Tuesday Recruitin' Devours Leftovers

Tuesday Recruitin' Devours Leftovers

Submitted by Ace on August 9th, 2016 at 2:22 PM

BBQ Leftovers: Hudson Commits

Three-star OH DT James Hudson committed to Michigan yesterday, giving the Wolverines a head-to-head win over Michigan State. TMI's Brice Marich made his way to Toledo for Hudson's announcement and scored an interview afterwards in which Hudson detailed the reasoning behind his decision:

"Michigan is just a different type of feeling," he said. I could really connect with lot of the players there like Carlo Kemp and Rashan Gary, me and those two get along really well. Me and Rashan, we speak almost every day. We're great friends and we're going to be great teammates."

"I really spoke with Coach Mattison of course, DL oach, also spoke with Coach Brown and Coach Zordich. My relationship with Coach Matty is great. He's definitely my favorite D-Line coach I've met. Coach Matty has a plan for me and I like that."

That plan is for Hudson to play three-tech. Some sites still list him as an SDE, but he's reportedly up in the 290-pound range already. We'll (eventually) see what Brian comes up with for a YMRPFSPA; Hudson's impressive strength reminded me of Willie Henry when I watched his highlights.

The Wolverine's Brandon Brown caught up with Hudson's high school coach, who in detailing what he's working on with Hudson this spring may have explained why Hudson's first step doesn't stand out on film:

"Here’s how good his camp’s been thus far. We’ve been focusing on his first step being a little bit too big. That gets him a little overextended sometimes. That’s it," Dempsey said. "His hands are great, his feet are great, his motor has been great. It’s been very limited in terms of what we need him to work on.

"The biggest thing is that we’re going to watch him since he’s playing both ways so much. The effort he’s been putting into offensive tackle has been just as good as what he’s been doing on defense. We’re expecting a lot so I’m glad he’s expecting a lot out of himself. He’s a disruptive force at this level. He’s really started to master his position so I’m very excited for his senior season."

If that gets corrected, I really like Hudson's potential; as we saw with Henry, overwhelming strength can make up for a lot.

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

Thursday Recruitin' Tethers Self To Laptop

Thursday Recruitin' Tethers Self To Laptop

Submitted by Ace on August 4th, 2016 at 4:00 PM

BBQ Visitors: Offense

The weekend in which I can't leave my laptop for more than 30 seconds is nearly upon us. The BBQ at the Big House is on Saturday, and it features a visitor list absolutely loaded with top-end talent. 247's Steve Lorenz has the full, updated list posted for free, as well as an excellent VIP post that goes in-depth on each uncommitted 2017 and 2018 prospect who'll be on campus. I'll do my best to cover the highlights. Keep in mind that every 2017 Michigan commit save for Aubrey Solomon, Kai-Leon Herbert, and AJ Dillon is slated to be in attendance.

The headliner, of course, is #1 overall prospect Najee Harris, the California running back committed to Alabama. According to Lorenz, Bama insiders think Michigan is the top threat to flip him from his current commitment, and Harris will be accompanied by his mother on the trip. Harris won't be the only back at the BBQ; four-star UT RB Sione Heimuli-Lund is a Stanford commit who could wind up at RB, FB, or LB (or, given Harbaugh, all of them).

Michigan's top four targets at wide receiver will all be in attendance. Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins need no introduction at this point; Michigan leads for Collins and is the presumed leader for DPJ. Four-star IA WR Oliver Martin is ramping up his recruitment now that baseball season is over—this weekend should give us a good idea of where Michigan stands compared to MSU, Iowa, Wisconsin, and his other contenders. Four-star CT WR Tarik Black has Michigan in his top group, though Lorenz thinks Notre Dame and Stanford are out ahead at this point. Michigan's top tight end on the board, four-star CA TE Josh Falo, will also be at the BBQ.

With three-star AL OT Toryque Bateman naming Michigan his leading heading into his BBQ visit, the offensive line is the most likely (though far from only) source of a weekend commitment—Bateman pegged his chances of committing at 50% and potentially higher if the visit goes as well as his last trip to Ann Arbor. Four-star tackles Isaiah Wilson and Aaron Banks are also on the list; Wilson is a Michigan/Bama battle right now, while the Wolverines are hoping to lure Banks away from top-tier Pac-12 programs.

