Relationships. They’re the most important thing in recruiting and Jim Harbaugh is doing his best to build and mend them all across the country in order to bring the top from coast to coast to Michigan. However, he has a lot of work to do thanks to previous regimes cutting off ties to multiple states, high schools and coaches.
From local schools, like Detroit King, to premier states, like California and Texas, Michigan had fallen off during the Rich Rod and Hoke era.
But Harbaugh don’t play that.
The new Michigan coaching staff is, indeed, attacking the recruiting trail with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. And they have heavily targeted five of the strongest high school programs in five of the most talented states in the country, looking to build those much needed pipelines.
New Jersey: Paramus Catholic (Paramus, NJ)
– The home to multiple current Wolverines and (likely) future Wolverines, PC became an absolute power house under former head coach Chris Partridge. So, what did Harbaugh do? He went out and hired Partridge to be his recruiting coordinator. And that move is expected to pay off gigantically as Paramus is home to the nation’s #1 player, as well as several other top targets for the Michigan staff in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 classes.
- 2016 DT Rashan Gary
- 2016 WR Donald Stewart
- 2017 LB Drew Singleton
- 2017 DL Corey Bolds
- 2018 QB Allan Walters
- 2018 LB Bartek Rybka
California: Augustus F. Hawkins (Los Angeles, CA)
– The LA power house has yet to send a Red Tailed Hawk to Michigan but that has a very good chance to change, and in a big way. Hawkins has three elite recruits in the 2017 class and one in the 2018 class that the Wolverines staff have made priorities. Keep an eye on the targets, as they have let it be known that they are high on Michigan and are looking to “start a legacy somewhere else” (outside of California). If UofM can land the 2017 trio, look out. Hawkins has a ton of talent in the works.
Ohio: St. Edwards (Lakewood, OH)
Arguably the best high school football program in the talent-rich state of Ohio, St. Edwards has always been a target for Wolverine coaching staffs. However, they have not always been successful as they’ve only landed one target from the Eagles in recent memory (OG Kyle Kalis in 2012, lost 2015 CB Shaun Crawford to ND). But that is bound to change with the hiring of their former head coach Rick Finotti as Michigan’s new Director of Football Operations. With his presence, expect the Wolverines to have a much better shot at any St. Edward’s target moving forward.
- 2016 DB Tony Butler
Florida: Charles W. Flanagan (Pembroke Pines, FL)
– Flanagan is not only becoming a big target for Michigan but also for just about every other big program in the country. With elite level prospects in the 2016 and 2017 class, as well as a former Florida State star as their head coach (Devin Bush), they have become a regular stop for most traveling college coaches. However, Michigan may be in as good as anyone with them as they have hooked up with Bush to host a satellite camp at the Miami Dolphins facility in June. If the staff is able to pull either of the top 2016 recruits, the pipeline will have a nice base.
Texas: Alief Elsik (Houston, TX)
– While Elsik may not have a ton of future prospects at the moment but Michigan is heavily targeting two 2016 targets, including one of the best middle linebackers in the country. Add in the connections and relationships the staff is building with the Rams’ coaches and other local Houston coaches, and turning Elsik into a pipeline could mean turning Houston, one of the most talent rich-cities in the country, into a nice pipeline.
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