Oak Park five-star OL Justin Rogers has been on Michigan’s radar forever, but it’s just in the past few weeks that they’ve seemed to make progress with the state’s top-ranked player. Rogers told WolverinesWire’s Isaiah Hole after a mid-February visit that he needed to continue to build a relationship with Michigan’s staff, particularly with new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis, and that daily communication needed to happen. Rogers visited again a week later for the Michigan State game and told Hole that communication with the staff had indeed picked up, and the game served as another opportunity to build his relationship with Gattis.
Whereas last week’s visit the two spoke more about Rogers’ past, and not much about football in a recruiting-sense, this time, Rogers says that Gattis has started laying down the foundation of how the five-star prospect could fit in with the Wolverines’ offensive plans, especially given the attrition that will happen by the time the Oak Park standout would arrive on campus.
“We’ve just been talking about (the future), college-wise,” Rogers said. “The offensive line, (how they have) all of the seniors and juniors. We’ve definitely talking about the future. We’re talking about all of that.”
It seems particularly beneficial to have had Rogers on campus consecutive weeks in light of the details he shared with Hole about his conversation with Gattis during his first visit.
“When did you start playing football?” Rogers said. “It was the little questions he was asking. It was like, ‘Wow, this is the first coach that ever did it.’ It’s definitely, it was crazy.”
Turns out relationships are built by talking to people about their life.
Another big visit, this one upcoming, comes from three-star, #499 overall VA DE Antwaun Powell on March 22. His ranking might not be that high just yet, but it’s telling that he’s the only weakside end on 247’s top target list. The Brice Marich article linked above notes that Powell’s hearing frequently from and developing a good relationship with Don Brown, which also tells you something about priority.
[More 2020 updates after THE JUMP]
Things are moving quickly with a prospect on the opposite end of the defensive line, where UT SDE Van Fillinger picked up a Michigan offer on Monday and picked up a Steve Lorenz Michigan crystal ball on Tuesday. Lorenz says multiple sources have said a Michigan offer is the one Fillinger most coveted; he has family ties to the Detroit area, but he’s also been in contact with defensive line coach Shaun Nua since Nua was at Arizona State. Fillinger told The Wolverine’s Adam Ghabour that Michigan has been his dream school for years and that he’s going to visit now that he has an offer. Fillinger reiterated to Marich that he's going to visit, adding that he'd like to do so in the spring and then commit before the start of his season.
Fillinger is currently #506 overall and the #24 SDE to 247 (and unranked in the composite), but he’s another guy who appears to be on his way to a rankings bump. He has picked up offers from LSU, Oregon, UCLA, and Arizona State among others in the past month, and he was named the “alpha dog” at an Under Armour camp in northern California this past weekend. The camp report from 247’s Brandon Huffman gives the impression that the only thing that beat Fillinger this past weekend was the turf, and that was only on one snap.
Fillinger checked in at 6-4, 258, and then dominated throughout the 1-on-1s and the 2-on-2's, a drill geared to benefit the offensive line, but a drill that Fillinger won handily. After slipping coming off the ball on his first rep in 1on1, Fillinger went off the rest of the day, routinely being unblockable with his quickness at the snap, variety of moves and then his strength and ability to use his hands to shed his blocks. Fillinger was offered by Oregon this week and LSU, UCLA and Utah are also in on Fillinger, who could be among the top 2-3 prospects in Utah.
Switching lines, Ed Warinner will have one of his highest-ranked targets on campus on March 31. Four-star AZ OL Tosh Baker is ranked #39 overall and has an offer list that matches that number. He also has a bit of a Michigan connection, as he’s teammates with current 2020 commit AZ QB JD Johnson and there’s clearly legitimate interest in Michigan on Baker’s end; the March visit is unofficial, and 247’s Brice Marich reports that Baker’s father is travelling with him.
Michigan is in a good spot with a number of other offensive linemen. Mike Zordich extended an offer to three-star FL OT Kobe Baynes, #1143 overall and 2020’s #106 OT, and immediately became one of Baynes’ top three schools, he told The Michigan Insider’s Brice Marich. Baynes has picked up a number of offers in the past month, including Virginia Tech, Ole Miss, Arkansas, and West Virginia. CO OL Reece Atteberry tweeted out a top five that included Michigan alongside Duke, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Nebraska, while KY OL John Young included Michigan in his top-six tweet along with Georgia, Louisville, Purdue, Kentucky, and Ohio State. Both are four-stars ranked in the mid-to-high 300s. No news on Atteberry visiting campus, but Young told Marich this week that he’ll be taking an official to Michigan in the early visit period, which is April 1 through the Sunday before the last Wednesday in June.
The top 2020 safety in the composite, TX S RJ Mickens, also included Michigan in his recently tweeted top 11, but the crystal ball lead is held by Ohio State and Clemson and 247 just posted an article about how Mickens still has a high level of interest in Notre Dame, so that recruitment’s gonna be a blue-blood bloodbath.