Preview 2018: Tight End And Friends

Preview 2018: Tight End And Friends Comment Count

Brian August 28th, 2018 at 1:59 PM

Previously: Podcast 10.0A. Podcast 10.0B. Podcast 10.0C. The Story. Quarterback. Running Back. Wide Receiver.

Depth Chart

Fullback Yr. H-back Yr. Tight End Yr. Flex Yr.
Ben Mason So. Ben VanSumeren Fr. Sean McKeon So.* Zach Gentry Jr.*
Jared Wangler Sr.* ---- Fr. Zach Gentry Jr.* Nick Eubanks So.*
Ben VanSumeren Fr. ---- Fr. Luke Schoonmaker Fr. Mustapha Muhammad Fr.

Given the situation at quarterback Michigan is unlikely to reprise their approach for most of the second half of the schedule, which surely pleased Bo and every other three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-guts devotee watching:

FORMATION NOTES. Hello, manball. Michigan's approach in this game was downright neolithic, featuring 32 snaps with one or zero WRs. Feel the Harbaugh goodness as Michigan goes with a goal line set on first and ten on their own 34 (the "WR" is Gentry and he will motion to a TE spot presnap):

image

Michigan did suffer to allow two wide receivers on the field 22 times; three WRs managed to get out there on 14 snaps.

But you know Harbaugh wants to. Probably not enough to do it... much. But if you're telling me he's got two returning starters at TE with NFL upside and a third guy who ran past the Florida secondary last year and he's not going to do it at all, well, sir. I disagree.

And now it's time for...

ANNUAL EXPLANATION OF THE FINE GRADATIONS OF BLOCKY/CATCHY

A few years ago we split tight ends from the WR post and fullbacks from the RB post, figuring that under Brady Hoke there would be enough of them to warrant it. We even split guys into various categories because a tight end is not just a tight end. Then Jim Harbaugh came in. After an internal struggle this site has decided not to split each one of these columns into its own post, but it was a near thing. Those columns are:

  • FULLBACK: a man with a steel plated head who runs into linebackers, gets two 50 carries in his career, and has six catches. See: Kevin Dudley, Sione Houma.
  • H-BACK: A "move" tight end who motions all about, rarely lines up on the actual line of scrimmage, often goes from fullback to a flared spot or vice versa, and operates as more of a receiver than the fullback. Must be a credible threat to LBs; ends career with 40 catches. See: Aaron Shea, Khalid Hill.
  • TIGHT END: Larger than the H-back, the tight end is a tight end who is actually tight to the end of the line. He comes out, lines up next to a tackle, helps him win blocks, and clobberates linebackers at the second level. He goes out into patterns as well, and may end his career with 40 catches himself. See: AJ Williams, Jerame Tuman.
  • FLEX: Big enough to play on the end of the line credibly. Agile enough to play H-back credibly. Not great at either. Capable of splitting out wide and threatening the secondary. Sacrifices some blocking for explosiveness. Can be a prime receiving threat. See: Jake Butt.

And of course many of these people bleed into other categories. Think of these position designations as Gaussian distributions in close proximity to each other.

TIGHT END AND FLEX: HOW FAST DOES THIS BATTLESHIP GO ANYWAY

RATING: 5

Last year's preview threw all available guys in more or less the same bin and then selected Ian Bunting and Tyrone Wheatley Jr out of that bin as the nominal starters. Nope and nope: both guys got scattered snaps as the younger generation pushed through. Now both Bunting and Wheatley have read the writing on the wall and lit out for greener pastures, leaving Michigan's tight end corps somewhat thinly populated.

But hoo boy the remaining villagers could really be something. ZACH GENTRY is the headliner despite a bit less playing time than his compatriot. This is because Gentry is a 6'8" guy who was Michigan's fastest and most agile tight end in last year's team combine. As Jay Harbaugh put it when they moved him late in his freshman year:

"He's got what we call a 'dominant trait.' He's super fast and super tall and has very good hands. He has something naturally that gives him a chance to beat everybody as a route-runner.

