With the out of conference schedule in the rear view mirror, the Michigan football team welcomes Penn State to the Big House this weekend. But that’s not the only group of football players they’ll host as the match up with the Nittany Lions has become the biggest recruiting weekend of the early season (though Wisconsin’s will be much bigger). According to multiple reports, some of the top names expected to be in attendance includes Cass Tech (MI) WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, Clay-Chalkville (AL) Nico Collins and Iowa City West (IA) WR Oliver Martin.
But those aren’t the only visitors expected.
Take-ing a Visit
2017 Benedictine (VA) LB Ellis Brooks let me know that he will be taking an unofficial visit to Michigan this weekend. The four star linebacker was previously committed to Duke but decommitted in May and camped with Michigan in June. But, the question is, is he a take for the staff?
According to Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz, that doesn’t look to be the case at this point ($).
Looking at where Michigan sits with their top targets on the linebacker board, including Paramus Catholic (NJ) LB Drew Singleton and IMG Academy (FL) LB Jordan Anthony, you can see why the staff would hold off on Brooks at this time. However, this visit, especially being an unofficial may say a lot about the staff’s interest in Brooks.
If the staff wasn’t interested in the Virginia backer, they’d likely tell him not to visit. It looks to have happened with Grayson (GA) LB Breon Dixon, who planned on officially visiting Michigan this weekend but has “rescheduled” his visit. According to Lorenz, that change came from Michigan’s side of things, which is why Brooks is still a guy to watch.
The staff may not be paying for Brooks to come to Ann Arbor this weekend but they clearly have been in contact with him to get him on campus for another look. He may not be at the top of their board at this point but, if anything falls through with another linebacker target or Brooks begins to grow on them with his character and/or senior film, remember his name.
Speaking of Linebackers
The biggest news out of linebacker recruiting came last week when previously mentioned top target Drew Singleton tore his ACL. And, like clockwork, the questions started coming in to see if Michigan would still take and recruit Singleton.
While I may not have the sources to 100% confirm this, I’ll still easily say that Michigan will continue to make Singleton a priority. He’s one of the best linebackers in the class, has plenty of connections within the program, the staff has put in a ton of time on him and ACL injuries are hardly what they used to be in terms of long term injuries. A young man, like Singleton, should be able to bounce back from this setback after a couple months of rehab and I wouldn’t rule him out being ready to play at the beginning of his freshmen season at whichever school he signs with. And even though Singleton has continued to tell some reporters that Clemson has a “slight edge” over Michigan, I’m still sticking 100% with my prediction for Singleton to the Wolverines here.
As for some other names to watch on the linebacker board, I still like where Michigan sits with Jordan Anthony, especially with him expected to officially visit Ann Arbor for the Wisconsin game next week. While I don’t believe he’ll drop during that trip, I think UM will solidify their spot atop his list by the time he leaves campus.
Another linebacker that may be rising up the board even more is USC commit and Leone (AS) OLB Juliano Falaniko.
Falaniko has been getting a ton of coverage from The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown in the past and, now with the turmoil going on at USC, things may be trending towards UM more than ever, according to Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz.
As a player with a very high upside at a main position of need in the defense, I can see why the staff is enamored with Falaniko. But I’ll still be a little surprised, at this point, if he ends up at Michigan because of the other linebacker targets on the board.
Holding onto Herbert pt Two
2017 commit and American Heritage (FL) OT Kai-Leon Herbert has been a topic of discussion as of late thanks to his decision to unofficially visit Florida, his longtime favorite, for the season opener at the beginning of September. But the Gators aren’t the only team Michigan will have to fend off to hold onto to Herbert as the big offensive lineman told 247Sports’ Andrew Ivins that Miami (FL) is coming after him hard, that they were his “dream school” and he’s planning on visiting The U on October 8th ($).
— Corey Bender (@Corey_Bender) September 14, 2016
At this point, I’m starting to lean towards Herbert eventually leaving the class. It’s not a foregone conclusion by any means but with Florida and Miami continuing to make him a top priority and Michigan continuing to heavily recruit offensive line prospects, this is a recruitment to watch very closely from now until National Signing Day.
Future Package Deal in the Works?
Michigan extended an offer to one of the top tight ends in the 2018 class yesterday, Bishop Gorman (NV) TE Brevin Jordan, who just so happens to be teammates and good friends with Michigan’s top quarterback target in the class, QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson. And both players are excited about the chance to play together in college.
— Brevin L. Jordan™ (@Brevinjordan) September 22, 2016
Both Jordan and Thompson-Robinson have been making their rounds after the offer went out yesterday and it has all been very positive for Michigan.
Jordan told The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown that tight end usage is a big reason why this offer has pushed UM up his list ($):
The tight end thing at Michigan is huge,” he said. “I want to go to the NFL so any school big on tight ends is definitely going to be in my top list.”
The 2018 tight end also caught up Wolverine247 after receiving his offer and the connections with DTR are another big factor for him and Michigan ($):
I’m not speechless right now, I’m more pumped up and excited than anything,” he told Wolverine247 of his offer. “They’re a top choice for me; especially with Dorian (Thompson-Robinson) being so high on them too.”
Thompson-Robinson also joined in on the fun and spoke with TMI’s Brice Marich about Jordan receiving an offer and how excited both the players and their moms were about it ($).
As for my take, this offer is big for Michigan. Jordan is one of the best tight ends in the 2018 class and now joins a nice list of top targets for the staff, who will likely take at least two tight ends in this class thanks to likely only taking one in 2017. Add in the staff heavily pursuing Thompson-Robinson, this move is just the smart, right one to make. Even if Jordan stays out west, like he was rumored to be leaning towards early on, the staff let DTR know that they want his top teammates in Ann Arbor with him. Players look closely at these moves and I believe this helps Michigan even more with their #1 quarterback target.
Keep and eye out for both Jordan and Thompson-Robinson to make their way to Michigan for a visit in the not-so-distant future.
- 2017 IMG Academy (FL) C Cesar Ruiz tweeted out his plans to announce his commitment on December 18th. I still feel very confident Michigan will be the choice here.
- 2017 Dr. Phillips (FL) DE Robert Porcher IV told Scout’s Corey Bender that though his commitment to Nebraska is “strong”, he’ll “definitely” officially visit Michigan thanks to UM coming after him ($). With the staff looking for a strong side defensive end in this class, Porcher is a name to watch IF he makes it to campus.
- 2017 Indian River (VA) ATH Devon Hunter told 247Sports’ Ryan Bartow that he’s hoping to officially visit Michigan for the Penn State or Wisconsin game ($). The chances of Michigan landing Hunter is very, very small so I’ll believe this visit when I see it.
- 2017 Flanagan (FL) CB Stanford Samuels III remains a wanted commodity by Michigan but has remained committed to his father’s alma mater, Florida State, since June. But Michigan will still have their shot as he told Scout’s Corey Bender that he’ll take an official visit to Michigan, among others, this year ($). While this is good news for UM, I still wouldn’t hold my breath on a flip unless FSU completely falls apart the rest of the year.
- 2018 IMG Academy (FL) DT Taron Vincent looks to be a priority for the entire Michigan coaching staff in the junior class and that pursuit looks to have paid off. According to Steve Lorenz, Vincent will visit Michigan for the Wisconsin game next weekend ($). Though Ohio State is still the favorite here, keep an eye on Vincent as he may be the top defensive target for the staff in this class.
Photo Credit: Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog