2015 Quarterback Musical Chairs
Should be awarded fifth star just for using early Black Keys.
When Michigan named Doug Nussmeier offensive coordinator, five-star QB Ricky Town was committed to Alabama, Michigan offeree David Sills was USC's lone (and long-time) 2015 QB commit, and CA five-star QB Josh Rosen had shown little interest in his Wolverine offer.
That's all changing quickly. Town decommitted from Alabama on Saturday, launching speculation that he may want to follow his former would-be offensive coordinator and position coach to Ann Arbor. That speculation lasted a matter of hours before Town committed to his home-state childhood favorite... USC. Even before Town's commitment, Sills started fielding interest from other schools, and a decommitment—possibly of the mutual "this is best for everyone" variety—could very well be in the cards; this quote via ESPN's Blair Angulo is telling ($):
[USC coach Steve] Sarkisian, according to Sills' father, David, was slated to check in at the school sometime this month. That plan might still be in play, though some close to Sills' recruitment got word about Town's decommitment and aren't optimistic.
"The staff was supposed to come by two or three weeks ago, but apparently they will swing by this coming week," Eastern Christian Academy coach Dwayne Thomas said.
"David is still considering other schools," Thomas said.
Michigan could very well be one of those schools under consideration, though that situation is complicated, too. Sills was offered under Al Borges, not Nussmeier, and Michigan continues to throw out offers to '15 quarterbacks—most recently, Notre Dame commit Blake Barnett and 247 Composite top-50 TX dual-threat QB Jarrett Stidham. It's unclear how serious Sills is about Michigan; it's also unclear how interested Michigan (read: Nussmeier) is in Sills.
In case matters weren't complicated enough, Rosen's interest in Michigan has grown to the point that he's hankering to visit Ann Arbor, per Rivals' Adam Gorney ($):
"I've seen plenty of Cal and Stanford," Rosen said. "The school I'd actually travel to see is Michigan. I've seen Cal like four times now because I've seen Bryce (Treggs) up there and went to Elite 11 stuff. I pretty much know what's going on there.
"I want to check out Michigan, maybe Texas, I don't know. Michigan is one I definitely want to go to."
UCLA has a decided edge for Rosen—he even considered an early commitment to the Bruins—but if he gets on campus, who knows what can happen from there.
Since it's tough to keep track, Michigan has offered four 2015 quarterbacks: Rosen, Sills, Barnett, and Stidham. Barnett is a firm Notre Dame pledge, Rosen seems likely to stay in California, the Sills situation is covered above, and Stidham has a great offer list that includes the in-state triumverate of Texas/TAMU/Baylor. The search for the right '15 QB could go on for quite a while at this rate, and I wouldn't be surprised if more offers go out in the near future.
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on new 2015 offers, the chances of bringing Harris and Campbell back into the fold, and more.]
More Underclassmen Offers
In addition to Stidham, Michigan coaches offered four more underclassman prospects recently. Four-star 2015 TX WR DaMarkus Lodge told Sam Webb he has no favorites and "a high level of interest" in Michigan ($). The Wolverines also offered fellow Texan Kaden Smith, a 2016 tight end who visited for last summer's BBQ at the Big House, and the Wolverines may be sticking out early ($):
Sam Webb: This is the toughest question I’m going to ask you. Are there any schools that are sticking out for you at this point?
Kaden Smith: “Wow, I think most of all…I’m really looking at not just their records but the coaching and the education. I mean Stanford has great coaches and a great education there and I understand Michigan does also. So, I mean, I’m not really sure yet.”
Michigan appears to have a genuine shot with Smith; we'll see how things develop with Lodge, who's already received offers from the big-time schools in his region.
The Wolverines also offered a pair of Georgia teammates, per Steve Lorenz ($):
In Georgia, Michigan offered two prospects they've had their eye on for a while with 2015 ATH Adonis Thomas and 2016 OL EJ Price getting the call. Both attend powerhouse Central Gwinnett in Lawrenceville. We have talked about Price and his roots in the state of Michigan, and of the two prospects they likely have a better chance with him.
Thomas is a longshot; Price boasts a very impressive list of early offers, though the Wolverines could have an edge by virtue of him growing up in Michigan before moving to Georgia—there's a long way to go there, of course.
McDowell and Campbell Updates
Malik McDowell's father says no decision has been made despite the rumors that MSU is his probable destination, per Sam Webb ($):
“No he is not committing to nothing,” Mr. McDowell stated. “It’s not Malik’s decision just on his own. We are going to go with the best program with the best academics. (Picking Michigan State) is not set in stone at all.”
That academics line provides a glimmer of hope, at least.
[UPDATE: Of course this breaks minutes after I publish:
Malik McDowell will make his last official visit this weekend and it will be to #OhioState.
— Bill Kurelic (@Bill_Kurelic) January 27, 2014
Ohio State replaces LSU on McDowell's official visit list. Per Josh Helmholdt, he still plans to announce his decision on National Signing Day ($). I believe the Buckeyes, being much closer to home, are more of a potential threat to Michigan/MSU than LSU would've been.]
Webb's latest Detroit News article covers the chances of regaining commitments from Damien Harris and George Campbell. The Harris stuff has been covered here extensively; the Campbell stuff bodes unwell:
Though adamant his interest in the Maize & Blue hasn’t withered, Campbell indicated an official visit to Ann Arbor isn’t a certainty. That’s significant, since none of his family members were with him on any of his prior Michigan visits. There’s a greater chance of remedying that issue if he uses one of his five officials for a return trip, since in that instance the school can foot the bill for him and a guardian.
“Only time will tell (if Michigan will be added to the official visit list),” [Campbell] said. “I got a long time before I take my officials, so I’ll just sit back with my coach, evaluate it, and see what I’m ready to do.”
Going from having a commitment to fighting for an official visit is not good, obviously.