He only got to show his dominance sporadically due to the environment around him, finishing with 17 catches. But his per-target numbers are flatly unbelievable in context even if they are a small sample size: 17.8 yards a reception. 11.7 yards per target(!!!), a 65% catch rate and zero catches that did not move the chains or improve Michigan's chance of doing so on a subsequent down. Michigan's next-best YPT receiver who got the whole QB smorgasbord was Kekoa Crawford at 7.2. And that sample size would have been larger in--all together now--better circumstances:

Gentry is a giant man and delivers on his height. He's capable of plucking balls out of the air that are well outside his frame and when Purdue went cover zero he demonstrated excellent body control to punish that decision:

As safety blankets go, the dude nearly a foot taller than most defensive backs and much faster than most linebackers is a quality option. And he is on another level athletically from most of the front seven guys who could deign to cover him.

That tall guy seems like a good person to throw to since he's the closest thing to an imaginary eleven-foot tall person we have.

Yeah, Zach Gentry started going from potential to production in this game. His big catch and run was a great route that suckered a linebacker outside and opened up that YAC:

83, TE to top of line

That is exactly what Michigan was hoping for when the moved him there. That throw's a bit high, except Gentry is 6'7". Also he dusted a guy and ate up 20 yards after the catch.

And if Michigan wants to get weird, Gentry has flashed the ability to hack it on the outside.

WR #83 top of screen

What he hasn't done so far is high-point the ball over two-to-seven helpless defensive backs, a la former Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki. This has been entirely due to a lack of opportunity. I charted Gentry with one drop on 13 routine opportunities last year; more telling was a lack of non-routine shots. He had just one opportunity at a moderately difficult catch (which he made); I put those in a bin labeled "2" and they encompass almost all of the things that a pogo-stick giant should be doing downfield. There were only two circus opportunities, and sometimes pogo-stick shots downfield should land there, as well.

Gentry was not Gesicki by any stretch of the imagination, but largely because Michigan didn't give him the opportunity to be Gesicki. Again, offense bad sad emoji etc etc. In a functional offense with a fade machine quarterback, Gentry could blow up. Should blow up.

Gentry's blocking was meh but not a disaster. PFF had him about 200th of ~300 qualifying tight ends but I'm pretty sure they grade like me and those numbers aren't necessarily adjusted for individual "strength of schedule." So he's probably not worse than whatever MAC tight ends he's behind, he's just playing tougher opposition. And Gentry's issues were at least half mental issues that generally come with being a guy getting his first playing time. When he was on the right page he did well:

#83 TE to bottom

He was fairly regularly able to get under not-so-good players and drive them:

TE #83 to bottom of line

His athleticism allowed him to stay coiled and not expose his height unduly; sometimes he flat-out drove his (again, pretty bad) opposition:

#83 TE to bottom

Gentry was generally able to control Big Ten LBs and weakside ends; it was only when circumstances forced him into trying to control a Big Boy that his lankiness worked against him. Here he catches an MSU DT and suddenly looks like a 6'8" TE trying to survive:

#83 TE to bottom of line

When he set up in-line and took a thunk from a DL who knew what was coming he'd give some ground but he'd usually stay attached and fight his way through it. When able to take on someone in his weight class things went well, for the most part. And even when he took on a Big Boy if he was able to surprise him he delivered a blow.

#83 TE motioning to top of formation

He pancaked a DE once! A Rutgers DE. But still! Seriously, by Wisconsin he was capable of legitimately impressive moments:

#83 TE to bottom of line

That is palpable movement on a DE and then a TJ Edwards pancake. Was that consistent? No. Was it there? Yes. What's more important for Michigan going forward are not the 2017 results, which did indeed top out at "eh"--he was 55% in UFR charting--but the approach. Gentry was a very willing blocker, one who got results when he got the call right and wasn't placed in an adverse situations. PFF had him one of Michigan's best offensive players against the Badgers and 24/7 noted that three of his four highest grades had come in the run-up to The Game. He improved greatly over the course of the season.

