Tuesday Recruitin' Isn't Even Trying To Pronounce That

Tuesday Recruitin' Isn't Even Trying To Pronounce That Comment Count

Brian January 24th, 2017 at 4:15 PM

Martin cuts the brakes on his recruitment, leaps from van soon

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IA WR Oliver Martin did not make a visit to Ohio State last weekend; he's got a couple visits left but people think he's just taking the one this weekend. "Flight issues" were cited, as they usually are; we'll see if that's accurate or not when Martin ends up on someone's campus this weekend. OSU, Auburn, Florida, and Michigan are all vying for that visit. If it's Michigan that would be a very good sign since he's already been on campus. Somewhere else would not be the death knell.

FWIW, Lorenz reports that Martin's recruitment has evolved into quite the wildcard:

Based on who I've talked to, there are three different coaching staffs who believe they are going to sign Martin in Notre Dame, Michigan and Michigan State.

Michigan State thinks a lot of things, I'm sure. It's a luxury to be (mostly) competing with teams that went 4-8 and 3-9 this fall, which Notre Dame and Michigan State did. Go 4-8 and 3-9. Those were their records. That they had. This year.

Losing both Martin and GA WR Nico Collins (who has gone radio silent) would be a bummer, but one that takes an A+ class down to an A-.

Gay still fairly mysterious

Relatively good news in the recruitment of MS LB Willie Gay: after his LSU visit there is still uncertainty about where he'll end up. As per usual, Team X Is Confident:

"I think the coaches at LSU feel great about landing him but no one seems to truly know what he's going to do," Scarborough explained.

Wiltfong:

LSU is battling local Mississippi State and Michigan for the Starkville (Miss.) High standout, and while Tigers sources feel good here, no question this one could still go a few different directions.

Lorenz reports that "multiple members" of Gay's camp are in Michigan's corner, however, and Michigan can really hammer home the certainty they provide when Harbaugh goes in home. Gay knows he'll play early at Michigan. He knows the defense has a spot that is perfect for him. He knows that Don Brown and his five-year contract will be there for the duration of his career. By God, if Michigan can't get Willie Gay out of Mississippi they'll never get anyone.

Becton VT trend?

A bunch of crystal balls for VA OL Mekhi Becton to Virginia Tech came in after his official visit. Tim Sullivan:

"Virginia Tech made a huge move," Sullivan said. "He's not going to commit soon but confidence is very high in Blacksburg."

As mentioned in the previous recruitin' roundup, Becton has people all over the place as they try to project where he might end up. The sudden VT interest isn't good for Michigan's chances, but this is another one of those recruitments that is low on certainty. Harbaugh is going in-home today, so expect some pictures of him hitting some dingers with a baby strapped to him.

Inevitable decommit happens, less inevitable one probably doesn't

FL OL Kai-Leon Herbert made the obvious official by decommitting, throwing off some slightly upset comments as he did so. Given Herbert's previous quotes about how there was opportunity at Miami and/or Florida while he'd have to compete for time at Michigan, it sounds like some assistant got in his ear.

In happier news, NM RB O'Maury Samuels's visit did in fact happen and went well. Any concerns about in-class competition should be mitigated by Najee Harris and AJ Dillon heading elsewhere; Arizona is the only competition. That would be a stunner, to say the least.

While we're on the subject, some brief rumbles about CT OL Andrew Stueber possibly flipping to BC are unfounded.

Weird guy watch

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Michigan's been casting around for a fifth DB in the class and may have struck upon their guy: MA S Ifeatu Melifonwu, a Syracuse commit. Per Sam, Melifonwu is in town currently and is staying through Thursday. The vibe is that an offer will be followed by a flip.

Melifonwu is a deep cut New England recruit who is no doubt directly attributable to Don Brown's connections in the area. Specifically, Brown recruited Melifonwu's brother Obi to UConn. Ifeautu was a who-dat two star until recently, when 24/7 took a new look at his tape and bumped him into the low-to-mid three star range. (He's #874 if you want to get specific.) He's a true sleeper with a max of four articles on any of the sites, none of which scout him. Mostly they say "this person committed to Syracuse" in slightly different ways.

ESPNBoston comes in with the save:

Athleticism

Melifonwu ran a 4.58 in the 40 last year, so he has legitimate Division 1 speed. He plays even faster than that on tape. He moves well in space and he gets in and out of cuts with ease. Melifonwu is a long strider and he can accelerate quickly when running with or without the ball.

Ball Skills

Melifonwu is also a receiver, so the ball skills are evident on both sides of the ball. He can high point the ball one on one in coverage and he's strong with the ball in his hands. Melifonwu has long arms and a wide catch radius which enables him to win jump ball situations.

Bottom Line

Melifonwu has the size and the athleticism to be a productive press corner at the next level. Teams at the NFL and college level want corners with length that can jam and re-route receivers out of Cover 2. Melifonwu can do that and effectively support the run. The 40 time might not be ideal, but Melifonwu plays faster than his time and his athleticism is evident on tape. There no question that Melifonwu has the physical tools to be a multi-year starter at Syracuse.

Jeremy Clark-esque.

If Melifonwu is anything like his brother he'll be a steal. Obi redshirted and then was a four year starter at UConn, earning All AAC honors this year. He's set to get drafted, possibly very high:

Executive 2: UConn safety Obi Melifonwu
"The UConn safety is really intriguing. He's freaky athletic and he's going to put up big-time testing numbers. He'll run low 4.4s (in the 40-yard dash) and jump over 40 inches. He can play in the slot as well. Huge upside."

While everyone prefers bigger names with more proven ability, Melifonwu is deep in Don Brown's wheelhouse. I'll ride with him.

