Damien Harris Fallout: Back In It For Mike Weber?
2015 five-star RB Damien Harris decommitted from Michigan this week. After Al Borges—his primary recruiter—was fired, Harris decided he needed to take a step back and explore his options, though his mother says Michigan is still on top, per Sam Webb ($):
“The reason he came to this decision is he felt like when he committed, at the time, we felt like it was the right decision even though it was early,” she explained. “Months later he has been thinking and thinking, ‘I didn’t really go and look at other places probably like I should have. I didn’t consider other places like I should have.’ Even though Michigan is #1, and that hasn’t changed, he just wants to make sure he doesn’t have any regrets when he gets ready to enroll. He just wants to make sure that he didn’t leave any stone unturned and wants to make sure he didn’t miss out on anything, even though he knows Michigan is still his #1. That’s all. He is just making sure that if he was to visit other places, he wasn’t going to regret not taking the full experience.”
Meanwhile, a certain despicable portion of the fanbase* isn't helping Michigan's cause. Harris has taken a lot of heat on Twitter for his decommitment and his coach told TomVH that could be a factor in his ultimate decision ($):
“People need to back off of him [on Twitter]. He’s a 16-year-old kid. People are attacking him on there,” [Madison Southern coach Jon] Clark said. “You have grown men who are way out of line, and Michigan fans better ease up or they’re going to push him away from Michigan. The coaches aren’t; the fans are.
“The only impact a fan ever has on a kid is a negative one; that’s it. There’s not a fan out there that has a positive impact on this kid.”
To state the blitheringly obvious: DON'T DO THIS. I realize/hope this doesn't apply to 99% of you, but nothing you're going to do as a fan—positive or negative, in person or on social media—is going to make a positive difference in a prospect's recruitment. Leave the recruiting to the coaches and, as a general life rule, leave harassing high school students to... nobody. Nobody should do that.
Anyway, with Harris opening up his recruitment, Michigan has rekindled their interest in 2015 four-star Cass Tech RB Mike Weber, per GBW's Josh Newkirk ($):
“I talked with (Nussmeier) for a half-hour on the phone. He is real excited about recruiting me,” Weber told GoBlueWolverine. “He told me it was crazy that Michigan stopped recruiting me. So when he got there he was telling me how he really wanted me (at Michigan). It made me open my eyes back up to Michigan.
“Michigan is back on the radar.”
Weber named a top five of Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Tennessee (in no particular order); the Spartans and Vols have been the presumed favorites for a while now, though the renewed Michigan interest could change that. It didn't take long for Weber to recipricate that interest, too—he was the only prospect in attendance at last night's Iowa game, which he seemed to appreciate. Whether or not things work out with Harris, Weber would be a great addition to the class; he's been very productive against solid competition for the last two years and looks great on film.
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on Malik McDowell, new 2015 offers—including a long-awaited one to a California DE—the final Rivals250, and more.]
McDowell Alters Visit Plans
With just two weeks left until Signing Day, Malik McDowell changed his official visit schedule, and it's not a change that bodes well for Michigan, per Rivals' Josh Helmholdt ($):
Visits have already been taken to Alabama, Florida and, just this past weekend to Florida State. LSU and Ohio State were supposed to receive McDowell's final two official visits, but after a Tuesday in-home with Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio, McDowell is now looking to attend the Spartans' big official visit weekend in East Lansing this weekend. LSU was scheduled to host McDowell this weekend, but it looks like they are still in the mix and Ohio State is likely to get moved out of the official visit rotation.
Given McDowell had previously stated he wouldn't take officials to the two in-state schools because he'd already visited both enough times to inform his decision—and he could always take unofficials since both are within driving distance—this is a pretty bad sign; about the only good news from this is it appears he won't be a Buckeye. I've flipped my Crystal Ball pick for McDowell from Michigan to MSU, and it's been trending that direction for a while now.
Three New 2015 Offers
In a move many recruitniks have been awaiting for months now, Michigan extended an offer to 2015 CA four-star WDE Keisean Lucier-South yesterday; he discussed his reaction with our own Brandon Brown:
I talked with Keisean and he was very passionate when I asked him how he felt about receiving the Michigan offer. “I was just in shock. (Laughs) I mean I felt like it might be coming but I didn’t know for sure. I didn’t actually see the coach (Ferrigno) but my coach told me about the offer.”
While he isn't naming any favorites, Michigan is "up high" on his list, and he should visit campus sooner or later. There's a lot of competition, and the Wolverines are frustratingly late in offering, but KLS has prevoiusly called Michigan his "dream school"—here's hoping the coaches can capitalize on that.
Perhaps as another result of the Harris decommitment, Nussmeier offered another 2015 running back, North Carolina native Johnny Frazier, who spoke with Maize n Brew's Eric Rutter about the offer:
"Yeah, coach Nuss offered me at about three or three thirty," said Frasier. "He had me call him and then he told me. I hadn't been in contact with them at all before it, so it was out of the blue. A couple weeks ago I got offered by Georgia in the SEC. That was a pretty big offer to me. I'm still getting used to this whole thing, so it's new."
Frazier put up some ridiculous numbers in his junior season, rushing for 3,042 yards and 45 touchdowns on 248 carries—that includes a 410-yard, eight-touchdown performance featured in the video embedded above. He told Rutter that he doesn't plan on staying close to home, which is good news for the Wolverines—so far the only out-of-state schools to offer him have been Michigan, Georgia, and Georgia Tech. Check out his full junior tape here.
Nussmeier—dude's hit the ground running—also offered four-star CA QB Blake Barnett, a Notre Dame commit, though per Josh Newkirk it's unlikely anything will result from it ($):
“I know Michigan is a very good school. They have a very good football program as well. But I’m committed to Notre Dame.”
He added that he'll only be taking visits to South Bend this year, which... as someone who's been to South Bend multiple times, that seems like a missed opportunity.
In quarterbacks more likely to end up at Michigan, Coach Ferrigno stopped by to see four-star CA prospect Kyle Kearns, and he told GBW's Kyle Bogenshutz that he thinks an offer will come ($):
“Coach Ferrigno has been the one that’s kind of talked to me about where I stand but he’s basically just been saying they really like my film,” Kearns said. “But Coach Nussmeier only offers quarterbacks that he’s seen.”
Nussmeier has been in phone contact with Kearns but hasn't had the chance to see him in person. If/when that happens, Michigan should be right in the thick of things.
The final Rivals250 was unveiled on Tuesday, with the new four stars released yesterday, and it was a mixed bag for Michigan commits. Drake Harris dropped from #106 to #115, Michael Ferns dropped from #202 to #211, and Bryan Mone plummeted from #185 to losing his fourth star; on the flip side, Chase Winovich added a fourth star, though he didn't crack the top 250.
Greg Mattison dropped in to see elite 2015 OH ATH Jerome Baker this week, per Steve Lorenz ($). While Ohio State is the definite favorite, Michigan was the first school to show interest, something Baker noted and appreciated; he's looking to set up his first visit to Ann Arbor. The Wolverines are recruiting him as an outside linebacker.
Yes, Michigan State may be in the market for a new 2015 QB after Jayru Campbell body-slammed a security guard in the halls of Cass Tech. No, this is not something to gloat about. Here's hoping the security guard is okay and Campbell sorts out whatever issues he may be going through.
*Yes, I realize some pathetic people actually go through the effort of posing as fans of opposing teams and harassing recruits on Twitter. There's still a healthy chunk of idiocy coming from those who consider themselves Michigan fans.