Thursday Recrutin' Rings The Silent Alarm Comment Count

Brian January 7th, 2016 at 1:16 PM

Ring the silent alarm

IN QB commit Brandon Peters tells Sam Webb that Michigan has two silent commitments on the West squad at the Army game. "Silent commits" are always a dubious notion, but they do work out frequently—FL LB Devin Bush Jr was a silent for months—and if one of those guys is announcing at the game itself that would be a good indicator indeed.

FWIW, Michigan is involved with these uncommitted players on the West squad: CA WR Dylan Crawford, MI CB Lavert Hill, CA CB David Long, MI WR Donnie Corley, and CA TE Devin Asiasi. Michigan has always seemed to trail for Corley and isn't even certain to get a visit from Asiasi so it would have to be two of the former three. Crawford seems the most likely since he's announcing at the game, has only officially visited Michigan and Oregon, and the Ducks reportedly do not have room.

Things look good for the two defensive backs but neither feels entirely certain right now. Long is down to Michigan and Washington; a mid-January official to UW looms. Long says Michigan will have an in-home with him just before his decision and that might give them "a little edge" in an interview with Brandon Brown.

Steve Wiltfong thinks it's a bigger edge as he recently ballz'd Long to Michigan after Long told him that he's "going to follow through with my schedule… but my mind is kind of made up." Webb also believes Michigan is "in the driver's seat." Long goes way back with Crawford and a couple of different articles have mentioned the attraction of playing together; our expectation is that they do in Ann Arbor.

Meanwhile Hill is officially not announcing at the Army game and will take a series of official visits in January before announcing on Signing Day. On the other hand, Corley told Eugene Hankerson that Hill has already made up his mind. So… yeah. Optimism on Hill has been off the charts for months; his desire to see a bunch of places in January reduces that somewhat. Still seems highly likely that Harbaugh and brother win out eventually.

Hopes not so much up for this one

GA TE Isaac Nauta's decision has been made. Apparently it was difficult.

Hopefully the difficulty there is "disappointing people close to me" instead of "passing up an opportunity to be a Harbaugh tight end." But probably not. Webb has an interview in which Nauta says a lot of great things about Michigan; despite that I think literally everyone expects Georgia is the pick.  He'll announce at the Army game.

Meanwhile, CA TE Devin Asiasi really wants to play on offense but didn't get to show much in that department for his high school team; he apparently Balled So Hard early at the Army game. Brandon Huffman was impressed:

Asiasi is a big tight end, 6-5, 265-ish, but can absolutely run and catch like a lighter tight end.  He's a smooth pass-catcher with a big catch radius, has soft hands, runs tremendous routes and looks natural playing the position.

Asiasi still maintains he will visit three schools not named Michigan in January—M is trying to get a midweek visit. That doesn't sound good but if the guy wants to be a tight end there's no better place. If he does end up visiting I'd give Michigan a good chance.

Paging one more defensive end

There's probably one spot left for a defensive end and three main possibilities for the spot.


Onwuzurike Onwuzurike Onwuzurike

Depending on who you listen to, TX DE Levi Onwuzurike is either the top priority (247 and Scout) or an afterthought (Rivals). I'm fairly certain Onwuzurike is in fact the most wanted guy at the spot.

Webb gathers the opinions of a couple of Scout Texas guys, who both think Onwuzurike is a major talent (Scout has him ranked highest of any service) and think Onwuzurike is a Baylor-Michigan battle. This is good, because various other people think it's a Washington-Michigan battle, and when you're the one school amongst changing other schools you're in good shape.

If Onwuzurike does go with one of his other finalists Michigan will try to lock down either AZ DE Connor Murphy or FL DE Joshua Uche. Murphy is a Harbaugh guy after his brother made it to the NFL after passing through Harbaugh's Stanford program; Miami decommit Uche is a new offer made in the immediate aftermath of Don Brown's hire.

Murphy recently expressed frustration with a a bunch of coaching changes amongst the teams he's considering, which made it into an article at Oregon Live since the Ducks just demoted their DC back to LB coach and fired the LB coach—Murphy's primary recruiter—after blowing a 31-point lead in their bowl game.