A year of experience and 15 extra pounds should improve his output further, and this will give Michigan a dual threat that someone like Mike Gesicki did not provide. Now just go be Gesicki when the ball is in the air and we're cooking. Survey says: maybe!

[After THE JUMP: tbh probably Michigan's best tight end]

Comments

2018 Recruiting: Mustapha Muhammad

2018 Recruiting: Mustapha Muhammad Comment Count

Brian July 31st, 2018 at 12:51 PM

Previously: Last year's profiles. S Sammy Faustin, S German Green, CB Gemon Green, CB Vincent Gray, CB Myles "Spider" Sims, LB Cameron McGrone, DE Taylor Upshaw, DE Julius Welschof, DE Aidan Hutchinson, OL Jalen Mayfield, OL Ryan Hayes, TE Luke Schoonmaker.

 
Missouri City, TX — 6'4", 244
 

3770725_35db51d02f4f4d7b95c032cba20453df

24/7 4*, #227 overall
#7 TE, #26 TX
Rivals 4*, 5.8 rating
#17 TE, #29 TX
ESPN 4*, #46 overall
#2 TE-Y, #4 TX
Composite 4*, #168 overall
#6 TE, #16 TX
Other Suitors Clemson, UCLA, OU, Texas, A&M, LSU
YMRMFSPA Kevin Koger
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace.
Notes Twitter.

Film

Junior:

Senior:

Mustapha Muhammad had one of the more understandable recruiting slides of the last few cycles. As you can tell by his set-in-amber ESPN ranking, Muhammad started the cycle in the running for top tight end in the class. By the end of it he'd slid significantly at the two sites that update themselves, and unlike a few other guys (cough cough Khaleke Hudson) the main criticism is a sensible and important one: he didn't really do much. His senior year saw a drop in receptions from 29 to 20, and while the vagaries of high school quarterbacking can play havoc with receiving stats you'd hope an elite receiving TE prospect could crack 300 yards.

Then he went to the UA game. Content about him from both Rivals and 24/7 is limited to "I vaguely remember he was in practice." Rivals:

Of all the tight ends in attendance at the Under Armour game, Muhammad was seen least often on the receiving ends of passes.

24/7:

Allen Trieu: “He had a fairly non-descript week I would say. He wasn't targeted much, or at all in the game. The tight ends did one-on-ones for one day and he had a drop and only one other rep in that, so not a week where he was able to stand out.”

A guy with Muhammad's scanty senior stats and lofty ranking probably should have slid if he didn't make a case for himself at an All-Star game; he did not and did slide, going from 155th to 227 on 24/7 in their final update... and that was after some earlier drops. Muhammad did rebound a bit in the Polynesian Bowl despite absurd circumstances:

...the most consistent weapon for the Makai offense on Thursday. On a day where the Makai defense had nine takeaways, the Michigan signee was a bright spot, consistently getting open and making tough catches to give the offense a little bit of a spark.

That was practice: IE, his offense had nine turnovers. Woo!

[After THE JUMP: why he was touted in the first place.]

Comments

Monday Recruitin' Retrofits Checklist

Monday Recruitin' Retrofits Checklist Comment Count

Ace October 23rd, 2017 at 2:10 PM

A Good Thing Happened Last Week

So, yeah, this hasn't been a great week. Not all is bad, though! On Friday evening, Michigan picked up a commitment from one of their top remaining targets, four-star TX TE Mustapha Muhammad. The full Hello post is here, and there's been plenty of #content on him since. Muhammad actually made a silent commitment way back when he visited for the Spring Game, and while those don't always stick, he told Sam Webb that he didn't waver—in fact, he's even been recruiting for Michigan for months. One of the main draws, unsurprisingly, is the offense's use of tight ends actually living up to the recruiting pitch:

“(Michigan’s tight end play), definitely had an impact on me,” Muhammad said. “I had been told by a lot of tight end coaches around the nation about how they use the tight end, but when I watched them on actual game film I didn’t really see anything as impressive as Michigan’s play-calling and the different variations of how they use the tight end position. That’s really important to me… that they were really giving me everything they were selling.”

