Crystal Ballin: Black to Michigan

Four wide receivers? Really? After taking six receivers in 2016, most wouldn’t expect Michigan to take four in 2017. However, thanks to departures, positional moves and ineligible players, there is now a very real need for four receivers in this class. Luckily for the staff, they’ve put themselves in great shape to land their top four targets and I now have put in my prediction for the fourth receiver on the board in the form of a Crystal Ball for Cheshire Academy (CT) WR Tarik Black to Michigan.

Black is a name that Michigan recruiting fans are very familiar with at this point. He’s held an offer since May of 2015 and has had Michigan at/near the top of his list throughout his recruitment. Though UM did take a back seat for awhile after a couple visits to the West coast to see UCLA and Stanford, as well as offers from and visits to Notre Dame and Alabama, Michigan looks to have fought back with a vengeance.

Going into his visit for the BBQ at the Big House, Michigan looked to be sitting in 2nd place (at best) behind heavy favorite Notre Dame. The Irish were in control thanks to his visit to South Bend in June and his good friend/teammate ATH CJ Holmes. I was very close to putting in my Crystal Ball to the Irish thanks to those factors, however, I held off. I wanted to see how things went on his return trip to Ann Arbor. And, clearly, I think things went extremely well.

After that trip, everyone, including Scout’s Brian Dohn, Irish247’s Tom Loy and TMI’s Sam Webb, believes this is a Michigan-Notre Dame battle. And a close one.

The post BBQ reports were big in swaying my thoughts back towards UM for Black, but it was his longtime plans and next move that really pushed me to the prediction.

Black has let it be known on multiple occasions that he planned on silently committing to his chosen team prior to his senior season and then announcing his decision publicly at the Army All-American game in January. That way he could focus on his final high school season. So, when he announced his first and only confirmed official visit was to make a return trip to Ann Arbor less than a week after the BBQ visit and just 4 days before the first scrimmage of his senior season, tea leaves started pointing directly at the Wolverines.

Another good sign, Black tweeted and then deleted a tweet saying “Decision made” just a couple days after locking in his official to Michigan.

One more good sign? According to The Wolverine crew, Black will make this official visit alongside his mom, dad and high school coach ($). That means one, likely his coach, will be paying his own way to town (NCAA only allows for a school to pay for two guests) and, like mentioned on ITF, this could be a sign that it’s expected to be an eventful trip.

Now, silent commits are hardly a commitment. They’re basically just a recruit telling a staff they’re their leader and to please hold that spot for them. So, even if my tea leaf reading is right and Black silently pledges to the UM staff this weekend, this is not over. Michigan would continue to keep lines open on other receivers just to be sure they wouldn’t get burned and his other top options will push for official visits. According to Scout’s Brian Dohn, Black’s working on official visits to Auburn on September 10th and Alabama on November 12th ($). Look for Notre Dame to land one of his other two visits and the other to go to either UCLA or Stanford.

If you need even more tea leaves to help see that Michigan has long been a favorite here, check out the gloves and socks Black wore during his junior season:

Nothing’s a guarantee but I’m big on tea leaves. And they are pointing at Michigan right now. Stay tuned this weekend to see if anything more concrete comes out from his visit.

Photo Credit: Justin Weekes / For the Record-Journal