Monday Recruitin' Is On NOTY Alert

Monday Recruitin' Is On NOTY Alert

Submitted by Brian on January 18th, 2016 at 12:05 PM

MCDOOM RETURNETH

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we will take the McOne Ring to him

The pealing of bells, ringing of klaxons, and riders with tidings you heard around midnight last night was a name coming back to us. And yes, it is the One Name: FL WR Eddie McDoom. McDoom abruptly decommitted from Oregon and a few minutes later:

Marich also mentioned that Jedd Fisch never backed off even after his commitment; this staff has never heard of a "gentleman's agreement" except as something to poop on.

You may remember that McDoom's Oregon commitment was the one that seemingly closed off Oregon as an option for CA WR commit Dylan Crawford, so this is a mega-crootin development. Ryan Bartow caught up with McDoom, who said that Oregon yanked his scholarship because he wanted to visit Ann Arbor and he hasn't been talking to anyone else. A couple of West Coast analysts fired off CBs in the aftermath. This close to Signing Day it seems inevitable that McDoom does indeed commit.

So… that's bizarre. FWIW, the Oregon 247 guys believe the Ducks will spend their remaining scholarships on defense and won't take another swing at Crawford.

What about Young and Stewart?

Your guess is as good as mine, man. NJ WR Donald Stewart took his official to Stanford this weekend, where he had a good time while being sort of threatened:

"I met with the dean of admissions, and we had a general conversation. … He literally said about 10 times, 'This school is very hard and you need to meet expectations.' He said it about 10 or 15 times, and I was like, 'OK, I think I get it.'"

On the other hand, he met Condoleeza Rice, noted CFP member.

Stanford was always kind of assumed to be the leader but the vibe from this article is that he might have been a little put off. Meanwhile he is from New Jersey and thus knows about 30% of Michigan's recruiting class personally.

Meanwhile FL WR Pie Young took an official to Louisville this weekend that hasn't yet spawned articles. He takes an official to FSU this weekend that was set up just recently. Given the chatter around him I assume he's a silent commit, for what that's worth. It is worth something but not everything, especially with Young lining up visits to FSU and possibly USC and Alabama before signing day.

The Dwumfour gambit

Sounds like a Star Trek episode, is actually Michigan's attempt to flip NJ DT and PSU commit Michael Dwumfour. Dwumfour, a teammate of NJ RB enrollee Kareem Walker, announced he would spend the past weekend in Ann Arbor about 30 seconds after I posted Thursday Recruitin'. This is good for two reasons:

  1. Dwumfour is a nose tackle type at 6'2" and Michigan needs one of those; as a PSU commit who had a good senior season he's a solid prospect.
  2. He is super-tight with Rashan Gary. Webb held back part of an interview with Gary and Walker at the UA game because Dwumfour wanted to tell PSU coaches he was visiting before the news broke; in it Gary refers to Dwumfour as "his boy" almost constantly.

We haven't actually heard about an offer yet and Lorenz was told to hold off on a Crystal Ball for him, so there's some uncertainty going on there. Dwumfour reportedly really wanted an offer from Michigan early in the process but one did not come. I enjoy the fact that he is avoiding the "committed, but…" cliché:

"There is a chance I could flip my commitment to Michigan. I wouldn't be visiting them if there wasn't a chance."

Webb reports that Dwumfour "raved about Michigan," as did his parents. Dwumfour has a visit scheduled to Penn State next weekend. PSU is poking around a bunch of defensive tackles; they seem nervous.

[After THE JUMP: an encouraging Gary Panic Of The Week, Khaleke Hudson as Clark Kent, wobblers, best-guess lists, and more.]

Thursday Recruitin' Specifies Cram

Thursday Recruitin' Specifies Cram

Submitted by Brian on January 14th, 2016 at 12:48 PM

Let's have an overview

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It's a three-week sprint to the finish line now. Michigan has 24 commits and is likely to go to 27 or 28. Steve Lorenz was pretty positive that it's 27 but that was before Willie Henry's departure. Sam Webb reported today that Michigan's max number was now 30(!), about which more later.

There are a number of commits on the fence. MD CB Sir Patrick Scott decommitted yesterday; I believe maybe three more decommits are on he way. In addition one commit is a grayshirt offer hoping for the Clark/Pallante bump. (And he knew this from the drop.) Given that, my guess is that Michigan has four current commits who don't sign for various reasons and will take approximately eight additional players.

They are done at QB and RB.

The situation at the other positions:

  • OL: Texas grad transfer Jake Raulerson, a center, is the top priority. If he goes elsewhere Michigan looks set to pursue MD OL Stephen Spannelis, a UVA commit. They will poke at Jean Delance to make sure he's sure.
  • WR: Michigan is still recruiting NJ WR Donald Stewart and FL WR Pie Young. They are in good shape for both. Before the number 30 got batted around I assumed they could not take both, but maybe they would now.
  • TE: MO TE Chase Allen is expected to commit on his official. Michigan will get an official from CA TE Devin Asiasi on the 22nd. Asiasi appears to be very open at this juncture. FL TE Jacob Mathis is also on the board.
  • DL: NJ DE Rashan Gary is kind of a big deal, M still seems like a strong leader despite recent Ole Miss talk. AZ DE Connor Murphy comes in the 22nd. TX DE Levi Onwuzurike is still an option but seems unlikely ATM.  Asiasi's teammate and CA DT Boss Tagaloa will visit Michigan at the same time. Michigan is also looking for additional options here.
  • LB: FL LB Jonathan Jones is an M/ND battle and signing day decision. FL LB/DE Joshua Uche has been treated as a DL by many but he's 6'1", 210, he's a LB. He visits, wide open. TX LB Dontavious Jackson is on the board but mysterious.
  • DB: CA DB David Long is giving Washington a chance to change his mind this weekend; if they don't he's in the boat. MI CB Lavert Hill is taking three officials and isn't the lock he was but M still seems to lead. NJ CB/S Jordan Fuller is down to the four big Midwestern programs and will visit OSU, M, and PSU. OSU may lead but it's fluid. PA ATH Khaleke Hudson probably fits most neatly at S.
  • K: MI K Quinn Nordin is the only name on M's board and seems likely to flip from PSU.

Before Henry left I'd been expecting Michigan takes eight additional recruits after they lose those decommits; now it could be nine or even up to eleven.

Wait, 30? That's unpossible.

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It's never been personally relevant so I've never looked up the specifics of what the NCAA and Big Ten rules actually are and how they intersect. A thorough Googling has clarified things.

There is an NCAA limit of 25 signees a year, but you can back-date midyear enrollees. Michigan can backdate all 7 early enrollees since their class last year was 16. They could hypothetically go up to 32 signees. Transfers do not count against that cap.

The Big Ten has a different limit that is essentially a "good faith" estimate of all the scholarships you have available plus three. The 28 number that gets kicked around is a misconception.

I still don't see where all the space is going to come from

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Michigan is at 19 now so, yes, there is going to be some turnover. Given that Lorenz had a solid number of 27 for a couple months prior to recent events it seems clear that Michigan is already aware that several players will leave the program, likely those that have no road to playing time.

Meanwhile, remember those reports that last spring certain graduates were essentially trying out for their fifth year? Michigan is going to do that again, which is why only Terry Richardson has announced a departure amongst those players. Guys like Bars and Gant and Strobel will stay with the team through spring and possibly beyond if Michigan has room.

This means it will look like Michigan is oversigning when they're actually not. They will be over 85 because they are keeping their options open with fifth-year players in case there is unanticipated attrition. They will not be asking guys without degrees to leave.

Michigan is not dealing with Allen and Glasgow as scholarship players right now. There's a 99% chance they will get scholarships as slots always open up between spring practice and game #1, but those two slots are open for recruits.

So:

  • 19 spots
  • high probability of a Derrick Green transfer
  • ~3 fifth year guys who will be kept through spring but are not likely to be on the 2016 roster
  • ~2 walk-ons who are year to year

Michigan really has 25 spots now and clearly anticipates a few playing time transfers.