As I was writing this, Steve reported that four-star OT Henry Bainivalu will make the trip from Washington. This is the second unofficial for Bainivalu, which is especially notable for a prospect from the other side of the country—Michigan definitely has a shot, and...

...oh boy, we might have a situation here.

One prospect who'd been mentioned as a possible visitor who won't make it: five-star KY OT Jedrick Wills, who looks like a longshot at best.

In the 2018 class, four-star Oak Park OG Marquan McCall—who could also wind up at DT—will accompany his committed teammate, OT JaRaymond Hall. While I've avoided mentioning the 2019 class, early rankings have Belleville OT Devontae Dobbs as a five-star prospect; he'll be at the BBQ with a couple classmates from a program that's got a lot of young talent.

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

Monday Recruitin' Follows The Tide

Monday Recruitin' Follows The Tide

Submitted by Ace on August 1st, 2016 at 4:00 PM

Watch This At Your Own Peril

The above is a 20-minute long junior highlight reel of the nation's #1 overall recruit, Antioch (CA) RB Najee Harris, who's currently committed to Alabama. It is now relevant to your interests, per 247's Steve Lorenz:

Michigan will host the nation's top overall prospect for their BBQ at the Big House, as Antioch (CA) 2017 five-star running back Najee Harris will be in Ann Arbor on August 6th for the annual recruiting event.

The visit was actually set over a month ago when Michigan, in a remarkable coincidence, hosted a satellite camp at Harris's high school. While Alabama insiders feel confident in the Tide's chances of holding onto Harris, Lorenz isn't ruling out M's chances of a flip:

We've written a lot lately about Michigan narrowing their recruiting board down heading into the season. Linebacker...cornerback....wide receiver...these are all spots where Michigan has concentrated their efforts on the nation's elite. At running back, it currently appears to be Najee Harris and everybody else.

I think the staff's chances with him are better than people realize. A visit on his own dime is of course noteworthy as it always is, but in talking to some sources closer to the Michigan side of things following the Antioch camp, there's a belief that he's a fit for Jim Harbaugh's culture and what he's trying to do at Michigan.

Don't watch that video unless you want to get dangerously excited about the possibility of landing Harris, which won't be easy at all—Bama isn't Michigan's only competition, as USC, UCLA, Oregon, and Cal are also in contention.

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

Friday Recruitin' Plays Point-Center

Friday Recruitin' Plays Point-Center

Submitted by Ace on July 29th, 2016 at 2:30 PM

Large Human Favors Michigan

The BBQ at the Big House on August 6th is by far the biggest recruiting event of the summer for Michigan, and the list of potential visitors—and potential commits—is growing seemingly by the hour. The biggest news of the week, in both literal and figurative terms, is that three-star AL OT Toryque Bateman will take his second unofficial to Ann Arbor of the summer for the BBQ. The 6'8"(!), 305-pound tackle released a top five yesterday with Michigan on top, and he confirmed to Wolverine247 that the Wolverines indeed lead for him.

247's Isaiah Hole posted that Bateman is a take for the coaching staff and subsequently put in a Crystal Ball for Michigan; Steve Lorenz followed suit. If Bateman does in fact commit soon, that would bring M's O-line count for the class up to five with several top prospects still on the board. It looks like the coaches are willing to go up to seven OL for the class, and if the right prospects want to join in, we might even see a current commit be encouraged to look around. (To be clear, that last bit is speculation based on Harbaugh's recruiting style, not any concrete info, and I suspect he's learned from last year's Swenson fiasco.)

One such lineman could be four-star NY OT Isaiah Wilson, who will also be an attendance at the BBQ, as will four-star CA OT Aaron Banks, whose name hasn't come up much (distance will do that) despite his high interest in Michigan.

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

Friday Recruitin' Divides 300 Pound Baby

Friday Recruitin' Divides 300 Pound Baby

Submitted by Brian on June 24th, 2016 at 12:44 PM

Maybe we can split him in half

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wingspaaaaaaaan

AJC reporter Jeff Sentell appeared on the DawgNation podcast (DawgNation appears to be an AJC silo for Georgia athletics content) to talk recruiting, and naturally struck on GA DT Aubrey Solomon. Sentell talked to both Solomon and mom and came away saying that "from listening to [Solomon's] mother, that's 100% committed right there" and that he would be "stunned if Aubrey Solomon went anywhere but the University of Michigan." Sentell further reports that Solomon ducked out of the visit for a moment, claiming he had to go to the bathroom, so he could call his mom and get her blessing to pull the trigger. That's the opposite of a high-pressure pitch that might backfire as time goes by.

