Inside the Fish Bowl is Watching for Fireworks

The 2016 BBQ at the Big House is almost here. Did you make sure to pick up some extra wet naps? If not, you may want to hit up Costco because the list of recruiting visitors for this Saturday’s event may be bigger and better than any other individual recruiting trip/event that I have ever seen thanks to the out of town names expected.

Here are the headliners from the past five BBQ at the Big House events:

  • In 2015, the staff hosted a nice group of recruits which featured several future commitments and signees, including Ahmir Mitchell, Lavert Hill, Carlo Kemp, Josh Ross, J’Marick Woods, Kurt Taylor and JaRaymond Hall as well as top 2017 targets Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cesar Ruiz and Ambry Thomas.
  • In 2014, some of the most notable names in attendance were future commitments and signees Ben Bredeson, Michael Onwenu, Brian Cole, Grant Perry, Luiji Vilain, Corey Malone-Hatcher and Josh Ross as well as current/former top targets Donovan Peoples-Jones, Naseir Upshur, Elijah Holyfield and Josh Myers.
  • In 2013, several future commitments/signees were in attendance. Most notably Jabrill Peppers, Drake Harris, Mason Cole and Wilton Speight. It also featured several big time visitors like George Campbell (who committed during the trip) and Damien Harris (who committed two days later) as well as top targets who chose elsewhere in Osa Masina, Mike Weber, Malik McDowell and Marshon Lattimore.
  • In 2012, the Hoke staff welcomed a very nice group of top targets and future commitments, several that dropped thanks to the event. That included future signees Jake Butt, Jourdan Lewis, Taco Charlton, Mason Cole, David Dawson and Derrick Green. The top targets that didn’t end up at Michigan included Damon Webb, Devon Allen and Artavis Scott.
  • In 2011, Hoke’s first BBQ featured plenty of future commitments and two infamous recruits in recent Michigan recruiting history. The eventual Michigan signees/players included Devin Funchess, Mario Ojemudia, Shane Morris, Jehu Chesson, Dymonte Thomas, Chris Wormley, Kyle Kalis and Ty Isaac, As for the top targets that ended up elsewhere, Laquon Treadwell and Brionte Dunn were both in attendance.

History shows that this event helps produce both commitments and future stars in the Maize and Blue. But will 2016’s BBQ bring a flurry of commitments during the event?

On top of hearing rumors of multiple commitments taking place, I’ve felt for awhile that there would be fireworks this weekend. But how many exactly? I’ve seen Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz guess 2 commits while I’ve also heard a rumor of it possibly going over 4 commitments.

My prediction: Looking at who’s expected to be in attendance and adding in the excitement of the Jordan jersey release, I’ll put my over/under at 3 though I’m leaning towards the over.

Anything could happen during an event of this magnitude, especially with the insane amount of excitement that is surrounding the Michigan football program right now. If one or two prospects drop, there’s a real possibility of a commitment flurry taking place. But that’s not all. I also believe Michigan could make a big move up several target’s lists and become a favorite for some moving forward.

For part one of my ITFB 2016 BBQ at the Big House preview, I’m breaking down the players that could possibly drop during the event.

Who to Watch Closest      

Though everyone will be keeping their eyes on the five star prospects in attendance, it’s some of the three and four star visitors that I believe are the best bets to drop. Their listed in order of confidence.

Bateman is the safest bet to drop at the BBQ after he named Michigan his leader last week and, according to Wolverine247’s Isaiah Hole, is indeed a take for the coaching staff ($). Thanks to that scoop, a mini avalanche of Crystal Ball predictions have come in for UM, including mine, prior to his 2nd trip to Ann Arbor.

The Michigan Insider’s Brice Marich caught up with Bateman prior to his visit and the big man said there’s a “50% chance” of him committing during the trip ($). Normally, when recruits put percentages on commitment chances, they’re just waiting to see the school one more time/show their parents said school/talk with the coaches.

Anything can change at the drop of a hat (in terms of accepting commitments or having a bad time) but if he wants in, I see the staff welcoming him with open arms.

