This space has been so focused on breathlessly detailing the recent spate of visits from highly ranked recruits that there hasn’t been much digital ink spilled on some of the highly ranked players already in the class. With no visits this weekend, new intel available, and a recent return from injury, it’s a great time to look at who CA RB Zach Charbonnet has been running around or, more recently, over. And by “over” I don’t mean truck-stick style, I mean literally over, as in Ben Mason hurdling a dude. So yes, click that link. He’ll have a chance to leap over even larger and more athletic guys than usual this January, as Todd McShay tweeted yesterday that Charbonnet was selected second overall in the Under Armour All-America Game Draft. Not a small accomplishment considering 13 current five-stars are on the game roster; Wanya Morris, the player selected ahead of Charbonnet, is ranked #7 overall and is the top offensive tackle in the 2019 class.
It’s not much of a surprise, then, that Michigan has plans to use Charbonnet next season. 247’s Steve Lorenz confirmed this week not only that he fully expects Charbonnet to have a big role in 2019, but that Charbonnet will get a head start on bringing that prediction to fruition when he enrolls in January.
One more 2019 running back who’s also expected in the class: Eric Gray. Lorenz reports that Michigan’s staff still thinks that they’ll be able to sign Gray, who has taken multiple visits to Tennessee and has an Ole Miss official slated for early December. Gray has one final opportunity to visit Michigan this season, so keep your eyes open for his name on visitor lists for the Indiana game. If Gray doesn’t make the trip up, he will have gone the entire season without experiencing the gameday atmosphere in person and without having set foot in the state since camp season while visiting other southern schools multiple times. Writing will be on the wall then, it seems.
[After THE JUMP: Breathlessly detailing the recent spate of visits from highly ranked recruits ]
The prospect ranked #28 overall seems like a logical place to start with the aforementioned visit detailing. NC LB/RB Quavaris Crouch officially visited Michigan for the Penn State game, with Michigan knocking the trip out of the park by all accounts. The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb wrote on their message board that he believes Michigan is the current leader, with the question being how long Michigan can hang on with official visits to Tennessee and Clemson coming up; Webb thinks it’s going to come down to in-home visits. Michigan should be starting from a good place, at least, as Crouch’s mentor and former head coach, Sam Greiner, had fairly glowing praise for numerous aspects of the program in another Webb article.
“(It was) best trip we’ve been on to date,” said Greiner. “The relationships there are extremely important. Very trustworthy. Very genuine. You could tell that they care long term, not just (about) football. The network is unbelievable there. Michigan’s network is just so big and it’s such a strong part of the recruiting process. It’s just huge.”
Greiner also noted that Michigan is a great fit for Crouch schematically, FWIW. 247’s Steve Lorenz also believes that Michigan is currently leading for Crouch, with his mother and grandmother won over by Michigan on the visit and he himself preferring more about Michigan than any other school with which he’s involved, though on the record he told Rivals’ Adam Friedman he doesn’t think he has a leader right now. Even so, he also told Friedman that he’s more comfortable with the players at Michigan than anywhere else. Crouch also said that he might play not only on offense and defense but possibly two spots on defense, with Don Brown preferring he learn both middle linebacker and viper.
All that is important, there’s no doubting that, but perhaps most interesting is the way weather has been cast aside as a concern. It was raised as a serious issue for Crouch in the weeks leading up to his official, but Webb dutifully asked Greiner about it and received an interesting response:
“He said he might get sick a little more often at Michigan, but it wasn’t bad,” said Greiner. “Nothing that would keep him from going there.”
Michigan student-athletes being given copious amounts of Jordan-branded cold weather gear and the invention of cold weather gear in general are definitely helpful here. Also, Halls Breezers.
Another player Michigan has had their eyes on for a while (and recently landed after decommitting from Virginia Tech) could also play both ways in Ann Arbor. MA CB/WR Mike Sainristil is likely to start out in the slot, and he’s also likely to start out at corner. Which position ro believe he will start working at when enrolling in January is a matter of who you’re asking, according to WolverineWire’s Evan Petzold; Harbaugh wants Sainristil in the slot, while Don Brown wants him at nickel.
His initial assignment involving the slot one way or another implies a certain amount of speed and twitchiness, and that’s what analysts are seeing in person and on tape. Rivals’ Adam Friedman says that Sainristil’s agility, footwork, and nose for the ball aid him on defense, while his explosiveness and quickness make it hard for defensive backs to stick with him in the slot. 247’s Brian Dohn saw Sainristil in person recently and wrote a very detailed analysis based off that and some junior film. Dohn says that Sainristil flips his hips well in coverage and has smooth, quick footwork in press. On offense, quickness off the line and out of breaks get him open. He thinks Sainristil will end up a defensive back at Michigan, but notes that he has true college-level potential on either side of the ball.
The recruitment of four-star GA LB Kalen Deloach has taken a similarly long and winding path, and it’s not even over yet. The current Florida State commit and his family have been much more interested in Michigan than was publicly known until last week, when Deloach visited for the Penn State game. He told Rivals’ Chad Simmons that he’s still committed to Florida State but wants to see what else is out there, and though he thinks he’ll sign in December he’s no longer sure about that.