No other fringe names appear likely to surprise at this juncture. PA OL CJ Thorpe's visit to Ann Arbor was as pointless as it looked; he immediately reaffirmed to PSU. Lorenz reports that VA LB Ellis Brooks didn't get an in-home and Michigan isn't actively recruiting him.

The thing about fringe names is that you don't often know them until things suddenly happen; 50/50 another guy comes out of nowhere if Michigan has a spot late—and it looks like they will, especially since Jeremy Clark got screwed.

Etc.

Ryan Bartow recently told the USC board he's still sticking with his Michigan pick for GA DT Aubrey Solomon.

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Exit: Kai-Leon Herbert

Exit: Kai-Leon Herbert Comment Count

Ace January 22nd, 2017 at 5:38 PM


Herbert's commitment video lives on, at least.

Scout's Corey Bender reports that four-star FL OT Kai-Leon Herbert has decommitted from Michigan:

Since committing to Michigan in July, Herbert has taken multiple visits to both Miami (YTM) and Florida; he took an official to Miami this weekend and will OV to Florida next weekend. His recruitment should come down to one of those two in-state schools. Herbert's departure probably ends any (very outside) chance M had with teammate and four-star OG TJ Slaton.

Herbert's decommitment leaves Michigan with 26 commits in the 2017 class and five on the offensive line. Four of those linemen—Chuck Filiaga, JaRaymond Hall, Joel Honigford, and Andrew Stueber—could potentially play tackle, and M may need one of them to step into the lineup as soon as this upcoming season. Michigan continues to pursue three-star VA OT Mekhi Becton, whose Crystal Ball is trending in the direction of Virginia Tech. The rest of the linemen on the board are long-shots at best, so if the coaches aren't content with five OL in the class, some new names could emerge.

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Tuesday Recruitin' Is Dropping Bananas

Tuesday Recruitin' Is Dropping Bananas Comment Count

Brian January 17th, 2017 at 12:33 PM

Offseason Harbaugh is a go

The long desert before football season resumes is among us, so it's time for Jim Harbaugh Antics to provide us succor. Here he is with a small child in a tiger-themed go-kart:

Yeah, that's the stuff.

As Webb mentions above, this was part of Harbaugh's in-home visit with 5* GA DT Aubrey Solomon. It appears to have gone well:

“Just finished such an awesome in home visit where we bowled, raced cars & finished a pre-k project celebrating 100 days of school for Lee County Pre-K, Solomon’s mother Sabrina Caldwell told The Michigan Insider. “He brought his daughter and it was the best visit ever.”

Or very well:

To say Jim Harbaugh and Chris Partridge crushed their in-home visit with five-star defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon may be an understatement.

That's what 247Sports was told Tuesday morning.

Yep, Harbaugh brought his daughter on a recruiting visit, which is no doubt causing the inmates of the RCMB to splutter in impotent rage. (Also targets of their impotent rage: women, people who don't drink Faygo, algebra.) Webb says he doesn't have a gut feeling on Solomon, but that he fits many of the criteria. It's usually a good sign when Webb starts getting a ton from the parents.

A couple of 247 guys have joined Barton Simmons with Michigan predictions, and they're both guys covering UGA. Both flipped from Alabama predictions, and while opinion on Solomon has blown like the wind since his decommit there's not much time for things to swing back—Solomon now says he's done with visits after he heads out to USC. Rusty Mansell, one of the Georgia guys who CBed Solomon to Michigan, is hearing that Nick Saban and Kirby Smart might not even get in-homes. That would be game over.

Solomon is obviously the top target left on Michigan's board and would almost certainly be in the two deep as a freshman; as the First Look post from last week noted, Michigan's interior line depth is nonexistent.

The other major targets

Georgia is buzzing for 4* AL WR Nico Collins, which would be deeply irritating after they swooped on Isaiah Wilson out of nowhere. At least Alabama is "no longer considered a factor" for Collins, per Lorenz. Webb says it's "become more of a toss up" since Fisch departed; Pep Hamilton will have to build a relationship in a short period of time. He still gives Michigan the edge.

Wiltfong reports that Michigan is getting back in the game with IA WR Oliver Martin, who most were projecting in this class until Brad Hawkins suddenly re-emerged. Martin has two officials left and Michigan could get one of them—his October visit was an unofficial. Wiltfong is still riding with ND.

4.5* MS LB Willie Gay fielded an in-home visit from Chris Partridge on Thursday that didn't generate much content in the aftermath. Mississippi State firing its defensive coordinator probably doesn't help the Bulldogs, but LSU is looming.

Lorenz reports that *4.5 UT DT Jay Tufele is now expected by most to stick close to home. Michigan isn't expecting much there.

Wobblers still wobbling

4* FL OL commit Kai-Leon Herbert took a visit to Auburn this weekend, and had a very crootin' quote in the aftermath:

"I'm definitely going to commit before National Singing Day or re-afffirm my commitment if I happen to choose Michigan," Herbert said. "I'm not that guy who does the hats."

Herbert is more of a Walking Dead parody video kind of guy. Herbert's commit is obviously butter soft at this point, potentially opening the door for Thorpe. Lorenz reports that Michigan is going to try to solidify him with an in-home after he visits Miami and UF the next two weekends; he doesn't see it happening.

4* NM RB commit O'Maury Samuels is the recruit most affected by Ty Wheatley's departure and has been somewhat soft for several months now. Michigan has an official remaining, which is good, and Sameul's father told Webb that there's only one other school in contention:

“I think (Arizona is the only other school being considered).  I think he narrowed it down to Michigan and Arizona.  There were other schools, but it’s Michigan and Arizona. If I had to bet on it.”