And, well, yeah. Murphy's kind of a big deal. And the teams he's considering have been chaos on the defensive side. In addition to the Oregon moves, DJ Durkin left M, USC has no DC, and ASU is in flux after OC Mike Norvell became Memphis's head coach and started raiding the former staff.

Michigan at least has the Harbaugh connection and a settled staff, and the article asserts a thing I didn't know was a fact.

Arizona State, Michigan, Oregon, Stanford and USC could all still be in the mix for the dynamic defensive talent, although the Wolverines are seen as the leader given Murphy's strong family bond with Jim Harbaugh.

I put a ballz in for Murphy like a year ago but we've maintained it mostly because if we are right we get crazy points for it since it's so old—we have no real idea which way Murphy is leaning. Michigan does have a big advantage in coaching relationships despite the Durkin move. A 'Bama visit looms after Michigan's shot, though.

Not much is known about Uche's status. Miami apparently hasn't talked to him since Richt arrived and now he's uncertain if he's even on their board. He's got visits to Florida and Michigan scheduled and should be a Signing Day decision.

Elliott continues to impress

TX DT Jordan Elliott is consistently mentioned as one of the best players at the Army Bowl. Rivals:

From the beginning of the day, Elliott caught everyone's attention. His first step caused problems for interior linemen throughout the day. He was ready to play today and blew up play after play during team and inside drills. His lower body strength and quickness definitely stood out.


Elliott has stood out more consistently on the defensive side of the ball than any other front seven player. …has done pretty much whatever he's wanted. He's big, explosive, and has experience playing multiple positions, though he's at his best as an even-front 3-technique tackle.

Meanwhile Steve Wiltfong called Elliott "an elite talent":

The country’s No. 7 defensive tackle according to 247Sports took several dominant reps, shoots the gap quickly and is a strong pass rusher from the interior. One of the more physically impressive guys on the field, Elliott is also one of the better athletes in small space with his quick first step.

Wiltfong would be surprised if he wasn't in the two deep "right away," which would in fact surprise me given the depth Michigan has coming back. I'm guessing Wiltfong isn't considering what Michigan brings back when he makes that statement; all the same that's impressive praise.

FWIW, Elliott again repeatedly shot down the idea he was anything but 100% solid to Michigan. He must be wondering how many times he has to say it by now.

Michael Onwenu is a mutant

Onwenu was one of the few to stay in front of Elliott

People usually don't come shaped like MI OL Michael Onwenu, who could not be weighed at the Army Bowl because the scale only goes up to 350. Unsurprisingly, there's "no question he was the strongest offensive lineman" at the Army Bowl, but when you put "perhaps the quickest" on top of that, as Wiltfong did, that's an impressive prospect. As a bonus, despite being a 6'3" guard Onwenu comes with tackle-length arms:

[Onwenu] had the biggest hands (11 inches) and second longest arms (35 inches) of any prospect in attendance.

If Onwenu works out he could really, really work out. He did impressive work against the best DT at the game—Elliott. Webb:

No one got past him, as he consistently stonewalled defenders at the line of scrimmage.  Onwenu won back to back reps versus Elliot, showing that once he gets his paws on a defender, they’re done.

"Paws" may be literal here.

Other Army Bowl reports

Reports are mixed for Michigan's other Army targets. Hill just missed ALPHA DOG status on day one according to 247. He's a "lockdown corner with elite feet, great speed and quicks," which makes him sound like a guy Hill talks to every day—Jourdan Lewis.

Crawford had a "decent" opening day according to Webb; 247 noted that he is a "polished receiver with great speed." Rivals hasn't said much about him, which usually means a guy holding steady.

IN QB Brandon Peters seems to be a notch behind the five stars at the event. Wiltfong:

Michigan commit Brandon Peters has a live, accurate arm and he also showed nice touch. He’ll be fun to watch develop in Ann Arbor as the Avon (Ind.) High talent continues to work on his fundamentals.