The checklist he gave 247's Steve Wiltfong appears to have been retrofitted for Michigan:

Muhammad listed those boxes.

Business School
TE Usage in Offense
NFL Pipeline
Large Muslim Population
Connections
Great dining hall
Jordan Uniforms

Scout's Greg Powers, meanwhile, updated his evaluation with a couple promising notes:

Muhammad has established himself as the type of player who can make elite plays in the passing game, whether it be a a heroic touchdown catch and run that is capped off by a full extension dive into the end zone or jumping over a defender trying to make a tackle, he possesses that special it factor, but he is also underappreciated as a blocker by many. He is an excellent zone blocker, who understands leverage and how to use his hands on defenders. He has added some weight to his frame and some strength and that has helped develop him into an even more complete package at the position.

Adding bulk and functional strength is the main thing Muhammad needs to do to see the field early at Michigan; he's already begun the process.

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

Comments

Hello: Mustapha Muhammad

Hello: Mustapha Muhammad Comment Count

Ace October 20th, 2017 at 7:38 PM

Michigan added a big-time recruit at a position Jim Harbaugh loved to keep well-stocked. Four-star Missouri City (TX) Ridge Point tight end Mustapha Muhammad has long been considered a strong Michigan lean. He announced his commitment to the Wolverines while receiving his Under Armour All-America jersey in a ceremony prior to his game tonight, choosing Michigan over fellow finalists Clemson, Texas, and UCLA.

Muhammad is the 15th commit in the 2018 class and the second at tight end, joining Connecticut three-star Luke Schoonmaker. He'll be the second Texan (Chuck Filiaga, 2017) to join the program since Russell Bellomy in the class of 2011.

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
4*, #2 TE,
#66 Ovr
4*, #19 TE 4*, 86, #2 TE,
#44 Ovr
4*, #5 TE,
#145 Ovr
4*, #5 TE,
#109 Ovr

There are a couple splits in Muhammad's rankings. Scout and ESPN both consider him the second-best tight end in the class and a top-75 overall prospect. 247 has him a cut below those two but still in blue-chip territory. Rivals, meanwhile, not only leaves him out of their top 250, they don't have him particularly close as the #19 TE; their #12 TE (Will Mallory, incidentally) is #250 overall.

Muhammad is listed at 6'4", 235 on both ESPN and 247/Scout*, and since he's done several major camps that's likely an accurate measurement. Rivals has him at 6'5", 225. Either way, he's got prototype size for a flex tight end and the frame to be a potential matchup nightmare as a true in-line TE.

*Scout and 247 have merged. They still have different rankings but there are no longer separate profile pages. It's weird, I know.

[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and more.]

Comments

Friday Recruitin’ Is Probably Not My Neighbor Mike

Friday Recruitin’ Is Probably Not My Neighbor Mike Comment Count

Seth September 29th, 2017 at 4:33 PM

[That’s not the usual author note: Ace is off today for a family thing so you get me.]

Ol’ Doyle Rules

Yes we found a second quarterback for the class, and lo Kevin Doyle already has a prospectin’ name: a commenter in Ace’s Hello post suggested “Ol’ Doyle Rules” and this somehow got past the Sandler-hatin’ boss so it’s official. We also got a handful of post-commitment takes to share, no thanks to longtime/beloved Ireland striker Kevin Doyle who chose to muddy up recent news searches by retiring from soccer yesterday.

INSCMagazine’s Evan Massey posted an interview yesterday with Doyle (the quarterback) where he shared what Michigan liked:

“He has said that he thinks I am a very good quarterback and have played well this year against very good talent (we have played three to four games against Top 25 talent: #4, #7, #14). He said that I have shown very good signs of knowing the game cerebrally.”

He fits the pattern. Doyle described his game as a cross between Aaron Rodgers and Alex Smith, two quarterbacks who tend to keep plays alive. Elsewhere, Rivals Adam Friedman on the apparent lack of offers:

He had his heart set on going to a Top 25 program and waited for one of those schools to come calling. In doing so, many of his earlier offers dried up.

