2016 National Signing Day Primer: MGoFish Staff Roundtable

On the eve of National Signing Day, the MGoFish crew answered a couple of the most asked questions including where we believe the nation’s #1 recruit will sign, possible surprise commits and who we believe could end up being the steal of the class.

Check out our answers and make sure to add your answers in the comment section below:

Let’s get it out of the way, will Michigan sign DL Rashan Gary?

  • BillYes, I think they do. This decision is as much his mother’s as it is his, and she seemed to have the nicest things to say about Michigan. With the other schools, it’s been “it was great, but…”. With having nearly ¾ of the top New Jersey players picking Michigan plus Gary’s best friend in DT Michael Dwumfour, it just seems like fate.
  • Emmitt: I do believe Gary signs with Michigan but I really do think he’s torn on where to spend the next 3-4 years. On one hand, Michigan has said to be the leader from jump street but so many of his friends are going there. Isn’t he supposed to be the #1 can’t miss prospect? I can see him feeling the need to branch out and be different.
  • Stephen: Yes. I think this late surge from Clemson is more chatter than anything else. Michigan has been the consistent leaders as the other teams (Ole Miss, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson) are brought up. There are so many things in Michigan’s favor here, from his mom’s love for Michigan, the New Jersey pipeline, Partridge, Dwumfour, and a slew of visits. At this point there’s just way too much ground to make up.
  • Evan: Yes. Clemson, Alabama, and Ole Miss made runs late in his recruitment, but Michigan always remained consistent since they offered in January of 2015. The key to signing him was the multiple unofficial visits Michigan hosted Gary on, including the weekend of January 23 when he could have taken an official visit anywhere else in the country
  • Fish: Yes. Though Clemson is a real contender, it’s hard to see Gary and his mother decide that Death Valley is a better fit for him over Ann Arbor. Michigan has two of his best friends already in the 2016 class, his former head coach on staff, have had him on campus five times in this cycle and, maybe the icing on the cake, his mom has let it be known how much she loves the University and campus.

Will Michigan sign CB Lavert Hill?  

  • BillMy gut is telling me that he signs with Michigan State.
  • Emmitt: Hill has become one of the more interesting recruits, and I think that’s exactly what he was going for. I see a kid enjoying the recruiting process and trying to decide if he wants to play with his friends or go to a place like Michigan, where the fit is there but he’s not really close to anyone in the class. His brother is there, but only for one more year. With Hill leaving his MSU official and going straight to Ann Arbor, I took it as a way for him to see if he could really see himself getting along with the New Jersey guys that were in town visiting A2.
  • Stephen: Although Hill has made comments that he wants to create his own path and not necessarily follow his brother to Michigan, I think he ultimately signs just because of the bond he has with the other recruits.
  • Evan: I’ve gone back and forth on Lavert Hill. On one hand he is intrigued with playing with his brother, Delano, for the first time in his life but on the other he has a chance to play with his best friends at Michigan State in Donnie Corley, Tyriq Thompson, and Demetric Vance for four, maybe five years. Blood is thicker than water; I believe Hill will pick Michigan on Wednesday.
  • Fish: Hill seems to be all Michigan one day and then a toss up the next. I included him in my final Best Guess Recruiting Class thanks to his back to back unofficial visits the last two weekend of the cycle and his connections to both the roster and staff.

Will Michigan sign DE Connor Murphy? 

  • BillI think we get Murphy. There’s a strong family connection there, if his brother hadn’t played for Harbaugh at Stanford I think Michigan would be an afterthought but I am very confident that Murphy picks Michigan. His mom also wishes that he had committed during his visit. Mother knows best.
  • Emmitt: I do not believe Murphy ends up Blue. I know he loves Harbaugh but will he fit in the class- numbers wise? His Mom loved Michigan but I just get the feeling he will stay on the west coast.
  • Stephen: I don’t think so. USC has been growing on him and I think with Gary, Ron Johnson, and Dwumfour, Michigan isn’t in as dire of need for more DL as they are at some other positions.
  • Evan: No. My gut tells me he will not be a part of this class. I believe he chooses USC.
  • Fish: This is a total toss up heading into NSD though I did include him in my final BGRC. Michigan has the connections but USC is the much closer option for him. I’ll stick with UM but won’t be shocked at all if he chooses the Trojans.

Will Michigan land a surprise commitment on NSD?

