Thursday Recruitin' Rides The Carousel

Thursday Recruitin' Rides The Carousel

Submitted by Ace on December 3rd, 2015 at 2:59 PM

Durkin Leaves, Partridge Stays

Recruits care more about the man in the middle. [Fuller]

While Michigan lost a strong recruiter when DJ Durkin accepted the head job at Maryland, it doesn't appear his departure is going to have a significant impact on the program's recruiting, at least in the short term. The latest Wolverine pledge, Jordan Elliott*, summed up the general feeling among the commits:

The reaction from uncommitted targets depends on the prospect; for the most part, their ties are more to the program—Jim Harbaugh's program—or their primary recruiter. The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan posted reactions from several prospects that included four-star TX DE Levi Onwuzurike saying that it wouldn't affect him as long as Greg Mattison stayed on staff ($). Five-star CA OLB Caleb Kelly said it affects his recruitment, but he's been considered a long-shot at best for a while now. This is worth watching, though:

Los Angeles Loyola 2016 cornerback David Long Jr.

"That would be huge [to lose him], but if [Stanford defensive coordinator Lance] Anderson replaces him it would work perfectly, but that's in a perfect world."

Despite being a Stanford commit, Long seemed more likely to end up at Michigan. We'll see what comes of his imminent in-home visit; hopefully that clears up any concern.

Meanwhile, 247's Steve Wiltfong reported today that director of player personnel Chris Partridge will not follow Durkin to Maryland, which was rumored to be a strong possibility—Sam Webb added Partridge is in line for an "increased role" with the program. While Michigan's recruiting in New Jersey has reached the point where Partridge isn't essential to their ability to land that state's top talent—more NJ recruits mention Jabrill Peppers than Partridge these days—it's still a a significant plus to have his connections there.

*So I can save myself an extra paragraph, Elliott isn't going anywhere.

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Monday Recruitin' Snaps Cake, Eats It Too

Monday Recruitin' Snaps Cake, Eats It Too

Submitted by Ace on November 23rd, 2015 at 3:52 PM

I Will Now Surgically Attach Myself To My Laptop

247's Steve Lorenz has published an early list of visitors for The Game. It's free, extensive, and includes the following big names, among many others:

  • Five-star GA ATH Mecole Hardman, a Peppers-type who's expected to stay in SEC country but is giving M a serious look.
  • Four-star TX ILB Dontavious Jackson and his teammate, three-star S Chris Brown, will take their long-awaited official visits.
  • Four-star MD OG Terrance Davis, who maintains Michigan as his leader heading into his official visits, per 247's Luke Stampini ($).
  • Detroit King teammates LaVert Hill and Donnie Corley could be back on campus for unofficial visits, as could Hill's fellow tenuous PSU commit, Quinn Nordin.
  • Four-star FL DT Keyshon Camp is showing a lot of interest despite his USC commit; after taking an official in September, he'll pay his way back for an unofficial.
  • Three-star FL WR Keyshawn "Pie" Young has had Michigan at or near the top of his impressive offer list for a while. He'll be in on an official.
  • In addition to hosting a huge number of current commits, M will host six top-150 recruits each from the 2017 and 2018 classes.

Michigan also will have a second USC flip candidate on campus in three-star WR Velus Jones Jr., who added an offer a couple weeks ago and will be in on an official visit.

One big name who initially planned to make the trip is four-star TX OT Jean Delance, who had to reschedule his official visit because his team advanced in the playoffs. In a sign that his interest is legit, he told 247's Ryan Bartow that as a result he's pushing back his announcement date ($):

Delance had hoped to announce a verbal commit January 2 at the Under Armour All-American Game.

That's now up in the air.

"No I will not commit," Delance said. "I will visit these schools before I (am) committing if possible."

This might put Michigan in a tight spot if another lineman wants to commit before Delance is ready to make a decision, but that's one of those good problems.

