Watch This At Your Own Peril
The above is a 20-minute long junior highlight reel of the nation's #1 overall recruit, Antioch (CA) RB Najee Harris, who's currently committed to Alabama. It is now relevant to your interests, per 247's Steve Lorenz:
Michigan will host the nation's top overall prospect for their BBQ at the Big House, as Antioch (CA) 2017 five-star running back Najee Harris will be in Ann Arbor on August 6th for the annual recruiting event.
The visit was actually set over a month ago when Michigan, in a remarkable coincidence, hosted a satellite camp at Harris's high school. While Alabama insiders feel confident in the Tide's chances of holding onto Harris, Lorenz isn't ruling out M's chances of a flip:
We've written a lot lately about Michigan narrowing their recruiting board down heading into the season. Linebacker...cornerback....wide receiver...these are all spots where Michigan has concentrated their efforts on the nation's elite. At running back, it currently appears to be Najee Harris and everybody else.
I think the staff's chances with him are better than people realize. A visit on his own dime is of course noteworthy as it always is, but in talking to some sources closer to the Michigan side of things following the Antioch camp, there's a belief that he's a fit for Jim Harbaugh's culture and what he's trying to do at Michigan.
Don't watch that video unless you want to get dangerously excited about the possibility of landing Harris, which won't be easy at all—Bama isn't Michigan's only competition, as USC, UCLA, Oregon, and Cal are also in contention.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
50% Of The Time...
Three-star AL OT Toryque Bateman released a top five last week with Michigan at the top heading into his visit for the BBQ. Batemen went into extensive detail about his strong relationships with various Michigan coaches in an interview with TMI's Brice Marich, then acknowledged a commitment could be on the way:
So is there any chance he decides to pull the trigger while at Michigan?
“It is a possibility,” said Bateman. “On a scale of 1-10, maybe 50% at a 5. If I am blown away once again, then it is a big possibility.”
Given Bateman said Michigan blew him away on his last visit, this seems like a big possibility indeed. Let's just say I've got some tabs open.
Stueber As Gumby
A couple articles came out this week on three-star OT commit Andrew Stueber, both containing praise of his movement and flexbility for such a large person. Rivals analyst Adam Friedman:
"Stueber is a huge kid," Friedman said. "He’s 6-6, and over 300 pounds so he’s got that size and an excellent frame. Even though he’s over 300 pounds he doesn’t have much bad weight on him. There’s still a lot of room left to fill out his frame so you really like that on the hoof.
"When you really breakdown the film or when you see him in person you can see that he moves really well. He’s a great bender and is a very athletic guy for how big he is. He’s a very good run blocker because he also does a good job level keeping his balance when moving forward.
Friedman also praised his mean streak before pointing out the standard areas of improvement for high school linemen: technique and strength. He sees Stueber as a right tackle who could eventually move to the left side.
Stueber's high school coach gave a little more detail on his bendiness to Scout's Allen Trieu [emphasis mine]:
“I’ve been around 37, 38 years,” Trifone says, “and he’s the best lineman I’ve ever coached in that span and certainly one of the best that I've seen in opponents. He’s big, 6-foot-6, close to 300 pounds, but the things that set him apart are great feet, he’s very athletic, plays basketball and has some of the best flexibility I’ve ever seen in a big man. He can practically do a split and that enables him to bend his legs and get into good posture for blocking. When you’re 6-6 you have to play like 5-6 to get under people.”
I'll be encouraged by this as soon as I can think about it without subsequently walking around with a limp.
Alabama: Still Relevant To Your Interests
Alabama added a surprise commitment from four-star TE Kedrick James last night, and that could have a direct impact on Michigan's recruiting at tight end. Lorenz:
As has been written more than a few times at this point, Michigan and Alabama's 2017 tight end boards are somewhat intertwined. James committing to the Tide helps Michigan because they were not interested in him at all and have been fully focused on Major Tennison and Josh Falo. Both of those players were/are considered pretty significant targets for Alabama as well.
Bama has room for one of those two, but only one; Steve mentions Bama is more focused on Tennison while Michigan has Falo on top of their board, though the Wolverines will have to fend off Oregon and other Pac-12 squads to reel in Falo.
The Tide also added a fourth offensive lineman to their class after taking five OL in each of the last two cycles, which on its face makes it seem like M's chances should improve with guys like Cesar Ruiz and Isaiah Wilson. Lorenz says NSFMF:
My Alabama people said the following when asked about their 2017 recruiting:
"They're recruiting players right now like they're going to take 35 players."
I take that to mean that they will continue to recruit Wilson, Ruiz, Wills and the others going forward. I wouldn't expect otherwise.
Bama's latest OL commit—an in-state three-star with two uncles who played there—seems like a guy who could take a grayshirt.
Five-star Ohio State cornerback commit Shaun Wade won't be at the BBQ, per Maize n Brew. Michigan has made Wade a high priority but at this point it doesn't look like anything will come of it.
Leonard Taylor isn't the only 2018 Springfield commit who's taking a look around. Antwuan Johnson just visited Penn State, though it sounds like Michigan is still ahead of the pack:
An offer from the Nittany Lions would give him something to think about.
“It would definitely bump Penn State into my top three, no doubt,” he said. “The coaching staff was great and I loved the campus. It was nice.”
Johnson is hoping to visit Indiana and Iowa soon as well.
We'll see what happens if/when PSU offers.