  • BillBoss Tagaloa, if that counts as a long shot. With Jordan Elliott gone, Michigan needs another legit nosetackle/3-technique run stopper. Tagaloa just became Michigan’s man for that (assuming Gary will play nearer the end). Michigan’s commitments on NSD will be quality over quantity. They’ll get their top targets, but not necessarily rake in a huge number. I’m thinking 3 or 4 new commits, maybe even 5.
  • Emmitt: After recent news that Ole Miss will be charged with rules violations, I immediately thought Greg Little. There was some noise after the all american games that he may visit but I think it would be tough to get him to Ann Arbor on a visit before signing day. No surprises, I think the guys Michigan is recruiting is very transparent.
  • Stephen: I think they already have, but I’m not going to spoil the guy’s name here. It’s not going to be EJ Price, Michigan is waiting for 2017 despite losing Devery Hamilton. So yes, I think Michigan will add a silent commit, but won’t be a guy that’s been totally off our radar. He is someone I was not expecting to be in the class for quite some time, though.
  • Evan: I do not expect anybody to commit/sign that would be a surprise. To me, the biggest “surprise” would be if Alaric Jackson signs with Michigan without face-to-face time with the coaches and a visit to campus with the coaches. He has a lot of potential and with Tim Drevno would be a great fit to grow as a player.
  • Fish: With OT Alaric Jackson landing his offer at the last second, he’s the best bet to commit on NSD but I’m not sure how much of a surprise it would be anymore. So, to take more of a shot in the dark, I’ll guess Michigan receives the LOI from ATH Keyshawn Young. No, it’s not the biggest reach but from all reports he’s likely to end up at Louisville or USC. I’ll guess the staff finds him a spot and he joins the Wolverines.

Where will Michigan’s 2016 class be ranked at the end of NSD?

  • Bill: I think Michigan leapfrogs OSU for the number 1 class in the Big Ten, but finishes fourth nationally. Most of the top targets on the board are trending towards southern schools, like Ben Davis, Mecole Hardman, and Derrick Brown, which will make Michigan’s class pale in comparison. Having its first 5-star in Gary will boost the class a lot, but Ole Miss has 3 already and is looking for a fourth, LSU will get one or two more, and Bama is definitely getting Davis, if not more. My predicted list: LSU, Ole Miss, Alabama, Michigan, OSU, FSU.
  • Emmitt: Definitely Top 5- actually, I’m going with 5. Alabama usually makes a big push on signing day and you can never count out LSU or Ohio State pulling off something special.
  • Stephen: Around the 5ish range. I’ll be bold and say #4.
  • Evan: Rankings don’t matter to me, but I would expect them to be ranked somewhere in the top 10 near number five.
  • Fish: Should be in the top 5. If they land Gary, Hill and at least one of Murphy, Devin Asiasi and/or Tagaloa, they’ll fight for the 3rd or 4th spot.
By the time this class moves on from Michigan, who will be:
  • The highest draft pick? 
    • BillEither Ben Bredeson or David Long. Michigan’s last 5 first round draft picks have been lineman, lineman, defensive end, corner, corner. The math just works out in their favor plus I think they’ll benefit from immediate playing time and high profile exposure on the biggest stages. Not saying Bredeson is the next Jake Long or Long is the next Charles Woodson, but they certainly could be.
    • Emmitt: Rashan Gary. He has all the tools to be a special player for many years. If he keeps the work ethic, he may very well be a top 10 pick
    • Stephen: Everyone else will likely choose Gary. I’m gonna say Bredeson. I think he’s a really solid lineman that will be something special.
    • Evan: As of now without Rashan Gary signed, my pick is Devin Bush Jr. He has the perfect combination of size, athleticism, football IQ, and pedigree from his father who played in the NFL.
    • Fish: Gary. Just looking at the previous unanimous #1 overall recruits, odds are pretty good he goes in the 1st round.
  • A Heisman trophy candidate?  
    • BillThis is tough. Considering Heisman candidates are usually flashy, superstars, or stat monsters, Michigan typically isn’t in the market for those of types of players. If I had to pick one I’d say Dylan Crawford, he’s definitely a playmaker and can exploit small defensive mistakes for big gains, which will turn a lot of heads on the national voting front. If Chris Evans earns a big enough role, I wouldn’t be surprised if he mimics a little of Christian McCaffrey’s production.
    • Emmitt: I actually hate what the Heisman has become because it doesn’t factor in every player. It should be called the best offensive weapon award but I’ll go with Brandon Peters. After three years under Harbaugh, this handpicked QB should be at the top of of his game.
    • Stephen: Peters. With Harbaugh there…Peters in his 3rd year in the program will get some Heisman looks.
    • Evan: Brandon Peters. It’s hard to project Heisman candidates, but I believe Peters will get on the field by 2018 as a redshirt sophomore and make impact right away. His Heisman moment would be as a junior or a senior
    • Fish: Peters is the obvious pick. He’s the quarterback and should develop very nicely under Jim Harbaugh but I believe David Long is a guy who could get a lot of hype if he indeed plays both sides of the ball.
  • Biggest fan favorite? 
    • BillEddie McDoom, both because of the name and because of the way he busts open a play. I can see him using his blazing speed as an absolute weapon on the bubble screens, punt returns, or other sleight of hand tricks.  
    • EmmittJosh Uche. I can vision Uche sacking several quarterbacks in my head right now. He’s a big play waiting to happen and with that speed, he’s going to have a lot of coaches ripping their hair out.
    • Stephen: Eddie McDoom.
    • Evan: I expect the truly passionate and knowledgeable Michigan fans to fall in love with the guys that weren’t so highly ranked by the recruiting services, but came to Ann Arbor and had solid careers like Elysee Mbem-Bosse and Devin Gil. But coming in, Devin Bush, David Long, and Kareem Walker will be on fans’ minds this fall.
    • Fish: If Michigan land Victor Viramontes, it’s him. But if not, I’ll go with Dylan Crawford. I believe he has the chance to be a superstar in Ann Arbor and that normally goes over well with the fan base.
  • The biggest steal? 
    • BillElysee Mbem-Bosse. I think he offers incredible upside and went relatively under the radar throughout the process. I mean the dude was a 3 star and held offers from Alabama, Florida, Auburn, and Notre Dame, and Don Brown plucked him right out the heart of SEC country. Glowing scouting reports, promising size, and a handpicked recruit by the new coordinator himself, Mbem-Bosse could be a serious presence in the middle of an already frightening defense.
    • Emmitt: David Long. It was clutch of the stuff to commit the robbery of Long. Originally committed to Standford, Long saw the possibilites of Michigan and jumped at the opportunity. Michigan filled a BIG big need at cornerback.
    • StephenKhaleke Hudson. He’s quick, hard-hitting and his film is 15 minutes of insanity. Probably a high four-star talent that’s evaluated as a high 3 / low 4 star prospect.
    • Evan: It’d hard to pick just one so I’ll pick two: Elysee Mbem-Bosse and Carlo Kemp. They are both still coming into their own and I expect both of them to be remembered years after they leave Ann Arbor.
    • Fish: I’ll go with Mbem-Bosse and RB Kingston Davis. Love Mbem-Bosse’s athleticism and size at the linebacker position. As for Davis, he’s so underrated that some sites still have him listed as a full back. His size and physicality should help him see the field early and often.
  • If there is a “legend” out of this class, who will it be? 
    • Bill: This one is also tough; I take the title of “legend” pretty seriously. If I had to pick one, I’d say David Long.
    • Emmitt: If Gary lives up to the hype, he’s got the chance to do it. Him and Peppers may be doing it right around the same time
    • Stephen: Not ready to go that far on anyone in this class. If it’s going to be anyone right now it’s gotta be Gary.
    • Evan: I think this class has the potential for a few All-Timers that future players will be looking up to and admiring. Guys like Brandon Peters, Chris Evans, and Ron Johnson all have the potential to be legends.
    • Fish: If one guy was going to go down as an “All-Timer”, have their jersey sold years after they left UM and be remembered by all, Gary is the best bet though Peters has his shot as well.