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Wednesday Recruitin' Pays Its Way Back

Wednesday Recruitin' Pays Its Way Back

Submitted by Ace on November 18th, 2015 at 2:29 PM

Gary Return A Distinct Possibility

It's been a good week on the Rashan Gary news front. Jennifer Coney, mother of the five-star defensive lineman, gave an extended interview to 247Sports that contains a couple significant developments. First off, they're leaning towards a return visit to Ann Arbor:

"It would definitely be in January right before Signing Day," she said. "We are leaning that way. I want him to go there one more time before he decides. His sister, my husband, all of us will be there."

A visit from Gary would be his fourth to Michigan's campus as a recruit. He's already been on his official visit for the game against BYU and was on campus twice during the off-season.

Paying their way to take the whole family to campus right before Signing Day when Gary's already seen it three times is hard to take as anything but a great sign. So, too, is this quote from Coney about Gary's official visit to Auburn, the program considered the top contender for him aside from Michigan:

"They showed us a video, the day in the life of a football player," Coney told the SEC Recruiting Buzz podcast. "At the end, I was so unimpressed, they said, 'Are you okay?' I said, 'This is not what I came down here for.' "

While Coney added that Auburn then had her meet with multiple academic advisors, which she found far more impressive than the presentation, but that still stands in stark contrast to her quotes about Michigan's academic presentation—and both Coney and Gary have maintained academics will be a significant factor when the time comes to make a decision.

Michigan also looks to be in great shape with one of the top overall prospects in the 2017 class. Five-star NY OT Isaiah Wilson has Michigan in his top eight with plans to narrow his list to four soon and make a decision this summer; given that timeline, the visit plans he gave Rivals' Adam Friedman are very encouraging ($):

"I haven't begun planning a lot of things yet," he said. "I know that I might go to the Penn State game against Michigan. It depends on the cars and who is driving. In February I plan on visiting Michigan for the basketball game against Michigan State. I know that's going to be crazy. In the spring I will take some visits but nothing is set in stone yet. I don't have a schedule or dates."

It's important to note that neither Penn State nor Michigan State are in his top eight.

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Monday Recruitin' Prints T-Shirts

Monday Recruitin' Prints T-Shirts

Submitted by Ace on October 5th, 2015 at 3:42 PM

Commence The Race To Print "Harbaugh Is My Homey" Shirts

With Michigan on the road last weekend, there's not too much late-breaking recruiting news to go over, which means we can continue to bask in the positive feels from five-star NJ DT Rashan Gary's official visit. A reader passed along the photo to the right; that is Gary sporting a Michigan towel during his game last weekend. At worst, he thinks the Block 'M' is sharp.

There are also more encouraging quotes coming from his end of the recruitment. Sam Webb caught up with Gary's mom for a two-part recap of the visit. Part one is free. Part two has the money quote ($):

“I think he’s comfortable (with Michigan),” she said. “He knows Jabrill, he knows Juwan, and now he has befriended Tyrone Wheatley and some of the other kids on the team that really embraced him. He is comfortable with them and he is comfortable with Coach Mattison, Coach Durkin and Ms. Gwen (Bush). And I have to be honest… Coach Harbaugh is the most down to earth (guy). He is a like a homey (laughter). He is that dude. He is like a homey. He is not all stuck up. He is kind of quirky-cool… and I like him. And I think Rashan likes him as well.”

Gary's mom said she's seen all she needs to see to be comfortable with her son attending Michigan—and she also mentioned she plans to go to Chop House again (man, what I'd give to be taken on an official visit) on her next trip to Ann Arbor.

Gary himself was quoted talking up the defense by TomVH in a feature on how early-season results have affected recruiting for Michigan, Florida, and Tennessee. Also impressed by Michigan's start to the season is five-star GA TE Isaac Nauta ($):

“When you take a team who hasn’t won a lot of games the past couple years and all of a sudden they come out in their first year with their new leader, that’s definitely something that jumps out at you that they’re going in the right direction,” Nauta said. “It makes a huge impact, because nobody who’s a competitor wants to go play for a losing team. You want to be in a spot that’s competitive and somewhere you can win ball games, where you know they’re doing the right things to win.”