Anyway, on to events…

Visitors this weekend

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The following uncommitted recruits will take visits:

  • PA ATH Khaleke Hudson. Hudson talked to Rivals, giving generally positive and unrevealing takes on his four finalists. Seems like a Michigan-Penn State battle.
  • MO TE Chase Allen. It would be a surprise if Allen didn't commit on the visit.
  • Texas grad transfer OL Jake Raulerson. It sounds like Raulerson is likely to commit; UCLA appears to be the main competition.
  • Maybe MI CB Lavert Hill. Hill cancelled his USC official and there is chatter he may take his umpteenth unofficial to Ann Arbor instead. There is a surge in MSU chatter from everywhere except the kid himself. He has an official scheduled there next weekend, and then a Clemson visit that is probably 50/50 to get canceled.

Webb reports that FL LB Joel Dublanko's visit has been moved to next weekend, which is the big one for Michigan. Dublanko doesn't have an offer yet.

Meanwhile the opposition will take swings at a number of Michigan targets:

  • CA CB David Long visits Washington. Harbaugh has an in-home immediately after on Monday. A commit could come at that in-home or shortly after; vibe there still excellent but crootin. In Long's case he's already been to UW a couple times so the chance they show him something that changes his mind seems low.
  • CA TE Devin Asiasi and CA DT Boss Tagaloa also visit Washington. The Washington 24/7 mods will fight you if you assert either is going to Michigan.
  • TN WR commit Nate Johnson visits Miami. While that quote I highlighted recently convinced many that he was not likely to stick, he told Rivals that Miami would have to "show [him] a lot to be right up there with Michigan." I think it's 80/20 they keep him.
  • FL WR Pie Young also visits Miami. He tells Rivals that it will be "hard" for Miami to catch Michigan but "it's not a big gap, anything can happen." Uh. I think the former sentiment is closer to accurate since recruits rarely downplay a host's chances like that.
  • NJ WR Donald Stewart visits Stanford. Conflicting info on how his recruitment will go, with Scout's Brian Dohn projecting Stanford and 247's Steve Wiltfong on Michigan.
  • TX S Chris Brown and TX LB Dontavious Jackson visit Florida. Your guess is as good as mine with those guys.
  • AZ DE Connor Murphy visits USC. USC just lost their recruiting coordinator so that's not good timing. They have a new DC Murphy will meet. Murphy named a final five of M, Bama, USC, Oregon, and ASU.
  • NJ CB Jordan Fuller visits Ohio State. OSU is thought to lead but Fuller is hard to read.
  • FL LB Joshua Uche visits Auburn. Uche is a Don Brown kind of guy but his recruitment has a distinct southern flavor. The Auburn 247 site thinks Florida is the favorite.
    • More on Raulerson

    Jake Raulerson has two years to play two and is essentially a JUCO who Michigan can take because he's a high-academic kid who got a degree in three years. If he gets admitted to Ross he's likely to come:

“It’s the position I played at Texas the whole time and like to play,” he said. “I want to get my MBA, so that’s a big deal, and I’m trying to make sure I have the maximum opportunity to do that but also play in a great program, win some games. I know both Michigan and UCLA will be good next year, offenses and defenses, so what’s the best opportunity?"

As a transfer he can wait as long as he likes before making a decision. Michigan has clearly prioritized him.

Unpleasant Lavert Hill rumbles evaluated

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MSU fans started getting excited about getting MI CB Lavert Hill in the aftermath of teammate Donnie Corley's commitment, to the point where their 247 site is saying things like this:

The key here is for the Michigan State staff to get Hill's mother on campus for his official visit to MSU. If Hill's mother gives him the green light, look for him to pull the trigger on the Spartans.

No quotes from the kid, just second-hand stuff including vague tweets from MSU commits who know Hill that could mean anything.

Cause for concern? Clearly some, yes. I'd still peg Michigan a heavy favorite. Wiltfong says he "hasn't heard anything that makes [him] believe he won't be a Wolverine" and that he "damn near enrolled early" at M, FWIW. Flipping mom is going to be a tough task after a million visits to campus, and if Hill's worried about the depth chart one conversation with someone who isn't trying to sell him on MSU should clarify—Michigan loses both Jourdan Lewis and Jeremy Clark next year.

Handicapping Donald Stewart

NJ WR Donald Stewart is surging back up crootin radars after Wiltfong ballz'd him to Michigan. The Stanford Rivals site catches up with him to provide some more context. Stewart has been admitted to Stanford, which is always a hurdle. On the other hand, he twice says he "absolutely loves" Michigan. One of these:

"I'm still not sure right now," Stewart said. "I'm just going to visit these next two schools. These are my top two. Like, I absolutely love Michigan."

Despite the who-you-talk-to factor the article is encouraging for Michigan's chances. Stewart doesn't say anything about a timeline except it'll come after his officials the next two weekends to his finalists.

Names that probably won't come to much but here they are

Lorenz reports that Michigan might get a visit from IL DE Daniel Joseph, a four-star Penn State commit. Interestingly, he notes that this intel is coming from Joseph's end, not Michigan. That might mean Joseph is seriously thinking about a move after PSU DC Bob Shoop's departure.

Also, KS S Isaiah Simmons reports that Greg Jackson just left his school. Simmons is an uncommitted four-star.

One final round of All Star evals

Brandon Huffman reports on the West team; David Long "has great ball skills and closing speed" while Dylan Crawford is a "polished route runner."

Allen Trieu has an extensive article covering all of the Michigan commits and targets. His take on MI OL Michael Onwenu:

Whenever he has had top competition in front of him at camps and other events, Big Mike has stepped it up big and he again impressed this week. He's tough to move and anyone who tried to bull rush him, even All-Americans, quickly got stone-walled. He's powerful, but can really bend for a kid his size and that extends his leverage advantage. He can be as good as he wants to be and he had a very good week.

Can't wait to see Onwenu develop into a sui generis player.

And while this isn't an Army eval, Steve Lorenz likes IN WR Chris Evans quite a bit:

Surveying Michigan's current commitment list in 2016, Evans is one player I feel is a safer bet to outplay his ranking than a lot of the players on the board. He has versatility and speed that can't be coached, and is one of those players that simply makes plays when the ball is in his hand.

Michigan's feelings are equally strong after fending off Ohio State for his signature.

2017 things or "items" or what-have-you

I've mentioned FL CB CJ Cotman a couple times already; Brandon Brown interviews him for Rivals:

“I paid really close attention,” Cotman said. “I think I watched every game that they played this year. I think I can fit into that offense. I would also like playing both ways and they used Jabrill Peppers for that.”

And Lorenz for 247:

I want to play on both offense and defense in college and the fact that Coach Harbaugh will give players an opportunity to do that makes me like them a lot. I know he is one of the best coaches in college football too, and that's something my family has talked about.

Not sure just yet if Cotman is really really interested in Michigan or if he's a kid who is equally excited about several different schools, but he's done a lot of talking to Michigan sites early and should be a guy high on your radar going in to next year.

He declared FSU his leader in August. That was before a bunch of other teams including M offered, however, and Cotman told both Lorenz and Brown he's looking to go out of state. We have put in an admittedly speculative crystal ball for Cotman. Who you talk to is important; Cotman has now given interviews to the three major Michigan sites in short order.

Other items:

There are plenty of visits and offers but it's hard to tell who's a major target this early. With 2016 still coming together we'll wait a couple weeks to put together the picture for 2017.

Thursday Recrutin' Rings The Silent Alarm

Thursday Recrutin' Rings The Silent Alarm

Submitted by Brian on January 7th, 2016 at 1:16 PM

Ring the silent alarm

IN QB commit Brandon Peters tells Sam Webb that Michigan has two silent commitments on the West squad at the Army game. "Silent commits" are always a dubious notion, but they do work out frequently—FL LB Devin Bush Jr was a silent for months—and if one of those guys is announcing at the game itself that would be a good indicator indeed.

