Friday Recruitin' Watches Sanford and Son Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 14th, 2018 at 2:00 PM

[Greg Powers]

This is Fine: Earnest Edition. Five-star OK S and no. 12 overall player in the 247 composite Daxton Hill is taking his official visit to Michigan this weekend. If frequency of texting recruits already committed to M is any indication of where Michigan stands, they’re in pretty good shape. If the path to playing time is any indication of where Michigan stands, they’re in pretty good shape. If academics are any indication of where Michigan stands, they’re in pretty good shape. Sam Webb sat down with Hill for an exclusive interview and pumped out this series of three articles, one of which further detailed Hill’s feelings on the importance of academics:

“(Academics are) real big,” he said. “(Booker T Washington) is a great school academically. Sometimes I’ll be in my room just doing homework for hours, so I take my academics serious. That plays a big part of it. I don’t want to make it too easy for me. Wherever I go I just want a challenge academically and athletically.”

That quote is so Michigan it just finished class 10 minutes before the hour. (Yeah, I’m cool, I’m with it.) Hill’s a pretty good athlete, too. Webb said this morning on WTKA that, should he commit, Michigan will not have had an athlete as good as him since Tripp Welborne and that he has the potential to start at any program in the country from the day he sets foot on campus. For quantitative confirmation, let’s turn to Hill’s test results from The Opening: 

For the man above 🙏🏼 #4.3laser

— Dirty30 (@daxhill5) April 29, 2018

Sure, yeah, 99th percentile of all athletes tested in his class should be just fine. Beyond what Hill brings to the table or what Michigan can offer him are the relationships formed during the recruiting process, and Hill has been in contact with a few current commits for some time. Webb mentioned on the radio this morning that NV QB Cade McNamara is also going to be on campus this weekend, and that’s important as the two have built a friendship. Webb, in his free article about Hill’s parents perspective on his recruitment, talked to them about his relationship with other prospects:

But I know Daxton has made relationships with certain players. I won’t say the school, but he says with one school, ‘I have a relationship with more of the recruits than the others.’ I think I got a feel for which way he’s going (with that). That’s more important. One of the main (decision) aspects is his teammates – that class going in with him.”

There’s also a section in the piece about how Hill got close to committing somewhere this summer before realizing he needed more time; I highly recommend you check the piece out. One possible sticking point for Michigan could be that they don’t have a program in journalism, his desired field of study; Michigan can always point to Charles Woodson, Desmond Howard, Brian Griese, Jim Brandstatter, Dan Dierdorf, or unfurl the scroll-length list of names of The Michigan Daily alums currently writing professionally and contend that things could work out just fine. Hill’s parents think this visit will help solidify things for Daxton, but who knows whether there will be a resultant Hello post or a keening board thread. It seems fruitless to predict what a guy will do when said guy spends his free time watching Sanford and Son or Good Times instead of playing Fortnite.

[After THE JUMP: the whole D is broken]

Here is a very athletic person doing a very athletic thing. 2019 CA RB Zach Charbonnet, who was recently named one of Rivals’ Adam Gorney’s five prospects who have impressed this year, has made some big plays this season, but this one will be tough to top. The vision and agility he shows on the run below are unreal.

Broke the whole D 😳

(via @FoxSportsWest)

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 8, 2018

There was some thought last weekend that TN RB Eric Gray might be headed for decommitsville, but Steve Lorenz had an update early this week to the contrary. He reported that Gray was still a Michigan commit and was hoping to graduate in December so he can be on campus in time for spring ball. Webb also discussed the solidity of Gray’s commitment this week on the recruiting roundup portion of his morning show and found himself with the same information as Lorenz. Recently committed Giles Jackson shouldn’t have moved the needle for Gray, as Lorenz reports that the staff feels Charbonnet and Gray will fit a different role in the offense than Jackson; Jackson told The Michigan Insider’s Josh Newkirk the staff plans to use him as a “slot-running back.”

2019 Updates: Big Visits and a Deserved Re-Rank

OH WR Quintel Kent, who is quickly becoming an MGoSlack fave rave, was recently re-ranked by 247’s Bill Greene. He was bumped up 29 spots and is now listed as 247’s 27th-best prospect in Ohio with a rating of 87.0. There are two wide receivers in the state ranked higher than Kent: Central Catholic’s Jase Bowen (89.0 rating per 247) and Solon’s Trevon Raphael (88.0). Raphael, curiously enough, is not ranked by the other services but has offers from the likes of West Virginia, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, and Michigan, and he has just one crystal ball submitted, which came from Bill Greene at the beginning of July.

