There were 17 crystal balls logged before last Saturday, each of them on Ohio State, some almost two years old. Unsurprising when the nation’s #5 prospect lives in a Columbus suburb. And yet. Michigan hosted OH DE Zach Harrison last Saturday, and the visit went well enough to get 247’s Steve Wiltfong to flip his crystal ball to cloudy and cause Steve Lorenz to almost submit his in favor of Michigan. According to Lorenz, this visit had the most impact on the largest contingent of people pulling for him to go to Ohio State this side of the Shoe.
This visit may have helped the staff with Harrison's family more than it did the prospect himself, as he's personally been high on the Wolverines for months at this point.
Wiltfong, though, reports that Harrison likes Penn State so much that he thinks he would commit there if not for the distance from Columbus, adding that one source told him Michigan has an edge over Penn State due to distance while another disagreed. Then there’s the obligatory it’s-not-over-til-it’s-over disclaimer with regard to Ohio State in almost any article authored about Harrison; we’re still subscribing to the theory that he would have picked them already if that’s where he was going.
Lorenz told the Free Press’ Orion Sang that he believes Michigan is ahead right now after a slow start to Harrison’s recruitment that had Notre Dame and Michigan State in front of Michigan but turned around thanks to the effort of linebackers coach Al Washington. Harrison’s first gameday experience in Michigan Stadium gave him a literal front-row seat to the steamrolling of Wisconsin, and it sounds like Michigan did everything possible on their end—from the seats to getting Harrison’s longtime friend Joey Velazquez and family on campus to the time his family was able to spend with the staff. A possible official visit to Ohio State looms, but one source told Lorenz that Harrison will not end up at OSU, full stop.
Another five-star who is warming up to Michigan is NC ATH Quavaris Crouch. If you remember, Crouch’s visit last weekend was mutually cancelled, and there was some speculation that moving the visit later in the season could hurt Michigan’s chances because Michigan, well, [/gestures toward frost I can see on my car windows as I write this]. According to Steve Lorenz, Crouch wanted to move the visit back in part to experience Michigan’s weather later in the year. Last week’s speculation was around a Crouch visit against Indiana so as to allow the staff to completely focus on him, but Lorenz is now reporting that both sides are working to get him on campus for the game against Penn State. Crouch said that Michigan and Clemson are currently tied for first for him in a TigerNet article that for some reason won’t let me copy-paste text, and there’s some solace to be found in Mark Dantonio being states away from his “cyclotron” (read: weather disruption device) on the day Crouch visits.
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2019 Update: Checking boxes, OVs, more weather
IL OT Trevor Keegan was last weekend’s lone uncommitted official visitor, and he and his family left impressed with what they saw on and off the field. He detailed the trip for The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown, noting that he liked the attention the staff paid to him and realized what a priority he was when he saw his seat for the game was in the front row next to five-star Zach Harrison.
Michigan has already cleared one on-field hurdle as far as Keegan’s family is concerned. The Michigan Insider’s Brice Marich spoke with Keegan’s mother:
Marich: Last thing, but what stood out the most to you about the Michigan official visit and why?
Mrs. Keegan: “The win. I was (shocked) to be honest with you. This to me was like, ‘let’s see where this Michigan team is really going’, and to dominate and basically run over Wisconsin was pretty cool. They did exactly what I see hoping to see because outside of everything else, it’s the University of Michigan, so the education is there, the alumni is there, the location, so everything is there. They checked all the boxes.”
It’s worth noting that Keegan’s mom was born in Michigan and his grandparents are Michigan fans. Keegan told Brown he’s starting to figure out where each school in his top five falls after this, his second official visit (the first was to Ohio State). Keegan will take an official to Georgia in November and says he plans to take all five visits but might not be able to get to Penn State or Clemson before his decision date (December 11) because his team made the playoffs. He also said that he’s taking a long-term view of what a school can do for him while also considering how they fare this season. With a game against Penn State still on the slate, Michigan could hold an edge coupling a win in that game with Keegan’s official visit experience and compressed decision timeline.
