After a tough loss in the Orange Bowl, Michigan fans are looking for some positivity. And it may be coming this week as the 2017 U.S. Army All-American practices begin today and will be filled with top UM commits and targets. That includes the likes of Dylan McCaffrey, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Willie Gay, Chuck Filiaga and Najee Harris, the latter two deciding this weekend.
Will Michigan get their wanted commitments? Will the current commits and top targets show out? If you can’t wait to know, I’ve put together five predictions for the 2017 U.S. Army All-American game week:
1. Willie Gay and Ambry Thomas play their way into five star status
Gay is a five star talent but is a composite four star, for the time being. He’s one of the most athletic players in this class and, as a linebacker, his athleticism, speed and skill set should show out in an event like this. Look for him to be one of the most talked about players throughout the week.
I still like Michigan for Gay too.
As for Thomas, he proved what he can do in these camp-like settings during The Opening over the summer. The electricity in his game and playmaking ability should have the coaches and scouts heads turned. And another top notch performance could put him into the five star status, according to Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz ($).
2. Peoples-Jones proves his five star status
In every All-American game, four star players make the jump into five star status while plenty of five star players play their way out of it. And while I’m sure there are a few Michigan fans hoping the staff’s top current commitment, Donovan Peoples-Jones, doesn’t end up on the five star fallers list.
But I just don’t see that happening.
Peoples-Jones is one of the best high school football athletes I’ve seen, especially at the wide receiver position. Like Gay and Thomas, athleticism shows out in these camp situations. I could see the 2015 Nike SPARQ Champion putting on another elite level performance in San Antonio.
3. Michigan commits are the most talked about recruiters
Though unofficial class leader Corey Malone-Hatcher will not be in attendance, Michigan’s other heavy hitters will be teaming up with a good amount of top names remaining on the board. That includes Tarik Black, one of UM’s newest commitments, who has talked about how active he’s planning to be on the recruiting front.
Two other commits to watch closest are Peoples-Jones and Dylan McCaffrey. According to several reports, both of UM’s top offensive commits hit it off with Najee Harris during their official visits to Michigan in early December. Their calm, quiet personalities fit well together and when you add in the excitement from the media with Harris’ decision coming up this weekend, the top player in the country will likely be looking to stay out of the limelight as much as possible.
4. Chuck Filiaga commits to Michigan
Filiaga quickly became a “must-get” recruit once Isaiah Wilson chose Georgia over Michigan in December. Good thing for the staff, they already put in the work and are in great shape to land the big man out of Texas when he announces at the game on Saturday.
There was a little scare from Michigan fans when 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong mentioned his “gut feeling” for Filiaga was to Oklahoma prior to the event. But that was before he spoke with the top100 tackle. Once that went down, Wiltfong put in his Crystal Ball for Filiaga to Michigan ($).
I’ve had my CB in for Filiaga to UM since he named the Wolverines his leader after his official visit in October. And though OU looked to make a strong push, I don’t see him passing up the very good shot at starting his freshmen year.
5. Najee Harris flies to Detroit
Harris is the person every recruiting fan, especially those from the Michigan and Alabama fan bases, will be paying closest attention to. He’s the number one player in the class, should prove those talents once again and solidify himself as the top running back and prospect, and, oh yeah, will be making his decision this weekend.
Harris spoke with Scout’s Brandon Huffman at the Army Bowl check-in and said that he’s still committed to Alabama but he’ll make his final decision on Saturday ($). He also mentioned that he’s flying directly to his college of choice from San Antonio.
We hear at MGoFish have been hearing very positive things for Michigan here. As has the likes of Steve Lorenz, Sam Webb and Brandon Brown. But nothing is known for sure here. There’s also talk out there that Alabama’s people feel confident he’s sticking with the Crimson Tide.
I bet there aren’t more than 10 people that know what Harris is going to do for sure, if that. So, us analysts are all guessing at this point. But from all of the tea leaves I could read, I believe he’ll be boarding a flight to Detroit this weekend with a Michigan jacket in his backpack.
What are your predictions for the 2017 U.S. Army All-American Game and week? Let us know in the comment section below!
Photo Credit: Scout.com/U.S. Army All-American Bowl
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