TL;DR Not as bullish on Van Jefferson as I was before I did this research. (sorry was supposed to be diary)
Van Jefferson is sort of a mystery to most of us as he was nowhere in the picture as of 3 days ago and aside from knowing he was local here for a while when his dad was a Lions coach.
First, a lot of crystal balls continue to turn in Michigan's favor - an additional 5 today to the 8 the past two days.
Second, NOT SO FAST. Reader Dhughes5218 said in another thread today:
If a player commits and an analyst was wrong, he or she can switch their prediction to any school except for the team the player committed to. So if an analyst had Van Jefferson cb'd to LSU and he committed to Ole Miss the analyst can't switch to Ole Miss. Then Van Jefferson schedules an ov to UM, even if the analyst believes he will stay with Ole Miss, it would be worth a shot to switch the cb to UM.
If anyone is a 247 crystal ball expert and can confirm that nugget it would be good information. It makes a lot of sense because otherwise all the "wrong" analysts could simply switch to the correct school after the fact.
If accurate all these folks switching to UM can just be taking a stab in the dark on the off chance he flips - even if that chance is 1%.
Third, outside of that here is what some internet sleuthing found out:
- Jefferson is from TN (of late) because his dad coaches with the Titans. To that end, the Vols message board at Volsnation has a 251 (!!!!!) page thread dedicated to him. Scanning the last few pages it is the normal stuff you see everywhere - including here at times - when a favorite/local doesn't commit. "Head case" "didn't have the grades" "afraid of competition" blah blah. Reality is his dad is not a poor guy and he does not go to a bad school district and from all accounts he looks like a good student. Afraid of competition is the normal excuse for every fanbase. Head case? Well his recruiting profile brings up a lot of Chris Clark memories.
- I didn't look too hard for a Georgia equivalent to Volsnation but their 247 board has a tiny thread with the same typical complaints of a (wo)man scorned.
To that end, fourth:
- Apparenty dad loved Georgia, and mom loved Ole Miss. He went with dad at first. Georgia's DL coach, coached with Jefferson's dad in the past. He was committed for a long while (and was expected to enroll early but balked) but took an unofficial to Ole Miss and decommited shortly after (a few weeks ago). (Kind of scary the reasons why mom likes Ole Miss if you believe all the smoke around Hugh Freeze)
My mom just likes Coach Freeze, and how he runs their program. And how he goes about his stuff. My dad loves Georgia because Coach Rocker is there. He likes Coach Richt and how he runs the program. There some things my dad likes about Georgia, and some things my mom doesn’t like about Georgia. There’s some things my dad likes about Ole Miss and some things that he doesn’t. So it’s 50/50 with them. But at the end of the day, I make my own decision.
- Next Oklahoma came in hard - he went there and recruiting analysts said it was a "home run" type of visit. Bob Stoops went in home. Everything looked headed to Oklahoma....
- Then he commits to Ole Miss and says he always wanted to go there - mom wanted him to go there... they had to convince dad. (shades of Malik McDowell but in reverse)
- Said at the time he is probably done with visits (he had Florida lined up the next week)
- Now he comes and visits Michigan. For all we know just to get the free trip and see old friends from HS. Or because he is serious.
“It’s just a home environment,” Jefferson said. “Going to play down there at Ole Miss with Quincy (Adeboyejo) and Laquon (Treadwell) and Evan (Engram), those guys are going to be something special. I always wanted to go down there but my dad had reservations about it. He’s on board with it now. He told me he wants what’s best for me. I picked it so it’s time to get rolling.”
"Coming back on campus and seeing it for the last time, coming back and meeting with Coach (Hugh) Freeze, hanging with the guys, it's going to be something special. Drew (Richmond) was down there with me and me and drew always wanted to play together so that's going to be something special."
Initially Jefferson had scheduled an official visit to Florida for next weekend. As of right now, it looks as though that visit is unlikely to happen. "I'm probably done with visits," Jefferson said.
Last, a bit on Ole Miss:
- Like us, they have no established QB. (wash)
- Unlike us, they are swimming in a ridiculous amount of WR talent. Seven (yes seven) four and five star WRs... and that does include the 2 guys who are major contributors...so 9 contributors or highly rated potential contributors. Inclusive of Treadwell who is most likely off to the NFL after 2015. (adv Ole Miss on the field, adv Michigan in terms of playing time)
Ole Miss is looking at a depth chart that is exceptionally talented: of the players returning or committed, seven are former five- or four-star prospects. The two most notable ones that were not, Engram and Core, have obviously proven themselves more than capable.
- But Jefferson don't care - he has been trying to recruit Damarkus Lodge, a guy rated even higher than him at WR, to Ole Miss. (disadvantage UM)
"I’m definitely going to do some recruiting," he said. "Signing day is almost here so I’ve got a lot of work to do but I'm gonna get it done. Damarkus (Lodge), We hit it off real well. I know Damarkus from The Opening so we already had a really good relationship so this weekend, it was pretty fun."
So all in all, this data would make me less positive (quite a bit so, in fact) on Jefferson than before I did the snooping. While he does change his mind seemingly weekly, the crystal balls could just be shots in the dark by analysts with nothing to lose, and his mom is pro Ole Miss. Dad apparently bought into it too. Dad wanted him at Georgia, a program most like Michigan in the SEC - didn't matter to Jefferson. Other than playing time (which does matter), having HS friends around (which didn't sway him to TN) and Harbaugh, not much falls in UM's favor. A trip here could just be fun to see campus, meet a rock star coach in Harbaugh, and then visit with his friends from HS.
Or of course he could change his mind yet again.