Webb was higher on his performance:

On Monday, he looked the part.  You could argue that no other quarterback was better than him.  Peters was impressive, showing off arm strength and accuracy. 

He doesn't have a say in the rankings, though.

Weeble wobblers are committed but visiting

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Nate Johnson stiffarms the dictionary all day bruh

Behold the most crootin quote of all time (ALL TIME):

“I’m committed to Michigan right now, so everyone knows I’m going to Michigan. If nothing changes, like decommitting, which I’m probably not gonna do, but we’ll see. Everyone will know that. If I decommit from Michigan, which I won’t, I’ll definitely hold off all the way until signing day.”

-TN WR commit(?) Nate Johnson

So. Despite having 23 commits, Michigan's class is still in considerable flux.  A number of recruits aren't hearing much from the staff, and a handful of other guys are doing the committed-but-visiting thing that sets your teeth to grating if you're the kind of person who occasionally screams "you mean FIGURATIVELY" at people saying they literally ate a horse. (Guilty.)

Anyway, those guys are:

  • TN WR Nate Johnson, who is visiting Miami, Vanderbilt, and Penn State. He says he is 100% committed, but… you saw the quote. None of those teams seem like particularly large threats. Johnson recently got a Virginia Tech offer as well, and… I mean… you saw the quote.
  • IN WR/DB Chris Evans got an Ohio State offer and will "official for sure" since OSU was the proverbial dream school. I bet a thousand dollars that if Evans flips Bill Kurelic compares him favorably to Kareem Walker even though they're completely different prospects.
  • CA WR Dylan Crawford isn't even committed yet but we should throw him in this bin since he also plans January visits to Miami, Washington, and Georgia plus an unofficial to UCLA.
  • FL DT Rashad Weaver has a Temple visit scheduled.
  • IN ATH Kiante Enis visited Indiana and says he hadn't heard much from Michigan a couple weeks back.
  • FL LB Devin Gil and FL S Josh Metellus took a trip to Colorado last month (so did Devin Bush, but he's already enrolled).
  • NJ WR Brad Hawkins and NJ DE Ron Johnson may visit North Carolina, South Carolina, or neither.

There are a couple other guys who may leave the class as well; Michigan is probably going to have a significant shuffle in the next few weeks. One that won't involve Jordan Elliott.

Your 2016 early enrollees are…

These gentlemen have already arrived on campus or will as soon as they're done with the Army game:

  • IN QB Brandon Peters
  • NJ RB Kareem Walker
  • AL RB Kingston Davis
  • NJ WR Ahmir Mitchell
  • MA TE Sean McKeon
  • CO DE Carlo Kemp
  • FL LB Devin Bush Jr.

All eyes will be on the tailbacks and Bush headed into the spring game.

2017 stuff

  • GA WR commit Jeremiah Holloman had a terrific Rising Stars camp: Jake Reuse, a Georgia reporter said he was "the most impressive offensive player at the practices," which included a lot of top 2017 kids in Georgia.
  • MI CB Ambry Thomas tells Steve Lorenz that things are "going really well" with Michigan and that he's planning on deciding this spring after a swing through various SEC schools. MSU, the crystal ball favorite, doesn't draw much mention.
  • MI S Jaylen Kelly-Powell is "slowing things down" and wants to visit Stanford, Duke, and UCLA; he was generally expected to drop for Michigan if he did indeed commit early. Michigan should still be in good shape since he goes to Cass and his parents are both alums. Given his list you know he's a high academic kid.
  • MI LB Antjuan Simmons is just across the street from the Big House and has "really built a strong bond" with 2017 commit Ja'Raymond Hall. Simmons intends on making all his officials even so.
  • MI WR KJ Hamler really wants an Oregon offer because he is small and fast as hell. He plans on camping there and it sounds like they're the real leader if they offer. Given what Ace saw this fall, I bet they do.
  • FL CB Stanford Samuels III goes to Flanagan HS, which you may be familiar with since three commits in this class are Flanagan kids. That gives Michigan an in, but he's a national recruit—Scout has him #15 overall in 2017—and he'll be a tough pull.
  • 2017 five-star TX S Jeffery Okudah put Michigan on his top ten list but says that Stanford and Ohio State are sticking out at the moment. He does plan a visit; early days for him.


