A Good Thing Happened Last Week
So, yeah, this hasn't been a great week. Not all is bad, though! On Friday evening, Michigan picked up a commitment from one of their top remaining targets, four-star TX TE Mustapha Muhammad. The full Hello post is here, and there's been plenty of #content on him since. Muhammad actually made a silent commitment way back when he visited for the Spring Game, and while those don't always stick, he told Sam Webb that he didn't waver—in fact, he's even been recruiting for Michigan for months. One of the main draws, unsurprisingly, is the offense's use of tight ends actually living up to the recruiting pitch:
“(Michigan’s tight end play), definitely had an impact on me,” Muhammad said. “I had been told by a lot of tight end coaches around the nation about how they use the tight end, but when I watched them on actual game film I didn’t really see anything as impressive as Michigan’s play-calling and the different variations of how they use the tight end position. That’s really important to me… that they were really giving me everything they were selling.”
The checklist he gave 247's Steve Wiltfong appears to have been retrofitted for Michigan:
Muhammad listed those boxes.
TE Usage in Offense
Large Muslim Population
Great dining hall
Scout's Greg Powers, meanwhile, updated his evaluation with a couple promising notes:
Muhammad has established himself as the type of player who can make elite plays in the passing game, whether it be a a heroic touchdown catch and run that is capped off by a full extension dive into the end zone or jumping over a defender trying to make a tackle, he possesses that special it factor, but he is also underappreciated as a blocker by many. He is an excellent zone blocker, who understands leverage and how to use his hands on defenders. He has added some weight to his frame and some strength and that has helped develop him into an even more complete package at the position.
Adding bulk and functional strength is the main thing Muhammad needs to do to see the field early at Michigan; he's already begun the process.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Actions vs. Words: Can M Hold Onto Ekiyor?
Michigan's top-ranked recruit in the class, four-star IN OG Emil Ekiyor, is the class's top flight risk; while he's maintained his commitment, there's strong mutual interest with Alabama. This one's shaping up to have some twists and turns. Ekiyor is saying the right things from M's perspective, telling TMI's Josh Newkirk that he's still solid despite last month's official visit to Tuscaloosa:
Did Ekiyor’s visit have him reconsider his commitment to Michigan? Well, if he it did, he’s not admitting it.
“No, no, no, I got a chance to talk to the coaching staff with Michigan after my (Alabama) visit. We’re solid; I’m taking a visit in the next couple weeks. I’m going to watch them play at IU (last Saturday). I’m just Michigan all the way,” Ekiyor said.
“I’m committed to Michigan,” he added. “That’s like no doubt.”
That's nice to hear; there's still doubt. Ekiyor was back at Alabama for last weekend's game against Tennessee, going on his own dime. He's also set for an unofficial visit for the Michigan/Rutgers game this weekend (reportedly with his family in tow) and an official visit for The Game, so Michigan will have their opportunities to solidify his commitment. It might be a coin-flip situation; Ekiyor has a final decision date set:
“December 1st is the day they all want me to make a decision,” Ekiyor said.
Hold onto your butts.
More 2018 Updates: Commit Watch This Weekend?
Michigan recently offered three-star MO RB Hassan Haskins, who'll be on campus this weekend. Given how his coach describes Haskins's reaction to the offer, it sure sounds like seatbelt safety is required this weekend:
He just absolutely couldn’t be more excited. He's a humble kid, but he smiled ear to ear and that's how I know he was completely and overly excited about it. As far as other schools, he's going up there to check it out and we'll see where it goes from there.
Haskins displays excellent power on tape; he could be a late riser and a very worthy addition to the class.
The Wolverines secured an official visit for The Game from another recently offered prospect, four-star NJ DE Jayson Oweh, and went up 2-0 this season vs. Florida in the process:
Decided to schedule my Michigan OV on 11/25, will reschedule Florida
— Clout J (@JaysonOweh) October 19, 2017
Oweh recently told Bucknuts that Ohio State and Penn State are still tied atop his list. Michigan may be able to make up ground quickly after taking their time to enter the race; the visit will determine a lot.
Four-star MO DT Michael Thompson told Wiltfong that USC, a program that didn't make his previous top five, is the school recruiting him the hardest. He doesn't have any official visit scheduled yet but says the Trojans will receive one; Michigan should also get one, and Thompson mentioned his strong relationship with Greg Mattison in the same interview.
There was word out there that Michigan really biffed four-star CA ATH Bryan Addison's official visit for the MSU game. Steve Lorenz says the problem was more logistics than anything else:
Addison's visit to Michigan was really, really short. He flew in on a red-eye flight on the Friday night before the game against Michigan State and didn't get in until early Saturday morning. He spent the majority of the day on Saturday catching up on rest from the flight up until shortly before game time (7:30 EST). Addison then left on Sunday morning.
Lorenz believes Michigan is still in the race with UCLA. I'm pretty pessimistic this one will turn out well, especially if USC enters the fray.
Lorenz reports Michigan will host 2019 five-star DE commit Chris Hinton and his talented 2020 OT brother Myles Hinton this weekend.
Happy trails to 2019 four-star DE George Karlaftis, a Purdue legacy and West Lafayette native who chose the Boilermakers over offers from Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Penn State, among others. Even with the local connections, I can't quite wrap my head around that either.