CT WR Cornelius Johnson has a less compressed timeline—he plans to sign in February and did not indicate that he would make a decision before then in speaking with 247’s Brian Dohn—and plans to use it to take all four of his remaining officials. He officially visited Notre Dame for the Michigan game, and he plans to take an official to Alabama in November. He also plans to visit Penn State, Stanford (where his father went to school), and Michigan (where his mother went to medical school). On U-M:
“It’s the Big House, coach (Jim) Harbaugh and they have a good receivers coach (Jim McElwain),” Johnson said. “I think they can really do well there. I know (Michigan receiver) Tarik Black. I am not extremely close to him, but I talked to him when I went out there and we used to play their school, Cheshire (Conn.) Academy.”
His comments about Michigan were the only ones that didn’t mention how the school’s offense would utilize him which doesn’t seem like a big deal with an official on his mind, but those are the only tea leaves we have to read at the moment. It would be nice to add a four-star what with five scholarship receivers on the roster and one committed, but a miss here is somewhat mitigated by Michigan’s TEs and their utilization.
Another big potential (second-time) visitor is GA CB Jalen Perry, who told Rivals’ Chad Simmons that he thought he would take an official visit to Michigan. Perry was on campus unofficially last weekend, meeting with coaches Harbaugh, Brown, Zordich, and Partridge; unsurprisingly, the staff thinks he could play corner or safety.
Brice Marich reports that fellow Georgian and current OL commit Trente Jones is in Perry’s ear about joining him at Michigan. If his interview with Marich is any indication, he’s an excellent salesman:
“I think we are building something great and when we come to Michigan we will make this team go to the College football playoffs every year if we aren’t already by the time we get there,” Jones said of his 2019 class. “If we are, then we are taking it back home to Michigan.”
As long as he doesn’t let Perry in on what he likes about Michigan.
"The cold and the vibe in the stands,” Jones said on what were his top highlights. “It created for a great time. I love the cold.”
Do let him talk to Quavaris Crouch, though.
2020 Update: Shockingly there's nothing about weather (though there is an updated forecast for a four-star LB)
VA LB Ethan West took an unofficial to Ann Arbor last weekend and left with a good feel for where he would end up if he had to commit today. West is currently a four-star in the composite and ranked #250 overall. He didn’t tour the facilities last weekend, instead opting to spend more time with the coaching staff, which let him know what they see in his game:
“[Don Brown] likes me because I have the ability to be an aggressive linebacker and fill," West said. "He also likes that I can drop into coverage."
In other words, he would be a nice complement to current commit Cornell Wheeler and his more traditional, more thumping style. West also told Brandon Brown that he would like to make a decision around the end of his junior year, and that Michigan is currently his leader; he reiterated that to WolverinesWire’s Evan Petzold. 247’s Steve Lorenz and his co-workers dug up enough information for Lorenz to put in a crystal ball for West to Michigan on Sunday.
MI WR Devell Washington doesn’t have any Michigan CBs yet—he only has two, both from July with one for OSU and one for MSU—but he does have a return visit planned. Washington will be on campus again on November 3 for the Penn State game, and I don’t know whether he was texting/DMing Brice Marich or whether Marich was going off inflection in his transcription but there are more exclamation points than usual in Washington’s quotes. Washington told Marich that “the family feel from the coaches” stood out the most, and with Ohio State and Michigan State the primary competition, you would think… things. You would think things. You’re thinking them right now. Anyway, Washington is 6’4”, 200 pounds, and ranked #449 overall.
Michigan has extended a PWO offer to 2019 AR QB Ren Hefley, a two-star who says he’s primarily a passer but also runs a 4.5 40. 2020 MI OT Grant Toutant likes Michigan, but doesn’t know whether he’ll get an offer; he just picked up a Wisconsin offer, so you know what should happen. 2020 MI LB Braiden McGregor spent time with Greg Mattison before the game, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the staff sees him as a potential DE (he’s 6’5” and currently splits time between DE and LB). MI OL Garrett Dellinger, 2021’s #2 overall prospect, was on campus last weekend and will be at Michigan State this weekend (and for the Ohio State game), at Ohio State for The Game, and in Ann Arbor for the Penn State game. In other words, he’s going to see all of Michigan’s remaining games in person minus Indiana and the Night Of The Silent Cannon.