Monday Recruitin' Autodefenestrates Comment Count

Brian January 11th, 2016 at 12:22 PM

Rashan Gary panic(!)



There was a disturbance in the Force late last week that you may have felt. A full explanation is forthcoming because you better believe we're going full Kremlinology on NJ DE Rashan Gary's recruitment.

So: A couple of Ole Miss guys ballz'd Gary to the Rebels, which set off distressing rumbles from the wing of the Michigan fanbase that takes after Tweek. This was compounded when Chris Balas did the thing he frequently does where he furrows his brow at the $EC and makes grim noises about things going off the rails because people are cheating. That came just a couple days after his colleague Tim Sullivan said it would be "all but impossible" for anyone to catch up, went off like a bomb, and was deleted after a sorry-not-sorry apology didn't calm the Ann Arbor Torch & Pitchfork crowd.

In the aftermath both Scout and Rivals have reaffirmed their strong belief that Michigan leads for Gary. We're pretty good at the Crystal Ball stuff because we read between the lines, so here's my thinking. Who you talk to is as important as what you say. Rationale for Ole Miss ball flip:

The relationship the Ole Miss coaching staff has with Rashan's mother, Jennifer Coney, who is instrumental in his recruitment, is the predominant reason. It is very strong.

Okay. May be true. If it was true she might be talking to Ole Miss sites. But to my knowledge the ball-flipper's never talked to her. (After the Ole Miss official she talked to Wiltfong.) Instead it's Sam Webb who posts article after article featuring her thoughts on Gary's recruitment. One side has some vague second or third hand feelings. The other is talking to the horse's mouth. Don't panic. Crootin.

Gary visiting or not visiting or visiting

Michigan's going to have to fend off some schools, though. Gary has a line of coaches on the way in

"Dabo Swinney is coming, (Jim) Harbaugh is coming, (Gus) Malzahn is coming, (Nick) Saban is coming, Urban Meyer is coming," Gary's mother Jennifer Coney told "I don't know. There aren't enough days for everyone to come, but everybody wants to come and put their last pitch in."

…and a couple officials left. One is to USC, the other still undecided but maybe Clemson, and this is a bit of a twist:

"I'll probably take a couple non-officials to the three that I'm looking at, like a student of the day visit," said Gary. "So from there, after I take those visits, I should have a good idea of where I'm going."

That's not great news since it looked like Michigan was going to be the only school to get an unofficial. I'm a bit skeptical this tour is going to happen—a lot of recruits plan to do a bunch of stuff and then scale it back—and in fact as of yesterday that plan had been pared back. An Ole Miss Scout guy said there were no unofficials scheduled, even to Michigan, causing another round of fainting and autodefenestrations, but Gary's coach told TomVH that his visit schedule looked pretty good for Michigan:

Lorenz reiterates that he expects Gary along with teammates WR Donald Stewart, 2017 LB Drew Singleton, and maybe 2017 DT Corey Bolds on the 22nd. That is the most current intel. If he sticks to that we're golden.

But I learned how to spell it

Nobody really knows who leads for TX DE Levi Onwuzurike, but the previous roundup mentioned that various camps were split between his recruitment being a Michigan/Baylor battle and a Michigan/Washington battle. The implication there was obviously nice.

That appears to have been misplaced hope, as Steve Lorenz reports that Michigan "appears" to be out for Onwuzurike. That comes on the heels of a Washington 247 site interview with him—again, who you talk to is important. In it he says he's "80 percent sure" where he's going. I assume that's the Huskies*.

If Michigan is out for Onwuzurike attention turns to AZ DE Connor Murphy, FL DE Joshua Uche, and California teammates Devin Asiasi and Boss Tagaloa. Asiasi wants to play TE and Tagaloa is a DT, but Michigan already has a couple DEs in the class so like whatever man. Speaking of those guys…

*[Doubly annoying because I was going to sleuth the bad news based on "who you talk to" before Lorenz stole my thunder, such as it is. /shakes fist for various reasons]

Asiasi to visit like a Boss

Steve Lorenz reports that Asiasi has dropped his Alabama visit and will make it out to Ann Arbor for an official on the 22nd. So will Tagaloa, who named Michigan in a top five back in November. At the time Scout's Greg Biggins thought it was a UCLA-M battle, but that was before a USC offer came in.

Lorenz says Michigan has some optimism here. They do want to play together and Asiasi badly wants to play tight end; they're also NorCal guys familiar with Harbaugh's work with Stanford and the 49ers. Get the visit, see what happens. FWIW, USC gets the last word with both on the 29th.

