Friday Recruitin' Coaches Up The Youths Comment Count

Ace 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...


BBQ Visitors: 2019's #1 QB, RB In Ann Arbor

Quavaris Couch (center) helping coach the youths. [Isaiah Hole/247]

Five-star 2019 NC RB Quavaris Crouch, the nation's top-ranked 2019 backisn't just already on campus; he's already coached a youth camp at Wide World with Chris Evans, David Long, Quinn Nordin, and Josh Uche, per 247's Isaiah Hole, who has a full gallery of photos posted plus a rare mid-visit interview with Crouch:

"I didn't even expect to be around all the kids and being with the players, but I'm really glad that it's turned out to be more than a visit," Crouch said. "Actually getting to collaborate with all of the kids and getting to know them. I was here one day, and just knowing that this is how it all starts. Just getting to be a part of their lives, and getting to know the players, Chris (Evans and Josh Uche), just getting to know everybody. So it's been a fun experience already."

The #1 QB in the class, California prospect JT Daniels, has arrived in Michigan as well, and Lorenz says that if Michigan feels they're in a good position for him they'll hold off on taking a second QB for 2018. The good news: Daniels is only looking at schools that run a pro-style offense. The bad news: in-state powers Stanford and USC run pro-style offenses, and both are hot after Daniels, too. We'll get a feel for M's chances coming out of the weekend, and the picture will be clearer if they pick up pursuit of more 2018 QBs.

The list doesn't end there. Some more notable 2019 visitors:

  • Top-100 KY DE Stephen Herron. Ohio State is the Crystal Ball leader for him, the last three picks are for Michigan, and Steve Wiltfong is hearing from a source that Stanford is the team to beat. This is obviously an important trip.
  • The coveted St. Louis Trinity Catholic trio of ATH Isaiah Williams, WR Marcus Washington, and LB Shammond Cooper.
  • Top-100 OH WR David Bell, who Steve Wiltfong thinks M could make a move for if they offer; Ohio State hasn't yet.
  • Four-star IN DE George Karlaftis, who told Scout's Allen Trieu that Michigan is "on top" along with Miami (YTM).
  • Four-star KY DT Jacob Lacey, who has Michigan in his top six and told Brandon Brown he "loved" his first visit to campus. He plans to make a commitment in the near future. Notre Dame is also a major player here.
  • Four-star OH OT Nolan Rumler, a guy who's been seen as a Michigan lock seemingly forever, still seems like a Michigan lock.
  • Four-star East Kentwood duo OT Logan Brown and DT Mazi Smith.
  • Four-star Detroit King S Marvin Grant.

If there are multiple BBQ commitments, it looks likely at least one of them could come from this class. Either way, this is a really impressive group of visitors.

Hello Addendum: Luke Schoonmaker

Nobody else had a scouting report published when CT TE Luke Schoonmaker committed on Tuesday night—full Hello post here—but they've flooded in since. ESPN has given him a three-star rating and placed him 19th among in-line TEs:

STRENGTHS: Excellent height with some physical upside. Displays good initial burst and enough speed to make plays down the seam. Displays good hands and can extend for the ball. Can do a good job with hand placement as blocker...WEAKNESSES: Needs to continue to develop frame and add mass. Shows some upside, but can further develop as route runner. While can be effective still room to improve as a blocker...BOTTOM LINE: Prospect that plays both TE and QB and more focus on TE should aid his development at the position. Prospect with good ability and some upside as a TE.

Scout's Brian Dohn:

As for his physical skills, it starts with his acceleration. There are times he covers a lot of ground quickly when he sees an open area and bursts to it, whether he is scrambling as a quarterback or running a route. As a route runner, he is able to get clean releases off the line of scrimmage, but he rounds his breaks. He needs to tighten them up, and show he can get into and out of a break with fluidity and so he can pull away from the defender.

As a pass catcher, despite not doing a ton of it, he is comfortable and does not fight the ball. He has a large catch radius. He needs to add the strength to be able to beat jams and be physical in the middle of the field, both before and after the catch.