FWIW, Michigan is involved with these uncommitted players on the West squad: CA WR Dylan Crawford, MI CB Lavert Hill, CA CB David Long, MI WR Donnie Corley, and CA TE Devin Asiasi. Michigan has always seemed to trail for Corley and isn't even certain to get a visit from Asiasi so it would have to be two of the former three. Crawford seems the most likely since he's announcing at the game, has only officially visited Michigan and Oregon, and the Ducks reportedly do not have room.

Things look good for the two defensive backs but neither feels entirely certain right now. Long is down to Michigan and Washington; a mid-January official to UW looms. Long says Michigan will have an in-home with him just before his decision and that might give them "a little edge" in an interview with Brandon Brown.

Steve Wiltfong thinks it's a bigger edge as he recently ballz'd Long to Michigan after Long told him that he's "going to follow through with my schedule… but my mind is kind of made up." Webb also believes Michigan is "in the driver's seat." Long goes way back with Crawford and a couple of different articles have mentioned the attraction of playing together; our expectation is that they do in Ann Arbor.

Meanwhile Hill is officially not announcing at the Army game and will take a series of official visits in January before announcing on Signing Day. On the other hand, Corley told Eugene Hankerson that Hill has already made up his mind. So… yeah. Optimism on Hill has been off the charts for months; his desire to see a bunch of places in January reduces that somewhat. Still seems highly likely that Harbaugh and brother win out eventually.

Hopes not so much up for this one

GA TE Isaac Nauta's decision has been made. Apparently it was difficult.

Hopefully the difficulty there is "disappointing people close to me" instead of "passing up an opportunity to be a Harbaugh tight end." But probably not. Webb has an interview in which Nauta says a lot of great things about Michigan; despite that I think literally everyone expects Georgia is the pick.  He'll announce at the Army game.

Meanwhile, CA TE Devin Asiasi really wants to play on offense but didn't get to show much in that department for his high school team; he apparently Balled So Hard early at the Army game. Brandon Huffman was impressed:

Asiasi is a big tight end, 6-5, 265-ish, but can absolutely run and catch like a lighter tight end.  He's a smooth pass-catcher with a big catch radius, has soft hands, runs tremendous routes and looks natural playing the position.

Asiasi still maintains he will visit three schools not named Michigan in January—M is trying to get a midweek visit. That doesn't sound good but if the guy wants to be a tight end there's no better place. If he does end up visiting I'd give Michigan a good chance.

Paging one more defensive end

There's probably one spot left for a defensive end and three main possibilities for the spot.

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Onwuzurike Onwuzurike Onwuzurike

Depending on who you listen to, TX DE Levi Onwuzurike is either the top priority (247 and Scout) or an afterthought (Rivals). I'm fairly certain Onwuzurike is in fact the most wanted guy at the spot.

Webb gathers the opinions of a couple of Scout Texas guys, who both think Onwuzurike is a major talent (Scout has him ranked highest of any service) and think Onwuzurike is a Baylor-Michigan battle. This is good, because various other people think it's a Washington-Michigan battle, and when you're the one school amongst changing other schools you're in good shape.

If Onwuzurike does go with one of his other finalists Michigan will try to lock down either AZ DE Connor Murphy or FL DE Joshua Uche. Murphy is a Harbaugh guy after his brother made it to the NFL after passing through Harbaugh's Stanford program; Miami decommit Uche is a new offer made in the immediate aftermath of Don Brown's hire.

Murphy recently expressed frustration with a a bunch of coaching changes amongst the teams he's considering, which made it into an article at Oregon Live since the Ducks just demoted their DC back to LB coach and fired the LB coach—Murphy's primary recruiter—after blowing a 31-point lead in their bowl game.

And, well, yeah. Murphy's kind of a big deal. And the teams he's considering have been chaos on the defensive side. In addition to the Oregon moves, DJ Durkin left M, USC has no DC, and ASU is in flux after OC Mike Norvell became Memphis's head coach and started raiding the former staff.

Michigan at least has the Harbaugh connection and a settled staff, and the article asserts a thing I didn't know was a fact.

Arizona State, Michigan, Oregon, Stanford and USC could all still be in the mix for the dynamic defensive talent, although the Wolverines are seen as the leader given Murphy's strong family bond with Jim Harbaugh.

I put a ballz in for Murphy like a year ago but we've maintained it mostly because if we are right we get crazy points for it since it's so old—we have no real idea which way Murphy is leaning. Michigan does have a big advantage in coaching relationships despite the Durkin move. A 'Bama visit looms after Michigan's shot, though.

Not much is known about Uche's status. Miami apparently hasn't talked to him since Richt arrived and now he's uncertain if he's even on their board. He's got visits to Florida and Michigan scheduled and should be a Signing Day decision.

Elliott continues to impress

TX DT Jordan Elliott is consistently mentioned as one of the best players at the Army Bowl. Rivals:

From the beginning of the day, Elliott caught everyone's attention. His first step caused problems for interior linemen throughout the day. He was ready to play today and blew up play after play during team and inside drills. His lower body strength and quickness definitely stood out.

Scout:

Elliott has stood out more consistently on the defensive side of the ball than any other front seven player. …has done pretty much whatever he's wanted. He's big, explosive, and has experience playing multiple positions, though he's at his best as an even-front 3-technique tackle.

Meanwhile Steve Wiltfong called Elliott "an elite talent":

The country’s No. 7 defensive tackle according to 247Sports took several dominant reps, shoots the gap quickly and is a strong pass rusher from the interior. One of the more physically impressive guys on the field, Elliott is also one of the better athletes in small space with his quick first step.

Wiltfong would be surprised if he wasn't in the two deep "right away," which would in fact surprise me given the depth Michigan has coming back. I'm guessing Wiltfong isn't considering what Michigan brings back when he makes that statement; all the same that's impressive praise.

FWIW, Elliott again repeatedly shot down the idea he was anything but 100% solid to Michigan. He must be wondering how many times he has to say it by now.

Michael Onwenu is a mutant

Onwenu was one of the few to stay in front of Elliott

People usually don't come shaped like MI OL Michael Onwenu, who could not be weighed at the Army Bowl because the scale only goes up to 350. Unsurprisingly, there's "no question he was the strongest offensive lineman" at the Army Bowl, but when you put "perhaps the quickest" on top of that, as Wiltfong did, that's an impressive prospect. As a bonus, despite being a 6'3" guard Onwenu comes with tackle-length arms:

[Onwenu] had the biggest hands (11 inches) and second longest arms (35 inches) of any prospect in attendance.

If Onwenu works out he could really, really work out. He did impressive work against the best DT at the game—Elliott. Webb:

No one got past him, as he consistently stonewalled defenders at the line of scrimmage.  Onwenu won back to back reps versus Elliot, showing that once he gets his paws on a defender, they’re done.

"Paws" may be literal here.

Other Army Bowl reports

Reports are mixed for Michigan's other Army targets. Hill just missed ALPHA DOG status on day one according to 247. He's a "lockdown corner with elite feet, great speed and quicks," which makes him sound like a guy Hill talks to every day—Jourdan Lewis.

Crawford had a "decent" opening day according to Webb; 247 noted that he is a "polished receiver with great speed." Rivals hasn't said much about him, which usually means a guy holding steady.

IN QB Brandon Peters seems to be a notch behind the five stars at the event. Wiltfong:

Michigan commit Brandon Peters has a live, accurate arm and he also showed nice touch. He’ll be fun to watch develop in Ann Arbor as the Avon (Ind.) High talent continues to work on his fundamentals.

Webb was higher on his performance:

On Monday, he looked the part.  You could argue that no other quarterback was better than him.  Peters was impressive, showing off arm strength and accuracy. 

He doesn't have a say in the rankings, though.

Weeble wobblers are committed but visiting

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Nate Johnson stiffarms the dictionary all day bruh

Behold the most crootin quote of all time (ALL TIME):

“I’m committed to Michigan right now, so everyone knows I’m going to Michigan. If nothing changes, like decommitting, which I’m probably not gonna do, but we’ll see. Everyone will know that. If I decommit from Michigan, which I won’t, I’ll definitely hold off all the way until signing day.”

