Solomon, Collins Headline Weekend Visitors List
You may be wondering why there's a document and not, say, a highlight video embedded above. That's because it's the official visit questionnaire created by Sabrina Caldwell, the mother of four-star GA DT Aubrey Solomon, and after some twists and turns Caldwell and Solomon will get those questions answered in Ann Arbor this weekend. While Michigan has an uphill climb to get Solomon back in the fold, getting his mom on campus with him is a significant development; Solomon's initial Michigan commitment didn't stick in large part because Caldwell hadn't accompanied him on his unofficial visit, and winner her over may be more difficult than her son.
Three other uncommitted recruits will take official visits this weekend, per The Wolverine's Brandon Brown:
- Four-star AL WR Nico Collins paid his way for multiple unofficial visits over the summer, and now he'll return on Michigan's dime for an offical. While Alabama and Georgia have made this closer than once thought, Michigan is in great position to get Collins.
- Four-star CA OT Aaron Banks had high praise for the program after visiting for the BBQ. He's often omitted in discussions of the potential O-line haul; he shouldn't be, especially since many other programs pushing for him—Notre Dame, Oregon, UCLA, and USC chief among them—are having down years.
- Three-star VA OT Mekhi Becton holds a Michigan offer, but he's almost certainly not a take right now with all the blue-chip linemen still on the board. Virginia looks to be his top option, so the Wolverines should be able to slow-play him and still have a shot if their board empties out a bit.
It's also worth noting that safety commit J'Marick Woods will take his official visit. He took an official to Arkansas last month and had a positive reaction; this weekend provides M a chance to solidify his pledge.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Follow Your Head, Young Man
Five-star Cass Tech WR Donovan Peoples-Jones released his final five:
— Donovan P. Jones (@dpeoplesjones) October 30, 2016
Michigan remains in excellent shape here.
There was concern about the strength of Kai-Leon Herbert's commitment after he took a couple visits to Florida. Now that Herbert has taken his official to Michigan, that concern has subsided, per Scout's Corey Bender:
"You know, it's a really good one," Herbert said when asked about his relationship with coach Drevno. "I've been talking with him for over a year now, or close to it, but I look at coach Drevno like he's not only my coach but also a mentor in my life.
"When I arrive at Michigan, yeah it's going to be a big transition, but I know he's going to guide me in the right direction and put me in the best possible position to succeed. We have a strong relationship that's only getting bigger and better.
"It's going to be a great experience getting coached by him."
While you never know with recruiting, "when I arrive at Michigan" is pretty definitive.
247's Ryan Bartow published a pair of wide-ranging updates on Florida recruits that are relevant to your interests. Despite the above, Herbert may still take some visits—he'll take an official to Kansas to see his cousin play (no concern there, obviously), and told Bartow he'll also take official to Florida and Miami "if his parents allow him." That caveat makes it sound like Herbert's parents are sold on Michigan, too. Things aren't looking quite as good for Herbert's teammate, five-star OG TJ Slaton:
His teammate, Tedarrell Slaton, the nation’s No. 2 guard in the 2017 class by 247SportsComposite, is just waiting to get his test score back before he can start taking official visits. Slaton remains big on Michigan.
He's also planning to trip to Tennessee, Florida, Virginia Tech and Ole Miss.
While it's good that he holds M in such high regard, not having the test score to be able to take an official at this late stage is a big red flag.
Meanwhile, buried in the middle of Bartow's follow-up post is news that Michigan leads for top-100 2018 WDE Nik Bonitto, though he's awaiting an offer that could change things:
Michigan now leads for four-star Nik Bonitto, the nation’s No. 3 weakside defensive end, ahead of Notre Dame and Miami among his 20 offers.
Bonitto is waiting on an offer from his ‘dream school,’ Florida, the lone pick on the Crystal Ball. Bonitto, like Jordan Wright, has Division 1 offers in basketball - including tenders from Florida and Wake Forest - and plans to play both sports on the next level.
It'll be interesting to see if he insists on playing hoops; that may limit his options.
Commit Updates: Samuels Visits Arizona
Four-star cornerback commit Benjamin St-Juste's senior highlights are embedded above. While the competition level (and rules) are a little different in Canada, it's easy to see why he could turn into an elite college corner—not only is he strong in man press, he's far ahead most high school corners in playing off coverage. While he's getting four-star recognition, I still believe he'd be ranked higher if he played in the States.
Four-star running back commit O'Maury Samuels took an official visit to Arizona last weekend. I'd expect this is a contingency plan in case Michigan lands another back, but the plan for a return visit is notable:
The 5-foot-10, 188-pound back said he remains solidly committed to the Wolverines, but he's continuing dialogue with other coaches to make sure he made the correct decision. He expects to lock in his official visit to Michigan for after the season.
Oklahoma is another program that is in the mix, Samuels said, but the communication with the staff has not been as steady as before. Samuels intends to head back to Tucson later during the process on an unofficial.
There's little reason for concern at the moment, but it could get interesting if M hits the jackpot on one of their five-star targets.
Michigan extended an offer to 2018 four-star OR ATH Talanoa Hufanga, who's going to be an MGoFaveRave if he reciprocates that interest. He tagged his Twitter post announcing the offer with #TonganPower and #IslandStyle, and his highlights—honestly, you should not watch them. He's Tongan Vicious Vic, except more safety than linebacker on defense.
Three-star TN DT Rutger Reitmaier says he's "probably 100% committed to Oregon," but nevertheless he'll take an official visit to Ann Arbor for the Indiana game, per Steve Lorenz.
Normally, an unoffered 2018 prospect wouldn't get mention here no matter what they say, but when a 6'9", 390-pound Aussie says Michigan stands out—well, that's a little different, and it's the case with Daniel Faalele, per Rivals's Adam Gorney:
“I would say right now probably Michigan stands out,” Faalele said.
“I just like the culture there and the coaching staff really stands out to me. They came down to Australia for a camp. I met a few of their coaches and I really like them.”
Faalele now plays at IMG Academy, so visits are actually feasible.
Five-star FL CB Stanford Samuels, an FSU commit who almost certainly wasn't winding up here in the first place, is waffling on his scheduled visit, per TomVH; he wasn't on Brown's visitor list and I wouldn't expect him to make it.