Brandon Brown named offers from Iowa, MSU, Ole Miss, Nebraska, and West Virginia, FWIW. Also Yale and Princeton. In the first link Friedman also listed some areas for improvement:

He needs to consistently throw accurate passes and consistently get the ball out of his hand quickly," Friedman explained. "Those are things he's able to do early in games but it seems to fade late in the third and fourth quarters.

[Hit THE JUMP for what’s a guy gotta do to get a receiver offer, and some ill news from the southern front]

Comments

Tuesday Recruitin' Is Immune To Dizziness

Tuesday Recruitin' Is Immune To Dizziness Comment Count

Ace September 5th, 2017 at 2:00 PM

B Button Right, B Button Left, R2

The roundup took a hiatus during previewpalooza. I'd be remiss if I didn't post this run by commit Christian Turner from last week.

Balance: Hart-like.

All The Hintons, Please

This is one of the Hintons.

It's not five-star 2019 Michigan commit Chris Hinton, however. It's his younger brother, 2020 OT Myles Hinton, who wouldn't look out of place lining up at tackle for Michigan right now. While we'll have to wait a few years to see that, it seems close to an inevitability we will; here's Myles talking with TMI's Josh Newkirk about joining his brother in Ann Arbor:

“Yes we are,” Hinton said on playing with his brother in college. “Before he committed I still liked Michigan, they were high on my list. So it kind of reassured that I love the school. I feel like I’m really close with my brother, so if we were separated it wouldn’t be as fun in college I don’t think.”

The Hintons attended Saturday's game, which couldn't hurt matters, either. They'll be back on campus for the Rutgers game. Michigan is already off to a great start in the 2019 class; a commitment from Myles Hinton would be the perfect way to begin the 2020 haul.

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

Comments

Thursday Recruitin' Goes To The Source

Thursday Recruitin' Goes To The Source Comment Count

Ace August 17th, 2017 at 2:29 PM

Chris Hinton Slides Into Your DMs

ESPN released their initial Junior 300 for the 2019 class, and they're a major outlier for Michigan's top commit, five-star defensive lineman Chris Hinton. They rank Hinton, who's no lower than 14th overall and 2nd among SDEs on the other three sites, at 97th overall and 9th among DTs, with the rationale that they believe he's a better prospect on the offensive line:

Highly touted Hinton should switch to offense
Defensive tackle Christopher Hinton is the son of a former All-Pro offensive linemen. The younger Hinton should follow in his father's footsteps and switch to OL. The four-star Michigan commit is a stout run-defender, but defensively he would be more of role player and run stopper. As an OL, he possesses good flexibility, feet and a frame that can support more size and on that side of the ball, by contrast he can be an excellent, "full-time" player.

Many prospects would ignore this perceived slight or lash out at the site in question. Hinton chose a different tack and went straight to the source to see how he could improve:

That's certainly not how High School Me would've handled things.

Meanwhile, Michigan still did well in ESPN's rankings. The rest of the commits:

  • OH OG Nolan Rumler: #3 OG, #48 overall
  • KY DE Stephen Herron: #11 DE, #82 overall
  • IMG ILB Charles Thomas: #3 ILB, #250 overall

Two players in the top three at their position and two more in the top 100 overall. Not too shabby for a four-person class.

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

Comments

Thursday Recruitin' Is Not Concerned, Dude

Thursday Recruitin' Is Not Concerned, Dude Comment Count

Ace June 1st, 2017 at 12:58 PM

In-State Tackles Come In Pairs

Michigan added a pair of high-upside four-star in-state tackles last week in Jalen Mayfield (Hello) and Ryan Hayes (Hello). As per usual, there are some additional scouting reports that have come out after the commitments. Barton Simmons detailed why 247 ranks Mayfield higher than the other three sites:

"I think with Mayfield, you're seeing a guy who already possesses a lot of the tools you can't teach," he said. "He's long and extremely athletic for his size. Then you turn on his film and you're seeing a guy who is beating the hell out of the guy across the line from him on a consistent basis. Those are really three of the bigger things you look for in a high school offensive lineman; he has them in spades. In a 2018 tackle class that isn't the strongest, I think Mayfield is a guy who has the potential to develop into a first round pick down the line. Michigan will get time to develop him and work him into a big-time player. When you trust your weight program and can find a guy like this, you're going to want one like him 10 out of 10 times over a 330-lb. tackle who may be maxing out towards the end of his high school career."

