Friday Recruiting Changes The Deal

Submitted by Brian on July 13th, 2018 at 3:47 PM

This was not the agreement, Steve

If you listened to our latest podcast you no doubt heard my impassioned plea for 24/7 to set a hard ceiling on CA RB commit Zach Charbonnet's ranking. You see, Rudy, five star tailbacks at Michigan generally fall over when whispered upon and fumble explosively a nanosecond from the ground. "Let's stay away from that," I begged, pleading for Charbonnet to top out at #51, a back-half-of-the-top-100 ranking that is in the feasibly productive range.

Instead:

image

Nuts to you, 24/7, for threatening the career of one of Michigan's running back commits before it even starts. Please find exactly 11 players you like more than him before Signing Day, or the dog gets it! I certainly have a dog! That I am threatening! With "it"!

The other back

TN RB commit Eric Gray had an abrupt left turn in his recruitment that started when someone got sidelined:

“After the camp, I didn’t really hear from Michigan because their offensive coordinator (Tim Drevno) was going a different route with running backs,” Gray said, calling his early interaction with Michigan weird. “Once he left (for USC), they started coming back.

“I didn’t think I wanted to go to Michigan because they used to not talk to me. I almost didn’t take the official, but taking it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. It really opened my eyes.”

Once Drevno was gone Michigan picked up the pace and secured a commitment. Gray remains the top back on 24/7 after their re-rank and actually slid up 11 spots, because his Opening was impressive:

“He’s the ideal all-purpose back,” 247Sports director of scouting Barton Simmons said, “with great pass-catching ability out of the backfield, really good burst and change-of-direction and big-play potential, and he was one of the top backs in attendance in Texas.”

I'm all for having a guy like Evans or Gray on the roster at all times; if Michigan does run up against a team that is good at shutting down the straight-ahead stuff the scatback provides another avenue of attack.

[After THE JUMP: even more re-rank positives.]

Another riser

Seth's recent post on recruiting deltas missed one 24/7 boost because of a glitch on their site: OH TE Erick All, who's still listed as the #23 TE and as a 3* on his player page but got a two-point bump in his rating, which brought him to a 4* and the #13 TE; that'll place him a hair outside the top 250.

Rivals may soon follow suit.  It sounds like Josh Helmholdt's a new fan after watching him in 7 on 7:

He was uncoverable in Wednesday evening’s 7-on-7, regularly beating linebackers and safeties tasked to cover him in the slot and making ridiculous one-handed catches when a defensive back did give him enough cushion.

Survey says: yup.

All's coach had the money quote from his Hello post if you'd like a reminder:

“...he has tremendous ball skills. We went to the Toledo 7on7 this weekend and won the whole thing. The last three games all we had to do was throw it up to Erick All and he was going to go get it. It was almost comical in the semifinal game, balls behind him, one-hand catches, even the other team was laughing saying ‘you’re kidding me, how can we stop this guy.’ Those are the ball skills he developed.”

All recently hit up a South Carolina camp and came away as the—deep breath—2018 FBU Top Gun Overall MVP, which is not often given to a TE in 7 on 7 situations. There he also showed his ability to distance himself from linebackers:

Travis Beckum, anyone? He's got the athleticism. Barton Simmons:

All also has the traits that translate at TE. He's a multi-sport athlete and a good baseball player and that multi-sport background is almost non-negotiable as a tight end prospect. He's physical when asked to be and he has legit elite athleticism with a 4.2 shuttle and a 34.5 inch vertical at 6-4, 215 pounds. He is another one that will move up when we have our July update.

This ranking upgrades trend is encouraging; Michigan's getting out ahead of the pack on a number of guys. Lorenz pointed out that 24/7's latest update made their RB board a lot closer to Michigan's, with moves up for Gray, Charbonnet, and offeree Giles Jackson while a couple of folks Michigan stopped pursuing saw big falls.

Find me a touted WR at any cost please

Post-commit-blitz the obvious hole in Michigan's class is at outside WR, where they do not have a commit a year after taking only a late flier. All hands are probably on deck to repair that issue. Doing so is probably going to require hitting on a longshot. Amongst those longshots are:

  • CA WR Kyle Ford, whose standout Opening got him moved into five-star territory and the top 15. I'm pretty pessimistic about getting five star WRs out of California but Ford's genuine interest in Colorado of all places might mean that Ford's not the USC lock everyone presumes a SoCal five star skill player is. He says he will official in the fall.
  • AL WR George Pickens, an Auburn commit, says he will official at some point. Pickens says his commit is "very solid" but is talking about five trips and we all know the game by now. Even if that commitment is soft, pulling a guy from Alabama away from an in-state commitment is a very tall order.
  • TX WR Jaylen Ellis, a Baylor commit, plans a trip to Michigan. Ellis is a consensus three-star but did get an "All-American Bowl" invite. The AA Bowl is the Army Bowl after the Army cancelled its sponsorship, but on the bright side Tyroil Smoochie-Wallace is in this year's game. Mom is a fan, and he knows Jonas Mouton. This latter is apparently an asset!

Michigan has offers out to OH three-stars Quintel Kent and Trevon Raphael; they're likely to get one or both if they are in fact takes. Kent is completely off the radar, with an "ask again later" 24/7 ranking and nothing on the other two sites. Raphael is in the 3.5* range on 24/7 and unranked elsewhere. This is a bit less concerning given Michigan's recent rankings uptick hot streak, but it would be real nice to grab a highly touted guy.

2020 Items

2020 has been such a ridiculous sounding year for a prospect to be that it's hard to wrap my head around the fact that it is now entirely reasonable to start talking about rising juniors. But it is. So:

  • CA CB Elias Ricks is "in the discussion" for top overall DB in 2020 per 24/7 and will be coming up at the end of the month for the BBQ. USC is his mom's favorite.
  • East Kentwood 2020s Bryce Mostella, a DE, and Dallas Fincher, an OG, will also be at the BBQ. Both are 3.5* types who carry early offers and are talking about a package deal; Michigan is the only common school in their top threes. 2019 DT commit Mazi Smith is a teammate.
  • Various other 2020 attendees can be found on Wolverines Wire's list of BBQ attendees.

The BBQ is likely to be the next major move in that class.

Etc.

I'm not going to get into OH DE Zach Harrison stuff too deeply because any time you host a guy and the vibe coming out of it is "Michigan's definitely behind one specific school" you're very probably not going to get that guy. Would love to be wrong, obviously. Ditto 5-star DE George Karlaftis, who is in "might" visit mode. Michigan will stay on him in case Jeff Brohm gets poached this offseason but until a visit happens or the poaching occurs it's probably not worth talking about much.

NJ DE Aeneas DiCosmo is still a Stanford-Michigan thing.

Comments

Watching From Afar

July 13th, 2018 at 4:50 PM ^

And for what reason, I cannot even come close to remembering.

He had a report with Peters since both were back ups and getting snaps together? That's the only thing I could come up with because he basically was out there in meaningless snaps to run some curls.

DPJ can run a curl. If he's tired, Schonele can run a curl. So can Crawford (he might have dropped it).

Made 0 sense to me.

JonnyHintz

July 13th, 2018 at 5:58 PM ^

5th years only help in the event that it’s a guy who will be around for 5 years. Maybe Collins will, maybe he won’t.

I really don’t see it as an issue at all. Much of the WR depth can be mitigated by the FLEX TE position if need be. Obviously I’d like to get a Kyle Ford type player, but either way I’m not overly concerned

TrueBlue2003

July 14th, 2018 at 12:05 AM ^

Well I don't think we'll ever run out of physical bodies to play at WRs if that's your only criteria for having depth.

It wasn't quality depth and it doesn't really matter that it was youth and inexperience that was the cause of the lack of quality depth.

While Eubanks did have nice play against UF and it's theoretically possible he could have been a difference maker, I don't think he would have made it into the top 2 for TEs.  McKeon and Gentry were essentially flex TEs and didn't make a difference.

All that said, the passing game was a disaster mostly because of bad QB play and a lack of protection so hard to say too much about the pass catchers.

JonnyHintz

July 14th, 2018 at 9:44 AM ^

The difference is you can move a quality FLEX TE to play WR (similar to the way Devin Funchess was used) if need be. 

Michigan would have been able to slide one of Eubanks or  Gentry outside and still have quality TEs in the middle. 

Now again, the issue there would still be youth and inexperience. Not depth. We HAD quality WRs last year, they just didn’t have the experience to be effective. There wasn’t experience and health at the FLEX position to mitigate that.   

jdemille9

July 15th, 2018 at 12:36 PM ^

Shitty OL play and sending out the 3rd string QB (effectively twice) also played a major role in lack of passing game production. Can't put all that on the WR/TE groups, not that I am defending their production (or lack thereof) just saying it's more complicated than we had a young, inexperienced group of pass catchers.

JonnyHintz

July 15th, 2018 at 5:35 PM ^

I’m not saying that’s why the passing game struggled, I’m saying that’s why the receivers specifically struggled. Route running was an issue. Getting separation was an issue. Drops were an issue. All products of being young and inexperienced. 

Sure, production would have been much better with a competent QB and an OL that gave the QB time, but that wouldn’t have negated the inherent issues that our WR corps had.

Double-D

July 13th, 2018 at 6:43 PM ^

I think Black will be in the NFL before his eligibility is expired.  Maybe Nico can still pull a shirt if does not get the playing time this year but that was a head scratcher.  

I would think a 5 Star WR would be looking at our one WR class last year and some likely early NFL departures and see opportunity.  

TrueBlue2003

July 13th, 2018 at 7:28 PM ^

Yes, Black is the guy that won't be around 5 years considering he was the #1 WR as a freshman last year.  Nico Collins didn't work into the rotation meaningfully all season, even with the Black injury.

Collins would have been a 5th year candidate for sure.  Black is not barring another injury or something.

MichGoBlue858

July 13th, 2018 at 4:22 PM ^

100% agree with Brian about wide receiver. Kyle Ford is the most important target on the board right now. If we can hit on him, Keegan, and another one of the top 50 players we’re in on, we should be heading toward a top 10 class. 

JonnyHintz

July 13th, 2018 at 6:12 PM ^

For the sake of argument, if we get Ford, Keegan, and say.... Quavaris Crouch, and it’s based on the current rankings we would have 272.80 points.

That would have netted the #10 class based on last year’s rankings. We FINISHED last year with a 230.56

The 272.80 would also be good for #8 in the 2017 class, and #11 in the 2016 class.

So yeah, if we get JUST those three we would be a borderline top 10 class. 

JonnyHintz

July 13th, 2018 at 8:07 PM ^

Well we’re in Crouch’s top 2. We haven’t had a visit from Ford yet and we’re top 5 with some head-scratching competition. 

This scenario also doesn’t include Michigan getting any of the other top targets they sit in very good position for. Guys like Dax Hill, Lewis Cine, Cornelius Johnson, Isaiah Foskey, Kalen DeLoach, Giles Jackson, or DiCosmo. 

So say we miss on Ford, get Johnson, Jackson and DiCosmo. Ends up being roughly the same result. 

I mean you say “big IF’s” but we’re in extremely good position for all of them, not to mention an outside shot at Harrison.

LeCheezus

July 13th, 2018 at 4:36 PM ^

Aren't we not in decent shape for Cornelius Johnson?  He was moved into the top 200 by 24/7 and 240 in the composite, I'd still say that's a "highly touted" guy.

JonnyHintz

July 15th, 2018 at 5:37 PM ^

That’s what happens when a kid is almost silent when it comes to media. A lot of those guys fire an early prediction and then never change it simply because there’s been no news coming out from the kid. Sure, team insiders like Sam may have an idea that its between Stanford and UM, but he hasn’t heard enough to predict one way or another. 

Yung Geezer

July 13th, 2018 at 5:08 PM ^

I was hoping that we could pull Hudson Henry out of Arkansas.  Is this still a possibility?  I know Hunter mentioned he wanted to maybe visit for a game since his former strength coaches are in AA

LKLIII

July 13th, 2018 at 6:49 PM ^

FWIW, I believe Ford does have family with Michigan connections.

 

Pretty sure his uncle (who’s apparently one of the relatives involved in the recruiting process) has actually been a member of one of the Michigan football pay sites for years. So on the margins that’s gotta help. 

 

Whether its ALREADY helped (got us in Fords top 2-3 whereas we wouldn’t be there at all otherwise) or whether it can help put us over the top is anybody’s guess. 

But you’d think due to the 2018 class, our depth chart should start to look pretty good for 2019 and 2020 WRs. 

 

That being said, if we whiff on the WRs this year, it looks like some of the other kids we are recruiting (All at TE, some of the other athlete/slot back types) could fill in the reception void once Black, DPJ, etc move on, even if they aren’t technically classified as WRs. 

Lou MacAdoo

July 13th, 2018 at 11:44 PM ^

Someone on this blog was not happy about the All signing and went as far as posting an unimpressive highlight video of Mr. All. If you watched it you may wonder how he even has one star let alone four. Then you watch and read what's above and you wonder how a member of this blog can question this coaching staff. They clearly know what they're doing. Glad that dumbass isn't around anymore.

BlueTuesday

July 14th, 2018 at 5:25 AM ^

That WR thing bothers me a little. It’s just my opinion and what not but I feel like that’s been our weakest position for quite a few years. I’d love to hit a couple greasy fast 4*’s with this class.

Brimley

July 14th, 2018 at 11:58 AM ^

I agree, but if a dumbass like me can see that it's an issue, it's hard for me to believe that Harbaugh and company aren't all over it.  I have a feeling that before we're done, we'll be good.  And this isn't "a trust the coaches" comment as much as "there's a reason Jim Harbaugh is Michigan's football coach and I'm drinking coffee from a Michigan mug while posting on a message board."

mitchewr

July 16th, 2018 at 9:32 AM ^

I think the cause for concern here though is this: 

If we whiff on taking any quality WRs this class, that COULD set us up for a repeat of 2017 down the road where all the WRs who get playing time are true freshman and have absolutely no clue what they're doing, and thus our WR production is effectively zero.

JonnyHintz

July 16th, 2018 at 10:53 AM ^

Depends on your definition of “whiff on quality WRs.” 

If you’re talking ranking wise, maybe we will get a quality one or maybe we won’t. As for your 2017 comparison, we HAD highly ranked veterans at WR. I mean Drake Harris was a top 100 recruit for crying out loud. 

Point being, you don’t know how these guys are going to turn out. It seems silly to fret about not getting a “quality” receiver. When we’re talking about guys who just finished their junior year of high school. We’re getting bodied at WR. Who knows how they will turn out. Our leading WR was a slot ranked in the 800’s.

It just makes zero sense to worry about WRs this far out. 

MDwolverine

July 14th, 2018 at 9:34 AM ^

Sorry, haven't been following recruiting much this year and am just checking in. Whats the story with the two 5-star OTs out of Michigan, Dobbs and Brown?

Or did UM just get beat out by Wisconsin and Sparty?