Announced announcements organized again
Your slightly adjusted who-is-announcing-when primer:
- 7 PM tonight: NJ CB Jordan Fuller. Michigan, OSU, ND.
- 9 AM, NSD: MI CB Lavert Hill. Michigan, MSU.
- 11 AM, NSD: MI K Quinn Nordin. Michigan, USC.
- 1 PM, NSD: NJ DE Rashan Gary. Michigan, Ole Miss, USC, Clemson.
- 1 PM, NSD: FL WR Pie Young. Michigan, Louisville, USC.
- 2 PM, NSD: AZ DE Connor Murphy. Michigan, USC, Oregon, ASU.
- 3PM, NSD: CA TE Devin Asiasi. Michigan, USC, UCLA, UW, Bama.
- 3PM, NSD: CA DT Boss Tagaloa. Michigan, USC, UCLA, UW.
Fuller's decision tonight
NJ CB Jordan Fuller seems to have successfully kept everyone in the dark about his final destination until this morning when Lorenz CB'd him to Ohio State, reporting that Michigan's coaching staff does not expect to come out on top. Before that both sides of the presumed Michigan/Ohio State battle had more or less thrown their hands up and said "dunno." Bill Kurelic just yesterday:
In the case of Fuller things have become tighter since I did my Crystal Ball of Fuller to the Buckeyes right before Fuller’s in-home visits – Michigan has staged a rally and is a very real threat and Notre Dame has not given up in their chase.
He still thinks OSU but hedged that very hard. Webb related that this is a "dogfight" and that things are 50/50.
If Lorenz is correct that's a bit irritating. Yesterday Fuller retweeted a Michigan edit and then a bunch of tweets from Michigan commits showing him the proverbial love. And… uh… some guy playing Counterstrike with an MGoUser told said user that Fuller would go to M, so we had that going for us. I just wanted Counterstrike guy to be right, really.
Double silent commit is extra ninja
Brandon Justice set off a 600+ comment thread here by reporting a "surprising pickup" on the twitters:
I was informed today, by the recruit, that he will silent commit to #Michigan 'sometime tomorrow', announce NSD. A surprising pickup for UM.
— Brandon Justice (@BrandonCJustice) January 29, 2016
He'd later reiterate that, yes, the gentleman in question has a commitable offer. Steve Lorenz reported that Justice's information was indeed legit but declined to steal the guy's scoop. In the aftermath everyone from TX OL Greg Little to USA ADM Chester A. Nimitz has been mentioned as a possibility.
Of late most speculation in the non-ludicrous category has centered on CA QB Vic Viramontes, a former commit and MGo fave-rave. Webb posted a potentially-related note about Vic's resurgence on Michigan's board, as Harbaugh has a "special appreciation" for the guy. Sam says he'll be one to watch through signing day.
We're putting him back on our best guess list based on that chatter and because it hurts too much to keep tearfully deleting it.
Hello again: Nate Johnson
Nate Johnson & Jim Hardbaugh hitting the Dab. pic.twitter.com/6RwjQGiepA
— James Johnson (@jtjohnson281) January 31, 2016
TN WR Nate Johnson's trip to Notre Dame was apparently as disastrous as Brady Hoke's most recent, resulting in a parting of the ways between the Irish and Johnson.
With ND out of the picture, Johnson's nominal commit gets far less nominal. He visited Miami, was committed to Purdue, and fielded an offer from in-state Tennessee; of those schools only the 'Canes seem like any threat, and there was minimal buzz coming off his official there. Wiltfong believes Johnson will stick in the Michigan class, and that makes sense.
The last hurdle there is whether Michigan wants to spend the scholarship, but NJ WR Donald Stewart committing to Stanford probably answers that question. As a reminder, yes, Nate Johnson can play football:
He's a guy Michigan went after with many other options available. It is very good to have him back in the fold.
