This is Fine: Earnest Edition. Five-star OK S and no. 12 overall player in the 247 composite Daxton Hill is taking his official visit to Michigan this weekend. If frequency of texting recruits already committed to M is any indication of where Michigan stands, they’re in pretty good shape. If the path to playing time is any indication of where Michigan stands, they’re in pretty good shape. If academics are any indication of where Michigan stands, they’re in pretty good shape. Sam Webb sat down with Hill for an exclusive interview and pumped out this series of three articles, one of which further detailed Hill’s feelings on the importance of academics:
“(Academics are) real big,” he said. “(Booker T Washington) is a great school academically. Sometimes I’ll be in my room just doing homework for hours, so I take my academics serious. That plays a big part of it. I don’t want to make it too easy for me. Wherever I go I just want a challenge academically and athletically.”
That quote is so Michigan it just finished class 10 minutes before the hour. (Yeah, I’m cool, I’m with it.) Hill’s a pretty good athlete, too. Webb said this morning on WTKA that, should he commit, Michigan will not have had an athlete as good as him since Tripp Welborne and that he has the potential to start at any program in the country from the day he sets foot on campus. For quantitative confirmation, let’s turn to Hill’s test results from The Opening:
For the man above 🙏🏼 #4.3laser pic.twitter.com/Ywq68b0hI9
— Dirty30 (@daxhill5) April 29, 2018
Sure, yeah, 99th percentile of all athletes tested in his class should be just fine. Beyond what Hill brings to the table or what Michigan can offer him are the relationships formed during the recruiting process, and Hill has been in contact with a few current commits for some time. Webb mentioned on the radio this morning that NV QB Cade McNamara is also going to be on campus this weekend, and that’s important as the two have built a friendship. Webb, in his free article about Hill’s parents perspective on his recruitment, talked to them about his relationship with other prospects:
But I know Daxton has made relationships with certain players. I won’t say the school, but he says with one school, ‘I have a relationship with more of the recruits than the others.’ I think I got a feel for which way he’s going (with that). That’s more important. One of the main (decision) aspects is his teammates – that class going in with him.”
There’s also a section in the piece about how Hill got close to committing somewhere this summer before realizing he needed more time; I highly recommend you check the piece out. One possible sticking point for Michigan could be that they don’t have a program in journalism, his desired field of study; Michigan can always point to Charles Woodson, Desmond Howard, Brian Griese, Jim Brandstatter, Dan Dierdorf, or unfurl the scroll-length list of names of The Michigan Daily alums currently writing professionally and contend that things could work out just fine. Hill’s parents think this visit will help solidify things for Daxton, but who knows whether there will be a resultant Hello post or a keening board thread. It seems fruitless to predict what a guy will do when said guy spends his free time watching Sanford and Son or Good Times instead of playing Fortnite.
[After THE JUMP: the whole D is broken]
Here is a very athletic person doing a very athletic thing. 2019 CA RB Zach Charbonnet, who was recently named one of Rivals’ Adam Gorney’s five prospects who have impressed this year, has made some big plays this season, but this one will be tough to top. The vision and agility he shows on the run below are unreal.
Broke the whole D 😳
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 8, 2018
There was some thought last weekend that TN RB Eric Gray might be headed for decommitsville, but Steve Lorenz had an update early this week to the contrary. He reported that Gray was still a Michigan commit and was hoping to graduate in December so he can be on campus in time for spring ball. Webb also discussed the solidity of Gray’s commitment this week on the recruiting roundup portion of his morning show and found himself with the same information as Lorenz. Recently committed Giles Jackson shouldn’t have moved the needle for Gray, as Lorenz reports that the staff feels Charbonnet and Gray will fit a different role in the offense than Jackson; Jackson told The Michigan Insider’s Josh Newkirk the staff plans to use him as a “slot-running back.”
2019 Updates: Big Visits and a Deserved Re-Rank
OH WR Quintel Kent, who is quickly becoming an MGoSlack fave rave, was recently re-ranked by 247’s Bill Greene. He was bumped up 29 spots and is now listed as 247’s 27th-best prospect in Ohio with a rating of 87.0. There are two wide receivers in the state ranked higher than Kent: Central Catholic’s Jase Bowen (89.0 rating per 247) and Solon’s Trevon Raphael (88.0). Raphael, curiously enough, is not ranked by the other services but has offers from the likes of West Virginia, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, and Michigan, and he has just one crystal ball submitted, which came from Bill Greene at the beginning of July.