-TN WR commit(?) Nate Johnson

So. Despite having 23 commits, Michigan's class is still in considerable flux.  A number of recruits aren't hearing much from the staff, and a handful of other guys are doing the committed-but-visiting thing that sets your teeth to grating if you're the kind of person who occasionally screams "you mean FIGURATIVELY" at people saying they literally ate a horse. (Guilty.)

Anyway, those guys are:

  • TN WR Nate Johnson, who is visiting Miami, Vanderbilt, and Penn State. He says he is 100% committed, but… you saw the quote. None of those teams seem like particularly large threats. Johnson recently got a Virginia Tech offer as well, and… I mean… you saw the quote.
  • IN WR/DB Chris Evans got an Ohio State offer and will "official for sure" since OSU was the proverbial dream school. I bet a thousand dollars that if Evans flips Bill Kurelic compares him favorably to Kareem Walker even though they're completely different prospects.
  • CA WR Dylan Crawford isn't even committed yet but we should throw him in this bin since he also plans January visits to Miami, Washington, and Georgia plus an unofficial to UCLA.
  • FL DT Rashad Weaver has a Temple visit scheduled.
  • IN ATH Kiante Enis visited Indiana and says he hadn't heard much from Michigan a couple weeks back.
  • FL LB Devin Gil and FL S Josh Metellus took a trip to Colorado last month (so did Devin Bush, but he's already enrolled).
  • NJ WR Brad Hawkins and NJ DE Ron Johnson may visit North Carolina, South Carolina, or neither.

There are a couple other guys who may leave the class as well; Michigan is probably going to have a significant shuffle in the next few weeks. One that won't involve Jordan Elliott.

Your 2016 early enrollees are…

These gentlemen have already arrived on campus or will as soon as they're done with the Army game:

  • IN QB Brandon Peters
  • NJ RB Kareem Walker
  • AL RB Kingston Davis
  • NJ WR Ahmir Mitchell
  • MA TE Sean McKeon
  • CO DE Carlo Kemp
  • FL LB Devin Bush Jr.

All eyes will be on the tailbacks and Bush headed into the spring game.

2017 stuff

  • GA WR commit Jeremiah Holloman had a terrific Rising Stars camp: Jake Reuse, a Georgia reporter said he was "the most impressive offensive player at the practices," which included a lot of top 2017 kids in Georgia.
  • MI CB Ambry Thomas tells Steve Lorenz that things are "going really well" with Michigan and that he's planning on deciding this spring after a swing through various SEC schools. MSU, the crystal ball favorite, doesn't draw much mention.
  • MI S Jaylen Kelly-Powell is "slowing things down" and wants to visit Stanford, Duke, and UCLA; he was generally expected to drop for Michigan if he did indeed commit early. Michigan should still be in good shape since he goes to Cass and his parents are both alums. Given his list you know he's a high academic kid.
  • MI LB Antjuan Simmons is just across the street from the Big House and has "really built a strong bond" with 2017 commit Ja'Raymond Hall. Simmons intends on making all his officials even so.
  • MI WR KJ Hamler really wants an Oregon offer because he is small and fast as hell. He plans on camping there and it sounds like they're the real leader if they offer. Given what Ace saw this fall, I bet they do.
  • FL CB Stanford Samuels III goes to Flanagan HS, which you may be familiar with since three commits in this class are Flanagan kids. That gives Michigan an in, but he's a national recruit—Scout has him #15 overall in 2017—and he'll be a tough pull.
  • 2017 five-star TX S Jeffery Okudah put Michigan on his top ten list but says that Stanford and Ohio State are sticking out at the moment. He does plan a visit; early days for him.

Etc.

NJ WR Donald Stewart is still planning a visit on the 22nd. He hasn't heard about Stanford admission yet, which is a major hitch for his presumed leader. No idea if Michigan will have room for him, but he remains an option.

Monday Recruitin' Is Still In All Star Mode

Monday Recruitin' Is Still In All Star Mode

Submitted by Brian on January 4th, 2016 at 4:42 PM

All Star week part two

Dylan Crawford is a top-100-ish WR

UA is over (as is Semper Fi) and now it's on to the Army game. Multiple recruits of major interest plan to decide at the game. CA WR Dylan Crawford is definitely doing so. With Oregon full at wide receiver it's not even certain who Michigan is competing with in his recruitment. His only officials have been to Michigan and Oregon; he also lists Washington, Stanford, Miami, and UCLA. I guess UCLA could be an option since he must have taken an unofficial there at some point, but this looks like a slam dunk.

Meanwhile MI CB Lavert Hill's ever-shifting commitment plans briefly maybe probably shifted to an Army announcement:

“I’m not for sure,” Hill said at check-in Sunday. “I got to talk to my mom and see what she says about it. It’s kind of up to her.”

Hill said he's down to Michigan and Michigan State, and that he talks to Jourdan Lewis "probably every day." Then Clemson offered, Hill reset his announcement for Signing Day, and said he would visit Clemson.

Anyway… there was a brief flurry of Michigan State optimism based on the idea that Hill and MI WR Donnie Corley would be a package, but with Corley trending towards OSU that package is falling apart. If Hill did decide at the Army game it was only going one way, and that's to Ann Arbor. Clemson getting involved is a potential hitch, but I'd be surprised if they could overcome the longstanding relationships and brother angle.

Finally, FL TE Isaac Nauta is announcing at the game, and while the universe expects it to be Georgia he provides a glimmer of hope in an interview with the AJC:

“I fly home on Jan. 10 and gather up my stuff and go,” Nauta said, who added that the events of this week can factor into his decision. “I’ve got it down to two in my head and I’ll be able to make a decision sometime this week.”

It is likely that Alabama is the team that got cut since Nauta has filed enrollment paperwork with UGA and Michigan but not Alabama. Steve Lorenz also offers a sliver of hope; while cautioning that he still expect Georgia to be the pick he relates that people in the Michigan program think they've got "more than a puncher's chance."

This is very much a "so you're saying there's a chance" situation. Door isn't 100% closed yet.

The already committed

In addition to the not-yet-committed, Michigan also has a trio of committed fellows that we'll get a bunch more data on. Those gentlemen are TX DT Jordan Elliott, MI OL Michael Onwenu, and IN QB Brandon Peters. Onwenu is a physical marvel:

The scale didn't go high enough to weigh Onwenu. We'll call it 350+. But the MIchigan commit was really impressive in that he's not a sloppy big body and he has extremely long arms. In fact, though he's only 6-3, only one offensive lineman had longer arms than Onwenu.

Meanwhile Elliott was one of the most impressive players on the first day of practice.

Elliott must be poised for a move up in the Rivals rankings, as they currently have him a nondescript three star. All the other services have him much higher—he may be making a case to move up even there.

Elliott also offered up this spectacular quote about Jim Harbaugh:

"He's just a mystical person. He always looks at you in the eyes when he's talking and then he'll say things when he starts to look away. It's pretty funny. I've never described anybody as mystical before either."

Elliott got in a bit of a twitter tiff with EJ Holland and continues to insist his recruiting process is 100% done; unfortunately he believes that Michigan is not going to get TX LB Dontavious Jackson.

Signing Day Decisions

Michigan has never really been a school that does much on Signing Day: they'll pick up a few guys, generally lower-rated ones, but the kind of ESPNU I-commit-with-a-hat-and-maybe-a-dog thing has never been the way Michigan recruits.