So of course the Georgia 247 site is reporting that Solomon will visit Georgia in July. This isn't as bad as it sounds: the visit was planned in advance of the sudden turn in Solomon's recruitment. It's common for guys to follow through on their word when coaches ask them to. I wouldn't be worried about that visit; any subsequent ones would be game on.

FWIW, that article contains a number of positive quotes about Georgia from Solomon's mother that were gathered before the trip to Ann Arbor. While I don't doubt Georgia is at least some threat the article gives off a bit of a whiff of saving face amongst subscribers—Sentell appears to have the latest, and he's considerably more neutral than a team site.

Give 'em the clamps, Holmes

CA CB Deommodore "Clamp Clampington" Lenoir hasn't drawn much mention around these parts since he first popped up on the radar, but Brandon Brown catches up with him and discovers he is planning an official, ideally when CA CB Darnay Holmes comes in. That would be all right. Argh Dave Brandon, part MCMXI:

"I really wanted to go to Michigan against Michigan State or Ohio State but those are both away."

Nebraska and Oregon are the other officials he's certain of. [UPDATE: Lenoir committed to Oregon yesterday. Nevermind.]

Speaking of Holmes, it looks like David Long's presence in Ann Arbor means at least a little something:

Holmes also has three officials he knows he'll take: Nebraska, OSU, and Michigan. The date for the M visit is also up in the air; he'll go to Columbus for the Game. UCLA's also involved  heavily.

I see that eyebrow, but don't scoff at the Cornhuskers. Nebraska is doing some work in California this year. They've got two commits from Holmes's teammates, both four stars.

Hello Harley?

On Wednesday I mentioned that Steve Lorenz had fired off a crystal ball for FL WR Mike Harley to Michigan. Yesterday Brandon Brown interviewed Harley, who says Michigan is his #1 and he will be pulling the trigger "either this weekend or next weekend," which gives other schools vanishingly little time to catch up.

Despite our KJ Hamler-related garment-rending, Harley looks like a solid pickup should he follow through. His stock is on the rise after an excellent Five Star Challenge…

…and whatever spurred 247 to put him on the ol' rankings rocket:

image

Blue is 247, green the composite. (That line is also an excellent demonstration of the usual pattern for recruits: get ranked, drop slowly as more dudes get slotted in front of you, big change only when you get re-evaluated.)

Baylor recruits released

Per Texas sources, Baylor's released five of the seven players who wanted out. The main guys of interest to Michigan fans in the aftermath of the Devery Hamilton are the two offensive linemen; Barking Carnival believes that TX OL Patrick Hudson will head to Texas and that TX OL JP Urquidez is a possibility "depending on mutual interest and swiftly tightening [scholarship] numbers." Urquidez is a 6'6" tackle and composite four-star who Michigan did have some early contact with. Longshot, obviously.

Quick hits

AL OL Toryque Bateman named Michigan and Tennessee leaders. He'll announce a top eight shortly, one that presumably includes those two schools. CA OL Chuck Filiaga has no top list but definitely wants to visit. Moving to Texas this fall so distance probably not much of a factor.

NV DT Greg Rogers is planning a summer unofficial and potential official visit this fall. Lorenz isn't enthused about M's chances with him.

On the other hand, Lorenz moved UT DT Jay Tufele up on 247's listing of Michigan's prospect as he is "far and away" the DT Michigan would most like to pair with Solomon. An OSU/M battle could be on the way; Michigan has a Polynesian edge in that case.

MI S Jaylen Kelly-Powell on Jourdan Lewis:

"He's a great player, a phenomenal person," Kelly-Powell said of Lewis. "He's humble, he's a great person just to be around. ... I watch him a lot and try to be just like him, try to be as good as him."

Kelly-Powell remains the lockiest lock on the board.

OH DE James Hudson reports back from his visit over the weekend, telling Brice Marich it was a "ten of ten". Hudson also provided some clarity on what spot Michigan is recruiting him for:

"I fit right into their defense because of my size. It means a lot (hearing about early playing time) and I feel like I could be a dominant 3-tech for them. They do a lot of the things that I do at my high school.”