The crystal ball is squarely on Texas for current Baylor commit WR Jaylen Ellis, but that didn’t stop him from taking an official visit to Michigan last weekend. The Wolverine’s Adam Ghabour spoke with Ellis after his visit, and he said the staff emphasized how much they like Ellis’ speed. Ellis plans to take official visits elsewhere, and he says he still loves Baylor as much as he did when he committed. We’ll see where this goes, but it isn’t going anywhere fast; Ellis plans to (re?)commit at the Adidas All-American Bowl in February.

Another receiver is looking to take an official to Michigan, and this one is literally and metaphorically big. Five-star CA WR Kyle Ford told 247’s Steve Lorenz that he plans to use one of his three remaining official visits to take a trip to Ann Arbor. Getting him on campus is obviously big, but it’s going to be an uphill battle for Michigan to pry a California kid out of the state, particularly considering his crystal ball has USC at 88% right now.

TX S Lewis Cine, no. 50 overall in the 247 composite, is providing some reason to second-guess his current 52%/48% Penn State/Georgia crystal ball split. Cine, who already took an official visit to Michigan over the summer, told Steve Lorenz that he will take an unofficial for the Nebraska game. Clearly a good sign for Michigan, but whenever Georgia’s in the mix…/shudders

A composite top 150 prospect Georgia is also in the mix for (albeit less heavily, as his crystal ball is currently 67% Michigan) alongside Clemson, Ohio State, and Penn State is IL OT Trevor Keegan. He told The Michigan Insider’s Brice Marich that he’ll definitely be taking an official to Michigan and plans to commit on his sister’s birthday, December 11th. Keegan, who said he’ll be relying on his family and coach to help make his decision, has a mother who was born just outside Ann Arbor and grandparents and a head coach who are Michigan fans. Rob Fontana, Keegan’s head coach, had quite a few compliments for Illinois’ top prospect:

“It’s funny because I always talk about his flexibility, but when you look at a kid that’s over 6’6, 300-pounds and you watch him the way he can move, it’s special,” Fontana said. “He’s so flexible, so he can do so many things. He’s quick, agile, explosive and powerful. He has every weird adjective you can use to describe the way he can play. Really the way that he moves is unique for a lineman. You look at him and he does things he shouldn’t be able to do at that size. Someone’s going to get an elite offensive lineman and great person as well.”                                                    

2020 Updates: Coming in Hot, Thawing Out

West Bloomfield ILB prospect Cornell Wheeler told The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown that he had 35 notifications at midnight on September 1, the minute coaches were allowed to contact 2020 recruits. The first texts to roll in were from Jim Harbaugh and Don Brown, who told Wheeler he was invited to every home game. Despite Harbaugh and Brown’s punctuality, they might not be the ones recruiting Wheeler most heavily. That honor goes to 2020 commit Andre Seldon.

"He always just says ‘come home’. That’s what he always says to me and Makari [Paige]. He’s always cracking jokes to us and just wants us to come to Michigan."

A significantly icier perception was held by Oak Park OG Justin Rogers, who didn’t list Michigan as one of his top 13 schools when he released a list this summer. According to The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown, Rogers seems to be coming around on Michigan. He recently visited campus with Andre Seldon and said he would give Michigan a chance, adding that he is currently “vibing” with coaches Jim Harbaugh and Patrick Kugler.

Detroit King WR Rashawn Williams, a top 150 composite four-star, already has a Michigan offer and was set to be one of the subjects of a future FBO, but it seems there’s another name to add to the list: composite three-star Lemuel Neely-Watley. MLive’s Tony Garcia sat down with the two to talk about their seasons and what they’re looking for in their recruitment, and Williams was upfront about the two maybe possibly kinda being a package deal:

"Right now I'm just waiting it out, trying to see what schools is good for me and my brother," Williams said, pointing to Watley. "Because me and Lemuel, we're kind of like a package deal, that's my brother.