[after THE JUMP: your very very last Gary panic of the week, admittedly speculative Bossiasi CB explanation]
Your final Rashan Gary panic of the week
A bunch of articles came out about NJ DE Rashan Gary. For the most part they seem like the kind of thing that gets published when Signing Day approaches and the #1 recruit in the country is on the market. Lorenz published two freebies for 247 aimed at a national audience based off quotes 247 gathered from Gary's You Are Awesome award ceremony.
Gary did go to Clemson this weekend. Rivals's Woody Womack, their Southeast guy, thinks that trip is a big nothingburger; Wiltfong reports that Michigan itself is taking it seriously. Adam Friedman, another Rivals guy, said before the visit that if Gary went to Alabama that was a real threat but Clemson was a joke, and of course now he's "torn" because it's 50/50. Okay buddy. Lorenz gently dismisses Clemson chatter based on his pending official and re-iterates the million different reasons arrows point towards Ann Arbor. This is astute:
My intuition tells me that we may see one or two Clemson predictions come in on the Crystal Ball around the end of the weekend if his visit goes well, and you'll also see more for Michigan as well.
Gonna be that moment of panic. Be strong. Blame anyone other than me if things go wrong.
I'm just not seeing Gary suddenly divert because of one weekend. He's been to Michigan five times and has a half-dozen friends, two of them very close friends, going to Ann Arbor. Wiltfong is still rolling with M. Meanwhile none of the Clemson people have had the temerity to put in a CB yet.
Hill rollercoaster coming to pleasant conclusion?
The positive bits are coming in for MI CB Lavert Hill on the regular now. It's one thing when those are coming from the coaches; it is another thing when those are coming from the player and his support group. When you have both coming together then you have gut-feel/hat-eating confidence.
Seems like Michigan is verging on that again with Hill after an alarming dip. Lorenz was informed that covering Hill's announcement would be a good idea by someone at King. Never rule out trollin' trollin' trollin' trollin' but that's a very good sign. I also continue going back to the vibe coming from PSU guys after his official to Happy Valley. Those guys never really bought the Nittany Lions as renewed contender so were rare neutral parties; they didn't think there was much to the MSU chatter. Finally and most importantly, Hill spent the weekend on Michigan's campus again.
Hill's nonplussed demeanor in the aftermath of the MSU visit turns out to not mean much. Hill loves "pretty good" like meat loves salt:
Lavert Hill: ‘Pretty even’ race between MSU, UM, PSU
“It was a pretty good visit,” Hill said. “Just getting to talking to the coaches and some of the players, talking to Donnie. And my mom, she liked it pretty good. So it was a good visit overall.” …
“Coach Barnett, I had a talk with him (for) a pretty good time,” Hill said. “Just kicking it with him about their defense and stuff was pretty good.”
That's just how he gives interviews. If he does commit to Michigan and turns into Jourdan Lewis 2.0 you better believe every PBU will be met with a #prettygood tweet.
Arrows pointing everywhere for Bossiasi
— Jay Harbaugh (@JayHarbaugh) January 30, 2016
First off, Michigan will still pursue CA TE Devin Asiasi after the Eubanks commit. Asiasi is too good to move on from and also a totally different kind of player. Eubanks is Funchess-esque, Asiasi is AJ Williams after a power mushroom. Asiasi also has the potential to contribute early; both other TEs in the class are projects.
CA DT Boss Tagaloa did indeed take a visit to Cal after reports he would cancel. Asiasi made it to Alabama after similar rumors. For either school to be a factor the package deal would have to splinter, and if you're into twitter close reads the duo referred to their NSD announcements as "our commitment" and "our college decision," singular.
There is zero consensus as to how these recruitments will play out. Lorenz reports that current Michigan commitments say they're coming. Washington mods (who will fight you) believe it's Washington. USC's Rivals site projects Asiasi to USC and Tagaloa to UCLA. Some Crystal Balls are coming in for Asiasi to Michigan, the most notable of which is JC Shurburtt's*. 247's (unreliable) USC guy reported that the thought was that both of the DLS guys were headed out of state, "one to Michigan, one to Alabama." Meanwhile one of their West Coast guys CB'd both to UCLA.
