We got a break from obsessively checking the hour-by-hour chance of precipitation, wind strength, and “feels like” temp with the bye week but it’s time once again to open your favorite weather app: 2019 LB/RB Quavaris Crouch is coming to town. Crouch, you may remember, continues to express a great deal of interest in Michigan and a great skepticism about its weather.
Things literally and metaphorically look good for his official visit right now. According to Weather Underground, it should be partly sunny during the game, feel like 43 degrees with virtually no chance of precipitation, and have winds tapering off from nine to two mph as the night progresses. According to Sam Webb, the outlook is good with regard to Crouch’s travel party, too. It wasn’t clear whether Crouch would be bringing family members or just his former head coach/mentor on this weekend’s official visit, but Webb confirmed two days ago that Crouch’s mother and grandmother will be in Ann Arbor, and his former head coach/mentor is also likely to be in attendance. That shows how seriously Crouch is considering Michigan, which he named tied for his top school with Clemson while including a weather caveat.
Family input is expected to have some influence over Crouch’s decision, especially that of his grandmother. Webb published a lengthy interview with Sam Greiner, the aforementioned former head coach/mentor, in which he says distance isn’t as much a factor as it once was because they realized all of his top schools are a couple hours away, the difference being whether that’s by car or plane. Greiner goes on to detail the pitches some schools are using, as well as what Crouch likes about Michigan and Clemson. He notes that Crouch and his family have been to multiple Clemson games but none of them have seen a game in the Big House; it’s tough to overstate how important this visit will be.
Crouch most recently took an official to Florida State last weekend, where the game itself couldn’t have gone much worse. Not only did they get obliterated by No. 2 Clemson at home, but they got obliterated by No.2-and-tied-for-first-for-Crouch’s-services Clemson at home. The things he told Rivals’ Adam Friedman after the game about how the history of the football program is good and they’ll be good after they repair the current culture make it sound like he isn’t headed there.
Where he’ll be headed won’t be known anytime soon, though, so don’t expect a commitment to come out of his visit to Michigan. Not publicly, at least. Crouch plans to announce his chosen school at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on January 5, but told the Charlotte Observer’s Langston Wertz Jr. that he plans to silently commit before publicly announcing so that he can start the early enrollment process.
[Two weeks worth of updates after THE JUMP]
TN RB Eric Gray, another U.S. Army All-American Bowl participant, has been brought up over and over in recent recruiting roundups because of his official and unofficial visits, with one each for Tennessee and Ole Miss (his official is scheduled for December 8), and a likely official to Alabama. The visits are important not only because they’re to those schools but because Gray already made an official visit to Michigan in June before committing in July. Gray was frank when discussing what time and distance have done to his Michigan commitment with Ryan Callahan of GoVols247:
“Being away from Michigan for a while has definitely gotten tough, because you see all these other schools and you don’t get to go to the school that you’re committed to because of the distance. It’s definitely gotten tough, and you start thinking about this and that, this and that. But I believe it’ll all work out in the end and I’ll pick the right school.”
In that same article he said that he wants to visit Alabama because it’s Alabama, Ole Miss because it’s close to home, and has been visiting Tennessee because it’s relatively close to home and they’re only taking one back in the 2019 class.
Enter the Harbaughs. The Michigan Insider’s Josh Newkirk (who also posted a film eval) reports that Jim stopped by Gray’s school before classes were out on Friday, then Jay took in Gray’s game that evening. Their visits hit all the right notes with Gray, who said he appreciated Harbaugh the Elder making time to see him with the Penn State game looming. He was also impressed that Harbaugh the Younger watched his game from beginning to end, something he said no other coaches did.
That won’t stop him from taking other visits, though. Even with the Harbaughs visiting, it seems that a return visit to Michigan could swing his recruitment; he has mentioned in multiple articles that he has never observed the gameday atmosphere of Michigan Stadium, and—yes, again—weather was also mentioned in his comments to GoVols247. Time is now a factor with only two Michigan home games left on the schedule. Gray is reportedly going to visit LSU this weekend for the Alabama game, which leaves the November 17 tilt with Indiana his last chance to see Michigan play at the Big House before he signs on December 19.
This is an awkward and overly transparent segue but even though Michigan missed out on four-star MN OT Bryce Benhart, another four-star OT recently told WolverinesWire’s Evan Petzold that Michigan is in his top two (he declined to name the other school). OL coach Ed Warinner visited MO OT Danielson Ike in person during the bye week, and Petzold reports that Ike is likely to make an official visit in early December.
Speaking of visitors, MA ATH Mike Sainristil will be on campus for this weekend’s Penn State game. Sainristil, whom Michigan has been looking at as a potential slot receiver and/or corner, has been rumored to be leaning toward Michigan for a long time, and he decommitted from Virginia Tech three days after setting up this Michigan visit. Sainristil doesn’t have to look far to figure out what it’s like to play for his lead recruiter, Don Brown; his current head coach, Theluxon Pierre, played for Brown at UMass. The Wolverine reports that Brown stopped by Sainristil’s school during the bye week, and all things taken together—including his 100% M crystal ball—point to a Michigan commitment by the end of the weekend.