Harbaugh is set to change that in a major way, as the following players are all planning on announcing on February 3rd:

  • NJ DE Rashan Gary, who you may have heard of. Michigan is a heavy favorite.
  • TX LB Dontavious Jackson, who maintains no leaders or top list. You can piece together an approximate picture of M, UCLA, FSU, Bama, Florida, and Texas. Jackson took officials to the first three, plans officials to Bama and UF, and is local to Texas. FSU may lead.
  • FL WR Pie Young, who has maintained Michigan as his leader for a while. Miami may be the nearest competitor but really who knows?
  • As mentioned, MI CB Lavert Hill is, at this instant, deciding to decide on Signing Day.
  • NJ S Jordan Fuller is packing almost his entire recruitment in the last month and could realistically go to any of his four finalists.
  • FL LB Jonathan Jones is more or less down to Michigan and Notre Dame.

In addition to those primary targets there will be six or seven guys announcing who Michigan might be involved with depending on how the class works out, including TX S Chris Brown, CA TE Devin Asiasi, CA DT Boss Tagaloa, and AZ DE Connor Murphy, plus a couple guys under the radar. Batten down the hatches.

Rashan versus MechaRashan

Would you like additional hype on NJ DE Rashan Gary? Probably? Okay.

Gary walked onto the field the first day of practice as the No. 1 rated player in the nation and he walked out off the field of the Citrus Bowl distancing himself and securing that spot atop of the rankings, where he will sit when they are updated for a final time before signing day in February.

Gary also landed a couple of made-up awards from Mike Farrell, including best motor

Gary has a non-stop motor and even if you play him right, he will push you back into the pocket no matter what. He was taking as many reps as he could in practice, he could have taken the head off the quarterback numerous times and he was nasty in the game. You can’t teach desire and drive and he has plenty of both to go along with impressive talent.

…and the most consistent player, along with the best player, period. ESPN concurs:

Gary possesses a wonderful combination of size, power and athleticism and maximizes those attributes with a high-effort style of play. … An impressive aspect of his game is his hand usage. That activity, combined with his strength and motor, can make him extremely difficult to keep blocked and that was evident in his performance throughout Saturday's game. …

In addition to his impressive physical attributes, Gary also conducted himself in a five-star manner off the field. Gary is as good a No. 1 overall prospect that there has been since we began with the recruiting nation player rankings, and long as he remains coachable and focused, all the tools are there for him to an impact player for whichever program he signs.

Along with the evals come a pile of Michigan folks re-asserting that the Wolverines are heavy favorites. You can read the Sam Webb version ("Michigan is the overwhelming favorite") or the Tim Sullivan version ("Michigan will be all-but impossible to beat"); I like 'em both.

Other UA evals

This column discussed WI OL commit Ben Bredeson's UA performances a bit on Friday; he seems like he'll maintain his current near five-star ranking. A bit more confirmation from Tim Sullivan:

While he has been a brick wall at tackle for his high school team, the likes of five-stars Rashan Gary and Marlon Davidson (both on his own team for practices) are a different animal, and he stood up well.

Scout's Josh Newkirk concurred, noting an "impressive week":

He showcased good feet and didn’t struggle with faster defensive ends throughout the week. While he might end up at offensive guard at Michigan, he proved that he is versatile enough to play on the outside. And looks the part of a player who can hit the field early on in his career.

You might pencil him in as a redshirt freshman starter in 2017, if you were so inclined.

FL LB commit Devin Bush Jr. didn't get a lot of chatter from national guys good or bad and seems likely to maintain his rankings but not move up. Sullivan:

He doesn’t look the part physically, just because he’s shorter than the other linebackers, but when drills go live, he immediately displays that size isn’t everything. He’s quicker than everybody else, and moves well. He was in the backfield a couple times during team drills, and one of his biggest assets – hitting like a ton of bricks – wasn’t on display with the practice not at full-speed.

Bush sounds like an excellent fit for a Don Brown defense. Brown likes his linebackers small, quick, and mean.

NJ RB Kareem Walker is the lone guy who is likely to take a rankings hit after the UA and Semper Fi games. Walker didn't have much opportunity to show what he can do since he was put behind a shaky offensive line trying to contest Gary, and PSU commit Miles Sanders performed better. Sam Webb:

…never saw much daylight between the tackles (none of the black team’s backs did because of the relentless d-line play led by Gary), and he was forced to bounce many of his carries to the outside. That just isn’t where his bread is buttered.  Walker is a downhill, one-cut, and go back… and that’s how he’ll be used in Ann Arbor.

A dollar says he'll drop to just outside the top 100 most places. 247 already has him there.

Semper Fi evals

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PA S Khaleke Hudson: DO WANT

Well, one: I watched the first half and change and came away very impressed with PA S Khaleke Hudson. Hudson displayed terrific closing speed, finished plays with a thump, and had multiple PBUs against wide receivers. Dude filled up the box score:

Khaleke Hudson had seven tackles, two tackles for loss, forced a fumble and had a game-high four pass breakups, with no other player having more than one in the game.

He is the kind of guy you get to replace a Jabrill Peppers—while he's not Peppers he ain't bad, either.

Hudson split his time at Semper Fi between safety and running back, impressing at both locations. He could fill out a bit and play linebacker. He veritably screams Harbaugh guy. Here's hoping Michigan goes after him full-steam.

Michigan's two commits in the game didn't do much. NJ DE Ron Johnson is linebacker sized and it showed; NJ WR Brad Hawkins was targeted once. Both showed very well in practice, however.

2. Ron Johnson: Right behind Jones on Friday was Johnson once again. The 6-foot-4, 228-pound is tenacious off the line, and he has the speed to get to the football that cannot be coached. The Michigan commitment has had some new things thrown at him this week, and he has adapted well, while showing a high football IQ.

5. Brad Hawkins: Most wide receivers play outside for their high school. When practice began, the coaches let them go to a spot and work. Hawkins went to the slot and has done well when the ball has come his way. He has done well catching short passes and on end-arounds, and the Michigan commitment is more fluid and sudden than many might think given his size, especially in tight spaces, where he used double moves to make defenders miss twice in a span of five plays Friday.

Johnson is a holy lock to redshirt given his size and Michigan's 2016 DL, but as a developmental guy he's promising. Similar to Mario Ojemudia.

2017 Items

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McCaffery is the #2 pro-style QB in 2017

Michigan's top target at QB in 2017 is CO QB Dylan McCaffery (yes that McCaffery), a 6'5" gentleman in the running for the top QB in the class. With Stanford focused on a couple of the other contenders for that crown, Michigan is increasingly perceived as the favorite. That perception got two major bumps over the last week.

First, Rivals' Blair Angulo reports that Michigan is the frontrunner for a commitment, "maybe even within the next few weeks." Then today Steve Lorenz put in a ballz for McCaffery to Michigan.

MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones tells 247's Luke Stampini that Michigan and Ohio State are recruiting him hardest:

“The most, without naming any favorites, Michigan is recruiting me really hard, Ohio State is recruiting me really hard, probably those two,” Peoples-Jones told 247Sports. “I do have favorites. I’ll be releasing my top ten shortly.”

Michigan is hoping to keep the elite receiver in-state.

“They’re pretty much telling me they really want me. They had a lot of coaching staff changes, a lot of changes around the university, so pretty much going forward, I’m just looking for what they can do for me.”

Florida also gets a mention but Stampini is a UF reporter reporting for a UF site so that was likely prompted while M and OSU were brought up organically. Peoples-Jones also talked to Scout's Josh Henschke:

"They've always been pursuing me," Peoples-Jones said. "Nothing's changed like that, I was just ready to see what Harbaugh was going to do and he's doing some very special things."

He's positive but noncommittal throughout; his recruitment will take a while. Michigan seems to be trending positively. His dad is an alum, FWIW.

Etc.

247 says they'll be keeping an eye on IN QB commit Brandon Peters to see if they should issue a fifth star at the Army game. NJ S Jordan Fuller is down to M, OSU, PSU, and ND. He plans a visit to Ann Arbor on the 22nd. Anyone's guess as to where he's leaning. NJ WR commit Ahmir Mitchell will wear #2.

CA TE Devin Asiasi lists Michigan in his top five but has three officials scheduled over the next three weeks to other locations; he might get out to M mid-week. Never say never if that happens, I guess.