247 ranks Mayfield as the top player in the state. Rivals has him way down at #19. Rivals' Josh Helmholdt explains why he's a bit wary:

"Any time you have to put weight on a prospect there are risks involved with that," Helmholdt explains. "You can’t perfectly project how that weight is going to affect their athleticism and with athleticism being one of Mayfield’s strengths, any additional weight is going to be a bit of a concern.

"The thing that concerns me when I look at him, frame wise, is that he doesn’t have those big coat-hanger shoulders that you look for on guys who need to add weight. The guys with shoulders like that are often able to add that weight and maintain athleticism a little easier in my experiences."

Scout's Allen Trieu, who's seen more of Mayfield than anyone else from what I can tell, doesn't share this concern:

As a sophomore, Jalen was about 230 pounds when we first saw him, then 245 the next time we saw him and now he is 260 pounds and measured nearly 6-foot-6 at the NIKE Opening Regional in Chicago, which is a tad taller than what we expected, so I am not concerned about his weight at all. He will fill in easily. He has not really been able to put forth his full effort into gaining weight as he plays basketball too and I, along with most schools, would much rather have to add weight to a kid than have to cut it off of him.

In message board rumors that seem too specific to be made up, a poster on the TMI board says Mayfield fielded an Alabama offer in the week leading up to his commitment and Brian Kelly made a late push for an in-person visit that Mayfield rebuffed.

There's been much less on the scouting front for Hayes, who's a bit out of the way in Traverse City and hasn't hit the camp circuit to gain exposure. We do have a fun note from Steve Lorenz about Michigan making up a lot of ground on Notre Dame to snag him:

This is a really nice win for Greg Frey over Notre Dame, as the Irish were well out in front to begin this recruitment (as Wiltfong posted yesterday). Frey is the potential beneficiary of two in-state players that fit his mold at the tackle position to a tee. You think about how the Wolverines were victimized by Florida State (more than anyone else) with speed rushers on the edge beating tackles consistently. Hayes and Mayfield are the types of prospects with the potential to slow those types of players down at the tackles. They're two really, really valuable commitments in that regard.

Lorenz thinks Hayes is arguably M's most important commit because of the flexibility he gives the staff in approaching recruiting at two positions: tackle and tight end. As detailed in his Hello post, Hayes will begin his career at TE while adding the requisite bulk to play OT.

Meanwhile, Michigan's other O-line commit, top-100 IN OG Emil Ekiyor, had previously mentioned his contact with the coaches hadn't been as frequent as he'd like, and Alabama emerged as a potential threat. In that light, Trieu's note that Ekiyor reached out to Mayfield after his commitment and said he's "all in" is comforting. The coaches won't let Ekiyor go without a fight.

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

Comments

Wednesday Recruitin' Likes 'Em Both And That Other One Too

Wednesday Recruitin' Likes 'Em Both And That Other One Too Comment Count

Brian April 19th, 2017 at 3:20 PM

Quarterback situation resolving soon

26_5203495

yo Milton

NV QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson announces in four days:

Just hours after returning home from a weekend visit to Ann Arbor, the four-star quarterback from Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman announced that he would be choosing between Michigan and UCLA on Apr. 23, ending what has been a fast ascending recruitment.

Lorenz recently flipped his crystal balls to UCLA, and many folks are following. Webb had been pessimistic a few weeks ago and hasn't given any indication he's heard differently. With Michigan out of visit ammo that would appear to be that.

If that recruitment ends in favor of the Bruins, Michigan moves on to its other main targets: FL QB Joe Milton and AZ QB Tyler Shough. They could get one... they could get both. Michigan recently told both DTR and Shough that they would take two QBs. That is a surprise in a small class after back-to-back high level prospects. That implies that Michigan likes all three of their targets quite a bit.