As a blocker, Schoonmaker is strong with his technique. He is flexible and gets under the defensive player. Again, he will have to gain strength to be able to block consistently on the college level.

Steve Lorenz:

The more I watched Schoonmaker's film, the more I really can vibe with the "Sean McKeon part two" feel that was relayed to me on Monday night. He's a plus-athlete who has a long ways to go in the blocking aspect of the game and will have to do work in the weight room to make an impact at Michigan. Like McKeon, his film shows a player who is likely under-recruited because they play in a state and area where the competition is not strong. Like McKeon, his testing numbers blew Michigan away and were a major reason why the staff decided to follow through and pursue.

Michigan and Jim Harbaugh have identified and pursued under-recruited tight ends for years now. They know what to look for. He fits the high-ceiling mold that they've recruited in the past. His development will really come down to learning how to become a good blocker at the college level; it's not always easy, but he has the frame to bulk up enough to get there.

The Wolverine's Austin Fox caught up with Schoonmaker's coach, who said his staff "never broadcast" Schoonmaker to the recruiting sites and compared him favorably to a higher-ranked East Coast tight end:

“He’s under the radar from that standpoint, simply because he wasn’t broadcasted. He’s certainly in the top five at his position in the country though. We played against the No. 2 tight end last year in our playoff game – [North Andover (Mass.) Brooks School four-star Patrick Freiermuth] – who has offers all over the place and is going to Penn State, and I’d take Luke over him any day of the week. You just can’t find Luke’s kind of speed – he ran a 4.54 and doesn’t even train or anything. Heck, guys go to the NFL combine and do laboratory training for this sort of thing – I know this because I work in the NFL for a living.”

Notably, he added that Schoonmaker will exclusively play tight end (in-line, H-back, and split out wide) after spending the vast majority of his time at quarterback last year.

Schoonmaker is now on the 247 Composite at #871 overall, higher than six of Michigan State's 14 commits. I'd only expect him to move up from there. The comments of his commitment post may soon be seen in the same light as those on Josh Metellus and Benjamin St-Juste. I know "trust the coaches" can wear thin, but this is a Harbaugh tight end recruit from an area of the country where Don Brown has made a career unearthing gems, fergodsakes.

Michigan also looks to be in good shape with another top tight end target, four-star IL TE Luke Ford, who told Wiltfong that M jumped into his top group after his recent visit:

"Big Blue just jumped into a tie with the rest of the crowd," Ford's father Tim told 247Sports.

"It was really awesome and Jim Harbaugh is just fantastic."

Harbaugh really made impression on the younger Ford.

"It was amazing," Ford said. "Me and Jim hit it off. I got to talk with him for two hours and could've talked more. Greg Frey was awesome to hangout with. Facilities were nice and loved the campus."

He plans to stretch out his recruitment and Michigan is in line to get an official.



On Thursday, Bud Elliott of SBNation Recruiting released the results of a player-driven poll on where IMG players will end up. Every player outside of one predicted Michigan for Faalele.

After doing some digging on Thursday morning, I'm told that this development is not necessarily a surprise on Michigan's end.

Lorenz adds that Michigan is looking for a more polished tackle prospect to finish out the class, but at the moment they aren't in great shape for their main targets, Nick Petit-Frere (top Bama target) and William Barnes (just released a top seven with no M). More targets could emerge, of course, but I may be rooting for Plan B here.


Happy trails to four-star OLB Shayne Simon, who committed to Notre Dame, and three-star S Jamien Sherwood, who committed to Auburn. Lorenz still believes Michigan has a shot at flipping Simon.

Following his recent trip to Alabama, Emil Ekiyor plans to take official visits to both Michigan and Bama this fall, per TMI's Evan Petzold. Lorenz is hearing that Bama will be a real factor, though FSU has at least fallen off the radar after adding an OL commit.

Michigan, unsurprisingly, makes the top six for 2019 five-star DE Chris Hinton. They're also in the top five for 2018 WR Shocky Jacques-Louis.

