Unleash The Harbaugh
The dead period is over, meaning coaches can once again have in-person contact with recruits. I have a hunch Jim Harbaugh is ready:
Attacking this day with Enthusiasm Unknown to Mankind
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) January 15, 2015
Harbaugh has already been spotted at Detroit Catholic Central, and you can bet he'll be visiting Michigan's top targets throughout the area. That would likely include Cass Tech's Mike Weber, and lo and behold, Tyrone Wheatley made his way to CT earlier today.
There will be much more as reactions come in over the weekend—the coaches are visiting numerous prospects around the country right now—but it's worth noting five-star CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South received a visit this morning.
A couple new names on the board talked or will talk to coaches today and look like distinct possibilities to end up in the class. The first, three-star GA ATH Chris Williamson, pulled in an offer earlier this week; he's one of the hottest prospects in the country, earning offers from Virginia Tech, Florida, Georgia, Notre Dame, and Auburn in the last couple weeks.
Per The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan, Michigan is recruiting Williamson as a defensive back, and his main factors for choosing a school are academics, playing time, and player development ($). According to 247's Ryan Bartow, newly minted assistant coach Mike Zordich stopped by Williamson's school this morning and immediately made things happen ($):
Earlier this morning, Williamson bumped Kentucky out of the January 23 official visit spot for Michigan as reported by Steve Lorenz of Wolverine247. Michigan assistant coach Mike Zordich stopped by the school and set up the visit.
Williamson is visiting UNC this weekend, will see either Florida or Auburn at the end of the month, and should take a mid-week official to Georgia somewhere in between. He officially visited Cal, his current leader, in December.
Three-star Rutgers CB commit Jarius Adams is one of several Florida prospects who'll get a visit today. Per Scout's Corey Bender, Adams will speak with DJ Durkin, and he'll be "very excited" if he receives an offer; if one comes through, expect him to make it up to Ann Arbor ($):
In addition to the Scarlet Knights, Adams has solidified a visit date with an in-state program and is considering Harbaugh's program for the weekend prior to National Signing Day.
"(I'm visiting) Florida Atlantic this weekend, Rutgers next weekend, and hopefully Michigan," Adams said.
And, as I'm writing this, Lorenz reports that Michigan did in fact offer Adams.
Again, there will be much more coverage of Michigan's in-school and in-home visits next week, as this post is assuredly out of date even as I post it.
[Hit THE JUMP for this weekend's visit list, updates on new 2015 offers and scheduled visits, and a few 2016 updates.]
Big Visit Weekend On Tap
The end of the dead period also means Michigan can host visitors on campus again, and they'll have several high-profile recruits coming into town this weekend. Lorenz has the full list; here are the confirmed visitors:
- Four-star CT TE Chris Clark is the most likely to commit this weekend, both because of his prior commitment to Michigan and the nature of his recruitment thus far. Clark is scheduled to see UCLA next weekend, but a good visit could see him drop before he heads west, in part because he's mentioned being excited at the prospect of visiting Ann Arbor with...
- Top-50 GA OLB Roquan Smith, whose interest in Michigan spiked when the Wolverines hired DJ Durkin, who recruited Smith while he was at Florida. While getting Smith to commit this weekend would be a surprise, Michigan appears to be making a major move up his list.
- Three-star FL CB Damon Arnette, currently a South Carolina commit, received an offer a couple weeks ago. He's also slated to take officials to South Carolina and Ohio State before the month is over.
- Commits Tyree Kinnel and Andrew David will be in town on their officials. Early enrollees Alex Malzone and Brian Cole should also help the recruiting efforts.
- Five-star CA CB Iman Marshall will be at Florida State tomorrow, but he made room in his schedule to visit Ann Arbor on Monday. Marshall is expected to end up at USC, though he's been adamant that he's open to a number of national powers, with his upcoming slate of officials playing a major role in his decision.
A late addition to the list is three-star FL DE Shelton Johnson, who added a Michigan offer this morning and made plans to visit this weekend, per Scout's Corey Bender ($). Florida State, Miami, and Virginia Tech are the other schools in contention to sign Johnson, according ot his coach; he's got visits lined up to Miami and FSU to close out the month.
Lorenz mentioned the possibility of a visit from four-star GA S Arrington Farrar earlier in the week, though Farrar tweeted later that he plans to see UNC this weekend. Farrar was a longtime Stanford commit who recently had to open up his recruitment after running into issues with their stringent admission standards; he's still an excellent student who's focusing on strong academic schools. He appears to have very strong interest, but per Lorenz he was told by the coaching staff that there are other prospects higher on the board ($).