Much easier fending off one school, especially one coming off a tough year, than a full-court press from most of the SEC. Webb says it's "not a slam dunk"; Isaiah Hole reported that Samuels is "fully expected to qualify and to be part of the class."

2.5* GA RB commit Kurt Taylor landed a Michigan State offer and says he'll officially visit MSU on the 27th.

Weird guys watch

Happy trails to 3* CT CB Brandon Sebastian, who abruptly cancelled his upcoming visit and is now set to stick with BC. Brice Marich says it was a "mutual" decision—unlikely. This is made even weirder by another weird thing: 4* ND commit Elijah Hicks decommitted from ND... so he could immediately enroll at Cal, which did not have a head coach at that juncture.

Michigan now has zero realistic targets* at defensive back. Reports that Michigan is getting back in with IA WR Oliver Martin may not be entirely Collins related; it's possible the fifth DB is going to be a wide receiver they convert, probably NJ WR Brad Hawkins.

*[Definition of "realistic target": someone who has been on campus or scheduled a visit.]

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Brooks

4* VA LB Ellis Brooks tells Rivals he will "probably" take a visit next weekend; he's currently at LSU and Oregon is on the docket this weekend. Michigan bumped ND, so there's that. Brooks is a big dude at 240; any Michigan pursuit should not be interpreted as pessimism regarding Gay. Brooks just took an official to Northwestern, so he's got a super weird top five: NW, Oregon, LSU, Michigan, and Maryland.

A couple of OL prospects now seem like somewhat reasonable possibilities. Bradon Justice reports that 4* PA OL CJ Thorpe will take an official next week. This space has mentioned Thorpe in passing after Michigan started poking around, but this is is the first indication this pursuit is anything serious. Thorpe is a legacy—thus that quote from his dad about how Urban Meyer can't recruit him—but a late January visit is always a threat.

Clemson OL Jake Fruhmorgen is transferring; Michigan and Florida are the schools most prominently mentioned for him at this early stage. Fruhmorgen played in 11 games as a true freshman and started the first eight games of Clemson's national championship season before getting knocked out with a shoulder injury. PFF reports that he didn't grade out well, but he's a true sophomore who has eight starts; probably some potential there.

Lorenz reports that Michigan is interested enough to check him out; in his opinion Michigan was second for Fruhmorgen during his initial recruitment. He'd have to sit out next year and then would have two to play; if Michigan has some extra spots, as it looks like they might, Fruhmorgen would be an opportunity to patch some holes in the upperclass OL.

Finally, Marich reports that Michigan has been in contact with 4* TN RB Cordarrian Richardson, a Clemson decommit. Jay Harbaugh is going to make an in-home with him, no doubt in the hopes of securing an official from him. Richardson has just three crystal balls, two of which are foggy—this is a potential Alpaca Out Of Nowhere recruitment if things go well.

Rivals finalizes top 100

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Ruiz is the top rated center in a minute

The post-All Star rankings are generally the last ones, and Rivals is first out of the gate with a finalized top 100. Michigan commits:

  • #12 Donovan Peoples-Jones
  • #26 Jordan Anthony
  • #41 Cesar Ruiz (up from 77)
  • #52 Drew Singleton
  • #74 Luiji Vilain (up from 181)
  • #76 Tarik Black

Dylan McCaffrey was the only dropper; he's now outside the top 100 after being #52. TTB points out that everyone except McCaffrey took big upward leaps since the initial Rivals 100 for this class, so maybe not so much with the tinfoil hats this year.

User Indonacious collected relevant scouting. On Ruiz:

“The rare polished high school center, Ruiz is a natural fit for the position. He shined at this year's Under Armour All-America Game, where he displayed impressive extension and solid power. The fact that he's spent his high school career snapping the ball from the center spot is a bonus for Michigan, which could use him at both guard and center early in his time in Ann Arbor.” – Rob Cassidy, Rivals.com Southeast Recruiting Analyst

And Vilain:

“Vilain will be a great pass rusher at Michigan, but at the Under Armour All-America Game he showed that he's not a one-trick pony. He played with more power than ever before and had lots of success in practices. Vilain's presence in the backfield during the game showed he will have success against elite competition.” - Friedman

Etc.

Lorenz reports that Michigan is really high on OH DT commit James Hudson. Same.

2018 stuff

Names to keep an eye out for:

Michigan will be heavy after tight ends in 2018 after taking a pass on the position this year.

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Monday Recruitin' Says Iuck Fllinois

Monday Recruitin' Says Iuck Fllinois Comment Count

Brian January 9th, 2017 at 12:43 PM

Happy trails, #1

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let's keep O'Maury Samuels plz

By now I don't have to tell you that 5* CA RB Najee Harris stuck with Alabama after the world's highest low-profile recruitment. While it would have been real nice to get the #1 recruit in the country in back-to-back years, Michigan is well stocked at running back for the next few years with Chris Evans, Karan Higdon, and redshirt freshmen Kareem Walker and Kingston Davis already on campus.

Losing AJ Dillon stings a bit more now; getting the slightly wobbly O'Maury Samuels to cease wobbling is a January key.

Ultimate crootin' comes to Aubrey Solomon

5* GA DT Aubrey Solomon arrived at the Army game proclaiming that Alabama had a "huge" lead; later he popped up on Periscope saying things that you usually read on people's shirts at away games. (Especially Illinois, for reasons that remain obscure.) Thus ended Michigan's long, strange recruitment of—

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Er. That is a Ryan Bartow crystal ball in favor of Michigan entered on the seventh, which he explained thusly:

Per a source, Solomon reached out to his high school staff following the bowl game in San Antonio indicating he’s planning to commit to the Wolverines.

Solomon, per a source, indicated a similar message to Michigan’s staff later in the evening.