FL DE Joshua Uche got an offer a couple weeks ago and has set a visit for January 22nd. He's a generic three star but as a Miami decommit who is visiting Florida the week after he sees M he seems like a late riser.

Michigan offers 2017 AL LB Will Ignont. Ignont says he's wide open.

Monday Recruitin' Says Seeya

Monday Recruitin' Says Seeya

Submitted by Brian on December 21st, 2015 at 1:06 PM

Christmas week is usually a week off when not in the throes of a coaching search. Ace will cover the Bryant game Wednesday but don't expect much from the site until next week, when… yes… OSU UFR is due. Send whiskey.

Also check out alum96's generally accurate recruiting overview post.

Long officially back on the market

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FFS, Adidas

CA CB David Long made his all but inevitable decommit from Stanford a real thing, releasing a statement about it on Twitter. In said statement he named Michigan and Washington his leaders. He has a visit set to UW on January 15th, after which a decision should be forthcoming. Long's leaving the country right after.

On their end, Michigan has been confident since Long's official visit. On Washington's end, the UDub 247 mods are really really confident, one of them proclaiming a Long commit was "99.9%" likely a couple weeks back. The latest:

On the surface some within the recruiting circuit believe Long to Michigan is a very real possibility.

I wouldn't count on it.

They might be right here but even in a world populated almost entirely by homers the 247 Washington site stands out. Clint Brewster reports that Michigan's coaching staff is highly optimistic and that he's close to issuing his ballz for M. Meanwhile Scout's Greg Biggins, a West Coast guy:

At this point, this race looks like a tight one. Long loved the visit to Michigan back in October and we heard rumblings shortly after, that the Wolverines could actually get a quick commitment out of him.

Washington people are hearing similar things on their end, and 247 national guy Ryan Bartow put in a dawg ballz. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Tiebreaker: a visit right before a commitment is usually a big advantage for the guys who go last.

Dylan Crawford momentum shift?

CA WR Dylan Crawford was ticketed to Michigan, then "dream school" Oregon offered and Oregon mod types were really really confident, then Oregon picked up commits from FL WR Eddie McDoom(!) and flipped OSU commitment and TX WR/QB Tristen Wallace. (The Wallace commit is a rare instance of a kid deciding he doesn't want to play QB.)

Even so, Oregon loses a ton of WRs this year and they are a spread so probably room for Crawford [RECORD SCRATCH]

Dylan Crawford and Javon McKinley remain at large and frankly I think the Ducks will only take one. I'm not sure there's enough room to add Crawford and I think the Ducks would take McKinley if he wanted to come.

That's Justin Hopkins of the Oregon 247 site, who had previously been amongst the most gung-ho about Oregon's chances with Crawford. He reiterated that stance in another post as well. Sam Webb is hearing similar things.

You have to think that the lukewarm react to Crawford—waiting to offer so long and then maybe not even having him as a take at this juncture—would play into Michigan's hands. M has been after Crawford from the drop.

But what about TN WR commit Nate Johnson? And Pie Young? Where are all these spots going to come from? I don't know. Webb says Michigan would take both Young and Crawford, which 1) just about has to mean they're looking at NJ WRs Brad Hawkins and/or Ahmir Mitchell as safeties and 2) might mean someone currently in the class as a WR type is on the verge of a decommit.

IN ATH Kiante Enis, who said a week or so back that he hadn't heard from Michigan much since his commit and visited Indiana just before the dead period, would be a guy to watch. Enis hasn't taken an official to Michigan yet, and while that isn't a big deal absent other indicators… we have other indicators.

FWIW, we flipped our* Crystal Ballz on Crawford to Oregon based partially on the Duck optimism there and partially because our expectation was that Young would commit over the OSU weekend. Now we don't really know what to do. If you have a foggy prediction and someone commits they charge that against you, so we're keeping the Oregon pick until such time as we change it to Michigan because the air tastes like copper or whatever.

*[Ace and I collaborate on a single MGoBlog ballz.]

Don Brown reacts

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as noted on twitter, Don Brown looks like a NO NONSENSE COP who might have TAKEN THINGS TOO FAR THIS TIME

The reported hire of BC defensive coordinator Don Brown was evidently official enough for recruiting sites to ping various folks about their reactions yesterday. Generally the reaction is "dang."

Long:

MI CB LaVert Hill:

"Boston College was one of the top five defenses in the country," Hill said. "If they get him, I would be pretty good with that."

Hill, BTW, has set January officials to USC, MSU, and Miami. One of his infinite trips to campus this fall was his official to Michigan. Hill has long been regarded as a lock, but the defensive coordinator switch threw a wrench into those plans. M will have to fight for his signature to Signing Day, which is now the plan for both Hill and teammate MI WR Donnie Corley. Maybe. More about that later.

TX LB Dontavious Jackson broke out the mild swearing:

"It's a hell of a move," he told Wolverine247 on Sunday night. "Coach Harbaugh filled me in on what he will bring to the Michigan defense and I'm excited about it."

I am a bit spooked about both Hill and Long given the trajectories of their recruitment but on the other hand I'm feeling optimistic on Jackson based on little more than a hunch. Nobody has a good read on him except for default assumptions about Texas, and every day Strong gets closer to the Rich Rod end game that assumption looks shakier. See also: TX OL Jean Delance.

FL LB Jonathan Jones:

Jones remains a Michigan-ND battle in which Michigan is believed to have a slight edge.

BC ATH commit KJ Gray decommitted in the immediate aftermath and listed Michigan along with almost every D-I school on the East Coast and Wisconsin. Gray is a three star WR/CB who plans to set a bunch of officials in January and then decide. M has not been involved with him to date, but if Brown likes him and sees him as a CB they might bring him in if they think things might shake out where he has a spot. That would probably require both Long and Hill to head elsewhere.

Maybe not so much on the Corley/Hill thing though

Josh Helmholdt reports that Corley is trying to enroll early, which would obviously disrupt plans to commit with Hill. Michigan is probably on the outside with Corley and would definitely be if he does enroll early:

…he took his three official visits to Michigan State, Tennessee and Ohio State. "If the graduating early thing comes up, it will probably be (one of) those three schools because that's where I took my officials to and that's where I'm most comfortable with," Corley said.

To get in it Michigan needs an official visit; if Corley is still on the market in January they will get one. (So will Notre Dame.) If you are thinking that Corley has been on campus several times already and what is one vaguely more Official visit going to do… yeah. I don't think this one is ending up Michigan's way no matter when Corley enrolls.

Top X of the week

As Steve Lorenz mentioned, TX DE Levi Onwurzrike released a top four of Washington, Baylor, Michigan, and Other Team. That other team is Arizona State. Onwuzrike momentarily had a twitter bio that read "water your plants key to success watering plants," which is apparently a DJ Khaled reference since he is doing things I don't understand on a social network I don't participate in. Probably Snappagram. But anyway that was a good twitter bio.

MO TE Chase Allen reiterated to Brice Marich that Iowa State, Minnesota, and Michigan were his top three even after he got a Florida State offer. Allen is still playing high school basketball so visits are tricky for him:

“I have taken one visit to Minnesota, but it is hard to fit visits in with my basketball schedule,” said Allen. I got one scheduled for Iowa State in January, but I have talked with them about moving it, so we will see. Definitely, it is a priority of mine to get up to Michigan and check it out."

With the dead period lasting until January 13th he has a short window in which to figure things out. The combination of Jake Butt, academics, and Harbaugh has Allen's interest piqued.

FL TE Isaac Nauta has a final three of UGA, Michigan, and Alabama. The former two are generally thought to be the main contenders. With the Allen offer and Jacob Eason recommit to UGA, things seem to be trending to the Bulldogs.

PA LB Khaleke Hudson has a final four of Pitt, PSU, UCLA, and Michigan. They get the last visit, that on January 15th.

This week in someone loves Nate Johnson

Tim Sullivan catches up with TN WR commit Nate Johnson's high school coach for a quote that will definitely make it in his recruiting profile:

"He's a terrific route-runner, number one. He's great in space, knows how to get separation, knows how to get open, knows how to recognize coverages. His hands were the best I've ever coached."