Anthony has kept things pretty close to the vest throughout his recruitment and hasn’t received as much love from fans as his talents may suggest. But that could change quickly. I firmly believe Michigan is the favorite here thanks to his spring game visit, the staff’s pursuit of him, his connections with the committed prospects (was on Team HyperCool at The Opening) and his fit in Don Brown’s defense. After talking with him, I put in my Crystal Ball to Michigan and I don’t imagine having to move it.

When you add in the class quickly filling up and only two linebacker spots left, he’s a name to watch very closely on his 2nd visit to Ann Arbor.

UPDATE: According to Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz, Anthony isn’t expected to make it ($). Still waiting to see if this is 100% the case.

Collins hasn’t hid the fact that Michigan is his favorite as it was rumored after his 1st visit in May, mentioned after his 2nd visit in June and confirmed at The Opening in July. Thanks to that and his connections with both the staff and current recruiting class, I put in my Crystal Ball for Collins to Michigan on July 7th.

Since Michigan starting gaining momentum in this recruitment, most, including myself, believed he would wait until much later in the cycle to announce his decision publicly. That’s mainly because of the backlash a lot recruits receive from not choosing to stay home. But with Alabama adding five star WR Jerry Jeudy last week to a class that already featured five star WR Tyrell Shavers as well as being the favorite for four star WR Jeff Thomas and four star WR Henry Ruggs, Saban and staff may have already seen the writing on the wall here.

If all of that’s the case, Collins may not feel the pressure to please the in-state crowd and could decide to publicly join Michigan’s 2017 class on his 3rd trip to Ann Arbor for the BBQ and become Jim Harbaugh’s biggest southern get so far.

While there are other names on this list that I feel more confident about committing at the BBQ, there isn’t a name that I’ve felt better about eventually joining the class than Kelly-Powell. He’s long favored Michigan thanks to growing up in a UM family. Hell, he’s even named after one of the most famous basketball players in the school’s history. That’s why he was one of my first Crystal Ball predictions to Michigan as soon as I was knighted by Steve Lorenz and given powers from 247Sports.

JKP has nearly committed to Michigan on multiple occasions already so it’s not very hard to put him on this list. He’s taken several visits this summer and enjoyed his recruitment. That was said to be the main thing stopping him from announcing a decision. With those unofficial visits out of the way, could the magnitude of the event bring out a pledge? I wouldn’t bet against it.

UPDATE: Kelly-Powell tweeted out that he’ll wait until after his senior season to announce.

Thomas has been a priority recruit for the coaching staff for as long as I can remember and it’s clearly paying off more than ever over the last couple months. According to The Wolverine, Thomas nearly committed to Michigan in the past and sources close to him still believe he chooses UM ($). Besides the well known ties to Jaylen Kelly-Powell and their hope to play together in college, it’s the connection with Don Brown that has the Wolverines sitting in great shape.

My Crystal Ball is on Michigan for Thomas.

Though I doubt Thomas make a decision this early, especially with him visiting Florida prior to the BBQ, I wouldn’t rule anything out because of the size of the event and (possible) chance to make a decision alongside his cousin, Kelly-Powell. Odds would go up even more if his trip to Gainesville doesn’t live up to the hype, though that’s unlikely.

There isn’t a 2018 recruit who I believe Michigan is in better shape for than Taylor. He’s out of Prattville high school, same school as 2016 signee RB Kingston Davis. Thanks to the early visits for him and offer from the staff, UM is in fantastic shape.

So, why haven’t I (or anyone else, for that matter) put in a Crystal Ball for Taylor to Michigan? The 2018 class will be much smaller than the 2016 and 2017 class for UM. That means the staff will be much more stingy in extending offers and accepting commitments. At this point, it’s unknown if he’d be a take for the staff. But since that could change at any moment, he’s a guy who could easily drop, if given the green light.

At this point, it would be more surprising to me to see zero commits than to see multiple players drop this weekend. This is just a list of the player who look to possibly be on the verge of committing. There are several other visitors that could decide to pull the trigger as well, most notably James Hudson and Henry Bainivalu.

Make sure to stay tuned by checking in on MGoFish all week for the multiple BBQ previews. Follow us on Twitter @MGoFish to make sure you don’t miss a single update.

Photo Credit: matteorubbi.info