NJ WR Donald Stewart is still planning a visit on the 22nd. He hasn't heard about Stanford admission yet, which is a major hitch for his presumed leader. No idea if Michigan will have room for him, but he remains an option.



January 7th, 2016 at 1:44 PM ^

Really don't wan to lose any of those weeble wobblers. Johnson is probably the only one that I don't honk would hurt too much if Crawford commits and sticks.  Also, I really like Asiasi, but I thought he was in the 220's weight wise.  When I watched his film, he looked like a TE in the way Funchess was a TE.  If he's holding 260 and still moving well, sign him up.  Honestly, if you're a TE and Harbaugh wants you, I have no idea how you say no to that.  Do they not pay attention to football?


True Blue Grit

January 7th, 2016 at 1:56 PM ^

I really hope we can hold onto Evans and Enis.  Both seem like speedy, difference-makers.  I've been alarmed at Enis' statement about not hearing from any of the coaches for a while.  That quote was some time ago now, so I hope things have changed for the better.

I'm really excited about Onwenu, hopefully as a guard.  We really need someone good at LG or RG.  We haven't been getting the greatest play from those positions of late.  Hopefully, he can run block well also.  I would think he could with his quickness.  


January 7th, 2016 at 2:45 PM ^

If Crawford commits and sticks, losing Johnson is probably still an issue as his film looks great and given Michigan is losing their three main receivers after this next year, we want as many bullets in the chamber as possible.

Don't know that I worry too much about Viriginia Tech here as Blacksburg is almost as far away from Nashville as Ann Arbor is.

I think it may just be that he may have felt he committed too quickly and wants to see what else is out there after his profile rocketed so high after his senior year.  

 I agree that the weeble wobbles section is a bit depressing, but I think it's just how recruiting goes anymore, I am sure the staff is planning for the contingencies and once the dead period is over on the 14th I think things will be very interesting for everybody over the next three weeks.  


January 7th, 2016 at 1:56 PM ^

I've always wondered what would happen if a recruit who hasn't heard from a particular staff in weeks/months (since I assume Michigan isn't the only staff that accidentally loses a kids number when they think they can get someone better) just faxed in their LOI on signing day anyway.


January 7th, 2016 at 2:37 PM ^

I love Evans film and don't understand why he doesn't get more buzz. Would not like to lose to Ohio St(evem though honestly he looks like a better fit for their offense)


January 7th, 2016 at 2:57 PM ^

IF that happens, and I don't think it will, I just think this is a guy who hasn't been dealing much with recruiting reporters and got a bit flustered in his response.  

Then that just means either it's room for a grad transfer, a signing day flip of our own or perhaps a continued fifth year offer that they weren't planning on.  This class is going to close interestingly but I have a feeling Johnson will be in it.


January 7th, 2016 at 3:43 PM ^

“I’m committed to Michigan right now, so everyone knows I’m going to Michigan. If nothing changes, like decommitting, which I’m probably not gonna do, but we’ll see. Everyone will know that. If I decommit from Michigan, which I won’t, I’ll definitely hold off all the way until signing day.”

The way I read that, he's been told he's in the class as of today, but if we get a signing day surprise, they are not going to honor the offer. Why would he hold off until signing day to decommit from Michigan, something which he won't do? Maybe because we won't have a spot for him on signing day if we get a positive signing day surprise. And then to save face, he "decommits" from us instead of saying we decommitted from him.


January 7th, 2016 at 2:46 PM ^

This class is not like any that I can remember.  We already have a highly ranked class of 23 guys and yet by my count there are as many as NINE more that I've heard we would either take or we lead for:

  • WR - Crawford seems like a lock, other names still floating around on the fringes.
  • TE - Really feels like the coaches want another one (Asiasi, Nauta, etc.) though none of the names suggest we lead for anyone else.
  • DT - We are the leader for Gary
  • LB - We are a strong contender for Jones.
  • DE - You listed names of three guys that we're still pushing for and/or lead for
  • CB - We are in strong position with Hill & Long
  • OL - Up until last week they were pushing to take another OL....probably not anymore
  • K - I still hear Nordin's name come up here and there as a strong candidate

If you knew nothing about the current guys who have "committed" to the class, you'd assume that Michigan wanted to take a WR, TE, DT, LB, DE, 2-CB and maybe an OL - or 8 more players.  

