Friday Recruitin’ Talks Big Tackles Comment Count

Seth January 6th, 2017 at 5:11 PM

Brian is out sick so this is my first shot at one of these. I’m not as plugged in as the other guys so if I missed something important leave it in the comments. Mostly this is going to be Army Game practice stuff.

No Blind Siding


Michigan target Chuck Filiaga, with normal-sized humans [U.S. Army All-American Bowl, via USA Today]

Let’s start with the good news: Crystal balls to Michigan are still flying in for 4* TX OT Chuck Filiaga, who’s a 6’6/335 pound shot at a starting left tackle that Michigan desperately needs. Filiaga will be at right tackle during the Army Game because his team is full of LTs. His decision, between Michigan, Oklahoma, and Nebraska is scheduled for noon.

Even if Filiaga enters the fold, Michigan is not done recruiting potential tackles. Next likeliest target, 3* OT Mekhi Becton, told Maize and Brew that Michigan remains “definitely high on my list.” Michigan also make the top three for AL 3* OT Toryque Bateman, though grades and the likelihood of other commits coming/sticking makes that seem unlikely now.

Obligatory Najee Section: We are linebackers

You have been a good recruiting follower so you’ve so far managed to refrain from watching the parade of ankleless linebackers following 5* CA RB Najee Harris to various endzones. The recruiting industry is finding him just as slippery. We are now officially past the Flight Aware segment of the recruitment and on to Flight Plan Aware. 247’s Bart Simmons first wrote yesterday that Army Bowl people said they’re flying Harris back home after the game, but then said a source told him Harris had requested a change to the wrong Birmingham:

Per a source, Harris has requested a flight change — asking to land in Birmingham now, instead of back home in California (Oakland). That would put the running back on Alabama's campus by Sunday evening at the latest as an early-enrollee, ending a dizzying back-and-forth between Alabama and Michigan that's worn on for months.

I maintain that you should ignore virtually everything until Harris is literally on campus at one school or the other on Monday, since that is quite apparently his preferred method of announcement. Bama people seem confident, Michigan people seem confident. Rivals had their national analysts weigh in, with votes going 2-1 in favor of the Tide. Harris has denied everything. Look closely at anyone new in your freshman seminar Monday.

Willie Being Silly?

The last round of interviews from San Antonio with MS 4* OLB Willie Gay have convinced reporters that LSU now leads Michigan and Mississippi State for what would be the first life form to ever escape “the Sip.” For their part LSU is taking Gay’s sudden interest very seriously, with Tigers linebacker commit Patrick Queen rescheduling his official to coincide with Gay’s. Sam Webb confirmed that LSU is the stated leader

"Really all of my schools are even. LSU has probably got a little bit high, a little bit. I don't know where I'm going to go yet but LSU has moved up a little bit higher."

…but reported that Gay’s family is still heavily favoring Michigan, and this doesn’t sound like someone who’s moved on:

"They didn't move down,” he said.  “When I went to Michigan it was like, perfect. Everything I ever wanted in a school… academics, I feel like I was at home still (and) the weather wasn't that bad to me. I was cool with the cold weather. I loved it."

Gay called the report that LSU leads “kind of accurate.” Call me a homer but I think this one has a lot of elements of a guy who’s messing with reporters. Michigan does still have to weather an official visit to down-the-street Mississippi State in addition to that to LSU on the 20th. I doubt it’s done.

Wille a Will? Possibly relevant, according to SEC Country LSU is recruiting him at WLB:

LSU is courting Gay as a WILL linebacker to help pad the team’s depth at a crucial position.

If you remember your Wisconsin previews, Aranda’s 3-4 has a WILL that’s a second middle linebacker—think Mike McCray’s job—so no they’re not trying to make him Vince Biegel, but neither are they calling him a slot overhang guy. Michigan has made it clear he would play the multifarious Peppers SAM spot.


Possibly unrelatedly, this got tweeted:

Big Nose Tackle Options are Shrinking

You would think if there is only one word in the English language that an uncommitted prospect can put before “Michigan” to erase any doubt about his intentions, it’s “F---.” Well, 5* GA DT Aubrey Solomon dropped just that particular bomb this week in a Periscope to fellow former Michigan commit WR Jeremiah Holloman (now a 4* UGA commit). A day later Solomon apologized on twitter to Michigan fans.

So: we’re done? Not quite. Sam said on his segment today that Michigan is still after him hard, which WTF?

I guess there are two ways to look at it: On one hand perhaps Aubrey was consoling a friend who apparently got pushed out of the class by higher-rated receivers. The other way to look at it is “What is literally the last thing you want to hear from a guy Michigan is recruiting?”. The likelihood of Option B is the likelihood this is officially happy trails. If you’re holding out for the sympathy words excuse, Michigan still has a lot of ground to make up.