Bartow is a national 247 guy with the excellent track record you can see above. Most recently he was ahead of the curve on Isaiah Wilson's late shift to Georgia.

More detail? Sam Webb has extensive interviews with Solomon and his mother after The Periscope Event. Solomon himself was contrite...

“(Michigan is) one of my top schools,” he replied. “Bama is top, but Michigan is up there with Georgia too. So you never know.”

...and said that an upcoming official to USC was the last trip he'd take. Solomon's mother, meanwhile, has seemingly memorized everything about the official she and her son took this fall, and lists an If Momma Decided top three of Michigan, Georgia Tech(!), and Alabama. Lorenz, meanwhile, reports that he's been told Michigan "truly made progress" with Mrs. Caldwell on the official, which the interview confirms. Also that certain people in his camp aren't big fans of Alabama.

Extensive parental interviews with Sam are a good thing. So are Serious 247 Analyst crystal balls. Offsetting that good thing are some less than good things, but if you told me I'd be fairly optimistic about landing Solomon after last week I'd take that and run.

The stretch run

With the Army decisions out of the way, Michigan has 25 solid commits and approximately seven spots left in the class. The situation for everyone who's still on the board, has an offer, and has bothered to visit or schedule one:

  • NM RB O'Maury Samuels is scheduled for a mid-January official. If that comes off it's likely he sticks in the class. No other visits scheduled at this instant. WAG: 90% to stick.
  • UT RB Sione Heimuli-Lund has said he'll take an official sometime this month. He's said he'll official for months now and hasn't; he's definitely a Harbaugh guy. WAG: 2%.
  • GA WR Nico Collins has had Michigan at the top of his recruitment for months now, and visited on his own dime repeatedly. That's a recipe for getting a bit talent out of the South but Michigan has to dodge some officials. Wiltfong heard from a "source close to Clay-Chalkville" that Georgia is Michigan's biggest competition and that that source "thinks" it will eventually be UGA. That would be a kick in the nuts, not least because... (WAG: 50%)
  • ...IA WR Oliver Martin isn't mentioning Michigan any more in interviews, seemingly because Michigan ceased their pursuit. Webb and Lorenz were predicting Michigan removing itself before articles like the above started popping up, so that's probably what happened here. That only makes sense if they're extremely confident in Collins. We'll see. Martin only has one official set in January, that to MSU. Michigan could pop back up here. WAG: 10%
  • FL OL Kai-Leon Herbert has officials set up to Auburn, Miami, and Florida. He's been circumspect in interviews to the point where he doesn't seem like a commit, and Michigan's already had their shot. WAG: 30%.
  • FL OL/DT Tedarrell Slaton has named Florida his leader and Michigan is drifting away. Slaton told Josh Newkirk that he talks to Michigan "sometimes." He's been on campus but without a 180 this isn't happening; step one in that process is scheduling a January official. WAG: 0% without official, 30% with one.
  • GA DT Aubrey Solomon was extensively discussed above. WAG: lol don't even ask.
  • UT DT Jay Tufele is one of those guys who nobody has a good read on. He recently asserted to Scout that location doesn't matter, which means "recruit has been asked about location and given the standard answer." WAG: 33%.
  • MS LB Willie Gay may or may not have been screwin' around when he said he was headed to LSU; buzz there is "real" per Lorenz, but Michigan thinks they're very much in it. Per Sam, mom and aunt—who were with him on his official—are in Michigan's corner and pushing. Playing time seems to be key. Gay told Lorenz that it was "50/50" he would take an unofficial to Michigan in January. That would echo Rashan Gary and make everyone feel much better that one-time Michigan lead was going to stick. WAG: 40%.
  • CT CB Brandon Sebastian will take an official in January and a flip is on the table. WAG: 80%.
  • CA CB Elijah Hicks is going to stick with ND, I guess? Because Brian Kelly seems like a good idea right now? WAG: 10%.

I project 3 or 4 weird guy spots available.

Army bowl scouting

MI CB Ambry Thomas popped up periodically. He made Scout's East top five on Day two largely because he was able to contend with Peoples-Jones and "his length and speed makes him a tough defender for receivers to separate from."

MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones "explodes off the ball" per Brandon Brown—I haven't seen much national scouting from Rivals yet—and beat UGA commit Richard LeCounte deep because he had "no chance of running with Peoples-Jones." Scout put him in a top five because he "regularly showed the ability to stretch the field vertically." Lorenz reported that he "did what he was supposed to do" to maintain his spot as the #1 WR on the composite.

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CT WR Tarik Black "flashed a bunch" per 247 and made the East top 5 on Scout because he's a "smooth athlete with a big catch radius" who "really stood out in a strong receiver group." Brown reported that he is the "most consistently effective receiver" on his team because he's not just a big body:

His ability to quickly get downfield at the snap allowed him to easily eat up the cushion of the East cornerbacks, who spent much of the day playing off coverage. Black showed off an advanced understanding of how to use his stem and body movements to manipulate defenders. ...

What was most impressive during today’s practice was Black’s speed, which does not show up on film as well as it did during today’s practice. Black was able to run by several defenders on vertical routes, often gaining several steps on corners. He made a number of impressive plays, but one of his best was blowing past Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech cornerback Donovan Johnson on a go route.

We've been talking about how fast Johnson is for a couple months here, usually when we're wondering why MSU didn't bother offering him. For a 6'4" guy to blow by him is maybe a bit of a fluke but also impressive. Sam thought he was "the revelation" for Michigan fans at the Army game; Lorenz thought he was "really good" and had an argument to move up.