More in a meaty article at the link.

Revenge for whoever that guy was ten years ago

"Went to bed a Wolverine and woke up a Seminole" became infamous when some dude we all thought was going to commit ended up at FSU and people tried to save face. Travis Johnson? Was that his name?

/googles

Yes. First round pick in 2005.

/shakes fist at nothing in particular

Anyway, revenge is served so cold that nobody involved is still around and only me and like three other insane people will enjoy this, but enjoy this they shall:

Last Wednesday it was Top247 linebacker Devin Bush Jr., an FSU legacy, that announced he would be a Wolverine. He looked destined for the Maize and Blue for much of the process but a late charge by Florida State and Auburn made things a little foggy at the end.

Then on Thursday, the nation’s No. 2 running back in Kareem Walker chose Michigan, going back and forth between the Wolverines and Seminoles on the last day. One source tells 247Sports that Walker went to bed a Nole and by the time he announced early in the afternoon he was back to the Wolverines.

Walker turned down a compelling offer to sign up for the winged helmet, and Michigan won a recruitment they have generally seen turn against them in the past.

Happy Trails

TX DT Chris Daniels committed to Oklahoma, as expected. MI LB David Reese went with Florida after his decommit.

Going to be really interesting to see how that latter works out. I cannot recall the last instate three-star to get the kind of out of state offers Reese did. Valdez Showers, who ended up doing not much at Florida, is the last guy I recall getting a big time offer without Michigan showing much interest—despite the commit here I think that's a fair thing to say about Reese. Hope Michigan didn't make a mistake here.

Etc.

AZ DE Connor Murphy is planning January visits. USC and Michigan were known; he is now thinking about Alabama as well. Murphy took a November visit to Oregon. He's injured but says he heals "like the Wolverine," which is probably not as telling as you want it to be.

Five star 2017 FL DE Josh Kaindoh is originally from Baltimore (he is one of those IMG dudes) and tells the PSU Rivals site that schools of interest are PSU, M, MSU, OSU, ND, and Maryland since Durkin was his contact at M. PSU is an early leader; sounds like Michigan is likely to be playing with or against Kaindoh.

FL LB commit Devin Bush likes the Brown hire as well. MI K Quinn Nordin sets officials to M, PSU, and Baylor. Still very technically a PSU commit.

Michigan just offered FL DE Joshua Uche, a Miami decommit.

Monday Recruitin' Opens Presents Early

Monday Recruitin' Opens Presents Early

Submitted by Brian on December 14th, 2015 at 11:43 AM

Hello. I'm writing these for a bit since recruiting and basketball are going to be most of what goes on for the next month, and by splitting it up we can do a better job at both.

Early Christmas presents, or coal

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A couple of recruits high on Michigan's radar are announcing this week. On the 16th, FL LB Devin Bush announces. He says he's already decided, but that didn't prevent Michigan and FSU from dropping in on him with in-home visits last week. Michigan has been supremely confident in Bush's recruitment for a long time, but the departure of DJ Durkin did throw a wrench into things:

"For us it was bittersweet. It was like, ‘dang! We didn’t get a chance to work underneath him,” if he (Bush Jr.) choose (Michigan).  But my son hasn’t chosen a school yet.  So we’re just happy for D.J. and we’ve had to sit back and see what else unfolds.”

That quote has an air of someone trying to put the cat back in the bag. Uncertainty at DC—every single one of Bush's finalists save FSU has seen their DC depart—has Michigan people a bit more doubtful. Meanwhile Josh Newberg, an FSU mod who is a person to pay attention to, just ballz'd Bush to FSU.

Michigan still thinks they're getting the guy, but significant doubts are cropping up. Allen Trieu has an article in the News quoting Webb heavily that offers the lay of the land.

NJ RB Kareem Walker announces on the 17th. Walker announced that date after an in-home with Harbaugh, and before his official visit to Arizona State this weekend. FSU and Auburn are regarded as the only real competition. The the 247 FSU mods are not at all optimistic($), the main Auburn guy ballz'd Walker to Michigan, and Wiltfong isn't wavering.

That is looking good, but it doesn't seem like it's the 100% lock it felt like a month ago. New Jersey-based recruiting guy Todderick Hunt feels like it'll be Florida State, FWIW, but I'm not sure how seriously to take that when he's commenting on his own article thusly:

Obviously Michigan is the overwhelming favorite and he could very well end up there, but the recent sequence of events has me thinking FSU.

Okay then.

Official visit weekend: commits

Michigan brought in a bunch of commitments: IN RB Chris Evans, NJ DE Ron Johnson, NJ WR Brad Hawkins, IN QB Brandon Peters, FL CB Antwaine Richardson, and TX DT Jordan Elliott. Commit visits are usually no-news events and these were no exception. The most newsworthy thing about any of those guys is that Richardson is no longer enrolling early.

Two of the visits should move a couple commitments from 98% to 99%. Evans had a slight waver as he announced visits to both in-state schools, but none of the three major sites have a report that indicates he actually went to either. Meanwhile Elliott returning with his mom two weeks after he came up for the Ohio State game should further solidify that commitment.

Elliott seems somewhat annoyed he has to keep telling people that Michigan is final answer. This is mostly because Texas folks keep saying there's a chance; in response Elliott's twitter feed is nonstop Michigan boosterism. He is not giving the appearance of a guy who is going to flip again.

Nate Johnson adds self to above list

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[Shelley Mays/The Tennessean]

Michigan also had a handful of uncommitted prospects. TN WR Nate Johnson dropped for M about the instant he arrived. Ace's Hello post covers him in detail, including a couple of excellent explanations for why 247 is high on him while others aren't:

Then the season came and Johnson validated his camp performances and was just unstoppable. It was a crime that he didn't win Mr. Football. He played with a quarterback that he had been with for years and their offense was crazy good (undefeated with very few close contests) but Johnson made it tick. He's one of the best route-runners in the country, has great hands, fantastic body control and he has a much bigger catch radius than his 5-11 size would suggest. He's also added good weight and strength as he's progressed in high school. At this point, he reminds me some of Christian Kirk down at Texas A&M in terms of body type.

That's a free post with plenty more at the link. With the flood of impressive late offers (Penn State, Miami, Tennessee and Michigan just last week) maybe other sites take another look. Scout hasn't even ranked the guy, which is kind of boggling since he had over a thousand receiving yards in both of his last two years in high school and was committed to a Power 5 school for months.

While numbers are getting tight now, Sam Webb says Michigan might take another wideout. It won't be FL WR Eddie McDoom(!), who committed to Oregon on an official this weekend. We are of course all devastated to lose such a name but if it can't be Michigan, Oregon seems appropriate for a fast guy named MCDOOM. Oregon's up to 25 commitments but has just two WRs and still has room for CA WR Dylan Crawford. They're in on a couple other WRs; if one of those guys drops then it might be time to talk about Crawford getting pushed over to M.

Delance on campus

Things are looking up for TX OT Jean Delance, who has been a major priority for Harbaugh and company for months now. Delance was popularly thought to be favoring Texas, but now the buzz is that it's a Michigan-LSU battle. Steve Wiltfong reports that he's close to putting in a crystal ballz($) for Michigan… and that he's close to putting a ballz for LSU. Dangit, Wiltfong.

Let's read too much into a tweet with a colloquial phrase in it, shall we?

Michigan lock.

Delance told an LSU site that he was planning to be committed by January, so it's one of those three teams, period, and with Texas on route to RichRodding Charlie Strong it looks like Texas is suddenly playing from behind.

Read between the linebackers

The considerable, if indirect, debate between the various recruiting sites as to how hard Michigan is recruiting CA LB Caleb Kelly has been resolved by Kelly himself:

As for his recruitment, Kelly said he has not talked with Michigan since his visit, which he thought was strange so he hoped to get in communication with them soon. Oklahoma remains a serious contender and he said the Sooners have not stopped their aggressive approach to recruiting him.