The crystal ball is squarely on Texas for current Baylor commit WR Jaylen Ellis, but that didn’t stop him from taking an official visit to Michigan last weekend. The Wolverine’s Adam Ghabour spoke with Ellis after his visit, and he said the staff emphasized how much they like Ellis’ speed. Ellis plans to take official visits elsewhere, and he says he still loves Baylor as much as he did when he committed. We’ll see where this goes, but it isn’t going anywhere fast; Ellis plans to (re?)commit at the Adidas All-American Bowl in February.
Another receiver is looking to take an official to Michigan, and this one is literally and metaphorically big. Five-star CA WR Kyle Ford told 247’s Steve Lorenz that he plans to use one of his three remaining official visits to take a trip to Ann Arbor. Getting him on campus is obviously big, but it’s going to be an uphill battle for Michigan to pry a California kid out of the state, particularly considering his crystal ball has USC at 88% right now.
TX S Lewis Cine, no. 50 overall in the 247 composite, is providing some reason to second-guess his current 52%/48% Penn State/Georgia crystal ball split. Cine, who already took an official visit to Michigan over the summer, told Steve Lorenz that he will take an unofficial for the Nebraska game. Clearly a good sign for Michigan, but whenever Georgia’s in the mix…/shudders
A composite top 150 prospect Georgia is also in the mix for (albeit less heavily, as his crystal ball is currently 67% Michigan) alongside Clemson, Ohio State, and Penn State is IL OT Trevor Keegan. He told The Michigan Insider’s Brice Marich that he’ll definitely be taking an official to Michigan and plans to commit on his sister’s birthday, December 11th. Keegan, who said he’ll be relying on his family and coach to help make his decision, has a mother who was born just outside Ann Arbor and grandparents and a head coach who are Michigan fans. Rob Fontana, Keegan’s head coach, had quite a few compliments for Illinois’ top prospect:
“It’s funny because I always talk about his flexibility, but when you look at a kid that’s over 6’6, 300-pounds and you watch him the way he can move, it’s special,” Fontana said. “He’s so flexible, so he can do so many things. He’s quick, agile, explosive and powerful. He has every weird adjective you can use to describe the way he can play. Really the way that he moves is unique for a lineman. You look at him and he does things he shouldn’t be able to do at that size. Someone’s going to get an elite offensive lineman and great person as well.”
2020 Updates: Coming in Hot, Thawing Out
West Bloomfield ILB prospect Cornell Wheeler told The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown that he had 35 notifications at midnight on September 1, the minute coaches were allowed to contact 2020 recruits. The first texts to roll in were from Jim Harbaugh and Don Brown, who told Wheeler he was invited to every home game. Despite Harbaugh and Brown’s punctuality, they might not be the ones recruiting Wheeler most heavily. That honor goes to 2020 commit Andre Seldon.
"He always just says ‘come home’. That’s what he always says to me and Makari [Paige]. He’s always cracking jokes to us and just wants us to come to Michigan."
A significantly icier perception was held by Oak Park OG Justin Rogers, who didn’t list Michigan as one of his top 13 schools when he released a list this summer. According to The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown, Rogers seems to be coming around on Michigan. He recently visited campus with Andre Seldon and said he would give Michigan a chance, adding that he is currently “vibing” with coaches Jim Harbaugh and Patrick Kugler.
Detroit King WR Rashawn Williams, a top 150 composite four-star, already has a Michigan offer and was set to be one of the subjects of a future FBO, but it seems there’s another name to add to the list: composite three-star Lemuel Neely-Watley. MLive’s Tony Garcia sat down with the two to talk about their seasons and what they’re looking for in their recruitment, and Williams was upfront about the two maybe possibly kinda being a package deal:
"Right now I'm just waiting it out, trying to see what schools is good for me and my brother," Williams said, pointing to Watley. "Because me and Lemuel, we're kind of like a package deal, that's my brother.
"We just want it to be as long as we're in the same place or we're both in a good situation, then it will be all good."
Neely-Watley, who plays both WR and CB, doesn’t have a Michigan offer yet; he does have a Michigan State offer but cautioned that they aren’t necessarily his frontrunner as he wants to wait and see how things play out.