Nauta is coming off his official visit to Georgia, the presumed favorites. TCU is also heavily in the mix, but Michigan should have a fair crack when he takes his official visit for the MSU game.

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Monday Recruitin' Plays Both Sides

Monday Recruitin' Plays Both Sides

Submitted by Ace on September 21st, 2015 at 2:11 PM

Weekend Visit Reactions

While the big-name 2016 visitors from last weekend haven't yet gone on the record with reactions, 247's Steve Lorenz—who'll be a guest this afternoon on MGoRadio—has compiled some insider notes on how things went.

The general feeling with five-star CA OLB Caleb Kelly is Michigan's visit went well but might not be enough to overcome Oklahoma's lead ($). Unless Kelly surprisingly declares Michigan his leader this week, that's to be expected—he still has four more official visits to go, including one to Norman. Michigan may in fact have a better chance of landing the weekend's other official visitor, three-star FL DT and USC commit Keyshon Camp, who reportedly spent a lot of time with his former high school teammate, freshman DE Reuben Jones.

The Wolverines are also hanging around for four-star Detroit King WR Donnie Corley, who made a somewhat surprising unofficial visit for the UNLV game. Here's what Steve is hearing about where his recruitment currently stands ($):

In sharing messages with [M commit David] Reese, Corley's interest in the Wolverines appears to be more legitimate than has been led on publicly.

At the same time, we talked to one source who said Michigan remains in the thick of the race for Corley's services, but that one unofficial visit doesn't likely upset the status quo, which is with Michigan State and Ohio State currently appearing to be in better shape for his services, if he was to decide today. However, the good news is that it would be a major surprise if Corley did not take an official visit to Ann Arbor at some point during the season, with the Michigan State game on October 17th being a solid possibility.

Not much has changed here: Michigan is in the mix much more than they were before but are still likely a little behind their rivals—the longer this plays out, the better it bodes for M's chances. One factor that could play into their favor: M is showing interest in three-star King ATH Armani Posey, who visited with Corley and doesn't yet hold an offer from anyone despite being one of the best players on one of the best teams in the state. Lorenz says Posey and Corley are close; if M makes a push for Posey, it could help them land the state's top senior wideout.

Michigan also hosted four-star 2017 TE Jimmy Jaggers, who told Lorenz after the visit that the coaching staff made a big impression on him ($):

"Everyone is all football all of the time and it really shows and rubs off on you," he said. "I got to talk to Jay, Jack and Jim Harbaugh for a solid 30 minutes yesterday and then today I talked to Jay again and we were with him after the game too. Their staff is phenomenal as a whole. It really stood out a lot to me."

Jaggers is showing high interest and he's one of M's top targets to join Carter Dunaway at tight end in the '17 class.

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Friday Recruitin' Makes The Best Of It

Friday Recruitin' Makes The Best Of It

Submitted by Ace on September 18th, 2015 at 3:54 PM

Weekend Visitors: Two Big-Time Officials

As you'd expect, UNLV isn't a huge visit weekend for Michigan, but they are hosting a couple big-time official visitors. The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan has the full list of visitors ($). The highlights:

  • Five-star CA OLB Caleb Kelly will take his first official visit this weekend. Oklahoma seems to have a commanding lead for him but Michigan still has an outside shot; this visit is obviously of paramount importance.
  • Four-star FL DT Keyshon Camp, a USC commit, is also taking an official visit. He's an intriguing backup plan if Michigan whiffs on Rashan Gary; he's already shown he's willing to commit to a school far from home and he's from the same high school as freshman Reuben Jones.
  • 2017 four-star Oak Park OL JaRaymond Hall is tentatively set to make it for an unofficial. M appears to be in the driver's seat for him. His 2018 OL teammate Marquan McCall, who is in a similar situation, should also be in Ann Arbor.
  • 2017 four-star CA TE Jimmy Jaggers—JIMMY JAGGERS—has flown in for an unofficial. 247's Steve Lorenz thinks Michigan could position themselves at the forefront of his recruitment with a good visit this weekend ($).