Kelly seems to like Michigan more than Michigan likes him. I would not expect Kelly to end up at Michigan unless there is a 180 by the coaching staff.

Meanwhile, vibes are still mostly good with FL LB Jonathan Jones. He took his official visit this weekend as well, and while this is not a great quote when you think you're leading for a guy

Jones was accompanied on the trip by his mother and she came away equally impressed.

“She said my decision just probably got a bit harder,” said Jones.  “It's a great school and she said there are great people. If I went there she would feel very comfortable.”

…later he said he "most definitely" thought about committing on his trip and even the Notre Dame side of this thinks Michigan is the likely choice. He's got a visit to Duke next weekend, and plans on a Signing Day announcement.

Bush and Jones are Michigan's clear top targets. They must be supremely confident in both to all but invite a David Reese decommit and go forward with few or no obvious other options save TX LB Dontavious Jackson on their board.

Cornerbacks moving things around

CA CB David Long, a Stanford commit most people don't think will end up at Stanford, did not make a planned visit to Washington this weekend. UCLA and Michigan have "a little more of his attention" according to Rivals' Adam Gorney. Meanwhile the 247 mods at Washington were recently all but guaranteeing Long flipping to the Huskies. 'Crootin'.

Long told Scout that Michigan hiring Lance Anderson away from Stanford would "give them the upper hand," but that he doesn't think Anderson would take the DC job if offered.

Meanwhile, MI CB LaVert Hill's recruitment has also gone full 'crootin' after months during which he was reputed to be the most locky lock on Michigan's board despite a nominal commitment to Penn State. So:

  • Hill likes DJ Durkin and his departure shook up Hill's recruitment extensively. Webb reports that Greg Jackson will be key, and that his brother will vouch for the guy all day.
  • Despite the uncertainty, Hill took his official visit this weekend. This marks the 750th time Hill has been in Ann Arbor this year, for which he receives a tiny pewter tree from the mayor's office.
  • He's now planning to take all five visits, with UCLA and USC on the docket. He has already been to Tennessee and Michigan; MSU is other team scheduled to get a visit.
  • Hill and MI WR Donnie Corley are now planning to announce on the same day. Corley was set to announce on the 18th but now that's off the table. That's probably good for M since they're believed to trail a couple schools in his recruitment. Corley claiming there is "a significant chance" he and Hill are a package maybe not so much.

After the visit Wiltfong did re-iterate he still expects Hill to end up at Michigan, but he had backed off on his certainty that would happen. Rivals is reporting that Maryland is trying to get in, which isn't a huge surprise.

Prepare another 2017 Hello post, Ace, and then another maybe

Michigan picks up a commitment from 2017 GA WR Jeremiah Holloman, a teammate of 2017 RB commit Kurt Taylor. Tim Sullivan catches up with him:

The 6-3, 190-pounder is a three-star unranked within the state or at his position, but has plenty of physical potential. He won the Georgia 6A state title in triple jump this spring with an effort of 47 feet, 5.5 inches. He also placed sixth in both the long jump (22-0.25) and high jump (6-4). …

"Basically on the outside, I'm a big, dynamic player," he said. "I'm speedy with the routes, nice precision with my routes. I can cause a whole bunch of threats from short routes to going deep or jumping over corners. I'm just a threat on the field."

Ace will elaborate with a forthcoming Hello post. Meanwhile Michigan has offered a third 2017 player at Covington: GA LB Jaquan Henderson, a UCLA commit. He was also offered by Michigan's staff and in the aftermath of Holloman joining up Chad Simmons, Brice Marich, and Steve Lorenz all indicated a flip was somewhere between a real possibility and imminent.

Happy trails

TX DE Jeffery McCullough didn't include Michigan in his top five. He was always a longshot. As mentioned, FL WR Eddie McDoom(!) committed to Oregon.

Etc.

Michigan will poke around Montana State transfer QB Conor Prukop, but most expect him to end up plugging Oregon's odd and ongoing hole at QB. Mattison and Partridge stop in on NJ DE Rashan Gary. NJ WR Donald Stewart has been trending away from M for a while but he had an in-home recently and may be back on the radar. TX RB Rakeem Boyd, an A&M commit, may visit in January.

Michigan had an in-home with AZ DE Connor Murphy, who plans a visit in January. He still seems very open.

Thursday Recruitin' Gets Bad Info

Thursday Recruitin' Gets Bad Info

Submitted by Ace on December 10th, 2015 at 2:13 PM

Attrition, Expected and... Not So Expected

In a move that should surprise no one, three-star in-state ILB David Reese announced his decommitment from Michigan yesterday so he can find a program that will allow him to enroll early:

The coaches assuredly saw that coming. That wasn't the case with the decommitment of three-star CA QB/ATH Victor Viramontes over the weekend, per 247's Clint Brewster ($):

The de-commitment came as a huge surprise to Michigan as coach John Baxter just saw Viramontes and reported back to Harbaugh that the visit went extremely well.

We have been told that Viramontes was given bad information from a member of his camp that Michigan wouldn’t give him a shot at quarterback and he would immediately be a fullback or linebacker, which is completely false.

'Crootin!

Sam Webb discussed the Viramontes situation extensively on his radio show Monday; alum96 was kind enough to write up a summary on the board that's well worth reading. The upshot: while Michigan wasn't expecting Viramontes to leave the class, they don't consider him a must-get—they'll continue to pursue him but at this point there are other uncommitted prospects who are higher priorities.

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

Monday Recruitin' Shuts It Down

Monday Recruitin' Shuts It Down

Submitted by Ace on November 30th, 2015 at 4:00 PM

More On Jordan Elliott's Commitment

Sam Webb caught up with four-star TX DT Jordan Elliott in the wake of his commitment to Michigan; the former Baylor and Houston pledge assured Webb that Ann Arbor is his final destination ($):

That’s yet another reason why he insists his commitment to Michigan is firm. So firm that he answered the question what other schools he’d be visiting before it was done being asked.

“None at all,” he said. “I’m done. No more.”

And how will he respond when other schools persist in recruiting him?

“I won’t respond,” said Elliott.

Elliott mentioned that the coaches plan to play him "all over the line," but initially he'll get the most snaps at defensive end. He's enrolling for the spring semester in April, which means he won't make it in time for spring practice but he'll get a jump start on academics and conditioning.

For more on Elliott, read his commitment post here.

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

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.

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

Monday Recruitin' Acquires Large Catchy Type

Monday Recruitin' Acquires Large Catchy Type

Submitted by Ace on October 26th, 2015 at 3:01 PM

Preferred Walk-On Hello: Simeon Smith

According to The Wolverine's Brandon Brown, Michigan has added an intriguing preferred walk-on for 2016 in 6'6", 208-pound Kalamazoo (MI) Loy Norrix WR Simeon Smith, who spurned at least one lower-division full ride to realize his dream of becoming a Wolverine ($):

Smith did visit Ferris State last week and was offered a full scholarship but he's in a good situation to be able to turn something like that down and attend Michigan.

"I have the Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship," Smith explained. "I can get free tuition to any school in the state of Michigan. I told the coaches at Michigan that I was interested before the Oregon State game and they said they were definitely keeping an eye on me. Then yesterday they offered me a preferred walk-on spot and I had to accept it."

Smith is exactly the type of prospect you like to see as a PWO; the film shows a prospect with lots of raw physical talent—with that frame he could end up as a jumbo outside receiver or a tight end. There's little question he'll be able to handle the academic load, as well:

While athletics played a role in Smith's decision to become a Wolverine, so did academics. Since transferring to Loy Norrix for his junior year, Smith has accumulated a 4.4 grade point average.

“I’ve heard they’re one of the best engineering schools in the country, and I’ve been taking AP calculus and AP physics to prepare to be an engineer,” Smith said. “When this opportunity popped up for me, I couldn’t turn it down. 

“I get the education I’ve always desired in addition to getting to play football at a level most people dream about.”

Not a bad combination.

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