Adam Gorney that his ultimate decision is unlikely to change ($):

"Coach Nuss is a very convincing guy," Rosen said. "He talked about the pro-style versus the spread offense and how my skill set would fit in one versus the other. He took me to The Big House and there were a lot of academic meetings and there is a great support staff at that school.

"I'm going to step back and think a little bit. I'm pretty positive, I'm pretty sure I'm going to stick with who I originally thought of, but it makes the decision harder.

While it's unlikely Michigan ends up getting Rosen, that doesn't mean the weekend was all for naught. Word spreads quickly among top recruits, and Michigan is targeting several California prospects. While Rosen will likely be recruiting for UCLA, the Bruins can't land everyone in the state, and a good word for Michigan could help get other recruits on campus—and that's often all this coaching staff needs to make a huge move in a prospect's recruitment.

[Hit THE JUMP for a potential commit watch from a big-time recruit, visit reactions, other 2015 QB updates, and more.]