His father told Sam Webb that he encouraged Michigan to keep recruiting his son despite the #243rd overall ranked prospect committing to Florida State on July 30th, and he and his wife even came on a visit without Kalen to learn more about Michigan. It made sense, though, as the Deloachs were already within driving distance visiting their daughter, who runs track at a school Kalen knows he will not be attending: Ohio State. Webb asked whether Deloach had considered the Buckeyes and the answer was, uh… if he goes to Michigan, he’ll fit right in.
“Yeah,” the elder Deloach replied. “Actually, we went there first and Kalen didn’t get a good vibe. So he asked, ‘can we leave?’ We probably spent two hours on campus at Ohio State. He said he was ready to go. We got in the car and drove over to Michigan. We got there and they welcomed us with open arms driving up into State street.”
Said visit took place in February, so between that and the visit last weekend, weather won’t be an obstacle for Michigan relative to the other southern schools he’s considering. Webb mentions in the article that Michigan has a great chance at flipping the four-star, and it certainly seems Deloach’s parents are interested. We’ll see where this goes after he visits Alabama and Auburn. Despite the apparent shift in momentum, Deloach has no crystal balls in favor of Michigan.
One prospect who has racked up quite a few Michigan crystal balls this week happens to be ranked #5 overall: OH DE Zach Harrison. It has seemed like things were trending toward Michigan for quite a while, and while I haven’t seen much in the way of new reporting this week the previously reported bits were strong enough that it’s not a surprise to see people flipping or submitting their pick in favor of Michigan. What is surprising is the sheer number of ballz, with 11 Michigan picks submitted between November 4th and 5th, including ones from Steve Wiltfong, Steve Lorenz, Allen Trieu, Brice Marich, and Josh Newkirk.
Michigan secured a commitment from a 2020 prospect at the same time the experts were prognosticating the final destination of one of 2019’s top players, with VA RB Tim Baldwin verbally pledging to Michigan last Sunday. Seth noted in his post that Baldwin’s style is Higdonesque, and The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown penned a quick description that meshes with Seth’s take. Brown writes that Michigan’s staff likes Baldwin’s physicality despite being small (as someone who is also 5’11” this makes me sad), using the Harbaughism “contact courage” in his description of Baldwin’s play. Rivals’ Adam Friedman says that flat-out speed isn’t Baldwin’s game, but he is explosive and elusive and is adept at catching the ball out of the backfield. Sounds like he could be a nice blend of Higdon and Evans with [/a “You are entering Fred Jackson Country” sign appears out of nowhere, and I’ll just stop writing here].
The 2020 class lost a recruit the day after it gained one, with IL DT Denver Warren announcing on Twitter that he was re-opening his recruitment. Brandon Brown posted on The Wolverine’s forum that there were some red flags that Michigan’s staff found cause for concern after looking into them during the bye week, though that doesn’t negate the claim in Warren’s tweet that there wasn’t room for him in the 2020 class; Warren was told by the staff that there were more 2019 DL than currently committed that would end up in the class.
Meanwhile, Belleville CB Andre Seldon is working to add some players to the class that he’ll have to check in practice. He has taken an active roll recruiting Detroit King WR Rashawn Williams—who told 247’s Allen Trieu Michigan has always been one of his top schools and about the strength of his relationship with coach Harbaugh, plus Seldon and 2019 DT commit Tyrece Woods—as well as Bay City Central WR Devell Washington. According to Brice Marich, Williams asked Seldon why he committed so early in the process and Seldon told him the team is a brotherhood. Seldon says that he thinks Williams, the subject of this week’s FBO, definitely feels that brotherhood, and he isn’t alone: Marich and Allen Trieu submitted Michigan crystal balls for Williams on Monday.
GA QB Harrison Bailey had a decision timeline and backed off it, according to his father. Even so, his father told Sam Webb that Bailey is relatively close to a decision (before the 2019 season, he posits) and has at least three schools he’s paying close attention to, with Michigan being one of them. Bailey really likes Pep Hamilton and is close with TX TE Nick Patterson, a relationship that Bailey’s father said would help from the perspective of knowing there’s a support system in place so far from home. Bailey also knows Tarik Black and Shea Patterson, which gives Michigan an additional air of familiarity.
2020 MA OT Zak Zinter says he’s high on Michigan. 2021 DT George Rooks visited for the Penn State game, could keep the Jersey-to-AA pipeline flowing. MA OT Kevin Pyne, ranked #102 in the 2020 composite, has reclassified to 2019. 2020 IL OC Josh Fryar says talking with coaches Kugler and Warinner was the highlight while visiting for the Penn State game. 2021 IN LB Yanni Karlaftis, George Karlaftis’ younger brother, is very interested in Michigan and doesn’t feel the same desire his brother did to stay close to home. 2020 OH QB Riley Keller has been in weekly contact with Pep Hamilton, is hoping to earn offer.