MI DT Deron Irving-Bey didn't come in for much notice nationally; Brown noted that after some early success against an ND commit Irving-Bey started to get predictable and lose reps. He was playing end, which I don't think is going to be his spot at Michigan. One dollar says he's a three tech, and his performance there is in "ask again later" territory. OTOH, he nearly earned a starting spot on his team per Sam because of his "speed off the edge."

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for some reason this picture makes me think Willie Gay is in a Coen brothers movie

In guys we hope are future commits, Solomon was praised for a "twitchy first step" and his strength by 247; after day one they named him the #2 guy on his team since he "split double teams with ease ... showing elite quickness and high energy." Scout talked up his "excellent get-off and close-quarters quickness".

Tufele was also one of the most-praised defensive linemen. 247: "the one defensive lineman that can beat you with quickness and power ... consistently the toughest West defender to slow down." A top performers take: "great quickness in interior one-on-ones and he shows big-time power in defeating run blocks." Scout: "most dominant interior defensive lineman in practice ... step is as quick as any one in this class and his got great strength to push his blockers off the ball."

Gay was named the "best pass game linebacker" by 247 because he's a "flash to the football" and is "the perfect nickel linebacker." In another of those top performers articles they asserted he is "maybe the most athletic linebacker in the country." A third 247 take: "outstanding first-move twitch, very fluid, great speed, rangy, has courage to stick his nose in against the run, made plays in the alley, was sound in drills, performed like a five-star." Lorenz further hinted he would get that bump in an Inside Michigan Recruiting.

Non-Army scouting

Brandon Brown talked with a Detroit King coach about Cass star and MI S Jaylen Kelly-Powell, who sounds like another one of those hybrid types that are so critical for defending the spread:

"He’s ferocious against the run and can really tackle but he’s really good in coverage too. He’s a really strong kid. It’s great when you can have a guy who can cover in man, play in the zone, and tackle in the box and Kelly-Powell is that guy. Even at a place like Michigan he should be able to stay on the field all the time."

Cass's coaches confirmed that coverage take when they matched JKP up on one Ambry Thomas in the city championship game:

"...we didn’t think he was going to be on Ambry. He did a good job on Bry and that’s tough to do. We were looking at him as a true safety but they did a good job switching that up and putting him on Bry like that."

There's talk that Kelly-Powell will be given a look at VIPER(!!!) as Michigan seeks to maintain the flexibility Peppers offered the 2016 defense. Willie Gay is the ideal fit there, but Michigan has some options if he ends up in the South.

Allen Trieu had a Q&A session which is worth the trip behind the paywall. This is the opinion I liked the most because I happen to agree with it:

Of the current commits, in your opinion, who in 4 years do Michigan fans look back at and say "wow he was undervalued coming in".

James Hudson recently earned a fourth star, but I could see that kid really blossoming further in college and out-performing his ranking. We ranked Taco Charlton somewhat cautiously as a lower four-star based on his outstanding physical traits, but also his rawness. He has developed into a potential first-round pick. We are at the same point with Hudson where he really came on as a senior and has great size and ability, but still has some parts of his game to improve.

Hudson's senior film is Willie Henry-esque. Dude is crazy strong and explosive. Might take a year; afterwards, look out.

Scout evaluated PA DE/DT Donovan Jeter's senior film and made him sound a bit like Ryan Glasgow:

...quick with his hands, and he uses several moves instead of just relying on his physical ability to overwhelm his opponent. ...gets up the field well from the defensive end position. He uses a swim move and also will club the offensive lineman. He also has a spin move, and he will use strength, led by a solid initial punch. ... body can easily handle 290 pounds, and keeping his quickness is not a concern. His hand speed will also allow him to be successful on the interior of the defensive line.

Three-tech is all set in this class and Michigan can turn one of Jeter, DIB, or Hudson into a nose if that turns out to be necessary. Having a pure NT like Tufele or Solomon is the one way they can seriously upgrade in January.

Etc.

FWIW, I had MI DT Phil Paea and NJ WR Brad Hawkins listed as early enrollees. Per Isaiah Hole those guys aren't actually EEs. Everyone else expected to arrive has done so.

In "Aubrey Solomon does something that is not surprising": he praises 2018 GA LB commit Otis Reese, a teammate, as "the best in the country."

Michigan is recruiting 2018 TX TE Malcolm Epps, a Bama commit. Hooray!

Comments

Monday Recruitin' Braces For Commit Avalanche

Monday Recruitin' Braces For Commit Avalanche Comment Count

Brian December 12th, 2016 at 5:01 PM

Peoples-Jones sets a date

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5* MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones will announce Thursday evening on ESPN. There has been a Rashan Gary-esque recruiting panic... wait just a sec...

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There. Anyway, Gary-esque recruiting panic based on a rumor that DPJ was down to OSU and FSU posted literally during his official visit to Michigan. A last-second in-home from OSU only amped up the fainting couch wing of Michigan fandom further.

Nobody seems to buy this. Steve Lorenz, Steve Wiltfong, Allen Trieu, Sam Webb, and Bill Greene all believe it will be Michigan. Even the gentleman who posted the thing didn't believe it, which sort of defeats the purpose of being an information gatekeeper.

It is worth noting that DPJ, like Harris, doesn't talk to people much or at all and thus most of these assertions are less than iron-clad. I mentioned this last week: this is not a recruitment where anyone is sure what will happen because the recruit is so quiet, and in those circumstances you can have the proverbial shocker. It would still be a shock.

Obligatory Najee Harris section

Nobody knows. The end.

[After the JUMP: a real Najee Harris section! That is no more informative than the first one!]

Comments

Friday Recruiting Is Watching Colorado Tonight

Friday Recruiting Is Watching Colorado Tonight Comment Count

Brian December 2nd, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Apparently the Pac-12 championship is tonight. Is this new? Have I never watched the Pac-12 championship before? I'm very confused. I thought I'd tell you in case you are unprepared for a Friday game.