"We just want it to be as long as we're in the same place or we're both in a good situation, then it will be all good."

Neely-Watley, who plays both WR and CB, doesn’t have a Michigan offer yet; he does have a Michigan State offer but cautioned that they aren’t necessarily his frontrunner as he wants to wait and see how things play out.


I Like Burgers

September 14th, 2018 at 2:33 PM ^

It's worked out well for me.  Getting an actual job in the field of journalism/media is like 90% about connections and who you know anyway, and the Michigan name works out pretty well for that.  Then once you're in, its all entry-level grunt work and you pick up the finer points as you go.

If you really want to be a writer or something, then working for the Michigan Daily is essentially your major.  If you want to work in video, you really don't need a specific major for that.  Plenty of people teach themselves to edit, animate, shoot video, etc.  If I'm hiring someone out of college for a video role, I'd rather see what you've got on your YouTube page than hear about what you learned in some class.  Show me you have the basics down, and I can teach you the rest.


September 14th, 2018 at 2:12 PM ^

Keegan is going to Michigan. I promise you this, he's not a silent, but he'll be a part of the class unless something drastic happens this season. He returned a punt for a touchdown last week, he's truly a special athlete and will have the potential to be a Taylor Lewan type because of his athleticism and mean streak.


September 14th, 2018 at 2:35 PM ^

Keegan’s strange TD

Having not played on the punt return team up until Friday night, the highly-touted, Division-I prospect Keegan found himself on the line as Central was set to punt in a 7-7 game.

After the snap was fumbled, Central quarterback Aidan Ellinger picked up the ball and turned to try to get off a punt. Instead, the ball was kicked on a low line drive into the chest of Keegan.

All in one motion, the 6-foot-6, 295-pound lineman caught it and took off 35 yards down the field for a go-ahead touchdown. Just before crossing the goal line, Keegan shedded a tackle with a stiff arm like he had done it numerous times.

“That was my first-ever touchdown,” Keegan said with a laugh. “Since I’m never out there for punt return, I didn’t know whether to rush or not, so I was kind of just standing at the line (of scrimmage). He kicked it right to me, and I didn’t know what to do. ... I just started running.”


September 14th, 2018 at 4:49 PM ^

If Trevor Keegan tried to commit to Michigan today, they would take him and not think twice about. Keegan wants to make sure Michigan doesn't go into an absolute tailspin, had they gone 10-2 last year, I guarantee he'd already be committed. 

Not to mention, someone is getting processed to make space if two all american potential tackles want to commit, and it aint Keegan or Barnhart


September 14th, 2018 at 7:29 PM ^

I don’t know if they are holding Keegan off, but MAN do the 247 guys like Benhart.  The podcast this week (Notorious BIG) noted that he and Logan Brown (sigh) are most likely the top two OT prospects in the country.  Said Benhart is 6’8”-6’9”, very light on his feet, and pushing 300 with the frame to easily build to 330-340 once in a college program. 

Good news on Benhart is that it seems that Wisconsin has faded in his recruitment (he is VERY quiet with reporters fwiw).  247 experts think Nebraska is his current leader with M a definite threat to get him - (he spoke with both JH and Warriner in the last week).  Minnesota hasn’t given up but is.......Minnesota.

I would love to get both but doubt we have the space.  I would be happy with either one , but would prefer Benhart if forced to choose.

Clancy's Hands

September 14th, 2018 at 2:22 PM ^

As a former reporter and editorial writer for the Michigan Daily, and former "Communication Studies" major for awhile at Michigan back in the day (as Michigan did not offer a BA in journalism), how in the name of G-d do we still not offer a BA in Journalism specifically? Why does one have to attend UM Flint to get a BA in journalism as opposed to "communication studies"?

Fred Sanford Heart attack 2.jpg


Clancy's Hands

September 14th, 2018 at 3:03 PM ^

I am familiar with Michigan's eliminating the journalism BA before I attended, but I had incorrectly assumed this was no longer the case. I must disagree with the assertion that journalism in the "traditional" sense is "dying". (Unless you simply mean that printed newspaper circulation is in a death spiral, which does not necessarily mean that "traditional journalism" is "dying"). Indeed, I would argue that with the advent of the internet, there may be more opportunities for journalists than before, despite the fact that print newspapers are disappearing - and even in this regard, the most prestigious news sources in the U.S. still offer print editions, not that this is particularly germane to this discussion, but for a kid who is serious about journalism and wants a "pedigree" degree that will attract that initial employer's notice, a journalism degree from one of the top journalism schools is hard to beat. Fortunately, none of the top journalism schools are competing with us for Daxton Hill's services, and Michigan's Communications Studies BA ranks in the top 20 of such degrees nationally, which is much higher than any of the other reported finalists for his LOI.





