Friday Recruitin' Evidently Doesn't Need A Spring Game

Friday Recruitin' Evidently Doesn't Need A Spring Game

Submitted by Ace on April 13th, 2018 at 3:14 PM

Big-Time Visit Weekend Remains Big-Time Visit Weekend

Frankly, I wasn't expecting to write this post today once Michigan cancelled its spring game, but the recruiting process cares not for spring weather, and the coaches have ensured this is still a major visit weekend.

TMI's Sam Webb has a comprehensive, free rundown of this weekend's visitors. I'll hit on the highlights, including all of the official visitors—remember, this is the first year since the rule change that allows OVs in the spring.

The headliner is five-star OH DE Zach Harrison, who will spend Saturday on campus before heading home Sunday, per 247's Bill Kurelic. This will be an unofficial visit for Harrison, whose recruitment is shaping up to be a Midwest battle with Ohio State currently holding all 12 of his crystal ball picks. Michigan and Penn State are chasing the Buckeyes. The Wolverine's Brandon Brown is hearing Michigan is at least making things interesting:

"It was a two-horse race for a while with Ohio State and Penn State but Michigan has probably made it a three-horse race in recent weeks," a source close to the situation said. "I don't think anyone else has a realistic shot, though he'll still list Clemson and Notre Dame."

This weekend's visit will be important for making up ground on the Buckeyes, who are still the presumed favorite.

While this isn't setting up to be a carpal tunnel weekend, Sam has sounded a potential commitment watch—albeit without a gut feeling—for four-star FL CB Te'Cory Couch, a very soft Tennessee commit who's expected to wind up at either Michigan or Miami (YTM). He told 247's Andrew Ivins those two schools are the ones he's most focused on, and he's certainly hearing the right things from the Wolverine coaches:

"I just want to see what it's like there how the players live and stuff like that," he said when asked about the Wolverines. "I just want to see what they do on a day-to-day basis and the education. I'm talking a lot with [defensive coordinator Don Brown]. He loves me. He tells me that I'm the No. 1 corner on his board all the time."

A decision could come soon. While Sam didn't issue that gut feeling, he put in a Crystal Ball pick for Michigan, which is pretty close.

[Hit THE JUMP for more on weekend visitors.]

Thursday Recruitin' Goes To The Source

Thursday Recruitin' Goes To The Source

Submitted by Ace on 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.]

Thursday Recruitin' Reheats Star Debate

Thursday Recruitin' Reheats Star Debate

Submitted by Ace on August 3rd, 2017 at 2:08 PM

There's enough to cover from the BBQ that I'm splitting this edition of the roundup into two parts. Today I'll cover the five recent commits; tomorrow I'll go over the rest.

If you missed them, the five recent Hello posts: Luke Schoonmaker, Nolan Rumler, Stephen Herron, Cameron McGrone, Sammy Faustin.

Sammy Faustin and When Stars Really Matter

Let's start this roundup with the most recent of Michigan's slew of commits, three-star FL S/CB Sammy Faustin. It was quite clear from the comments that many around here didn't see much past this...

Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
3*, #75 CB,
#876 Ovr
3* CB NR CB 3*, 86, #74 CB,
#730 Ovr
3*, #78 CB,
#870 Ovr

...before passing judgment on Faustin and questioning why the coaches would take such a low-rated player this long before signing day. One of the main arguments against Faustin is one we've made many times here: star rankings really do matter.

They do. There's a mountain of evidence to back up that assertion. Context is key, however. The recruiting rankings that matter are the final rankings, once the recruiting services have as much data as they can gather. Nobody is going back to look at rankings at the time of a player's commitment. 

