Today's recruiting roundup attempts to catch on everything that's gone down in the Michigan recruiting world since last Tuesday, when certain other events precluded any coverage involving high school athletes.
Schembechler Hall Presumably Now Covered In Brains
As Michigan's basketball team made their run to the national title game, the football team hosted some big-time recruiting visitors over the past week. The biggest name on campus was five-star Paramus (NJ) Catholic CB Jabrill Peppers, the #2 overall player (behind Da'Shawn Hand) on the Rivals100 and a consensus top-ten recruit. Peppers told Rivals' Adam Friedman that the trip to Ann Arbor was his "best visit"($) and changed his expectations for any school he'll check out:
"Now I don't even know what to expect anymore," Peppers laughed. "Michigan just completely exceeded my expectations. I'm just going to have to see how Michigan and Ohio State pair up and it should be a great experience but Michigan was probably one of the best visits I've been on without a doubt. Everything felt right."
According to his interview with 247's Steve Wiltfong, Peppers plans to be back, too ($):
“All in all, it was a really, really great visit and they exceeded expectations. I definitely didn’t think it would be that mind-blowing. I’ll definitely have to take a trip back.”
Peppers was joined on his visit by Paramus Catholic teammate and four-star OL Juwann Bushell-Beatty*—after the pair checked out Ohio State following the Michigan trip, their high school coach gave the update on where both stand to Friedman ($) [emphasis mine]:
"I don't know about Jabrill," [Paramus Catholic head coach Chris Partridge] said. "He's still kind of evaluating everything, and he's got LSU and Stanford to look at. I know Juwan's top school is Michigan right now. He's pretty fired up about them. Ohio State didn't offer [Bushell-Beatty], so who knows. Jabrill is a pretty loyal guy, so I don't know if it left a sour taste in his mouth. I know Juwan loved Michigan and it's a great fit for him, too.
So Michigan is in the lead for Bushell-Beatty (whom they have offered, to be clear) and made a very strong impression on Peppers, at the very least. The only direct quote from Peppers on his Ohio State trip—the rest were handled by his coach—is from this Wiltfong article ($):
"I really think that the Coach (Kerry) Coombs is a great coach," Peppers said. "I love him and enjoy being around him. Obviously Urban Meyer is an incredible, smart, proven winner. They let me meet the athletic director and the president of the school and it's really cool to see how everyone is behind the Ohio State football team."
High praise, yes, but not the over-the-moon review that he gave Michigan. Of course, visit reactions often depend on the interviewer, the questions they ask, and what they choose to print—in this case, however, Wiltfong got two very different post-visit reactions from Peppers. Read into that what you will.
Four-star PA ATH K.J. Williams also checked out campus last week, and there's no need to read between the lines of his post-visit reaction:
Michigan is by far my top school now!! #BlewMyMind
— TheWorldsGreatest#2 (@KJWilliams2) April 8, 2013
Another young mind destroyed by Michigan's overwhelming recruiting tactics. They show no respect for these recruits, I say. /RCMB'd
Two familar names also made appearances in Ann Arbor. Detroit Country Day WR Maurice Ways was there for the second straight weekend and the coaches have him "very high on their radar," per an interview with Tim Sullivan ($). Ways doesn't have an offer but it seems like one will come sooner or later—if he gets one, Michigan should be in the driver's seat. Meanwhile, Southfield DE Lawrence Marshall (offer) told GBW's Josh Newkirk($) that "everything was good" as he checked out a spring practice, and he came away impressed with Frank Clark, who plays the same weakside DE spot that Michigan hopes Marshall will play for them.
[Hit THE JUMP for a rundown of Spring Game visitors, a new offer, the latest on Drake Harris, a couple happy trails, and more.]
Spring Game Visitors
Culled from multiple outlets, here's a list of the key uncommitted prospects that plan to take in Saturday's Spring Game (a large portion of the 2013 class will be there, as will 2014 commits Michael Ferns, Wilton Speight, and Mason Cole):
- MI WR Drake Harris — Yep, he's back again. Worth noting that Harris is now reconsidering Michigan State, and still maintains no leader among the schools under consideration. He's certainly become a consistent presence in Ann Arbor, though...
- IL TE Daniel Helm — Helm, who's beginning to get four-star hype, recently told 247($) that Michigan was recruiting him "the hardest" and that he's considering moving his decision up to the summer, which would be good news for the Wolverines.
- FL WR Artavis Scott — Cole's high school teammate has moved away from talk of a package deal since Cole's Michigan commitment, but another trip to campus can't hurt the Wolverines' chances.
- MI WR Maurice Ways — Ways is currently considered a strong possibility to visit, but has yet to confirm.
- 2015 DE/TE Tyrone Wheatley Jr. — While Wheatley, as one would expect, has been to the Big House plenty of times before, this will be his first campus visit since receiving a scholarship offer from the school where his father starred.
- PA LB Chase Winovich — This will be Winovich's second visit to Ann Arbor, and since his last trip he received a Wolverine offer ($). The three-star plans to make a decision before his senior season and could very well be Michigan's last linebacker in the class—the coaches currently plan to take one more to join Ferns.
Top in-state DE Malik McDowell is also a potential visitor, and 2015 in-state standout Brian Cole (offer) is expected to be there, as well [EDIT: There's a chance Cole will be in Chicago this weekend with the Max Ex 7-on-7 team—I'll confirm over the weekend if he made it]. This doesn't appear to be a weekend for a commitment watch, but Michigan can make progress with several of their top targets.
More 2014 News
Michigan offered three-star IL LB Kyron Watson on Tuesday, and while Watson probably won't be able to attend the Spring Game on short notice, he's a strong possibility to join the class when he gets a chance to check out Ann Arbor, per Wiltfong ($):
Where do the Wolverines stand with the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Watson?
“The top,” he said.
Could a good visit to the Wolverines campus result in a commitment?
“Yeah maybe,” Watson answered.
Michigan is Watson's most high-profile offer, though a look at his junior film suggests that may not be the case for long.
Top-100 CA LB Dwight Williams has Michigan as the only Midwest school in his top 15, and told 247's Steve Lorenz that the Wolverines have already earned one of his planned official visits—he's taken notice of other top prospects' strong impressions of the program ($):
Williams has never visited the Wolverines, but has taken notice at the reactions of some of the top recruits in the country such as Jabrill Peppers and Da'Shawn Hand.
"It's definitely something I notice," Williams said. "Anytime you see top guys like a school once they go out there, you definitely remember it. It doesn't make you want to go there, but it makes you want to go out there and see what it's all about."
Another linebacker, FL four-star Richard Yeargin III, pulled in an offer from Michigan this week, per Tim Sullivan ($). Yeargin has an impressive offer list that's still growing—Notre Dame followed suit two days after U-M—and plans on making a Signing Day decision.
IL CB Parrker Westphal told Wiltfong($) that he'll be back in Ann Arbor next weekend for an overnight visit—he's still a strong possibility to end up in the class.
You may have noticed the recent spate of linebacker offers. That probably has something to do with OH LB Kyle Berger's recent commitment to Ohio State—Berger's recruitment came down to a Michigan-OSU battle, and in the end he stuck with his childhood favorite.
Four-star DC CB D'Andre Payne, who'd placed Michigan among his top group of schools, pledged to Tennessee last week ($).
MSU (NTMSU) Swag Update
Now comes in a can for easy consumption.
On a related note—well played, Maize n Brew.
*The recruiting sites are split on whether Bushell-Beatty's first name is spelled with one 'n' or two. My original tag had two, so until there's a consensus I'm going with that—apologies if it turns out to be incorrect.