Hudson's already 280 so that makes sense. If Hudson is a DT prospect for Michigan then you can fit a guy like CA DE DJ Johnson in the class relatively easily.

A Rivals reporter caught up with TX LB Baron Browning after his trips to Michigan and Notre Dame last weekend. Browning doesn't tip his hand at all, but making those trips with his brother and former Harbaugh player Barry can't hurt. Baron on Barry on Harbaugh:

“…he said ‘One thing I will say about Coach Harbaugh is that he is going to get the best out of you. He said that Harbaugh is really competitive. … He said that Coach Tolbert would definitely have me right and ready to compete."

A second planned unofficial to OSU next month is off. No indication where he's leaning or even where he might visit officially. Dude is one of the mystery recruits of the cycle.

Josh Henschke reports from Michigan's NorCal camp, which appears to be one of the more loaded camps they've had. CA DT Popo Aumave, CA DE DJ Johnson, CA TE Josh Falo and CA OL Aaron Banks all say they will take visits; CA RB Najee Harris also attended and worked out.

Johnson told Rivals that Michigan is "around his top schools" in part because Michigan will let him wear #1. I can get behind a DE with 1 on his jersey. Aumave says he'll officially visit M, USC, and probably Oregon.

So here's this guy

Also in dramatic smokebomb recruit entrances: GA LB Dennis Bell tells Maize and Blue News that he was on the verge of committing to Michigan:

Working at the U-M’s Shine Time Camp this week, he impressed the coaching staff enough to receive a scholarship offer from the Maize and Blue on Thursday. That was significant for Bell, who originally planned on committing the instant the offer came through, describing Michigan as his dream school. Ultimately though, cooler heads pulled him back from making the early decision.

“I was going to announce it today on Twitter, but then my coach was like ‘don’t do it yet,’” Bell said of his plan to commit. “He said wait until later in the summer. I think it will probably be the week before we go back to school.”

Bell, a former teammate of Elysee Mbem-Bosse, is a two-star only ranked by two sites and only has Georgia State and Miami (Not That Miami) offers per 247. His composite ranking is around 1700.

I'm dubious that this is actually a thing. Michigan appears to be "offering" people for PR purposes. For example, there was recently a farcical exchange between various sites about an offer to NC QB Jackson Gibbs, who is 1) a 2017 QB and 2) the grandson of Joe Gibbs. Gibbs reported an offer; various reporters said this was not a thing; Rivals got quotes that insisted it was a full offer, not a PWO; Rivals then clarified that this offer was not in fact committable. Soooooo… yeah. The destruction of the English language for marketing purposes continues apace.

Anyway, I don't expect anything to come out of either recruitment.

Okay then

Happy trails to CA OL Wyatt Davis, who announces today. Nobody expects it to be Michigan; OSU appears to be it.

Wednesday Recruiting Evaluates Stickiness

Wednesday Recruiting Evaluates Stickiness

Submitted by Brian on June 22nd, 2016 at 2:19 PM

Ace is on vacation! This post is already long! I'm posting it today!

On the Solomon commitment

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Solomon and Reese [Sam Webb]

These days, the flood of "he won't stick" assertions in the aftermath of an unexpected commit from a far-flung high school prospect is inevitable. They certainly rolled in for GA DT Aubrey Solomon, both from the Michigan and SEC ends. Just like "offers" and OFFERS there are "commitments" and COMMITMENTS. The concern with Solomon is that he's issued the former.

Despite the fact that there's no evidence behind this assertion, people thinking this are not crazy. Michigan's already seen a GA commit peace out once the big local teams came in. But outright pessimism is unwarranted. Reasons Solomon will stick:

  • Solomon already has big time offers and just visited Alabama and Georgia, who were previously thought to be the main contenders. He's seen what his leaders have to offer already and it's not like a bigger school than Bama or UGA can throw their hat in the ring.
  • Michigan also picked up a commit from 2018 LB/S Otis Reese, a teammate. Reese had Michigan way out in front; he'll be there until Signing Day.
  • Michigan's depth chart is attractive for a nose tackle. They have three-star Michael Dwumfour in the class ahead of him and not much else. Meanwhile the prospect of playing with Rashan Gary, even for just a couple years, is appealing.