One potential hitch in the previous bullet point


Allen's YMRMFSPA is 100% guaranteed to be Ian Bunting

Asiasi's official is set for the 22nd. MO TE Chase Allen is coming in the week prior, and Steve Wiltfong hears that Allen is a "huge, huge lean" to M. Presumably he will commit on the visit, occupying Michigan's final(?) tight end slot in the class.

This is good. Allen's picked up offers from Nebraska, Mizzou and Oklahoma State in addition to the back-to-back Michigan and FSU offers. He is under the radar because he split his time between basketball and football in high school, choosing AAU over football camps and the like. He's a high upside, high academic guy who Michigan seems eager to take.

But it does make you wonder if Michigan will still be in the running for Asiasi and potentially Tagaloa the week after. On the one hand, if there's a school in the country that can make good on TE promises it's Michigan, and they could take Asiasi as an ATH. On the other, at some point you can't cram more guys in the phonebooth.

Cram cram cram cram cram (brief pause) cram cram cram

Speaking of said phonebooth, Wiltfong also recently ballz'd NJ WR Donald Stewart to Michigan. Stewart is a Paramus guy who Michigan looked good for early and then faded for as people assumed he would go to Stanford. I and most other people had written him off entirely until he announced a Michigan official, also on the 22nd.

I can't imagine FL WR Pie Young and Stewart fit into the same class at this juncture unless there's unexpected attrition and have no idea who's preferred. Young just re-iterated that Michigan leads at the South Florida Express tryouts (he was a spectator) but it is possible that Young's spot is accounted for since Michigan just picked up two slot types in TN WR Nate Johnson and CA WR Dylan Crawford. He did just announce a suite of officials to USC, Louisville, and Tennessee. He is a NSD decision; that may result in Young finding there's no room in the phonebooth.

In yet further cram news, Wiltfong also believes Michigan has a "great shot" with PA ATH Khaleke Hudson; he would pick M if forced to make a CB pick. Penn State losing DC John Shoop to Tennessee at this late stage has got to help. As mentioned last week, I loved Hudson in the Semper Fi bowl and am pro-get-him.

cram cram cram cram

More crammin' with positive Long vibes

CA CB David Long continues to trend towards Michigan. Lorenz joins Wiltfong and Barton Simmons with a ballz in favor of M after doing the proverbial digging, and Sam's gut is all like yeah:

That isn't "he is going to commit" but it ain't bad; I interpret that to mean he is set on Michigan but he has that official to Washington left and people can change their minds.

If he even takes it, that is. Rivals's Blair Angulo joins the chorus of folks expecting Long to commit to Michigan, and he's hearing that might come in the next week. That would obviously preempt a Washington visit. Probably, anyway. Crootin and all.

Assumption on the situation: Long has decided on Michigan but wants to follow through with a visit he told Washington he would make. He is considering dropping it because it's a waste of time for everyone. If he does indeed go to Seattle then UW might have a shot, but this feels like an inverse Nauta.

Evans solid again

IN WR Chris Evans got a once-coveted OSU offer and for a moment there it looked like he was set to visit on the 15th and presumably flip, but he changed course and will stick with his commitment:

Wiltfong reports that Michigan is indeed bringing him in on offense while the OSU offer was as a defensive back.

Meanwhile other wobblers are status quo. We'll see what this weekend brings with visits.

Further Crawford evals

A bit more on CA WR commit Dylan Crawford, Michigan's prize from the Army game:

“Crawford has been very good this week,” Farrell said. “He catches everything, that’s the thing with him. I haven’t seen him really drop anything. He’s not the fastest, he’s not the biggest, but he’s a good technician. He’s a smart kid. He’ll fit right in with what Harbaugh wants to do because he’s a willing blocker as well. I think he’s a well-rounded receiver.”

He was mentioned as a top performer on Thursday:

He looked to go through the motions throughout much of the first two days of practice, but he took his game to new heights on day three. His effort really stood out today. He got free a lot during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 and made sure to finish each run when the ball came his way.

Crawford is now qualifying his plan to take officials with an "if". None have actually been set. Even if those happen Michigan is very likely to hang on to Crawford, especially if Long commits with him.

2017 combine happens, articles are written

A caution: at this juncture a lot of out-of-state players have offers but have never been to Ann Arbor. Michigan might be their biggest offer right now. Meanwhile Michigan might have offered as a way to pique a kid's interest while they continue to evaluate a bunch of targets.

So even kids who say Michigan leads aren't that likely to end up in the class. Michigan might end up turning down the heat; they might pick up offers closer to home that are the ones they actually want. (In state or proximate is different, as they've been on campus and Michigan can and will take those prospects now.)


  • MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones releases a top ten with Michigan in it. Fast forward to Signing Day for that guy.
  • TX DT Marvin Wilson has Michigan on his radar but a top four of LSU, FSU, USC, and Bama. Wilson is one of the top 2017 prospects in the country.
  • MO WR Jaevon McQuitty really really liked his Michigan offer, telling Brice Marich that he tried to tell his parents but he couldn't because he was "shaking too much." Tentatively plans to visit in March.
  • FL OL Cesar Ruiz says he's tight with "like five" Michigan commits in this class since he just relocated from New Jersey to play at IMG. Maintains no leaders and will take his time. PSU, M, and UNC may be a tentative top three.
  • FL WR/DB CJ Cotman tells Josh Henschke that Michigan is the school he's "really leaning on"(?) because he likes Harbaugh and Partridge a lot. Cotman has early offers from OSU, Oregon and FSU along with M and looks like he'll be a big-timer. Hopefully leaning on someone is good. Someone who is familiar with the rap music please tell me.
  • FL WR Joshua Palmer names Michigan his leader. Michigan is currently his biggest offer, as he's a three-star type at the moment. Moved from Canada to St. Thomas Acquinas in an effort to get recruited, so Michigan is closer to home than southern schools.
  • TX RB Kennedy Brooks names Washington and Michigan his leaders, thus continuing this weird recruiting rivalry we've got with UDub.


VA LB Jaquan Yulee decommitted from Alabama and Michigan is "in the picture." We'll see if he sets an official. Webb says that Michigan State is in the picture with MI CB Lavert Hill, "not that Michigan State is now the favorite or anything." Still expect Hill to Michigan. In that vein, TX DT commit Jordan Elliott says “I think we are about to get about three more commits. Big time guys, DBs."

Balas says TX OL grad transfer Jake Raulerson is "trending" towards Michigan. He visits this weekend. As a grad transfer he can take his time deciding, especially if he needs to finish this semester at Texas.

Rivals reported that M had offered MD OL Stephen Spanellis, a Virginia commit and teammate of MD OL commit Devery Hamilton. Nobody else has confirmed that.



January 11th, 2016 at 5:32 PM ^

I still like our chances better than anybody else's, but I'll admit I'm starting to get nervous.

I can't wait until we are one of those programs that can just sweep in in mid-January and take a top 10 recruit away from s school that has been building a relationship with him for a year.

We are getting close . . .  If we get Long we are swiping him away from Stanford who has been working on him for a long time.

But we are not on the level of Alabama, Clemson (depending on how the NC goes), or Ole Miss *cough* Bagman * cough*.


January 11th, 2016 at 2:38 PM ^

fans to be on the other side of these recruiting battles. And we have so far (Bush, Walker , Crawford and others) but this Gary deal might just change our whole mindset for future battles. You can feel the tension on this board lately since the "Ole miss Ballz" last week.  But I have to say, I am staying positive and I believe Gary is as blue as there is, and Michigan will have it's own (better) version of Jadeveon Clowney come next fall!!


January 11th, 2016 at 12:44 PM ^

Do we have any other guys in the class that are projected to play the same position as Gary?  Just wondering who/what we would have in ADDITION TO HIM BECAUSE HE IS COMING TO MICHIGAN


January 11th, 2016 at 12:45 PM ^

Who could the 3 DBs be that Elliot mentioned... possibly Long, Hudson, and Hill? Something I've been wondering about - there is room for both Long AND Hill, correct? 


January 11th, 2016 at 2:27 PM ^

There have been multiple, long debate threads about this whole "greyshirts and slow plays" plan of attack to cram multiple more guys into this phone booth. How would this actually play out?

So those that know say if M just doesn't send the LOI paperwork to these kids being squeezed out, then on signing day they can't send one in? Is just not calling them for the past few months enough on our coaching staff's part to let them know of this possibility? Or do they at some point need to say "Your offer for a 2016 scholarship is rescinded? Do you want to greyshirt and be a part of the 2017 class?"

Half the posters are concerned that puts us in a morally ambigous zone that we've criticized the likes of Saban for occupying.

Another half say, "Deal with it, this is modern recruiting, kids decommit all the time, the schools need to protect their interests too!"

Then there's the half (;-) that say 2016 is unique in that JH started with few if any prior relationships, as he hadn't been recruiting since 2010, and the "swarm camps" were great for publicity but he may have been, er...hasty in offering as many scholarships as he did so early in the process. It likely won't ever happen that way again, so if we need to straddle the edge of douchiness just this one time to get our program back on firm footing then so be it, we'll deal with any snickering from those we've denigrated in the past.

