Crystal Ballin: Thomas to Michigan

After waiting for quite awhile, I’ve finally decided to join the crowd that has begun putting in their predictions for the #2 player in the state of Michigan to stay in-state and play for the Wolverines. I have put in my Crystal Ball prediction for Detroit King (MI) ATH Ambry Thomas to choose Michigan.

Early on in the cycle, I believed Thomas was either destined for Michigan State or an out of state program. That was mainly because of the underlying issues between UM and Detroit King HS coaches. Add in MSU’s recent success with the King program and you can see why they were the favorite. But things changed when Michigan mended those fences and signed King CB LaVert Hill to the 2016 class.

That was the first positive step and feather in the cap for Michigan.

The thing that really had me believing UM was the favorite to land Thomas and would eventually receive his commitment was when he made it very clear, on multiple occasions, that his desire to play college ball with his cousin and Cass Tech (MI) DB Jaylen Kelly-Powell. Though uncommitted, everyone and their mother believes JKP will choose UM whenever he does end his recruitment. So, that would be another big time feather in the Wolverines’ cap.

But is that enough to put in a CB prediction? No. I wanted to see and hear more before putting it in so I wouldn’t have to change it in the future. Well, thanks to him visiting and camping with UM for their on-campus camp in June, his budding relationship with Don Brown, telling Webb that Michigan “feels like home” ($), and his connection with the Michigan commitments and top targets at The Opening this past weekend were enough for me to pull the trigger.

Now, this is a recruitment that shouldn’t end anytime soon (barring something big) and should see plenty of twists and turns, especially with Michigan State not going anyway anytime soon.

The Spartans are still very much a threat to eventually land Thomas and will be up until NSD. TMI’s Sam Webb compared this recruitment to LaVert Hill’s last recruiting cycle ($) and I completely agree.

  • Detroit King cornerbacks? Check.
  • Top targets for both UM and MSU? Check.
  • MSU the one time favorite? Check.
  • Family ties helping out UM? Probably.

Hill stretched out his recruitment all the way to NSD before choosing Michigan over MSU and I believe Thomas could do something very similar.

Over the past 10 recruiting classes, the Wolverines have only signed three of the top ranked players in the state (2013 Shane Morris, 2015 Brian Cole, 2016 Michael Onwenu) and three of the #2 ranked players in the state (2013 David Dawson, 2009 Will Campbell, 2008 Dann O’Neill), per the 247Sports rankings.

If I’m correct with my predictions on both WR Donovan Peoples-Jones and Thomas, it would give UM the top two players in the state for first time since 2013. That scenario, along with the commitments of the 3rd-6th ranked players in the state, would definitely help bring truth back to the popular credo, “The best players in Michigan play for Michigan”.

Photo Credit: Aaron Bills/Michigan Football/Twitter

Garrett Fishaw