Looks like it’s going to be another big visit weekend in Ann Arbor. 247’s Steve Lorenz has the list and the name that stands out as the one who’s ranked highest and most likely to be swayed by Michigan is four-star MI DE Braiden McGregor. You may remember from the last roundup that McGregor was the one whose basketball game was attended by Jim Harbaugh, Sherrone Moore, and Shaun Nua, along with Michigan State headman
Mike D’Antoni Mark Dantonio and a couple Notre Dame coaches. People want him to come play football at their school, it seems. Lorenz writes that he believes McGregor’s family prefers Michigan and that Michigan’s staff will make a big push for him this weekend. His most recent crystal ball, this one from Steve Wiltfong, is a couple weeks old and is foggy. The other four are old and split 2-2 between Michigan and Notre Dame; maybe this weekend provides some clarity for the prospect Lorenz believes could be the top prospect on the Michigan staff’s big board right now.
Another four-star prospect with an interesting crystal ball who will be on campus this weekend is MD WR Taeshon Holden. Currently forecast 100% to West Virginia, Lorenz says he’s no longer believed to be a lock to move to Morgantown. Holden is teammates with current commit MD LB Osman Savage and is co-head coached by former Michigan staffer and dad of guy with excellent food opinions (and a dang good fullback, S/O Henry Poggi) Biff Poggi. We’ll probably have a better idea how much those connections matter after this weekend.
Michigan, undeterred by Rutger basketball’s recent Res Inn conference room thievery, is making a push to reassert their recruiting prowess in New Jersey. That starts with getting some of their best prospects to open the garden fence and take a visit to Ann Arbor. One player who might be taking a Michigan visit in the near future is four-star NJ S Jordan Morant. Lorenz believes that Morant is one of the top safeties on Michigan’s board, and 247 analyst Brian Dohn believes that Morant will be in Ann Arbor sometime this month or next month Lorenz adds that three-star NJ DE Aaron Lewis is another Jersey boy to keep an eye on, as staffs at big schools around the country have seen his film and started to offer.
[Let's talk about organic chemistry after THE JUMP]
NJ TE Lukas Ungar won’t be able to visit anytime soon—he told The Michigan Insider’s Brice Marich that he’ll be going straight from basketball season into lacrosse and won’t have any time to visit for the foreseeable future because of that—but Michigan has a bit of an advantage in Ungar’s familiarity with a new addition to the staff. Anthony Campanile was recruiting Ungar when he was at Boston College; he told Marich that it’s great that Campanile’s at Michigan, where he visited last summer, and that he would like to visit again.
In other new-hire news, DL coach Shaun Nua’s hire may pay dividends on the trail sooner rather than later,
as he’s been talking to recently offered four-star CO DL Aidan Keanaania for over a year. Apparently he was also talking to Ed Warinner for over a year, but when the coach stopped by his school to offer Keanaania told him thanks but no thanks as he wanted to play on the DL; Michigan offered on that side of the ball the next day. [Ed. A- Keanaania committed to Notre Dame about an hour after I wrote that.] Ties he built while at Arizona State may also pay off with 2021 AZ DE Quintin Somerville, who told Marich he got his Michigan offer the day Nua took the job. Somerville, ranked fifth overall in the 2021 class, said he hopes to visit for the spring game and break down film with Nua while he’s in town.
NC DL and Florida decommit Kedrick Bingley-Jones may not have been talking to Nua since he was Arizon State, but Bingley-Jones also recently picked up an offer from Nua. He told Marich that he’s going to take the process slowly this time, and that he knows now he’s looking for a school that feels like home, one where he has a great relationship with his position coach, and one that has what he wants to study. He seemed excited in his comments to Marich that Michigan has a school of dentistry, and as someone who spent the middle two years of undergrad thinking he would attend that school I can tell you that I think my Pre-Dental Association t-shirt is in a box in my basement and I am a sportswriter now. Orgo II!
Apparently dentistry is the thing to study now? It came up again when Marich spoke with unranked CO TE Kole Taylor, who said he’s interested in Michigan not only because Sherrone Moore said they put film of the 6’6, 225-pounder against the best in the nation and his game is right there but because he could study dentistry after football. I don’t know, I’m sure these guys will do wonderfully and what not but I feel the need to Paul Revere orgo II. Maybe there’s an app that lets you model things and makes everything click but back in my day we couldn’t do that on our video iPods.
On The Uptick In Landing Top OL Targets
Steve Lorenz posted his notes on the 2019 recruiting class by position group, and the thing that immediately stood out is the difference Ed Warinner made in offensive line recruiting. Lorenz noted that—and I’m using his nomenclature here to protect the innocent who have left the university for employ at a former employer—earlier members of the staff dropped the ball on some really important prospects. On dropping balls:
Earlier members of the staff dropped the ball on Devontae Dobbs and completely dropped the ball on Harry Miller, who was favoring the Wolverines early.
That’s not great! Dobbs ended the 2019 cycle the 51st-ranked prospect in the composite and a four star while Miller ended up with a fifth star and finished the cycle ranked #30 overall. Adding insult to injury, Dobbs signed with Michigan State and Miller with Ohio State. Also not great!
Enter Ed Warinner, who Jedi Mind Tricked his way into landing six of Michigan’s top OL targets. Or perhaps it wasn’t Jedi-level stuff at all. Perhaps he just talked to people and built relationships. From a Sam Webb feature about Michigan’s six OL signees, a quote about reviving Michigan’s dead pursuit of IL OT Trevor Keegan:
“From (the Keegan family’s) lips to our ears, that is 100% accurate,” Michigan Director of Recruiting Matt Dudek told The Michigan Insider. “Ed came in and knew that we only had two offensive linemen in the previous class. He knew he had to come in and work his tail off. He is meticulous. He watches every guy. He ranks every guy… everybody does… but he kind of does it his own way. It’s in his structure and how he likes to recruit… which every coach is entitled to and does a great job of. He talked to every one of those guys, texted every one of those guys. He paid attention to what they were saying to him. When they came on campus he (said), ‘this is something we should really send a little more time, (and) a little less time on (that).’ He had backup plans to the backup plans, and he was talking to those guys. And not just the offensive line group. He recruited other guys as well.”
Warinner came in with what seems like an undeserved reputation as an underwhelming recruiter, then pulled in a 2019 class in which four of Michigan’s 11 highest rated prospects are offensive linemen. He’s working to build a 2020 class that can stand to be a little smaller without a drop in quality. In a recruiting landscape where it seems like every prospect’s go-to soundbite is something about how their decision will come down to where they feel most comfortable, it’s interesting to see how many linemen mention how often Warinner contacts them in this Lorenz piece on 2020 OL. So much of recruiting is building relationships, and it looks like Michigan has someone in place to make sure the mistakes of the past aren’t repeated.