Faustin hasn't even played his senior season. We already have a couple recent examples of who-dat defensive back commits taken by this staff developing into (or being recognized as) solid prospects by the time signing day rolled around. Josh Metellus was either a two-star or unranked on all four services when he committed in the 2016 class; three sites subsequently gave him the Michigan bump to three stars, while ESPN got fresh eyes on him and rated him a four-star prospect with an evaluation to match. Metellus saw the field as a true freshman, impressed, and should start this year. More recently, Benjamin St-Juste was a literal unknown when he committed—initial camp reports got his name wrong—then starred at The Opening and cracked the 247 top 100.


Faustin is skeptical of your armchair scouting.

"Trust the coaches" can be a lazy deflection. Between Jim Harbaugh and Don Brown, though, it's hard to question these guys when they identify a player they want early. At the very least, we should let the process play out a little further. Sometimes it only takes a day; read Scout's post-commitment writeup on Faustin and tell me where you think he should be ranked:

Faustin, who passes the eye test with prototypical size in the secondary, is a versatile defender who does a great job of reading and reacting from his cornerback position. Once dissecting the play, Faustin turns heads with the ability to burst out of his back pedal by pushing off his back foot, flashing impressive acceleration in the process. This is a kid who also shows decent technique for a cornerback of his stature.

Faustin is one who does not shy away from physicality either. Once finding his lane to the ball carrier, Faustin closes on the ball in a hurry while also playing under control. There are times when he loses track of his tackling technique, but for the most part, Faustin is a sound tackler in space who strikes with good pad level. He is not the most explosive kid and can work on his flexibility, but does not have much of a problem flipping his hips and readjusting. Faustin is a defender who provides that pop at the point of attack.

For a safety who'll cover the slot, that's a pretty ideal evaluation. It jives with the junior film, which doesn't look like that of the #78 corner in the country. The Wolverine's Brandon Brown caught up with Tom Lemming for a scouting report, and this one also sounds like it's meant for someone better than a middling three-star:

"Faustin is one of my 'Other Players to Watch' in Florida," Lemming said. "He's 6-2, 175 pounds and has legit 4.5 speed. He has good range, quick hands and loose hips and does a very good job of playing the ball. He needs to add weight and strength but is an exceptional athlete."

In related news, recent tight end commit Luke Schoonmaker got a 14-spot bump in Scout's tight end position rankings, added a three-star ranking from Rivals, and got evaluated by ESPN, which now has him as the #19 in-line TE in the country. There's plenty more in last week's roundup.

If you're going to star-gaze without watching the film, I recommend at least waiting until February.

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

Hello From The Future: Nolan Rumler

Hello From The Future: Nolan Rumler

Submitted by Ace on July 29th, 2017 at 12:15 PM

It didn't take long for this weekend's BBQ at the Big House to produce a commitment. Four-star 2019 Akron (OH) Archbishop Hoban offensive lineman Nolan Rumler, whose father and grandfather are both alums, made his long-anticipated commitment this morning:

Even though Rumler has been long considered a Michigan lock—Steve Lorenz has had a Crystal Ball pick in for him since September of 2015—he fielded offers from the likes of Alabama, Georgia, Notre Dame, and Ohio State before ultimately going with his childhood favorites.

Rumler is Michigan's second commit in the 2019 class, joining four-star IMG linebacker Charles Thomas.

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
4*, #15 OT,
#123 Ovr
4* OG NR OT 4*, 92, #15 OT,
#123 Ovr
4*, #18 OT,
#142 Ovr

I know Scout and 247 have semi-merged but this is a bit much: the two, which are the only sites to give Rumler a numerical ranking, have him in the exact same spot in the both the position and overall rankings.

While he's got time left to grow, for now Rumler isn't quite prototype tackle-sized; he's listed at 6'4" and either 290 or 300 pounds on all four sites. That's great size this early, especially since he doesn't look like he's carrying much bad weight, but if he doesn't get a little taller his future may be limited to the interior of the line.

