Price Names Michigan Leader
It's not common for a Big Ten school to make an early move on a top prospect from deep in SEC country, but top-75 GA OT EJ Price isn't a normal SEC prospect—he's a Michigan native, and that's clearly helping the Wolverines in their pursuit. After Price had previously put Michigan in a tie atop his list with Auburn, he's now got the Wolverines out in front of the Tigers and Georgia, and told 247's Kipp Adams why that's now the case ($):
"The new coaching staff with Jim Harbaugh coming in," Price said. "I like Tim Drevno, the new offensive coordinator as well. With him being the offensive coordinator and the offensive line coach, it's going to be a benefit for me because you know he's going to focus on the offensive line. Just being that I'm from Michigan originally, there's a lot to think about. They've been hitting me up lately."
While there's a long way to go, there's also a lot to be excited about here; namely, Price is coming off recent visits to his two other top contenders, Auburn and Georgia, and has seen both of those schools several times while he's yet to make the trip to Ann Arbor. Usually Michigan has to work from behind when hosting out-of-region prospects; that doesn't look like it'll be the case here.
Costello To Announce Soon
In less positive news, Michigan's top target at quarterback, top-50 CA QB KJ Costello, will announce his decision on Thursday in a 5:45 ET ceremony at his school, per Scout's Greg Biggins ($). Michigan, Stanford, and USC are his three finalists, but it's expected his decision will come down to the two California schools, especially since Costello wasn't able to set up a return trip to Ann Arbor before making his choice.
That means the leading candidate to take a spot in the class at quarterback is still four-star IN QB Brandon Peters, who'll visit for the spring game and recently named Michigan to his top five, per BigRedReport's Bryan Munson ($):
"My top five are Michigan, Nebraska, LSU, Indiana and Wisconsin," Peters said. "These are the schools recruiting me the hardest and also the schools that I have built the best relationships with as well."
Peters also plans to visit Nebraska for their spring game the week after Michigan's; while there's a lot of optimism about M's chances, it doesn't quite look like a slam dunk, though of course a visit can change that outlook in a hurry.
Michigan's chances don't look so good for four-star NJ QB Jarrett Guarantano, who told Rivals' Mike Farrell in a video interview that his top three consists of Rutgers, Tennessee, and Ohio State ($). He's long been considered a longshot.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
New Offers: Trying To Break Into Bama
Michigan offered a pair of 2016 five-stars from Alabama, OLB Lyndell Wilson and SDE Marlon Davidson, and you're probably already saying "not a chance." You won't be wrong, in all likelihood. 247's Steve Lorenz details why the coaching staff would put those offers out there anyway ($):
The biggest reason why is because of Michigan's extended manpower in the recruiting department. What you're going to see going forward is this staff is going to start to shake trees in parts of the country they normally wouldn't. The strategy is simple: develop relationships in those parts of the country, win football games, and then you can get involved in some of the major national battles in spots you would normally shy away from. Because of the added staff on the recruiting side of things, you can develop those relationships easier without straining the assistants/coordinators/Harbaugh.
Working those connections long-term should eventually pay off, especially since Harbaugh and Co. are clearly doing the same in the talent-rich states of California, Florida, and Texas.
The coaches also extended an offer to three-star OH OL Jack Wohlabaugh, who told Scout's Bill Greene that the offer "surprised" him ($):
"This visit helped me understand what Michigan is going to be about under Coach Harbaugh, and they are up there pretty high on my list," he admitted. "I think they have the potential to get better under Coach Harbaugh, especially with his ability to recruit great athletes to Michigan."
Wohlabaugh, who projects as either a guard or center, boasts a dozen offers from mostly Midwest schools; Michigan stands out as his most prestigious offer so far. He has visits set up to Michigan State and Ohio State this week.
Although a planned visit with fellow New Jersey recruits Ahmir Mitchell and Brad Hawkins fell through, four-star NJ SDE Ron Johnson added a Michigan offer last week, per The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan ($). Johnson has an impressive offer sheet, and Michigan's chances are almost certainly contingent on getting him on campus.
Steve Lorenz reports that Michigan also threw their hat in the ring for 2017 top-100 TX WR Hezekiah Jones:
"I just feel blessed for getting an opportunity to play for a program with the tradition of Michigan," Jones told Wolverine247 upon being offered.
Michigan is the first offer for Jones from a non-Texas school; A&M has emerged as the early favorite.
Michigan Makes [Player's] Top [X]
Several 2016 prospects named top groups recently, and Michigan is making appearances in several of them. The Wolverines look to be surging to the forefront of four-star KS WDE Xavier Kelly's recruitment since he decommitted from Kansas State on Saturday, and The Wolverine's Brandon Brown relays that Kelly, whose father is from Detroit, will be on campus this summer ($):
"I am really thinking about Michigan a lot," Kelly said. "I will be visiting Michigan in June. Sometime around the 11 or 12, that weekend.
"Michigan is one of the top schools on my list as of right now. I will visit there to see how I like it. Being that I have family there is definitely a plus for them."
Kelly's other top schools are TCU and Oregon.
Michigan also made the top three for four-star TX WDE Alton Robinson, per Sam Webb ($):
Michigan joined Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas, A&M, Houston and Cal on Robinson’s offer list. At the moment three of those programs are standing out.
“Michigan, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M,” he stated.
Robinson is looking to visit campus in the summer.
Yet another four-star defensive end, Florida prospect Jordan Woods, named Michigan to his top six, per Scout's Corey Bender ($):
"If I had to give a top five, it would probably (include) all of the Florida schools," Woods said. "Miami, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, South Carolina and Michigan."
Florida and FSU, unsurprisingly, are the early leaders on his Crystal Ball.
Scout's Allen Trieu reports that Michigan is getting a little more competition for Plymouth (MI) OT Michael Jordan after he visited Notre Dame ($):
Jordan recently gave a top three publicly, but that picture has continue to change in light of today's visit.
"He reported a top three of Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State and I asked him 'how does Notre Dame rate now?' And he said 'dad, it's a four-way tie now."
Jordan is considering a visit for the spring game; he's been a pretty consistent presence in Ann Arbor of late.
Michigan should get a visit soon from a top target at a position of need, as four-star PA TE Naseir Upshur told Mike Farrell that Michigan and Miami are the two programs he talks to the most, and while he doesn't yet have a date set he plans to come to Ann Arbor in the next month ($).
Steve Lorenz reports that a pair of top-100 2017 teammates, GA ATH Jamyest Williams and GA S Isaiah Pryor, plan to swing by Michigan next weekend when they're in the area for a camp in Chicago.
In his latest Inside Michigan Recruiting post, Lorenz also relays a quote from 2016 commit Erik Swenson, who expects the BBQ at the Big House will continue under Jim Harbaugh ($):
"I'm pretty sure they are going to do a BBQ in July," he said. "A few weeks ago when I talked to coach, I asked him if they were going to do a BBQ this summer, and he didn't really even know what I was talking about. I explained it to him and he said he'd look into it. I mentioned it to him again this weekend and he said they want to set a date in late July."
The BBQ was a very successful annual recruiting event under both Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke, so it's nice to see that won't go away.