Reasons it won't:

  • The glow of the visit might not last.
  • Parents might not be such a big fan of the decision.

Michigan's benefited from the latter a few times—Lawrence Marshall was an OSU commit for ten seconds before his parents put the brakes on—and suffered from it a few times. Solomon did talk to his mom on the phone before pulling the trigger:

“At first she was a little shocked because she’s never heard me trying to commit somewhere just like that,” Solomon said. “So she said I must be in love with the school and I told her that academically I would be good there."

Rusty Mansell, a reporter at the Georgia 247 site, has a skeptical take after talking to mom:

Solomon's mother was in Louisiana for a business trip at the time and told Dawgs247 the commitment caught her off-guard. She twice deemed the decision a "soft commitment," and mentioned that it is pending research. Again, her thoughts on the Georgia program were very high, and she said she is waiting to see what the outcome is in his recruitment.

Trying to figure out what Solomon will do through two separate lenses, one of them extremely red-tinted, is difficult. That doesn't sound great on the mom front.

FWIW, doesn't seem like Michigan put on a full court press. TomVH caught up with Lee County assistant coach Kevin Pych:

“The Michigan coaches are professionals,” Pych said. “They’re not sitting here blowing these kids’ phones up and they’re not pressuring them. That’s what sold these guys, that they care about making them into men.”

FL OL Kai-Leon Herbert reiterated that: Michigan coaches are amongst the lower-pressure ones out there. Sam Webb has an extensive article in the News about both Georgia commits in which Solomon tells it from his perspective:

"I was just thinking, ‘They want what's best for me, so let me call my mom.’ I'm a big momma's boy (so) I called her and talked to her about it. She was like, 'Is this really what you want to do?' and I told her, ‘Yeah, I can see myself playing here.’ Then she was like, 'Well, do what you've got do, baby. I love you,' and I said, 'I love you,' and went in there and said, 'I will commit here.'"

Whether that's good or bad is in the eye of the beholder. Hopefully mom can get on campus when Solomon takes his official.

What about Reese? While he is in a somewhat similar situation in his case a brother at Central Michigan and the fact that his commit was not off the cuff but something he'd been seriously thinking about should mean he's 90%+ to stick.

[After THE JUMP: more visit weekend fallout, new names dropping in via helicopter, Ace gets angry about KJ Hamler again despite being on vacation]

Tuesday Recruitin' Settles Dust

Tuesday Recruitin' Settles Dust

Submitted by Ace on May 31st, 2016 at 3:18 PM

It's Defensive End Season, Apparently


Corey Malone-Hatcher (left) announces his decision Thursday. [Fuller]

The next couple weeks should be quite eventful for Michigan on the recruiting trail after a couple top defensive end targets set their decision dates.

Top-100 VA WDE Luiji Vilain has been considered a heavy Michigan lean since his visit a couple weeks ago, and he told 247's Steve Wiltfong his mind is "made up" heading into his announcement on June 12th. Vilain will choose between Michigan, USC, and Virginia Tech; all signs indicate he'll choose the Wolverines.

The prospect of Michigan starting to fill its open spots at defensive end is probably what prompted four-star St. Joseph WDE Corey Malone-Hatcher to set his decision for Thursday afternoon.

While Malone-Hatcher still has ten schools in play, his Crystal Ball reads 100% for Michigan; like with Vilain, it'd be a huge surprise if he went elsewhere.

Michigan has also made a move for three-star OH SDE James Hudson, who decommitted from Kentucky just before visiting campus two weekends ago, and he picked up an offer on the trip. After speaking with multiple sources familiar with Hudson's recruitment, 247's Steve Lorenz put in a Crystal Ball pick for Michigan, and in doing so he clarified M's outlook at DE:

The Wolverines appear to be in great shape with four-stars Corey Malone-Hatcher and Luiji Vilain, both of whom are expected to make a college decision in the very near future. An eventual addition from Hudson would give Don Brown a trio of defensive ends to work with in the 2017 cycle. We would expect Michigan to take at least one more at the position in 2017 after that.

None of these potential commitments would preclude the others from joining the class. The trio of Vilain, Malone-Hatcher, and Hudson would be a great haul at defensive end, and Michigan would still have space to pursue the likes of DJ Johnson and Deron Irving-Bey to round out the group.

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