Congratulations to a program in New Jersey for landing a four-star quarterback commit.



July 28th, 2017 at 3:11 PM ^

Regarding the statement "Like McKeon, his testing numbers blew Michigan away and were a major reason why the staff decided to follow through and pursue[,]" which testing numbers is Michigan looking at?  40?  Shuttle?  Thanks.


July 28th, 2017 at 5:27 PM ^

I had this question too.

Do top colleges run some from of "combine" at camps and on-site visits where they test the measurables of recruits?  If not, why not?

It certainly works for the NFL in helping identify under the radar guys and weeding out overhyped guys.

Nick Saban once made the comment that he was looking for NFL bodies, that he and his staff could teach the football part of it from there.

A staff like Harbaugh's that has a great development track record likely feels the same way.  A "combine" of sorts would help identify these guys.

As an aside, the ability to identify raw talent and develop it will become increasingly important for all college coaches as the pool of high school football recruits to select from dwindles over safety concerns.  

Coaches will increasingly wind up recruiting kids that never played football before in their lives, but look like they have the raw athletic talent to succeed anyway with subsequent development.



July 28th, 2017 at 5:54 PM ^

The on-campus camps for sure have testing. Michigan had 40, bench and vertical back in the 2000s (maybe more for skill groups that I missed), others had cone drills, 10 yard dash and various timed agility things.

Less sure on satellite camps where you have fewer hours with prospects, but the "fastest man" 40 competition is a camp staple and the three cone doubles as a fairly common camp drill. The eyeball test goes a long way, too; coaches can tell when a guy is a cut above athletically and further evaluate from there.


July 28th, 2017 at 3:37 PM ^

Seriously, WTF?!?

I was trying to figure out if my irrational dislike of ND was clouding my perception of them, so I went and looked at their record since Lou Holtz left.

Bob Davie took over in 1997 and since that time (20 years), ND has had just 4 seasons of 10+ wins: 10-3 three times and 12-1 once when they had the most "luck of the Irish" year ever. In that span they have had 5 losing seasons and 2 seasons where they finished 6-6. The best bowl game they have won in those 20 years? Sun Bowl.


Wolverine In Iowa 68

July 28th, 2017 at 3:53 PM ^

they're still Notre Dame.


Still #3 in wins and #3 in winning percentage all time, still a big name school with a massive fan base and connections up the wazoo

Yes, they have a one-nut, bug-eyed purple people eater as a head coach, but there's a lot of history there (much like we have and like to talk about)...

marco dane

July 28th, 2017 at 3:48 PM ^

TUOS in Bellville isn't good news,nor reading lack of omission Dobbs name from BBQ list. Recall reading Dobbs visit during the spring game. While both parties seem to hit the reset button,indicating more attention and time was needed to repair hurt feelings?!  However,both parties seem cool toward each other...again.


July 28th, 2017 at 3:59 PM ^

Upon more research it gets worse, he isn't at the BBQ because he is going to be at PSU this weekend instead.  His other Belleville teammates were at the OSU friday night lights camp as well.  2019 board looks a lot better than the 2018 Michigan board but it wouldn't really be great to have osu take two of the top 5 players in state.


July 28th, 2017 at 3:39 PM ^

And hopefully there will be one or two pleasant surprises during/after the BBQ.  And this gets us even closer to the start of the season.  Bring on the gators!!



July 28th, 2017 at 4:06 PM ^

my wish list would be Addison, Anoma and Carvin. Then get one of the top uncommitted DBs and the class is made. Faalele, Friday and anyone else who wishes to jump on board would be icing on a very good cake.


But the real dream would be to get Daniels to commit early to get that monster '19 class rockin' and rollin'. 



July 28th, 2017 at 3:46 PM ^

Is some extremely high quality shade.

That being said, I attended a camp at Princeton as a high schooler. I would have jumped at an opportunity to spend my college years there. It is a fantastic place. I almost forgot I was in New Jersey.