September 14th, 2018 at 3:26 PM ^

"Between 1993 and 1995, the department underwent a review and was renamed Communication Studies; journalism was discontinued, a decision that was controversial..."

"While it is true that the department no longer offers courses of study in rhetoric and public address, or journalism...the spirit of studying the absolute centrality of communication to the life of everyday people and the nation remains constant between the previous incarnations of the department and who we are today. Our faculty emphasize journalism studies and teach about and study the role of the press in maintaining democratic institutions."

Yes, journalism is a broad field today and I have no doubt that students in UM's Communications Program can make connections to have satisfying careers in communications. If, however, a student's goal is to specialize in journalism specifically, to immerse themselves in the study of it, a program that openly and directly offers an academic program in journalism might be every bit as attractive, if not more so, than Michigan's offering.

My cynical view is that the number of elite-level HS players for whom the academic reputation or ranking of their prospective school is the deciding criteria is vanishingly small. If Alabama was terrible at football, Daxson Hill wouldn't be remotely interested in pursuing journalism studies there. Same with Michigan and its Communications program. UT-Austin and Mizzou are generally regarded as being among those state institutions with the strongest journalism programs, and they both have football programs that Hill isn't interested in. Same with private school Northwestern.


September 14th, 2018 at 2:37 PM ^

...but who knows whether there will be a resultant Hello post or a keening board thread.

Alabama may have a journalism school, but they don't teach this type of vocabulary. 


September 14th, 2018 at 2:56 PM ^

Tripp Welborne!

For the youngsters on the board, beyond having a fantastic name, that guy was a serious dude. If Hill is that good, holy smokes*. 

Also, a quick Google search shows he is the athletic director of the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. They're in a league with Andover, Exeter, and other extremely posh schools. So Tripp's done well for himself, even if his multiple knee injuries never allowed him to make it in the NFL.

* It also says something about how we haven't had a super-stud safety at UM in forever, but that's another story.


September 14th, 2018 at 4:44 PM ^

It was probably Welbornes freshmen or more likely redshirt freshman year and my OSU buddy and I were watching the game. There was a special teams play where Welborne absolutely lit someone up and I turned to my buddy and said this guys gonna be special. He sure was. One of my all time favorite players.


September 14th, 2018 at 3:22 PM ^

HUGE respect for his mention of Sanford & Son.Jim Rockford, Kwai Chang Caine and Fred Sanford were my three role models growing up. J.J. isn't on the same level, but I'll throw in a few bonus points for Good Times. 


September 14th, 2018 at 3:32 PM ^

Rich Eisen and Adam Schefter were on the Michigan Daily staff when I was freshman.  (I think they were Juniors.)   Bunch of guys at that time ended up in high profile jobs.  Jonathan Chait was there at some point when I was in school, but I didn't know him.   

Gentleman Squirrels

September 14th, 2018 at 4:46 PM ^

He had his crystal ball at OSU before that. Even when a run of Michigan crystal balls came, wiltfong didn’t change his from OSU. I think he believes that Keegan is looking around too much to be truly interested in coming to Michigan. But wiltfong has been wrong before and much more wrong than guys like Steve Lorenz who are more judicious with their crystal balls. To the UM staffs credit, at least they haven’t put all their eggs in one basket. Ike and Benhart are both excellent options. I think they should also look at Connor Foster - a kid from Ohio who rose quite a bit in recent rankings and is currently committed to Northwestern. He seems like someone Michigan might be able to flip if other plans don’t work out.


September 15th, 2018 at 7:39 PM ^

I saw this too and then went what in the world, that seems like out of nowhere but he has been to Georgia a few times and has scheduled an official visit there (as well as OSU, Michigan, and PSU) so maybe this is one of those picks where someone is just trying to get "ahead" of the curve and get lots of points for a right pick later on.