Asiasi talked to 247's Isaiah Hole and gave what looks like a top three:
Asiasi is currently on his official visit to USC, and said as far as places he's seen where he's the most comfortable, currently, “It's a tie between here, Alabama and Michigan.”
Lorenz points out that Bama looks like they'll flip A&M TE commit Irvin Smith, which would give them three in this class. Doubtful they would have room for a fourth unless they ghost another kid. Bama insiders are barely talking about Asiasi, FWIW.
The main thing still reputed to be a problem is distance. I'm not sure how much credence to lend that, though. The difference between Michigan and Seattle or LA is a couple hours on a plane; it's not like either guy would be making it home on weekends if they stayed on the West Coast. I guess Tagaloa could go to Cal, but no one thinks that's happening.
So I dunno. There is a lot of positive chatter from diverse sources as far as Michigan goes, though, and I have vague optimism. The latest actual quote from Asiasi is M, a school that probably doesn't have room, and a school that doesn't seem to feel great about their chances. The package appears to be on. Add it up and it looks blue.
We've put in CBs for both to M because we try to have an opinion on everyone on Michigan's board and there's enough there for us to pull the trigger, but those are highly speculative ballz.
*[Shurburtt left 247 recently; he's still a notable guy in the recruiting world.]
Hamilton decommit aftermath
Let's update our hypothetical 2017 OL depth chart across the board, just to see how Michigan looks:
Hypothetical 2017 Depth Chart
|Grant Newsome||Jr.||David Dawson||Sr.*||Patrick Kugler||Sr.*||Ben Bredeson||Fr.*||Mason Cole||Sr.|
|Nolan Ulizio||So.*||Michael Onwenu||Fr.*||Jon Runyan Jr||So.*||Stephen Spanellis||Fr.*||Juwann Bushell-Beatty||Jr.*|
(You might add a redshirt sophomore TJ Wheatley in there depending on how big he ends up being.)
That's not the worst thing I've ever seen, but it falls off very quickly after you get past the presumed starting five. Hamilton would really have helped out there.
If you're Michigan the question you're asking is whether anyone you can get now is going to help you more than some of the top-end 2017 recruits who are very high on the Wolverines. The answer there is "probably not", and minus Hamilton you can wave a very encouraging depth chart at FL OL Tedarrell Slaton and NY OL Isaiah Wilson, amongst others. Lorenz thinks Michigan won't reach to fill Hamilton's spot.
FWIW, Hamilton's decommit happened in ninja circumstances. He took an official to Stanford last weekend that literally nobody reported, which may be a first in the history of twitter-era recruiting.
Eubanks scouting, PWOzzzz
A bit more on FL TE Nick Eubanks from ESPN, which calls him "a big wide receiver" at the moment:
…possesses the top-end speed to threaten the intermediate to deep part of the field and present a vertical threat. He has good hands and his combination of height, leaping ability and speed to make him a tough matchup and big-play threat at the position. He needs to develop as a blocker, physically and technically, but flashes a physical edge and can wall-off defenders.
Sounds like Devin Funchess and ends up compared to Devin Funchess by the end of the article. It might be Eubanks, not Nate Johnson, who ended up grabbing Stewart's spot. If someone did grab his spot. (I think someone did given that Stewart repeatedly named Michigan his leader after his visit.)
De La Salle S/RB Tru Wilson (2016 target): Wilson, who visited along with Rogers for Miami, had 44 yards on nine carries and added a couple big hits from his safety spot. He doesn't have any recruiting buzz yet, but I expect that to change—he moves well, plays very physically, and diagnoses plays nicely from the back end of the defense. As a running back, he's undersized at 5'10", 187, but he's tough to get a hold of and keeps his legs moving to churn through tackles and gain extra yardage.
He got offers from all three service academies; Scout actually gave him three stars. Allen Trieu says "if he was 6'0, he would have had 20 offers." At his size he projects as a slot or safety. He should be at least a special teams contributor, and I'd take another Jordan Kovacs.