A commitment this weekend would be a surprise.

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Thursday Recruitin' Goes Full Jackson

Thursday Recruitin' Goes Full Jackson

Submitted by Ace on August 13th, 2015 at 2:01 PM

Well, Okay!

The #32 overall prospect in the 2017 class, behemoth Ft. Lauderdale (FL) American Heritage OT Tedarrell Slaton, unexpectedly named Michigan his leader last week to 247's Ryan Bartow. Steve Lorenz caught up with Slaton this week to get some more detail ($):

"Michigan is at the top," he said. "I had some interest in Michigan originally, but when they hired Coach Harbaugh, it went to a different level. I want to play for a coach like him who knows how to win not just in college, but in the pros. How much better prepared can you get than to play for someone who knows what it takes at all levels of the game? They have a lot of NFL experience on their staff overall and Coach Harbaugh was one of my favorite NFL coaches to begin with because I've always liked the 49ers."

Slaton is looking to visit for a game this fall along with fellow 2017 Heritage OT Kai-Leon Herbert, who also holds a Michigan offer. There's a long way to go, but since Slaton already holds offers from the likes of Florida State, Florida, LSU, and Alabama, it's encouraging to hear Michigan is in contention at this juncture, let alone out in front.

The Wolverines have also taken the lead for three-star 2017 GA RB Kurt Taylor, who visited earlier this month, picked up an offer, and gave his reaction to Scout's Chad Simmons:

"Michigan is definitely No. 1 so far," Taylor said shortly after he got the offer. "I loved it [at Michigan] and coach [Jim] Harbaugh spent a lot of time with me."

Harbaugh told Taylor that he reminded him of Frank Gore and Walter Payton.

Fred Jackson may no longer be on the staff, but his spirit remains.

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Monday Recruitin' Tips The Scales

Monday Recruitin' Tips The Scales

Submitted by Ace on May 4th, 2015 at 2:02 PM

Another Week, Another Camp

247's Steve Wiltfong has a free recap of last weekend's Chicago regional for The Opening, which featured Michigan commit Brandon Peters and several top targets. Four players earned invites to The Opening finals, including Detroit King's Lavert Hill and Donnie Corley. Peters wasn't among them, nor was he MVP of his position group—that honor went to Messiah deWeaver, incidentally—after what Sam Webb described as a decent performance with room for improvement ($):

Michigan quarterback commit Brandon Peters showed impressive arm strength throughout the day, often drawing praise from camp instructors for the nice zip he put on the football. That said, his accuracy was up and down and he was high with many of his passes. He did find some semblance of consistency during 7-on-7 action at the end of day, during which he was much more accurate

You can see both the strong arm and the tendency to overthrow in the Vine from Lorenz above. In an article that also includes more detailed analysis from Clint Brewster, Peters gave a self-assessment to Lorenz:

"I learned a lot about my game today and what I need to do to get better," he said. "I need to work on how I use my lower body a lot better and have to develop a better consistency at keeping my eyes level as I scan the field. I thought I performed alright today but I definitely have some work to do."

Brewster's comparison for Peters at this stage is Sam Bradford; I'm sure Michigan fans would be just fine with his college career playing out in similar fashion.

Allen Trieu's top ten performers from the event is also worth checking out, as it's mostly comprised of Michigan targets. One of them, Cass Tech OG/DT Michael Onwenu, was the subject of a rather unfortunate mix-up, via Sam Webb on The Victors Board ($):

I've been getting questions on Mike Onwenu's weight. Specifically, did he weigh in at 360 lbs. I didn't see the scale, so I can't say for sure that he doesn't weigh that much. All I can say is he didn't look like he is 360 and he didn't move like he is 360.

It's my theory that he got mixed up with Juan Harris. That said if Onwenu is 360, then Harris is well over 400 (word was he currently tips the scales at 390 lbs.)

The photos confirm; Onwenu's on the left, Harris on the right:

Webb noted Michigan backed off their offer to Harris, which isn't at all a surprise given the above.

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