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

Friday Recruitin' Coaches Up The Youths

Friday Recruitin' Coaches Up The Youths

Submitted by Ace on July 28th, 2017 at 2:41 PM

BBQ Visitors: McGrone Ready To Commit

The annual BBQ at the Big House takes place this weekend; in fact, some visitors are already on campus. As usual, it's one of the biggest visit weekends of the year, and it should produce at least one commitment. Four-star IN LB Cameron McGrone, who recently shot into the top 50 in 247's rankings, is visiting and will then announce his decision on Monday at noon between Michigan, Notre Dame, and Indiana, per TMI's Evan Petzold.

The Irish were seen as Michigan's biggest competition but the Wolverines have all the momentum; they have the last 19 picks on McGrone's Crystal Ball, including those from Steve Wiltfong, Allen Trieu, and (most tellingly) Irish247's Tom Loy. It'd be a shock if McGrone went elsewhere, so expect a lot more on him in this space come Monday.

Along with many current commits, some top 2018 prospects will also be on campus this weekend. The notables, culled from 247's Steve LorenzTMI's Brice Marich, and The Wolverine's Brandon Brown:

  • Top-100 MO DT Michael Thompson, who has Michigan in his top five but looks to be leaning towards in-state Mizzou at the moment.
  • Four-star CA S Bryan Addison, who Lorenz believes is M's top safety target in the cycle. USC is the favorite but this is his first visit to campus.
  • Four-star TX OT Rafiti Ghirmai, a longtime target despite being somewhat off the radar who may be a tough pull from Texas.
  • Three-star FL CB Sammy Faustin, who Lorenz says M "quietly lead" his recruitment with Don Brown spearheading the effort.
  • I usually don't take much note of visits by current commits, but in the case of Emil Ekiyor, who's coming off a visit to Alabama, his is worth mentioning.
  • Four-star MO DE Ronnie Perkins, an Oklahoma lean and perhaps M's top defensive end target, is a maybe as he's looking for transportation to Ann Arbor, per Lorenz.
  • Lorenz reports that Michigan is also expecting top-100 MD DE Eyabi Anoma, who plays for Biff Poggi at St. Frances, to be on campus this weekend. TomVH subsequently reported, however, that Anoma plans to visit Maryland. Crootin!

Michigan may not add to the 2018 class this weekend beyond McGrone, but if they can make progress towards solidifying Ekiyor's pledge it'd be a successful BBQ. A big visit for Thompson is high on the wish list, too.

Meanwhile, there's a star-studded group visiting from the 2019 class, which I'll cover after the...

[JUMP]

Friday Recruitin' Tips Domino

Friday Recruitin' Tips Domino

Submitted by Ace on June 30th, 2017 at 12:18 PM

Hoops: Johns To Michigan, Nance To Northwestern

If you missed it yesterday, Michigan picked up a commitment from East Lansing four-star Brandon Johns, who could be a day-one starter at power forward for the Wolverines. The pace of basketball recruiting has picked up in a major way, and this commitment looks like it's going to tip a couple more dominoes.

Fast-rising Belleville wing Gabe Brown, a potential backup plan for Michigan's top choices, committed to Michigan State a couple weeks ago—perhaps a sign MSU knew where it stood with Johns. Shortly after Johns committed, four-star OH wing Pete Nance, who was expected to take an official visit to Ann Arbor this weekend and likely commit, pledged to Northwestern; to be clear, this was not a case of Michigan passing on a prospect after landing their top target—they still wanted Nance even though he's had an underwhelming spring.

This afternoon another in-state spring standout, Grand Rapid Catholic Central four-star PF Marcus Bingham, also pledged to the Spartans. Meanwhile, Michigan is hosting three-star NC wing Hunter Tyson on an unofficial visit today, and he's an offer candidate with Nance off the board.

Michigan currently has two open spots in the 2018 class with point guard David DeJulius also in the fold. With Beilein now recruiting with attrition in mind it's likely they'll bring in a five-man class. They'd like to take another combo forward—top candidates include Jerome Hunter, Ignas Brazdeikis, and Tyson—and a shooting guard, where they've zeroed in on Noah Locke (Tyson could also be a fit there but a recent growth spurt got him to 6'7", so that may not be ideal).