Obviously I'm in the third half, but if we're going to not allow Sir Patrick  - or whoever, just tossing a name of someone taking Long, Hill, (& Hudson?) might impact - then it's time to tell him so. At least after Long commits on Jan. 22, if that happens. We cannot wait until NSD and just not send the paperwork to any of these kids. That is taking it too far! We cannot out-Saban Saban and retain any of our moral superiority we love to flaunt!!!



January 11th, 2016 at 3:56 PM ^

I would rather them be upfront with kids that look like they won't make it into the class.  Give them a little time to make sure they can secure a spot somewhere else before signing day or give them the offer to grayshirt as we should have more scholarships available next year.

What I definitely don't want is for players already in the program that haven't earned their degree to be squeezed out for "medical" reasons and such.  That gets into an area I am definitely not comfortable being in.


January 11th, 2016 at 4:45 PM ^

Another thing to remember and add into the total equation when everyone forms their own opinion, is that UM cannot comment about any of the recruits until they sign. So sometimes we, the fans, are only getting one side. A recruit may see things as happening one way, or want to say that they are, and thats what the media reports. But UM can never refute or deny any of those claims. And if grades are an issues, which supposedly they might be for a couple of recruits, UM can't say that, and I dont think would anyway. 


January 11th, 2016 at 6:57 PM ^

Thats the problem with making moral judgements about how any coaching staff handles recruiting. We are unlikely to ever know what was said by a staff to a recruit or a recruits grades or any other legit issue that could cause a coaching staff to drop a kid.

Everything Ive learned about Harbaugh though is that he is a straight shooter who genuinely cares about these kids. I cant help but believe that while it may look bad to a rival looking for bad, Harbaugh did ok by the kids.

Toasted Yosties

January 11th, 2016 at 12:46 PM ^

I get sucked into recruiting but quickly forget who had what number of stars. That said, I was bummed when Hand went Bama because I thought we were a shoe-in. Feel even more so with Gary. He looks like he will be a bigger loss of the two if he goes to Mississippi. Come play for the good guys! What's your thoughts?


January 11th, 2016 at 1:13 PM ^

While nothing is ever guaranteed in recruiting, I think we're in a much stronger position with Gary at this point in the process than we were with Hand.

FWIW, at this point in the Hand process, Sam Webb—who had been in frequent personal contact with Hand and his family all along—was being very cautious, saying that while Hand liked a number of things about Michigan overall, if the decision came down to just football on the field that it was going to be Alabama. The fact that Hand supposedly wanted to major in engineering was just another thing in Alabama's favor.

By contrast, Sam has been consistently more positive about Gary, and as Brian mentioned has been in frequent contact with Gary and/or his mother.

One huge advantage we have with Gary as opposed to when we were recruiting Hand is the trajectory of our program, and who's leading it.

I wasn't surprised at all when Hand chose the Tide, but I will be moderately surprised if Gary doesn't come here. Not shocked, though—recruiting is a nutty business.


January 11th, 2016 at 2:49 PM ^

Everyone (including me, I admit it) was thinking "Oh! Engineering? We got this!" But, we forgot that with our engineering program that actually teaches engineering, there is no real way that many SA, could juggle the demands for practice and engineering. Alabama's engineering program by the way was discontinued the day after Hands LOI was faxed in.


January 11th, 2016 at 1:59 PM ^

I realize this is irrational, lets get that out of the way right now. I feel like we're collectively setting up a massive jinx wrt Gary. It just seems like too many people see it as a foregone conclusion that he's coming, and that includes Brian. I also realize that Brian (and Ace) are privy to some inside info that the rest of us are not, but I just keep thinking back to the times where they have all but guaranteed a prospect was coming our way, only to have it backfire spectacularly. 

TLDR; I just wish everyone would talk about it as if nothing is determined. It sets up for less disappointment should he not go our way. 

Toasted Yosties

January 11th, 2016 at 2:13 PM ^

I had peace with Nauta to UGA until Teddy Blanks and his insider info from Nauta's brother-in-law's cousin twice removed. I don't take it too seriously, that is until it's near the end with big-time recruits. Always try to keep in mind that I forget everyone's star rankings by September.


January 11th, 2016 at 2:05 PM ^

Are there really any of these kids and parents you can believe till signing day?

Hand was a shoo in, Garnett was a shoo in, Treadwell was M all the way. Of course there was Diamond too. Clark was in. Hope ran to the end for Kozan and McDowell.

If they have not committed by now, it's a crap shoot, no matter what any " recruiting" expert predicts.

The five stars are going to the NFL no mater where they go to school. So, "school" becomes less of an issue.

They'll be some hard losses - and- they'll be some pleasant surprises.

Wasn't Willy Henry a signing day surprise pick up?

I'd take some more of those.