Thursday Recruitin' Attacks The Day

Submitted by Ace on January 15th, 2015 at 2:23 PM

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:

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:

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.

2016 Updates

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.

Comments

Real Tackles Wear 77

January 15th, 2015 at 2:34 PM ^

It looks like Alize Jones committed to ND immediately after decommitting from UCLA. Too bad, you never can have enough players named after cheap liquor brands. He is also Cordell Broadus' teammate so that would've been too good to be true.

HimJarbaugh

January 15th, 2015 at 5:16 PM ^

From what I have read on here he would have been very welcome due to the QB depth and the possibility that he was held back by conservative playcalling at Stanford. Despite whether the latter is true, his stats look solid and probably would have been #1 on the depth chart in the spring.

93Grad

January 15th, 2015 at 2:35 PM ^

I especially like the bit about Hogan.  That would be such a huge get for our chances on the field next season.  The last report I had seen on Hogan said he was leaning towards staying at Stanford so this is good news.

csmhowitzer

January 15th, 2015 at 3:20 PM ^

Just thinking about that one article about Harbaugh bringing that qb to san diego when he was coachign there. The one where he talked about how Harbaugh would take snaps to show him how he wants a play to run. He transferred when harbaugh met him at the airport and they talked. 

If Hogan isn't sold on staying and Harbaugh makes a good impression. I can totally see him transferring.

superstringer

January 15th, 2015 at 2:38 PM ^

It feels weirdly... painful... to be back in the mix for good recruits.  Reading this stuff in years past, like early Hoke era, made me feel guilty.  I mean, following the decisions of 17 yr old kids, trying to project my team's future based on a bunch of high school kids, it's... not what this sport really was supposed to be about, originally.  Well, Jimmies and Joes, I know I know.

So when the recruiting thing cooled off recently, I felt a bit of a respite -- didn't have to follow this closely.  That was the silver lining when good recruits weren't in the mix.

Now... game is back on.  And once again I feel guilty about it.

BTW, if we get Hogan -- he's not Heisman-worthy, he's nowhere close to Andrew Luck -- but he's competent and with the OL and RB we have, and hope modest value from the TE position, we should have a pretty decent O.  The D should be better.  I think we'd be a threat to MSU and OSU -- on paper not as good, but I can see us playing OSU for the East division lead that last weekend.

BLUEyouout

January 15th, 2015 at 8:27 PM ^

UCLA is all over his Twitter feed posting photos of him in the uni etc... I would normally not be alarmed but he seems to be retweeting or favoriting the posts quite a bit. JH should tighten the race though. This is where I question the Jay Harbaugh hire.

Ron_Lippitt

January 15th, 2015 at 2:50 PM ^

Am I the only one who doesn't care about star-numbers now? I have absolute faith in this staff and their ability to evaluate talent in the new system.

It's a Harbaugh'nger of things to come.

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M-Dog

January 15th, 2015 at 3:49 PM ^

It's interesting that there are a number of 3-stars that Harbaugh wants for 2016.

He's handcuffed for 2015 and has limited options, but the sky is the limit for 2016.  He can go after practically any 2016 4/5-star he wants with confidence.  Even so, there are some 3-stars that he is after, in a class that will still not be that large for us.

In Harbaugh (and staff) we trust.

ghostofhoke

January 15th, 2015 at 4:21 PM ^

You know what gets the attention of 5* guys? Wins. Having a coach is great. Having a great staff is great. What kids want is to win. We don't have that yet, regardless of what people want to believe about when those wins will come, fact is that we don't have a history of winning now--not recent history anyway. Next year and the year after have no guarantees that they'll be better than the last two. You go to Ohio State or Bama and you know that 12 wins next year and the year after would be a HUGE disappointment. Those are just the facts

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Maize and Blue…

January 15th, 2015 at 6:52 PM ^

He recruited three star players that fit his system, and did not recruit the best players in the country. Some of those players that he recruited panned out (Gallon) , but some of them played like three star players (Floyd), or less, and while you can say that we have plenty of five star players that have not panned out, they played for, and were coached by an inferior coaching staff, and thus, both approaches yeilded roughly the same results - losing.

 I.M.H.O. it is best to get the best players that you can recruit, and then coach them up to be the best players they can be when they leave. To be the best, you have to recruit the best, and give them the best coaching.

M-Dog

January 15th, 2015 at 9:43 PM ^

I agree.  I would have thought that Harbaugh would be going after all 4/5 stars for 2016 because he's, you know, JIM F'ING HARBAUGH, and he can.

The fact that he is still going after some 3 stars for 2016 shows that he knows what he is looking for and certainly is not just chasing stars. 

Rabbit21

January 15th, 2015 at 5:13 PM ^

At this point I'd say it's mostly about building relationships.  You're not going to get every 4/5 star so if there's a guy out there with film that you really like, it's best to lay the groundwork now.  I like this approach of looking at the guys who will fit the system and making sure you get a good share of mind, vs. trying to get in the game late.

benjamint1024

January 15th, 2015 at 4:13 PM ^

Bigger.  Faster.  Stronger.  Harbaugh could be the greatest coach to ever walk the planet.  But, the thing that he(or no one for that matter) cannot coach, is natural speed and size.  Strength can be added with the right S and C, with some moderate gains to speed.

 

It stands with out question that a majority of the 5* kids will be of the bigger, faster stonger variety.  But, some of these 5* kids may already be at or near their cieling when they get on campus.  Part of the reason they look so good is because of the high school program and facilities that they come from.  

 

It should also stand without question that there are some kids that have the speed and size out there, with lower 3-4* ratings, that were not blessed to live in an area where the competition, facilities and coaching, these 5*'s get, were not availible to them and they are just full of urealized potential.  Kids with very high cieling that Harbaugh and staff coaching could turn into something great.

 

I'm tired and my sentence structures, grammar, and spelling suck right now.  I hope you all get what I'm trying to say.  Does it make sense?  This is why I give zero f**ks about star ratings, among other things like not having money to go to camps and etc.