Another defensive back who might be making a trip to Michigan in the near future is FL CB Renardo Green. The three-star has an official visit set for The Game, and he told 247’s John Garcia Jr. that Michigan CB coach Mike Zordich has been trying to get a visit to Ann Arbor set up. Green is reportedly only looking at Ohio State, Michigan, and Florida State (a school he decommitted and recommitted to).
Speaking of Florida State commits who are still looking around, GA LB Kalen DeLoach is taking an official visit to M this weekend. Auburn and Michigan were the other finalists in the four-star’s top three, and though he hasn’t decommitted he’s clearly decided it’s time to do his due diligence in making a final final decision.
Like DeLoach, another player being recruited by LB coach Al Washington, #5 overall prospect OH DE Zach Harrison, sat down with The Michigan Insider and Bucknuts after his U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey presentation ceremony. There wasn’t a ton of new information in the Bucknuts article—Harrison is about as tight-lipped as recruits come—but he did say that he’s starting to feel both the pressure to make a decision soon and to stay close to home.
“There’s a lot when you hear ‘OH’ walking down the hallway or when you walk through Walmart, you walk at the mall and people are saying ‘OH’ at you,” Harrison said. “I hear that a lot.”
Harrison told The Michigan Insider’s Brice Marich that even though he feels the pressure he has to do what’s best for him. Marich asked Harrison what factors he will take into account when making his decision and Harrison reiterated what he’s been saying all along: players, coaches, and relationships. With that in mind, Marich got interesting insight into Harrison’s thoughts on some of Michigan’s current commits:
“I like the school (and) I like the players a lot,” Harris said. ”I get along with them and with the commits. I have a good relationship with a lot of those guys. Mazi (Smith) is my guy, Chris Hinton, DJ (Turner), Joey Velazquez… his dad coached me back when we were little. We are not super tight, but I know him and we are cool and everything.
"Every once and awhile (I talk with them). I text Joey and we have started to hang out again."
TMI’s Josh Newkirk reports that Harrison’s mother and sister came with him when he visited for the Wisconsin game, his sister’s first time visiting Michigan. It has long been reported that his mother prefers the Buckeyes (he says she doesn’t care where he goes, FWIW), and it seems noteworthy that his sister came along. Marich spoke with Harrison’s mother after the All-American jersey presentation and she told him she’s a Bears fan from Chicago when asked something about whether she has a preferred school; Marich speculates that if mom prefers Ohio State it’s because her son would be close to home, not because of the institution itself. I also found this bit particularly interesting:
And while he has several factors he’s looking for in a school, she made it clear that a big thing for her is seeing whatever school he picks hold him accountable like it does every other player. She was adamant about her son not getting any special treatment because of who he is or anything. He's obviously not a bad kid or anywhere close to one. It's more about keeping him grounded. With Zach I think she has little to worry about in that regard.
Harrison has no date set for his commitment, though he plans to enroll early.
Five-star CA WR Kyle Ford does have a date set for his commitment, and that’s January 5 at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Ford also told 247’s Greg Biggins that he isn’t certain but thinks he will use his last unscheduled official to visit Michigan; the other schools he has visited officially are Colorado and Washington, with Oregon scheduled this weekend and USC a near lock to receive a visit.
One more 2019 prospect to keep an eye on is unranked KS ATH Amauri Pesek-Hickson. Not only is his basketball-to-football story similar to Ronnie Bell’s, their high schools are 35 minutes apart. Pesek-Hickson broke his foot early in his football career, then got ranked as a basketball recruit and poured his time into that until his recruitment cooled this summer, at which point he decided to go all in on football again. The 6’3”, 220 pound safety (most likely, at least) was offered by Harbaugh earlier this week and has already set an official visit for December 8.
GA QB Harrison Bailey, whom Rivals reports was close to committing after his unofficial visit against Wisconsin but is concerned that Pep Hamilton could leave for a head coaching opportunity elsewhere, will no longer be in town for the Penn State game: he broke his collarbone in a game last week and is done for the season. The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb reports that there’s a good chance he visits for the Indiana game and a possibility that he commits before the end of the calendar year.
Jim Harbaugh used some of his time over the bye week to visit #4 overall prospect MD SDE Bryan Bresee. Bresee has a top 15 that includes Michigan, but what’s most noteworthy about the visit was the offer Harbaugh gave out while he was at Bresee’s school. Ryan Linthicum, a 2021 prospect, is listed as a DT in Rivals’ system but Harbaugh offered him as a center. Linthicum only had a Maryland offer, so Michigan is in his top two by default (the article makes it sound like he’ll seriously consider Michigan).
There don’t appear to be any looming commitments for the 2020 class, but everyone and (usually literally) their mother will be on campus for the game against Penn State. Some notables include MI DB S Makari Paige, top 100 MA LB Kalel Mullins, MI WR Devell Washington, IN C Josh Fryar, OK OT Andrew Raym, and five-star GA OT Myles Hinton.
Brice Marich put together single-game highlights for four-star 2020 IN DT Cole Brevard, who would like to set up a visit after the season. Penn State visitors list from The Wolverine. Other lists from The Wolverine include all the prospects seen over the bye week by Jim Harbaugh, Pep Hamilton, and Don Brown. Daxton Hill: still very good.