Anyway:

Woods re-affirms

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AL S J'Marick Woods, a wobbler, ceases wobbling:

"It was really hard to make my final decision because I like Arkansas a lot, but I am picking Michigan," said Woods.  "I just prayed about it and the Lord showed me signs.  I feel good about my future as a Wolverine."

He's an early enrollee so this should be a definitive end to his recruitment. There are two visit weekends before the dead period and afterwards he'll be in Ann Arbor. Kind of get the feeling the Arkansas/Mississippi State dalliances were manufactured to provide his school with an excuse to do some hat stuff.

Keeping Woods is important with Michigan's need at safety and the lack of other names on the board at the spot; Scout makes him sound a lot like Jeremy Clark:

Woods is a defensive back with great length. He is lean and will need to add weight to his frame when he gets to the next level. He could get a look at cornerback, but he is likely a free safety in college. His length is an asset in coverage and recovery.

I'll take another Clark.

All hands to the tweet decryption stations

Michigan's coaches are on the road this week, visiting anyone and everyone they're still recruiting. CA OL Aaron Banks lives in El Cerrito, California, and this may or may not mean anything.

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I have an emoji for this.

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Possibilities:

  1. Harbaugh finally got his latte after like 15 minutes
  2. Clash of Royale Strike level up
  3. Banks is announcing for Michigan on the 9th.
  4. Harbaugh's making telescopes? And selling them for profit? I guess?

It's times like these I wish Michigan had a TOOT TOOT ALL IN FOR THE GOVERNOR wink wink commit thing, like many schools do. Just a few hours prior to the above tweet, Lorenz reported that Michigan had little idea what Banks would do. Reports that Banks was not a take appear to be incorrect.

FWIW, Brice Marich hears that the in-home with Banks "went excellent and was very informative too."

Dominate the hyphens

Michigan's quest to dominate the state of Hyphen continues unabated after their setback with Brelin Faison-Walden. Next up might be MI DE Deron Irving-Bey, who is set to announce at the Army game. With just two visit weekends left before the dead period and one official visit in the books, some tea-leaf reading is possible:

  • His list of six is really a list of four. He's visited Tennessee, plans to visit Maryland this weekend, and has been on the MSU and UM campuses many times for unofficials. Syracuse and Cincinnati are window dressing.
  • Webb reports that he'll take an official to Michigan for their huge December 9th weekend. That should be his last in person recruiting contact before his commitment, since the dead period starts the 12th. In a dead period you can only interact on the phone or by text.

While you can't entirely rule MSU out since he's familiar with the program, Michigan is perceived to lead and gets the last crack. Also he has a hyphen in his last name.

Linebacker board static

Sorry for leaving FL LB Jordan Anthony off the recruiting overview post on Wednesday. That was an oversight only; Michigan is still expected to get him. That does rather complicate things in the projected class, which had MS LB Willie Gay on it and then did not when I inserted Anthony.

Despite that omission, Gay remains very high on Michigan. Per Lorenz, Partridge stopped in on Tuesday and Gay said it went "better than I would have ever thought," which is kind of a weird statement and also very encouraging. This is still in "believe it when I see it" territory. If Gay schedules an unofficial back to Ann Arbor, then I will start thinking it's happening. I remember Fletcher Cox and will not discount Mississippi State for an instate kid, ever.

Meanwhile, MI LB Antjuan Simmons decommitted from Ohio State, making that one guy's article about Meyer's recruiting coup look a bit silly. Do not expect Michigan to get involved. Simmons still appears salty about Michigan's lack of enthusiasm early in the process. Even after he started looking around and must have had an inkling that he was not going to end up in Columbus, his twitter feed was... uh... aggressive about Michigan.

This is mostly disappointing because I wanted this screenshot to be a wall of block Ms:

image

Seven out of eight wouldn't be bad. Webb's hearing Arizona may be Simmons's landing spot, which would be something. Notre Dame is also a strong contender.

NJ LB Drew Singleton will be at The Big Recruiting Weekend.

Rutger is fine, it's just the S that makes it a problem

Webb reports that the parents of TN DT Rutger Reitmaier are in Michigan's corner, and with Oregon in flux they will have a great shot to flip him. Reitmaier's dad has been on campus more than some committed recruits:

The elder Reitmaier made his way to campus for a game weeks before his son came up for an official visit.  It gave dad an opportunity to spend some quality one-on-one time with Harbaugh.  They built on that when the entire Reitmaier family came up for Rutger's official visit a few weeks ago.

A recent OSU offer may be the main competition if Reitmaier follows through with a visit.

Why the Herbert wobble is a thing

This is why:

“I want to play right away," he said when asked what he's looking for in a school.

“Miami says I can come in and play right away, Florida says that I can come in and play, and Michigan says that I have to come in and compete with [junior tackle Juwann Bushell-Beatty] and probably another tackle [current Michigan commit Joel Honigford].”

It is unrealistic that Miami and Florida don't have guys at least on JBB's level. If Herbert's takeaway from those two competitors is "I should go to another school," that sounds like the kind of reason that's not the real reason. He's the only guy in the class I think is a serious threat to voluntarily decommit.

Edges of the board still active

Marich also reports that CT CB Brandon Sebastian plans a mid-January official and that AZ S Isaiah Pola-Mao has tentative plans to official at some point during that month as well. That's good timing for Michigan, as a lot of questions about who will and will not be in the class will be resolved by the time either guy gets around to making a decision.