In Shough's case, so does Alabama:

"Coach (Tosh) Lupoi offered me and he told me I'm the QB they're looking for in this class. Jalen Hurts was more of a dual-threat type this last season but with their new offense they're trying to get back to more pro-style. They'd want me to command the offense. They came out of nowhere, really. I wasn't talking to them before but my coach gave me their number so I called them and they offered."

Whether that's an "offer" or an OFFER is, as always, unclear. Shough does have vague summer visit plans to Tuscaloosa. His May 13th visit to Michigan is still on and that could be a commit watch situation.

Meanwhile, Milton also visited for the spring game. Lorenz reports that the coaching staff is enamored with his general shape. Someone called him a "holy specimen," which is definitely a phrase used to describe angels instead of people. After returning he talked to 24/7 Florida mod Luke Stampini:

“The visit, it helped them move up, because I didn’t know Michigan was a school like that,” Milton admitted. “I didn’t know the background of Michigan, but now I do.”

Stampini thinks that it won't be Florida, the presumed leader, and that Michigan and Georgia are the main contenders. A decision won't be long coming here, either: Milton says he wants to commit this spring. We've put in a CB pick on Milton based on some things we've heard.

Either way won't be more than a month before Michigan's quarterback, or quarterbacks, situation is resolved.

Ditto instate OL?

Scout

Trieu has an article on upwardly mobile MI OL Ryan Hayes, who's moving towards a decision "sooner than late summer." It looks pretty good for Michigan:

"The most familiarity we had is with Coach Frey [at Michigan]," Hayes said. "He recruited Connor at Indiana and he and my family have a really good relationship."

"I had never been to Michigan actually," he added. "I just had never gotten there. It was really cool. It really blew me away and really surprised me actually."

It would be a "huge surprise" to Trieu if it wasn't Michigan, and in the near future. Frey loves bulking up athletic TE/OT types and Hayes was actually a tight end last year; this looks like a perfect match.

Meanwhile, MI OL Jalen Mayfield is going to be yet another Michigan/ND battle, it appears:

Grand Rapids (Mich.) Catholic Central four-star offensive tackle Jalen Mayfield will be in South Bend this weekend.

The 6-5, 255-pounder from the class of 2018, a former Minnesota commit, will make his first trip to Notre Dame in search of an offer from the Fighting Irish.

Mayfield recently worked out at The Opening Chicago and was terrific. He showed athleticism, impressive footwork, and the strength and physicality you look for in a top-level offensive tackle.

Just a few days ago Mayfield described his return visit to Michigan as "phenomenal" and named a final three of Michigan, MSU, and Iowa, so ND's interest is new and probably the only thing that can threaten Michigan's standing.

Side note: Mayfield makes it eight guys so far who have probably been down to Michigan and ND. Five of those have gone ND's way, with Christian Turner currently the Michigan win. Weird, since ND went 4-8 last year.

Also in instate OL going off the board in the near future or recent past: happy trails to MI OL Tyrone Sampson Jr, who committed to Syracuse. Sampson recruitment is an odd one. Despite consistent high level praise from recruiting analysts he never picked up big, or even middling, offers. That includes MSU, despite the prospect that the Spartans will be shut out of the top 8 in state for the second straight year. Sampson might be a name who re-emerges late in the cycle if Michigan has an unexpected amount of room.

Uh... ditto the secondary?

4553638

imagine the jerseys if the Green twins commit

Michigan's hosted what might be their top three remaining secondary targets just after the spring game: TX CB twins Gemon and German Green and NJ S Shayne Simon both took in Ann Arbor early this week. Simon's mom and aunt are both alums; Lorenz and Webb both assert that Michigan has been pedal-to-the-metal with his recruitment. He's a the type of kid where ND/Stanford are the threats, FWIW.

Meanwhile the Green twins are candidates to drop soon. Webb asserts that his gut tells him that if signing day was today it would be Michigan for both; Texas 24/7 mod EJ Holland and Lorenz have both put in CBs for both to Michigan. Holland believes that both guys are interested in sticking closer to home but the package deal is a major consideration—as it often is with twins—and Michigan is currently the biggest offer for German, who tore his ACL last year.