That third spot in the class could go to another wing—the pipe dream is a Hunter/Brazdeikis haul—but a rumor emerged from The Michigan Insider mod DOTMAN this morning that could change those plans: big man Taylor Currie, currently a 2019 commit, says he's reclassifying to 2018. That gives Michigan insurance against Moe Wagner departing early for the NBA; it also means they'll likely only be able to grab one of the highly touted combo forwards. While that kills the pipe dream, Michigan isn't the outright leader for either player; Scout's Brian Snow has mentioned that Hunter may be a Xavier lean, and there's plenty of competition for Brazdeikis, who isn't expected to decide any time soon.

There are a number of possibilities, and as Nance's surprise commitment to Northwestern yesterday shows, it's tough to confidently predict any one outcome.

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

Monday Recruitin' Chose A Good Weekend

Monday Recruitin' Chose A Good Weekend

Submitted by Ace on September 28th, 2015 at 3:39 PM

Home Shutouts Of Ranked Teams: Good For Recruiting

Well, that was a pretty good weekend to host the nation's top-ranked prospect for an official visit. While five-star NJ DT Rashan Gary hasn't spoken with reporters yet, 247's Steve Lorenz is hearing some very positive news emerging from a source in the know ($):

Heard from what I'd call a solid source that the two schools Gary has been highest on throughout the process are the two schools that most have connected him with: Michigan and Auburn. We were also told today that those around him would prefer that he go to Michigan. That's not necessarily including Mom, who we're told legitimately wants him to make his own decision.

We'll see what he says on the record; it looks like Michigan has positioned themselves about as well as they could heading into Gary's next four officials. If you tune in to MGoRadio this evening (5-7 pm, 1050 WTKA), Steve will be on to talk about Gary's visit and more on recruiting.

And, just as I'm about to hit publish, 247's Steve Wiltfong publishes an article in which he caught with Gary's mother, who accompanied him on the visit ($):

“I think he came out of it with a great experience,” Coney said. “When we got back to the airport in Detroit everyone had on Michigan gear, and even when we landed in Newark, he saw all the people wearing Michigan gear, and everyone knew Rashan and he was a big deal in the airport and big deal on the plane, and I think he saw a Michigan degree does travel and it is substantial.”

Oh, and then Wiltfong put in a Crystal Ball selection for Michigan. Being good is good, as it turns out.

A topic that'll surely come up is last weekend's other uncommitted official visitor, four-star CO DE/OLB Carlo Kemp, whose quotes to 247's Steve Wiltfong were to say the least quite promising ($):

“Yeah honestly [Michigan's lead has grown],” he said. “I’ve fallen in love with anything Michigan and Maize and Blue. Just like I did when I was up there the first time I had another good experience.”

The hold up on a possible commitment?

“I just want to make sure I’m ready,” Kemp said. “I really want to go out and see Notre Dame again. I’m going out there in two weeks. After I see that I think I’ll have a better understanding of where I belong the next four years.”

Kemp would fill a huge need at the BUCK position, which Mario Ojemudia currently occupies; he'd have a good shot at seeing the field right away with only Lawrence Marshall set to return at the position in 2016.

Speaking of potential commitments, The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan caught up with 2017 GA RB Kurt Taylor, who compared last weekend's unofficial visit favorably with the Georgia-South Carolina game he took in the previous week—"The Michigan game was just... 'more.' It was more exciting, more fans, the atmosphere was better at Michigan, it was just 'more.'"—and hinted strongly that he'll be in the fold before too long ($):

"I'll make my decision after this year, after my junior year," he said. "I will definitely know where I want to go by then. After yesterday, I think I know already. It was a lot to like there."

That could be music to the ears of Michigan fans.

Finally, 2017 IN WR Mac Hippenhammer told TMI's Brice Marich his visit was "great" and noted Amara Darboh's catch was "nasty," which, agreed ($).

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