Michigan also picked up OH LS Camaron Cheeseman. Cheeseman went to the Semper Fi game and 247 has him ranked the #2 long snapper in the country. I cannot believe this exists, but he has an ESPN scouting report(!):
Great placement and location on both long and short snaps. He stays in balance well and snaps with clean rotation and good velocity.… Great frame and huge upside. He is an athlete that has all the tools to be a special long snapper.
That is a very nice PWO pickup. Everyone needs a long snapper; Michigan is currently using a scholarship slot on one.
Lorenz reports that Michigan also grabbed CA QB/ATH Peter Bush, who is a "potential player." If that name sounds familiar, Bush popped up on the radar over the summer as a PWO. He committed to Notre Dame at the time. Bush played WR last year, and could end up at safety.
This instant's best guess
Since Thursday, FL TE Nick Eubanks came out of nowhere to boot Chase Allen from the class. MD OL Devery Hamilton decommitted. We're moving TN WR Nate Johnson back to solidly committed, and continue to project that NJ WR Brad Hawkins will sign despite some chatter he has some work to do academically.
We project 6-7 spots left. As always, in order of confidence:
- NJ DE Rashan Gary. Conflicting info about whether Clemson is actually much of a threat. I doubt it; Clemson barely got an official visit and doesn't have Walker, Dwumfour, Partridge, etc. Look for Clemson folk to CYA with "they really made it a hard decision" afterwards.
- MI CB Lavert Hill. Was in fact on Michigan's campus this weekend. Actions speak louder than words.
- MI K Quinn Nordin. USC the only threat. Recent CB from USC guy with 40% hit rate doesn't move the needle.
- CA QB Vic Viramontes. Signs pointing towards a reconciliation. /self high-five
- CA TE Devin Asiasi. A lot of things pointing Michigan's way for the DLS duo. Some things pointing elsewhere, because arrows are going in every direction.
- CA DT Boss Tagaloa. See above.
Confidence level is high that the top four are in. Right now we're projecting the grayshirt gets upgraded.
Now that we're down to it let's go over the serious targets Michigan has who are not currently projected in the class:
- FL WR Pie Young. Told a USC site that USC, Louisville, and M where his top 3. First time in a long time he didn't say Michigan led. Many ballz to Louisville; Rivals's Rob Cassidy also believes he's off to UL. Looks like Michigan no longer has a spot. Hopefully that bodes well for other targets.
- AZ DE Connor Murphy. This is a major change after Murphy had been on the best guess list since its inception, and it is based on Lorenz suggesting that Murphy's grades may prevent him from ending up in Ann Arbor. That comes as a huge surprise, and if he's close and Michigan ends up missing on a couple of guys on the list they may take him in the hopes he can get there. Murphy's other possible landing spot is USC, which is not a program that has to take academic risks. Weird situation. Gotta figure he's worth a roll of the dice unless Michigan is very confident in the DLS kids. OTOH, Wiltfong says that he doesn't have a CB in on Murphy but if he did it would be on M.
- KS S Isaiah Simmons. Simmons gave Brandon Brown some generic positive quotes after his official. Webb got the impression from his dad that Michigan and Clemson were moving past Nebraska. Unless Michigan bats 1.000 going into Signing Day he's definitely a take given the state of the safety position.
- NJ CB Jordan Fuller. Don't fail me now, random guy playing Counterstrike.
Anyone else ending up in the class would be out of left field. I give that a 50% chance of happening.
- Five-star NY OL Isaiah Wilson, who named Michigan his leader a month or two ago, tweets that he will be on campus this weekend.
- Michigan will stop by Glynn Academy, the school of GA CB Deejay Dallas. Dallas recently named Michigan in a tentative top ten.
- MI TE commit Carter Dunaway fields a Nebraska offer and reports serious interest from ND, PSU, LSU, and MSU.
In decommit news, MD CB Sir Patrick Scott committed to Marshall. That should give you some indication about why he decommitted—Scott certainly has Power 5 talent. IL OL Erik Swenson committed to Oklahoma, which is… interesting. No doubt we will all track his career. Should be noted that Harbaugh didn't exactly ruin this dude's life.