Knife edge here, in your author's e-pinion. If they do not drop in the near future I'd interpret that as the Greens hoping that a Big 12 school will offer German as well and that Michigan will eventually fade away once that happens.

Mustapha re-eval

Some early chatter that Michigan and TX TE Mustapha Muhammad were very likely to get together faded, but after Muhammad returned to Ann Arbor for the spring game there's been a serious reversal in fortunes. Webb lets you read between the lines:

“I’m definitely taking my visits,” he continued. “I’ve always told myself that I plan on committing on national signing day.  That’s when I want to publicly announce where I decide to go to school.”

Publicly might be the operative word.

Judging by the 247 crystal ball: yup. Starting with Lorenz four days ago, 21 folks have issued M predictions, including Wiltfong and all the relevant Texas experts. Any guy taking his recruitment to signing day and going on visits is some threat to change his mind, but it really looks like it would be a change of mind if that were to happen.

Let's re-project the class

I did this in February, when it was very silly. It is much less silly now. So let's do it:

State Position Player Approx. Stars Confidence Level
AZ QB Tyler Shough 3.5 High
GA RB Christian Turner 3 Commit
USA FB Some Guy 3 Low
NJ WR Jahan Dotson 4 Moderate
WA WR Tre'Shaun Harrison 4 Moderate
FL TE Will Mallory 4 High
NY TE Jeremy Ruckert 4.5 Moderate
TX TE Mustapha Muhammad 4 High
IN OL Emil Ekiyor 4 Commit
FL OL Daniel Faalele ? Moderate
MI OL Ryan Hayes 4 Very High
MI OL Jalen Mayfield 3.5 Very High
NJ DT Tyler Friday 4.5 Moderate
MI DE Aidan Hutchinson 4 Commit
FL DE Nik Bonitto 4 Low
GA LB Otis Reese 4 Commit
TX CB Gemon Green 4 High
TX CB German Green 3 High
GA S Myles Sims 4 Commit
NJ S Shayne Simon 4 High

Still holding at 20 members of the class, FWIW.

Grudging 2019 section

MI CB Marvin Grant did not make it to the spring game because he could not get a ride; not likely to impact his recruitment, which seems to favor Michigan early. On the other hand, Michigan fielded a significant 2019 visit when KY DE Stephon Herron Jr returned to campus:

[Herron] was palling around with Emil Ekiyor quite a bit and was permanently smiling. I saw both of his parents afterwards walking around The Al Glick Field House and they were all smiles as well. I'd bet that their conversation on the way home was very, very pro Michigan.

That's a second long distance unofficial in two months for Herron and that was enough for us to put in an early CB for him. OSU has fielded three visits, so that's speculative. 

KY DT Jacob Lacey was highly positive on twitter after his spring game visit:

Michigan is "right at the top" for him; ND leads on the crystal ball.

You can pencil FL LB Anthony Solomon into the 2019 class, as his second long-distance unofficial to Ann Arbor was a five-day affair, which may be unprecedented in the annals of unofficial visits.

NJ CB Nyquee Hawkins visited for the spring game as well.

Etc.

Lorenz says he's hearing "amazingly different" things on CT CB and Miami commit Josh Jobe, which range from him sticking with said commit to being a Michigan lock to being an Alabama flip. That "CT" is new, by the way, as Jobe is attending Cheshire Academy this fall. Don Brown is big in Japan Connecticut, so that can't hurt. FWIW, Tarik Black just graduated from Cheshire.

Michigan made a "huge move" with MO WR Kamyrn Babb; Wiltfong still sticking with OSU CB. Massive OH WR L'Christian Smith is "definitely" interested in Michigan; former teammate Tyree Kinnel is helping recruit him. Kid is nicknamed "blue," so that's a good sign, right?

OH DE Malik Vann commits to Cincinnati over Michigan State. Which is a thing that's happening now.

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