Commit you are most looking forward to seeing don the Maize and Blue?

  • BillThis is like a 4 way tie but I’ll try to narrow it down
    • 1) Devin Bush. I expect Bush to be an excellent linebacker, especially in the Don Brown system. His sideline-to-sideline pursuit is staggering, so he could play anywhere on the field and cover mostly anyone that the opposing offense can throw. He has the speed to cover backs and the strength to body up tight ends.
    • 2) Brandon Peters. He’s got an arm like no other prospect in this class (except maybe Shea Patterson?), but his footwork and release are a little slow. The good news is, especially since he’s expected to redshirt his freshman year, he’ll come out the other side of the Harbaugh QB Training Expo Extravaganza with John Navarre numbers.
    • 3) Carlo Kemp. I don’t know what it is about this kid, but I just think he’s going to be a stud in that Buck position. He’s made for it; he knows it, the staff knows it, and the team knows it. With his early enrollment, he’ll go into spring ball the starter, and I can’t think of a better replacement for James Ross III.
    • 4) Khaleke Hudson. Probably my favorite senior film out of everyone in the class. He can play anywhere from safety to outside linebacker to running back to slot receiver to returner. He’s slippery. He’s devious. He’s quick, he’s smart, he’s dangerous, and he’s hungry. He went to work at the Semper Fi game, recording 7 tackles, a forced fumble, and 4 pass break-ups, earning him a 4th star from 247, and rightfully so. His footwork is blinding, and frankly the scouting note that he has slow hips doesn’t worry me one bit. I’m excited to see anyone who is being compared to Jabrill Peppers.
  • Emmitt: Vic Viramontes would have been my hands down favorite here but has since de-committed, though could join the class again. But until then, I’m going with Chris Evans. I think Evans has the skill set to be electric on this team in several aspects. I look forward to seeing what position he ends up playing and how creative the coaches get with getting him involved.
  • Stephen: Onwenu. The dude is a giant and will look terrifying out there.
  • Evan: I have two for two different reasons. Michael Onwenu because I have followed his recruitment the longest of anybody in this class and it’s hard to find a better person off the field than him. Lots of fans of other teams make fun of his size but they don’t see the potential. I bet he proves them wrong. Second is Kingston Davis. I believe he will end up at running back and be a more remembered contributor than Kareem Walker.
  • Fish: Khaleke Hudson and Dylan Crawford are two guys I think could be immediate impact players at Michigan though there are a ton of guys in this class that could see the field early on in their careers with the departures after the 2016 season.

Who are your picks for each question? Add your answers below in the comment section! 

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

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