Meanwhile, chaos at Oregon has seen a number of their top prospects decommit or Explore Their Options; delightfully named OL/DL Popo Aumavae is one of them. He's setting up a suite of visits and he'd like Michigan to be one of them.

Obligatory Najee Section

Tom Van Haaren puts a not-at-all-completely-arbitrary chance on CA RB Najee Harris flipping:

Committed to: Alabama
Chance he flips: 50 percent
Toughest competition: Michigan

!!!

I like that number. It is a high number. Lorenz reports Harris will follow through on his plan to visit Michigan for The Big Recruiting Weekend. Like Irving-Bey, that should be the last in-person crack anyone gets at him before he enrolls early. (Or commits, in Irving-Bey's case.)

Etc.

Matt Wenzel interviews MA RB commit AJ Dillon, who missed a chunk of his senior season with a broken leg. He's taking some visits but it doesn't seem like a serious situation:

Dillon, who said he would have considered enrolling early at Michigan but his school doesn't allow it, will take his first of five allotted official visits to Boston College this weekend and then go to Ann Arbor the following week. He's also considering visits to Nebraska and Iowa, but nothing is arranged yet and he's still firmly committed to Michigan, which he's been watching from afar all season.

"I was really impressed with them, they're still doing great."

A Notre Dame visit would be something to watch out for given Dillon's family ties; I doubt that Nebraska, BC, or Iowa have the recruiting mojo to flip Dillon without an external bombshell named Najee.

Happy trails to TX LB Baron Browning, who committed to OSU. GA WR Jeremiah Holloman isn't really a happy trails since Michigan hasn't been on his list since shortly after his decommit almost a year ago, but if you're curious he just committed to Georgia.

Keep an eye on the FAU job. Bruce Feldman reports that Mario Cristobal is a candidate; if he gets it that would greatly aid Michigan's chances with Alex Leatherwood.

Brandon Brown lists the various guys who plan to enroll early. I was not aware of a couple of these names. For the record: JaRaymond Hall, Donovan Jeter, Corey Malone-Hatcher, Ben Mason, Benjamin St-Juste, Jaylen Kelly-Powell, J'Marick Woods, Donovan-Peoples Jones, Ambry Thomas, Tarik Black, Cesar Ruiz, and Najee Harris all plan to enroll early. Michigan should have room since they'll have a ton of guys who want to get done with school this semester so they can prep for the NFL draft.

FWIW, Brown has also dropped a couple hints that Rivals will give Solomon a fifth star when their next re-rank comes out. That would be a second; Scout gave him one after the first few games this year, and reports that CT WR Tarik Black denied that he ever named Alabama his top school.

Jedd Fisch visited FL WR Mike Harley in-home. Harley is a WVU commit who's probably flipping somewhere; Michigan was involved just before he went off the board.

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Friday Recruitin' Fills Out Questionnaire

Friday Recruitin' Fills Out Questionnaire Comment Count

Ace November 4th, 2016 at 3:55 PM

Solomon, Collins Headline Weekend Visitors List

You may be wondering why there's a document and not, say, a highlight video embedded above. That's because it's the official visit questionnaire created by Sabrina Caldwell, the mother of four-star GA DT Aubrey Solomon, and after some twists and turns Caldwell and Solomon will get those questions answered in Ann Arbor this weekend. While Michigan has an uphill climb to get Solomon back in the fold, getting his mom on campus with him is a significant development; Solomon's initial Michigan commitment didn't stick in large part because Caldwell hadn't accompanied him on his unofficial visit, and winner her over may be more difficult than her son.

Three other uncommitted recruits will take official visits this weekend, per The Wolverine's Brandon Brown:

  • Four-star AL WR Nico Collins paid his way for multiple unofficial visits over the summer, and now he'll return on Michigan's dime for an offical. While Alabama and Georgia have made this closer than once thought, Michigan is in great position to get Collins.
  • Four-star CA OT Aaron Banks had high praise for the program after visiting for the BBQ. He's often omitted in discussions of the potential O-line haul; he shouldn't be, especially since many other programs pushing for him—Notre Dame, Oregon, UCLA, and USC chief among them—are having down years.
  • Three-star VA OT Mekhi Becton holds a Michigan offer, but he's almost certainly not a take right now with all the blue-chip linemen still on the board. Virginia looks to be his top option, so the Wolverines should be able to slow-play him and still have a shot if their board empties out a bit.

It's also worth noting that safety commit J'Marick Woods will take his official visit. He took an official to Arkansas last month and had a positive reaction; this weekend provides M a chance to solidify his pledge.

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

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Friday Recruitin' Has Open-Door Policy

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Ace October 28th, 2016 at 4:30 PM

Here's A New Video You Shouldn't Watch

Yes, it's time for more guarded optimism about #1 overall recruit Najee Harris. The Alabama commit didn't make his scheduled official visit to Tuscaloosa last weekend because he couldn't leave his high school game early enough to catch his flight. Today, the San Francisco Chronicle continued their series on Harris with a feature focused on Harbaugh's bye week visit to Antioch; while there are many more factors to this recruitment, Michigan has a clear edge in relationship with the head coach:

Harris, though, was flattered by Harbaugh’s decision to attend his game and amused by the way he mingled with fans.

“Not many head coaches go out there and take pictures with everybody,” Harris said. “Everything he’s doing is cool.”

...

Harris will make it to Tuscaloosa eventually. He doesn’t have the same fondness for Tide head coach Nick Saban as he does for Harbaugh, but he does have a relationship with [Alabama assistant Tosh] Lupoi, the recruiter.

There's another telling passage in there: Harris's main recruiter at Alabama, Tosh Lupoi, called him after Harbaugh's visit and "belittled Michigan’s schedule in the Big Ten" in comparison to Bama's. As a general rule, you don't negative recruit another school unless you perceive it as a threat.