That leaves Michigan’s hopes for a guy who can instantly spell Mone next year down to just UT 4* DT Jay Tufele. While Ohio State was a major factor earlier in this recruitment, lately the sense has been that hometown Utah has moved ahead of both Midwestern rivals. Michigan’s former director of player personnel Tony Tuioti leaving to become DL coach at Fresno State could not have helped the Wolverines’ chances. However Tufele told Sam at the Army Game practices today that at least distance won’t be a deciding factor:

“It was never a factor,” he reiterated. “For me going away or going home… it’s either one. It’s just at the end of the day it is going to be wherever best fits me… that’s where I’m going to go.”

While painting the picture of a Ryan Glasgow-like player, Sam noted the relationship with Bryan Mone. Official visits to USC and Utah loom for a now-crucial recruitment that could go a lot of ways. Scout…uh scout Brandon Huffman also chimed in on why Tufele’s a big deal:

Through the first part of the week, Tufele has been the MVP of the defense. He's yet to lose rep in the one-on-ones and when he went against the East interior offensive linemen during Tuesday's practice, he was beating them repeatedly just as he was the O-linemen for the West team. Tufele has a cat-quick first step and grown man strength. Tufele is considering BYU, Michigan, Ohio State, USC and Utah.

While BYU and USC are probably placeholders, Michigan has at best as good a chance as the other two, which equals not a great chance.

At least our scouting works. Once again solid Oregon commit Rutger Reitmaier is making everybody’s lists for top performers at the Army practices. 247’s Bart Simmons’s East team update depressingly mentioned two names familiar to Michigan fans this cycle as standout defensive tackles: Reitmaier, and OG prospect Tedarrell Slaton, who’s expected to commit to Florida. Slaton was also the largest prospect in attendance, weighing in at 363 lbs.

The Sabanification of Georgia is Not a Good Development


After leading for a year for AL 4* WR Nico Collins, suddenly it appears Georgia has made it a game. Wiltfong:

A source close to Clay-Chalkville Top247 receiver Nico Collins told 247Sports this week he thinks Michigan and Georgia are on top.

He added he thinks will be the Bulldogs and not the Wolverines that ultimately sign the four-star recruit.

That would indeed be an upset of greater magnitude than turning around Isaiah Wilson, since Collins made multiple visits to Michigan on his own dime. He’ll announce on national signing day.

The Dawgs showing some bite on the recruiting trail after Kirby Smart’s first season ended 8-5 in the Liberty Bowl has caused some people in our community to wonder what’s going on down there. The answer is that it was far more extraordinary that Richt had Georgia at merely Lloyd Carr level in the Age of the SEC. Georgia is twice the recruiting ground of any other SEC state save Florida, and in-state rival GT is less of a threat than Michigan State is to us. Plus, Athens is gorgeous, admittedly as nice a town/campus as Ann Arbor; I can personally attest that their gameday atmosphere is unreal. And Georgia's not a bad school either.

I’m sure some Bama stuff is going on there, but the real reason they’re a threat to Michigan now is because Michigan has chosen to invade SEC territory and compete against the best the SEC has to offer.

Scouting Updates on Committed Recruits

Sam Webb did a feature this morning on WTKA on the Michigan guys he’s watched and spoken to down in San Antonio, and while I couldn’t get the Audioboom recording to work  MGoUser ColelsCorky kindly summarized it on our board. Among tidbits in there that weren’t mentioned already, Ambry Thomas looks like an early contributor, Deron Irving-Bey is unrefined but also Young Taco-like off the edge, and Tarik Black has been a “revelation.” Huffman’s scouting report agreed on the last:

The Michigan commit has consistently made plays all week and impressed with his smooth route running for being a bigger framed kid. He has shown good, reliable hands and ball skills as well.

Sam and Josh Newkirk caught up with Black on Wednesday and asked him to name his (homer) pick for top cornerback he’s faced, which offers us a nice segue into MI 4* CB Ambry Thomas:

“I’m not being biased or anything like that cause he’s a Michigan commit. But I do think he’s the best corner out here.”

Adding: “He’s a technician, a long ranging guy and has a lot of speed. You've got to work him to get open.”

Another Michigan recruit who could challenge for early playing time, DE/DT Donovan Jeter got a new eval from Brian Dohn, and it sounds like one of those that could accompany a ratings bump:

Final Thought: Jeter offers position flexibility, which is a great thing for a staff and a player. He can be a defensive end, particularly on the weakside where he can use his length and quickness in his first two steps, or he can add weight and strength and move inside. His body can easily handle 290 pounds, and keeping his quickness is not a concern. His hand speed will also allow him to be successful on the interior of the defensive line.

At 6’6/261 Jeter seems large enough to be in the mix for some standard-down spelling of Chase Winovich as a more Taco-shaped WDE, or Rashan Gary’s backup at SDE immediately. Since Gary is expected to take off some of Hurst’s load at tackle this year, the Anchor position has plenty of snaps available.

The Distant Future 2018

After talking up SEC football 6’6 NJ TE Elijah McAllister told Steve Wiltfong he grew up a Michigan fan and that Michigan has been in contact. I may have posted that just for this quote:

“I liked the SEC culture, everyone is great down South. Growing up in New Jersey, a lot of fast-moving people, not everyone is nice. Down South everyone is nice.

