Large Human Favors Michigan
The BBQ at the Big House on August 6th is by far the biggest recruiting event of the summer for Michigan, and the list of potential visitors—and potential commits—is growing seemingly by the hour. The biggest news of the week, in both literal and figurative terms, is that three-star AL OT Toryque Bateman will take his second unofficial to Ann Arbor of the summer for the BBQ. The 6'8"(!), 305-pound tackle released a top five yesterday with Michigan on top, and he confirmed to Wolverine247 that the Wolverines indeed lead for him.
247's Isaiah Hole posted that Bateman is a take for the coaching staff and subsequently put in a Crystal Ball for Michigan; Steve Lorenz followed suit. If Bateman does in fact commit soon, that would bring M's O-line count for the class up to five with several top prospects still on the board. It looks like the coaches are willing to go up to seven OL for the class, and if the right prospects want to join in, we might even see a current commit be encouraged to look around. (To be clear, that last bit is speculation based on Harbaugh's recruiting style, not any concrete info, and I suspect he's learned from last year's Swenson fiasco.)
One such lineman could be four-star NY OT Isaiah Wilson, who will also be an attendance at the BBQ, as will four-star CA OT Aaron Banks, whose name hasn't come up much (distance will do that) despite his high interest in Michigan.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Hudson Nears Commitment
I mentioned in Monday's roundup that there was some conflicting insider info regarding three-star OH SDE/DT James Hudson:
Three-star OH SDE James Hudson tweeted yesterday that he's making a commitment "real soon." Unless he holds off for a little while, the popular opinion is he'll choose Michigan State. There's disagreement over whether Michigan would take him or not. Steve Lorenz posted on the 247 board that Michigan slow-played Hudson at their camp last month. Sam Webb, on the other hand, insists Michigan would take Hudson and says the staff is trying to connect with him and get him to the BBQ in August. Sam and Steve both have great sources and rarely disagree like this; we'll see if the picture clears up.
Based on the above, I flipped my Crystal Ball pick from Michigan to MSU, but it isn't over yet. Hudson will visit both schools before he makes his decision, and he told Scout's Bill Greene they're currently running even:
"I don't have any final list, and I'm going to visit Michigan State on Thursday and Michigan on August 6," Hudson stated. "Michigan State is a great school, but I want to see some things I haven't seen before. I want to sit and talk with Coach (Mark) Dantonio again. I just want to see if they are the best fit for me."
"With Michigan, it's about me talking with Coach (Greg) Mattison again," he added. "He wants me to speak with the other commits and also talk to Rashan Gary. I like Michigan a lot, and I would say they are even with Michigan State right now."
That said, if we're going by the MGoMaxim that talking to a certain school's local reporters is telling, Hudson did a longer interview with MSU's 247 site this week; it still sounds like Michigan has ground to make up. Hudson wants to make his decision within the next month.
MLive's Matt Wenzel caught up with four-star DT commit Aubrey Solomon this week, and this is comforting to hear after last week's news that Solomon would take all his official visits:
"Michigan," he said of his interests. "That's it. I was supposed to go to 'Dawg Night' (a recruiting event at Georgia); I'm not going to Dawg Night. I'm not trying to go to 'Bama Barbecue. Really, I'm just focused on Michigan. I'm committed there and now I'm really focusing on trying to win state in high school.
In fact, Solomon added he's taking his officials because the coaches want him to do so:
"Michigan wants me to take my officials, see what other colleges have to offer, compare and contrast," he said. "They definitely want me to go take the visits, so I am."
This is the opposite approach of a certain former Michigan coach, of course, and I think it's absolutely the right way to recruit top out-of-region prospects—with fewer opportunities to get a prospect on campus and land a commitment, you have to be willing to capitalize on them, and if that means taking a commitment while letting a prospect look around, so be it.
Speaking of Solomon, he made 247's list of the 17 biggest steals so far in the 2017 class.
2018 ESPN300 Released
ESPN released their initial top 300 for the class of 2018, and Michigan's early commits are well-represented:
- OH TE/DL Leonard Taylor is #45 overall and the #4 athlete
- GA S Otis Reese is #184 overall and the #13 safety
- GA OG Jalil Irvin is #191 overall and the #8 guard
- OH ILB Antwuan Johnson is #204 overall and the #8 inside linebacker
The highest-ranked in-state prospect is Dearborn Divine Child DE Aidan Hutchinson, a Michigan legacy considered a strong Wolverine lean, who ranks 85th overall and ninth among defensive ends. Cass Tech CB Kalon Gervin (#192 overall), Oak Park OG Marquan McCall (#194), Muskegon OT Antwan Reed (#220), and Detroit Country Day OLB Kolin Demens (#246) also cracked the list.
Four-star FL OG TeDarrell Slaton told 247 that playing basketball in college is still a big factor in his recruitment, and Michigan is at least humoring him at the moment:
A number of football schools have been pursuing him and Michigan has spoken positively about the potential of him playing basketball too.
“I’ve never got in contact with a basketball coach, but hopefully I do,” Slaton said. “I’ve had football coaches try to work out a basketball situation. Right now Michigan football is telling me I can play basketball. They’ve been trying to link me up with the coach and I’ve got the coaches number and I’ve texted him a few times, but he hasn’t gotten back to me.”
I'm not sure how a 6'5", 340-pound player fits into John Beilein's system, but I have a pretty good idea of how one fits into Jim Harbaugh's.
Four-star Flint Southwestern SDE Deron Irving-Bey has long been considered an MSU lean, but Rivals's Josh Helmholdt reports he'll visit campus for the first time at the BBQ.