How the Loss in South Bend Affects Recruiting for Now

Was the 31-0 loss in South Bend an embarrassment? Big time. It was easily one of the worst losses I have ever seen from a Michigan football team, which includes the 2013 loss to MSU and the 2007 loss to Appalachian State. To make things even worse, the loss didn\’t just affect the fans outlook on the season, Team 135\’s chance to get into the playoffs, or the temperature of Brady Hoke\’s seat, it also looks to have made a big impact on recruiting.

We put together a list of the Michigan recruiting targets that were visiting South Bend for the game on Saturday, and it was filled with top targets in both 2016 and 2017. And from early reports and interviews, it looks like several of those recruits are now favoring the Fighting Irish over the Wolverines, including:

  • Crystal Ball swing on Asmar Bilal
    • Before kickoff, Bilal was seen as possibly favoring Michigan. By Sunday, multiple writers changed their stance on the talented Indiana linebacker. However, I would take this news with a GIANT grain of salt. Bilal has said he\’s not a huge football fan and is looking at things outside of just the on-field production.
  • Austin Mack looking to Follow Jaylen Smith\’s lead 
    • Mack is seen as the #1 target on the 2016 wide receiver board but it looks like they may need to lengthen that list. The great showing for ND and the stadium atmosphere clearly made an impact on Mack who told Scout\’s Anna Hickey ($) about his plans to commit next June at RAS camp \”because that\’s where Jaylen (Smith) committed\”. He also mentioned his good friend Auston Robertson is going to do the same and they\’re trying to talk LaVert Hill into doing the same.
    • This doesn\’t look good, IMO. While Mack said he isn\’t ready to narrow his list, which features Notre Dame, Michigan and OSU at the top, I think this game made a big impact on him. The Wolverines will have to make a big time impact on him when he visits this fall.
  • Notre Dame leads for Auston Robertson 
    • Speaking of Robertson, the talented pass rusher told Jake Brown of Irish Illustrated ($) that Notre Dame has taken the lead for his services after his game visit. While ND looked like the favorite before the game, this showing obviously helps even more. Michigan clearly has some room to make up.
  • Irish \”Tough to Beat\” for Bredeson 
    • Probably the #1 guy on the offensive line board is Ben Bredeson and he also happened to be in South Bend on Saturday, and he had a great time thanks to the atmosphere. While most of these guys have basically moved ND to the top of their list, Bredeson didn\’t give out that feeling when he spoke with Scout\’s Allen Trieu ($). I still really like Michigan\’s chances here and think it will strengthen when he visits Ann Arbor for the Penn State game.
  • Tommy Kraemer recruiting for ND 
    • One target that has been said to be very high on the Wolverines but, for some unclear reason, the staff has yet to extend an offer to the five star tackle. This is still a big time head scratcher to me, but either way, it looks like an offer won\’t make too much of a difference as Blue & Gold Illustrated\’s Tom Loy ($) mentioned that he heard from a source that \”Kraemer made it clear that Notre Dame was on top at this time and mentioned that Kraemer was openly recruiting five-star quarterback Malik Henry during halftime of the game.\” It was also mentioned there were conversations on him talking about joining forces with other top 2016 prospects and Michigan targets, including Liam Eichenburg.
    • I\’m not sure if a Michigan offer would change anything here, but I\’d like to see the staff extend one before it\’s definitely too late.

Now, it is way too early to panic regarding 2016 or 2017 targets. But, at the same time, the rest of the season and the future visits are (obviously) extremely important for Coach Hoke and company moving forward.

Does this mean they will all drop Michigan from consideration? Not at all. I still think Michigan will land multiple recruits that were in attendance. But now they have some ground to make up for these prospects, as well as the national perception that took another big hit.

Garrett Fishaw