Edit: Oh, right, it's Tuesday.
Herbert Announcing Tomorrow
Michigan is in prime position to pick up another offensive lineman when four-star FL OT Kai-Leon Herbert announces his decision sometime tomorrow between the Wolverines, Florida, and Miami (YTM). Michigan got his most recent visit and has the last nine picks on his Crystal Ball, including that of 247 scouting director Steve Wiltfong. When previewing his decision for 247's Luke Stampini, Herbert may have tipped his hand in what's been considered a Michigan/Florida battle with Miami on the periphery [emphasis mine]:
“It’s the relationship I have with Coach [Mike] Summers, Coach [Randy] Shannon, and Coach [Jim McElwain] himself,” Herbert said of Florida. “They were my leader for quite some time and they definitely know how to recruit.
Herbert would be an impressive pull from a powerhouse program (American Heritage), and a commitment from him could also help Michigan land five-star OG teammate TJ Slaton, whose recruitment may become a Michigan/Clemson battle.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Yes, Isaiah Wilson Still Likes Michigan
Some recruits seek out far less media attention than others, and their silence is often confused for lack of interest as the recruiting process moves along. I've seen quite a bit of concern about five-star NY OT Isaiah Wilson, who named Michigan as his leader early and subsequently went quiet, so I'm happy to see 247's Isaiah Hole posted a lengthy, free update that should restore optimism for Michigan fans:
"I like to think of it as a five way tie between my schools that I've seen, that I've slated my officials for. But I'm still very high on Michigan and I like what the program is doing. I also like the coaching staff a lot. I feel very comfortable in Ann Arbor. But I also need to take my time with my recruitment.
"They're just special. They're special guys. I honestly haven't met a group like them -- that's not to say that they're better than anybody else or that other people are bad -- but that group is just a special group. With Harbaugh leading the way, and Drevno -- we all know what he's capable of with his offensive lineman. Coach Wheatley is a great guy. Really down to earth, a real genuine guy. He has been to my school a few times. Talked about the little things. That whole staff is just a group of great guys."
Wilson also told TMI's Josh Newkirk that he "like[s] everything about Michigan" over the weekend.
Wilson is by no means a lock; the rest of his top five is Alabama, Georgia, LSU, and USC, and he plans to see all five on official visits before a UA game or Signing Day announcement. Michigan remains in excellent position, however, and they should at least be in it until the very end.
Commit Updates: Samuels Taking Visits, Dad In M's Corner
When four-star NM RB O'Maury Samuels committed to Michigan, there was justifiable concern he'd be a likely candidate to end up elsewhere—several top programs closer to home started going after him hard right around the time he committed. Samuels is going through on his plans to see a few other schools, but there may not be as much reason to worry as we first thought. Samuels already visited USC in May, and while he'll likely take a couple more unofficials, his father told Sam Webb that it would take a lot to sway him from Michigan:
Said Mr. Samuels, “I wanted him to hold off on a commitment, but I told him, ‘look, we aren't going to be playing games. You're not going to be playing with people. If you make a commitment, unless something drastic happens, you need to honor that commitment.’ I think that's where he's still at. I think he wants to make sure he's making the right decision. He talked to Coach Wheatley about it and Coach Wheatley let his son do the same thing. I'm going to guide him, but I won't try to (force) him to do anything. I'm (also) not going to let him make a boneheaded decision."
Samuels is going to be around a large group of Michigan commits at The Opening finals this week, which can't hurt matters.
One of M's other running back commits, Georgia three-star Kurt Taylor, is transferring high schools in part so he can enroll early:
After spending his first three seasons at Newton in Covington, Ga., Taylor transferred to Grayson in Loganville, Ga., which is about 24 miles away.
"Everything is just a better situation," Taylor said. "I want to enroll early in college. If I stayed at Newton they wouldn't let me enroll early, but if I go to Grayson they would let me."
Grayson has a ton of talent, including 2017 four-star CB Jamyest Williams and 2019 phenom Owen Pappoe, both of whom hold Michigan offers. There's much more on Taylor at the link.
In rankings updates, ESPN gave recent commit Andrew Stueber his first four-star ranking; Steuber, a three-star elsewhere, was unranked on ESPN when he committed a couple weeks ago. Their bottom line:
Stueber is a prospect with good measurables and ability. Bit of a big fish in a smaller pond at this stage and needs to continue to develop physically and be more consistent with technique. Red-shirt we feel would be greatly beneficial, but big man that shows some promising flashes and upside to develop into good contributor at Power-5 level.
Michigan, and the Midwest in general, didn't fare quite so well in the initial Scout 300 for the class of 2018. Springfield (OH) commits Antwuan Johnson and Leonard Taylor were somewhat surprising omissions—especially Taylor, who's #22 overall on 247's early rankings. Only 28 Midwest recruits made the top 300 cut, and only five of those made it into the top 100—I'm skeptical less than 10% of the nation's top recruits are from the area. Michigan did get one commit on the list, as GA S Otis Reese came in at #229 overall (#18 S); the other three commits—Johnson, Taylor, and GA OG Jalil Irvin—were given cursory three-star ratings.
Michigan continues to look like the favorite for top-100 AL WR Nico Collins. AL.com posted an article on him last week that featured a lot of good quotes about Michigan, and some notable Alabama and SEC recruiting analysts have put in Crystal Ball picks for him to wind up in Ann Arbor.
Four-star NJ ATH Markquese Bell knows of two official visits he'll take: Michigan and Clemson. Rutgers is a major player here as Bell's grandmother is a big influence and could pull for him to stay close to home. If Bell is comfortable leaving New Jersey, Michigan is a good bet to get him.
Four-star TX TE Kedrick James, a Baylor decommit, told TMI's Josh Newkirk that Michigan is in his top five and will receive an official visit. Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M comprise the rest of his top group.
Michigan, Arizona State, and UCLA are the three schools standing out to four-star 2018 NV QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, per Scout's Brandon Huffman.
Three-star Cass Tech OG Jordan Reid will announce his commitment at The Opening this week. Michigan State is the overwhelming favorite; Michigan had other linemen higher on their priority list.