Even if you just went by guys we seem to have a good shot with, you'd get Gary, Crawford, Hill, Long, a LB and a DE.  That's six....and we have either 4-5 spots left.  

It is going to be a very interesting finish.  


January 7th, 2016 at 2:56 PM ^

What surprises me a little about this class is that they have so many guys on the outside in this class.  If you make the optimistic assumption that Hill, Long, and Crawford join the class you've got 5 WR/ATH guys and 5 DBs.  I understand the DBs I guess, but others suggest that one of the many in the WR group could move to DB.  

Meanwhile, we're desperately thin at LB and WDE on the roster and didn't really recruit those heavily despite more rotation at those spots than at WR on the current roster in 2015.  


January 7th, 2016 at 3:07 PM ^

The WR/DB/ATh guys bring in some positional flexibility and add speed for special teams.  You're also looking at losing all three of the main receiving threats after this next year as well as the entire non-Peppers starting defensive backfield.  Get as many bullets in the gun for those positions as possible.  

In terms of Linebackers, I'm still seeing names but if the defensive philosophy is going to turn more towards two starters and one hybrid guy then you don't need as many and Michigan still has WInovich, Furbush, McCray, Wangler, to go with whatever Freshmen you bring in.  

I'm not sure about the desperately thin WDE as we have Charlton, Marshall, Johnson, Kemp there and may be looking at either Murphy, Onwuzurike, or Uche there as well.   


January 7th, 2016 at 3:40 PM ^

true.  for years ive wanted them to try to add more versatile athletes rather than the more specialized recruiting approach of hoke and others.  

adding several versatile 6'0" 180-200 lbs athletes each cycle with the ability to potentially help the team in multiple areas (depending on development, growth, depth, etc) really adds roster flexibility.

not saying to avoid 6'4" outside WRs, just limit the number - a 6'0" guy capable of playing inside or outside or even RB, CB or S brings more to the roster than mostly going with hit or miss 6'4" WRs.

regarding the D prospects, its much easier (and more common) for DBs to add a few lbs and move down to LB than LB prospects transitioning back to DB.

just few quick thoughts but its an interesting, relevant topic that can easily be expounded upon

Mr Miggle

January 7th, 2016 at 4:05 PM ^

and not really at LB either. We just lack proven players.

At WDE/Buck we have Charlton, Marshall, S. Johnson, Kemp and are looking to add one more. Reuben Jones was moved to LB to join Gedeon, Furbush, McCray, Wangler, Winovich, Bush, possibly Gant and we're looking to add 1-2 more. The lack of experience is alarming, but it can't be papered over by sheer numbers. There are going to be around 41 scholarship players on each side of the ball.

Our base defense was a 4-2-5, so obviously we need bigger numbers at DB. Really, Peppers was playing the role of a LB much of the time. We're recruiting players like Hudson to play a similar role, but they'll probably be called safeties by the recruiting sites.


January 7th, 2016 at 2:59 PM ^

I said this in another thread, but I can't remember the last time we didn't sign a single kid from Ohio.  I don't even think we have any targets left on the board, so it seems pretty likely we won't this year...crazy.

Yard Dog

January 7th, 2016 at 3:08 PM ^

After I gave it some thought, it started to make sense.

OSU gets pretty much whoever they want out of Ohio. MSU has been picking up the OSU scraps, along with other Midwest teams that need players. Harbaugh realizes that FL, CA, TX and to a lesser extent, states like LA, AL and NJ, produce the number and type of quality athletes required to compete nationally. He's not afraid to pass on OH kids and recruit against the big boys. I actually like his strategy going forward from a competitive standpoint.