GIF Is Unrelated But Necessary
While all thoughts at this point are on tomorrow's capital-G Game, there are some recruiting developments to cover from last weekend's slate of official visits.
Top-100 NY OT Isaiah Wilson isn't saying much about his leaderboard, but the returns were positive from last weekend's official visit, per Sam Webb:
Another factor helping strengthen Wilson’s positive view of Michigan is the opportunity for early playing time. The four-star lineman isn’t bashful about expressing how significant that consideration will be in his final decision. That’s why offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Tim Drevno and Jim Harbaugh made it a point to mention it.
“The vibe is good,” said Wilson. “We are very comfortable with each other. We went over film and talked logistics about if I was to attend.”
Wilson has upcoming official visits to Alabama, Georgia, and LSU; his recruitment is expected to come down to Michigan and Bama.
Despite all the things implied by taking an official visit to an out-of-region program faring much better than the one to which a recruit is committed, the high school coach of three-star CA CB Elijah Hicks made it a point to say Hicks was "100 percent" committed to Notre Dame heading into last weekend's trip to Ann Arbor. That is not the post-visit vibe according to multiple reporters, including 247's Steve Wiltfong:
247Sports is told Hicks left impressed.
If Hicks didn't have any intentions of rethinking his decision to Notre Dame before the visit, a well-placed source on the Michigan side told 247Sports he certainly is now.
I'm not predicting a flip, but nothing would surprise me.
Scout's Greg Biggins talked to a few sources close to Hicks who feel there's "a very strong chance" he flips to Michigan. The push for Hicks makes sense in conjunction with the feeling that Darnay Holmes is likely to stay in California, probably at UCLA; Holmes has been non-commital about his official visit to Michigan lately. We just put in a Crystal Ball pick for Hicks to flip.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Another GIF, More Visit Reactions
Michigan hosted Oregon three-star DT commit Rutger Reitmaier last weekend and his father told 247's Steve Wiltfong that the visit went very well:
"He, we enjoyed the visit," Rik said. "They were very gracious with their time. They really made him feel welcome and answered all our questions."
I'm inclined to predict a Michigan flip, though Ohio State coming forth with an offer last week could complicate matters.
Flip chances look even better for three-star LSU fullback commit Tory Carter, who's already looking to pay his way back to campus from Georgia after last weekend's official, per The Wolverine's Brandon Brown:
"My eyes have definitely opened up a lot more now that I have took my official to Michigan," he said. "I will be returning for another unofficial in December. I think it will be during the Dec. 9-11 weekend but it's not set in stone yet. I have heard that was going to be a big visit weekend."
With Otis Reese committed in the 2018 class and chances looking surprisingly good for Aubrey Solomon, the Lee County to Michigan pipeline could be a real deal.
Ambry Thomas Confidence Incrementing Up
If you're the message board scouring type, you've undoubtedly encountered posts in which parents can't say enough good things about Michigan recruiting administrator Gwendolyn Bush, aka "Mama Gwen." You can add Ambry Thomas's mother to that list, per Sam Webb:
“I have a great relationship with Ms. Gwen,” Mrs. Thomas said. “The vibe with Gwen is like a vibe with myself. Ms. Gwen is myself. She’s me. She was a single parent at one time. I feel comfortable with her. We had a conversation about this. Something that she knew and that Harbaugh knew (was) that they had a better chance if parents like myself would connect with Ms. Gwen. Me being a black female, (I) would connect more with Ms. Gwen more so than a 51-year-old Caucasian man. Harbaugh knew this. That was a good business strategy there on his end. She’s wonderful. The lady is excellent. I love her.”
Both Sam and Steve Lorenz have mentioned increased optimism about Michigan's chances of landing Thomas, which isn't much of a surprise given the respective directions his top two programs of choice are going.
Martin Getting Squeezed Out?
Given the number of prospects Michigan is still involved with at this state, something like this was bound to happen: both Sam Webb and Steve Lorenz are hinting that four-star IA WR Oliver Martin may wait himself out of a spot in the class. Lorenz:
I'm now confident Michigan only plans to take four wide receivers in this cycle, although it was the inclination from the beginning. With Brad Hawkins in the fold, it's very likely going to be one or the other between Tarik Black and Oliver Martin, provided Michigan can finish the deal with Collins and top target Donovan Peoples-Jones. We're hearing there's been some back and forth between who the staff will push for. Michigan is almost certainly the leader for both prospects.
Webb's updated best guess list includes Black, not Martin, who just set up a mid-December official visit to Notre Dame. Based on the numbers crunch, the general consensus that Black is more likely to end up in the class than Martin, and the official visit news, we've flipped our Crystal Ball pick for Martin to ND.
Commits Taking Visits: Any Flip Concerns?
Michigan has a couple defensive back commits taking official visits elsewhere, but it doesn't sound like there's much reason for concern. Safety J'Marick Woods was hosted by former high school teammate Errol Thompson last weekend at Mississippi State and told Scout the visit went "very well." While Woods will make a "final decision" between Michigan, Mississippi State, and Arkansas on December 2nd, both Sam and Steve have posted that Michigan feels confident in their chances. Sam goes with telling scare quotes:
Will "announce" his decision December 2nd. There is little if any concern in Ann Arbor about how this one will turn out.
The feeling is similar with corner Benjamin St-Juste, who's coming off a great official visit to Ann Arbor and will take an OV to Virginia Tech this weekend. St-Juste told Brandon Brown his connection with Michigan is strong:
"Coach Zordich and I have been talking since last summer during my camp at Michigan," St-Juste explained. "I have a strong bond with him. Coach Smith is not my position coach but I really like him too. He came to my school last spring. Coach [Don] Brown was the only coach I hadn't met yet. He's a smart and intense coach. I like what he's doing with the Michigan defense.
"I've been committed for a year and a half so my bond with the Michigan staff is really strong."
In the comments of 247's post reporting St-Juste's VT visit, their VT reporter says he's hearing that St-Juste won't end up anywhere but Michigan.
Michigan is in the final six for five-star TX OLB Baron Browning, who will announce his decision on Tuesday after a weekend official to Ohio State. This would be bigger news if anyone expected him to pick Michigan, which is not the case. Alabama has the Crystal Ball momentum heading into the OSU visit.
Four-star OC and Michigan lean Cesar Ruiz on moving from Camden (NJ) to IMG, escaping the gun violence in his hometown after his cousin was murdered, and his desire to give back to where he came from:
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 18, 2016