While the date hasn't been set, Michigan's coaches still fully expect Harris to make it to campus for an official visit. Harris plans to enroll early, so this recruitment will move quickly once OVs start happening, and it'll be fascinating to follow.

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

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Friday Recruitin' Is Not Average

Friday Recruitin' Is Not Average Comment Count

Ace October 21st, 2016 at 1:34 PM

Tufele, Gay Headline Weekend Visitors

One of Michigan's most anticipated official visits occurs this weekend with the arrival of four-star UT DT Jay Tufele. Michigan, Ohio State, and Utah have long been considered the main contenders for Tufele; Washington and USC have also been mentioned among his top schools of late. Tufele talked up all five programs to 247's Steve Wiltfong and previewed his visit:

“I watched their game two weeks ago, it was amazing,” Tufele said of the 78-0 dusting of Rutgers in Piscataway. “I’m really looking forward to this weekend. Coach (Greg) Mattison came down to our game last week. He’s pumped. I’m so excited to be down there and see life in Ann Arbor and everything, and get to know all the players and get to know the coaches as well and see what happens from there.”

While Tufele has high praise for all of his top schools, Michigan insiders—namely Sam Webb and Steve Lorenz—have been optimistic about M's chances. Tufele has repeatedly mentioned Tony Tuioti and the Polynesian players on the team when discussing what the Wolverines bring to the table; their presence could help M vault into the lead on this visit.

A player we haven't discussed much here, four-star MS OLB Willie Gay, will also take an official visit this weekend. Gay is an Ole Miss commit, but he told The Wolverine's Brandon Brown this week that a different school is on top of his list:

Having been committed to the Rebels since June 16, Gay seems like a solid pledge but things aren't always as they seem. The 6-1, 203-pounder actually claims another school as his favorite.

"Michigan is my No. 1 school right now," Gay said despite being committed to Ole Miss. "It's crazy right now."

That is quite a crootin twist. 247's Steve Lorenz mentioned the reason that could really be the case: Gay "is currently a non-qualifier" by Michigan's standards, and Lorenz expects off-field hurdles will be too high for Michigan to overtake Ole Miss even if Gay qualifies.

Four-star PA DT Donovan Jeter decommitted from Notre Dame last week. Not long after, he set up a Michigan visit for this weekend. Jeter's post-decommitment quotes indicate he's looking for more than the Irish can offer right now:

“I don’t want to play for a mediocre school,” he said. “I don’t want to play for a team that goes like 7-6. I want to go to a school that plays in the big bowl games or plays in the College Football Playoff. I don’t want to go to an average school because I don’t think I’m an average player. I want to make big time plays on a big time stage.”

That whole article is worth a read; Jeter also mentions that a phone call with Greg Mattison was part of the impetus for him looking around. He felt he was hasty in his initial decision, so I wouldn't expect a committment soon—he plans to choose in December before enrolling early—but Michigan is right in the thick of things, and as long as they keep winning they should stay there.

Lorenz added another name to the weekend visit list in his insider post a couple days ago: three-star TX CB Matt Hankins, an Iowa commit. Michigan offered last month, and Lorenz says Hankins is indeed a take for the staff, though he may not be easy to pull from the Hawkeyes—"as of now" his family wants him to stick with his commitment.

Three-star FL DE Robert Porcher IV is also expected on campus, per TMI. Porcher, the son of the former Detroit Lions DE, is currently committed to Nebraska.

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

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Monday Recruitin' Adds To OL Pile

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Ace October 17th, 2016 at 2:21 PM

Exit: Chase Lasater

I'm a little late getting to this after the bye week, but fullback Chase Lasater is no longer a member of the class. Lasatar announced his decommitment on his Twitter account, which is now set to private. He said he and his family "feel it is best" to reopen his recruitment and that Michigan remains one of his top schools; he thanked Jim Harbaugh and Bam Richards for recruiting him.

With Michigan going after LSU fullback commit Tory Carter, who has an official visit scheduled, it would be a surprise if Lasater ended up back in the class.

Busy Bye

The coaching staff didn't take it easy during the bye week, instead heading out for a long list of recruiting visits headlined by Jim Harbaugh's stop in Antioch to see the #1 recruit in the country, CA RB Najee Harris. Scout's Josh Henschke has a full, free rundown of who the coaches saw.

Notably, a few new offers went out, including one that spurred a new Crystal Ball prediction. That came after Michigan offered three-star TN DT Rutger Reitmaier, who's committed to Oregon, a program you may recall hiring a defensive coordinator with a very strong track record of unearthing excellent defensive linemen. Reitmaier has some impressive junior film (see above) and Oregon commits are ripe for picking these days. This offer looks like a reflection of both Reitmaier's ability and M's waning hopes of bringing Aubrey Solomon back into the fold; Sam Webb was in Lee County during the bye and came away saying M's chances at Solomon are "essentially nil."

Harbaugh also offered top-100 Las Vegas Bishop Gorman S Bubba Bolden, and Sam Webb says that despite the late timing of the offer, Michigan could have a shot:

Michigan offered four-star safety Bubba Bolden from Bishop Gorman. Despite the relative lateness of that offer, the interest definitely appears to be mutual. Bolden has two open visit dates and has expressed a desire to give Michigan one of them. No firm date has been established but a trip to Ann Arbor now appears to be a distinct possibility.

The coaches also offered four-star AZ S Isaiah Pola-Mao, who currently has Washington on top of his list. The multiple new safety offers could be a result of commit J'Marick Woods, who recently had high praise for his Arkansas official visit, taking a look around; I highly doubt it's a product of losing confidence in their ability to land Jaylen Kelly-Powell.

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

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