More 2015 Offers, Visits
Per Lorenz, Michigan offered four-star FL ATH Ryan Davis yesterday, and he was slated to receive a visit from the coaches today. Davis could be a receiver or defensive back at the next level; the two in-state schools currently top his Crystal Ball predictions.
The coaches also continue to pursue committed prospects; the latest to receive an offer is three-star FL SDE Reuben Jones, a Nebraska commit, who told The Wolverine's Brandon Brown he's likely to take an official visit next weekend ($). He's got a connection to Michigan...
"We actually have a coach at our school that played at Michigan and started for two or three years, Ricky Barnum.
...and a rather unfortunate way of associating said connection to Michigan:
He was on the field during that one big hit that Jadeveon Clowney made against Michigan.
With the coaching change at Nebraska, it sounds highly unlikely Jones will stick with his commitment. Michigan State and Louisville seem to Michigan's chief competition.
Michigan should also get an official visit from four-star FL DT Kendrick "Big Thick" Norton, per Scout's Yancy Porter, though the timing is currently unclear ($):
"I am going to Miami this weekend," Norton said. "The weekend after that I am going to Ole Miss. Well, it just depends on what Michigan says and what the other schools say. I might take an official to Michigan or North Carolina next weekend instead of Ole Miss. I don't know yet."
"I was considering going to Auburn, but I might go to North Carolina that weekend. But if something doesn't free up next weekend I might go to Michigan the 30th."
Norton mentioned that the lack of any defensive line commits in the class is a good selling point for Michigan.
Jim Harbaugh reached out earlier this week to the coach of TX QB McLane Carter, and it appears that's not the only senior quarterback he's taking a look at—Scout's Derek Young reports that he expects the Wolverines to pursue four-star Mizzou commit Drew Lock. That pursuit probably won't go very far, however, as Lock is from Missouri, grew up a huge fan of the Tigers, and his father played there. It's more noteworthy that it appears Harbaugh isn't content with just one quarterback in the class. This would probably supersede the need to take another recruit, however:
Couple sources indicate that there are legs to the idea Kevin Hogan would transfer to Michigan.
— mgoblog (@mgoblog) January 15, 2015
Hogan took over the starting job at Stanford during the latter half of the 2012 season and has held onto it ever since; he'd be immediately eligible as a grad-year transfer.
The new staff handed out their first offer to a 2016 prospect, giving it to three-star TX OLB Jeffrey McCulloch, who told Brandon Brown that while he's yet to narrow his recruitment, the Wolverines will very much be in the mix ($):
"Michigan is at the top, especially with the new coaching hire of Jim Harbaugh," McCulloch said. "He's a legendary coach. They will definitely factor in to where I decide to go to school. Michigan will definitely make my first cut and be in the mix toward the end."
McCulloch's offer sheet already includes Baylor, Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas A&M, among several others, but he said he plans to visit Michigan before he makes a commitment.
Harbaugh himself offered Farmington Hills Harrison three-star DE Khalid Kareem while visiting the school today, per 247's Clint Brewster. Kareem's offer sheet already includes Iowa, Louisville, Maryland, Miami (YTM), Michigan State (the early favorite), North Carolina, Oregon, Penn State, Pitt, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt, among others.
Top-50 WI OT Ben Bredeson told GBW's Sam Webb that Michigan retaining Greg Mattison was "big" for him, and the hiring of Harbaugh certainly hasn't hurt their standing, either ($):
“Nothing has changed,” he said matter-of-factly. “You fall in love with a school. Michigan was Michigan before Harbaugh and it’ll be Michigan after Harbaugh. I loved it before. I’m sure with him there it is only going to make it more appealing. When I go see it, it’s going to be awesome and I’m going to meet the coaches and reevaluate it there. It is going to be the same when I go to Madison and see Wisconsin and see what the coaching staff there is going to be. I tried to fall in love with the school. Everybody knows that these staffs come and go.
Michigan and Wisconsin seem to be his top two, with the Badgers the early favorites, though Ohio State and others will also factor in.
The state's top 2016 recruit, OLB Daelin Hayes, is still a USC commit but will be even closer to Michigan than expected; per the Freep's Mick McCabe, he's transferring from Cass Tech to Ann Arbor Skyline. That can't hurt Michigan's efforts to flip him, at the very least.
In a happy trails that may actually have some upside, five-star 2016 RB Kareem Walker committed to Ohio State during the national championship game. What's the upside, you ask? While he hasn't commented on it, Walker's commitment could affect how comfortable Mike Weber is with his OSU pledge.