MGoBlog’s official Southern correspondent BiSB reports that “Bless your heart” is actually Tennesseean for “F--- you!”, but as we noted above that doesn’t necessarily mean they hate you.



January 6th, 2017 at 5:30 PM ^

I am very curious if we ever find out the real reason behind the Slaton situation.  This doesnt make one iota of sense - you have a gaping hole at nose tackle and you tell a 363 lb man "no you can't come to UM and fill a massive hole we have in our depth chart because we MUST have you only as a guard." 

Makes even less sense when you had the identical situation 12 months ago and you didn't tell Onwenu "No we will only accept you at one position, otherwise look elsewhere!"


January 6th, 2017 at 5:42 PM ^

If Tarik Black is looking more and more like a playmaker I wonder if the staff might make ovetures to Oliver Martin? His skill set would seem to be a very good compliment to DPJ and Black and good slot receivers can open things up for the outside receivers.

Would love to see Nico commit to UM, though...


January 6th, 2017 at 5:45 PM ^

Holloman left the class a loooong time ago so I don't think he can really be characterized as pushed out.

Hopefully we still get Nico (at the least for fake band names like Hammering Panda and Nico) but the reports on Tarik Black have me feeling awesome about our WR haul however the class closes out there.


January 6th, 2017 at 10:15 PM ^

-- accepting the offer got him a LOT of press and attention for the recruiting services.  (I recall CLEARLY a lot of folks on this site pissed off that we were taking the commit of a 3-STAR kid that early in the cycle.  Full disclosure - I may have been confused by the offer/commit as well at the time but not "mad".)

I doubt it was calculated, but once he started getting offers from the SEC - maybe ones he didnt think he would get -, Holloman was probably looking for an way out of his word to M and the "lack of contact" was his way out.

I wish Holloman well - except when facing Michigan - and see it as proof that the satellite camps are allowing the staff to identify kids just need to perfect holding on to them....

Blue in Paradise

January 6th, 2017 at 5:47 PM ^

I noticed that we have a bunch of top recruits going to the Polynesian Bowl, and Tufele will be there. I wonder if that could help us close on him.

That might have been by design.


January 6th, 2017 at 5:55 PM ^

I read


That leaves Michigan’s hopes for a guy who can instantly spell Mone next year

And my brain was like, "Well yeah, of course he can spell Mone. That's easier to spell than Tufele"


January 6th, 2017 at 6:04 PM ^

I haven't seen that since the Great Flight Announcement of '17, but I certainly could have missed it. 

I'm just going to assume that he's been toying with us because he's cruel - cruel, I tell you!  Now, to go to my room to faint...

Image result for blanche dubois

True Blue Grit

January 6th, 2017 at 6:20 PM ^

trending away during the dead period are not necessarily "gone".  My guess is that Harbaugh and staff are going to recruit them harder than ever down the stretch and hopefully keep them "in the fold".  I'm looking at you Collins, Solomon, and Tufele.

As for Harris I'm not very optimistic.  But if we're all honest with ourselves, it was alway a longshot with him.  He committed to Alabama earlier and Michigan went after him.  Alabama is a 5 star black hole.  They attract every elite H.S. player to them understandably.  Kids want to play on NC contenders.  If he picks them, and I hope he doesn't, can you blame him?  That being said, he has a shit ton of opportunities if he comes to Michigan too.  We'll find out soon enough.  Either way, Michigan will continue to excel greatly.  

You Only Live Twice

January 6th, 2017 at 6:31 PM ^

People are definitely nicer in the South.  Sometimes it's just on the surface nice, and sometimes that's all you want anyway.

Very true that "Bless your heart" might very well mean "FU" especially in a region where they still classify people not from the South, as Yankees. 

You'll hear the phrase used extensively in Texas, where I spent a little time, so maybe it's true for all the SE states.  It seemed that "Bless your heart" would mean one of two things:

1) Meaningless conversation filler, like "Did you?"  "Really?" or "great news"

2) F*** You Yankee

So if you're a Yankee, and having a dialogue with anyone from the South and hear this phrase, you have to rewind and figure out which of the scenarios applies.  


January 6th, 2017 at 9:19 PM ^

"bless your heart" is short for "bless your heart because your head dont work" or something to that effect (google is failing me).  Basically meaning 'i hope you have a healthy working heart because whats in that head of yours doesnt work for shit.'


January 6th, 2017 at 6:34 PM ^

Agreed on Athens.  My wife is from there and I visit often.  It is a great college town and great gameday scene.  There does not need to  be funny stuff for recruits to choose UGA over UM.   

On a related note, I would love to see a home and home between the two schools.


January 6th, 2017 at 7:02 PM ^

The former defensive coordinator of the Alabama death machine in his first full cycle in which they can definitely sell hope in a great town and a good talent base already existing, yeah I absolutely believe they are recruiting like this with no funny stuff, if it's a couple of years of results like this with continued high level recruiting, I will cock an eyebrow, until then we're just whining.

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