Inside the Fish Bowl is Planning for the Future

On Saturday, Michigan fans will hit up the Twittersphere and Wolverine message boards looking for updates on the four and five star 2017 recruits that made their way to Ann Arbor for the BBQ at the Big House. And for good reason. But there’s another group of visitors to watch closely.

Rising juniors, sophomores and, yes, even freshmen will make their way to Ann Arbor for some tasty BBQ and a first hand look at the Michigan football program. This visit should give UM an upper hand on the majority of the teams vying for these future recruits, which is exactly what these events do best.

For part four of my ITFB 2016 BBQ at the Big House preview, I’m breaking down the top underclassman recruiting visitors that will be in Ann Arbor this Saturday.

Future Priorities  

The 2018 and 2019 recruits that will be in attendance are names to remember throughout their recruiting cycle. That includes two top targets that just so happen to be committed elsewhere but Michigan looks to have a very realistic shop at flipping.

Parsons is one of the top players in the rising junior class and has been committed to Penn State since February. But it looks like Michigan is a team that is making some ground up on his in-state program thanks to their pursuit of the five star talent.

Michigan has made Parsons a priority for their 2018 class since they began truly pursuing that class. They had him on campus for the Ohio State debacle last November and, from all reports, things didn’t go well, per Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz. Not too long later, he committed to PSU. But that didn’t faze UM.

Michigan’s DB coach Mike Zordich visited him back in April and the rest of the staff has clearly remained in his ear as he’ll make his way to Ann Arbor for his 2nd visit this weekend. With the possibility of PSU struggling this season and UM having a big year, the staff looks to be setting themselves up really well here.

Epps is another committed elsewhere vistor to watch on this visit. He pledged to Alabama since February (same day Parsons committed to PSU, FWIW) but hasn’t looked like a lock to stay with the Crimson Tide in the last couple months. This visit only helps that speculation.

Though he may not be the #1 overall tight end on the staff’s 2018 board, he’s right near the top. And with the staff very likely taking multiple tight ends in this class, he’s a player they’ll stay on until the spots are filled or he signs his LOI. Look for the staff to make a move for him during this trip.

Gervin is the next national defensive back recruit out of Cass Tech as he already holds offers programs out of every Power 5 conference, including Michigan. The staff extended an offer to him back in January which showed how much they think of him already. This early move likely only helped their chances a bit as most believe UM is the early favorite here.

Though MSU and plenty of other programs are threats here, if Michigan makes him a priority, I wouldn’t bet against them. That’s thanks to his consistent visits to campus and ties to the program through Cass Tech. The BBQ visit should only strengthen that feeling on my end.

McCall is another top100 rising junior recruit who is expected to be on campus for the BBQ and a player who looks to be a “just a matter of time” target (as long as he remains a take). Thanks to him making several visits already, including last year’s BBQ, while also holding an offer since last summer and being teammates with 2017 commit OL JaRaymond Hall, Michigan is in excellent shape here.

If he’s able to make this trip to Ann Arbor for another BBQ and the staff pushes for him, it could push him over the edge. I wouldn’t rule anything out on him, especially as the 2018 class is slowly starting to come together.

Demens is the younger brother of former Michigan linebacker Kenny Demens which has most, including myself, believing he’ll follow those footsteps to Ann Arbor. He was offered by the staff back in April and quickly told TMI’s Josh Newkirk that he “love(s) Michigan a lot” ($).

As a player that has plenty of room to grow but the raw athleticism all defensive coordinators are looking for out of their linebackers, it’s tough to say if he’s a take at this point. The 2018 class will not be very big so I could see the staff telling Demens and plenty of other younger prospects to take their time before making their decisions.

Dobbs is quickly becoming the most talked about in-state 2019 recruit and a young name to watch closest during this BBQ. That’s not in terms of making a commitment but more so the likelihood that the staff extends him an offer and quickly becomes a top contender for his services.

Though only going into his sophomore season, Dobbs is already 6’5” 240lbs, has the versatility to play on either side of the line and holds offers from the likes of Ohio State, Auburn and Florida. He also happens to be ranked 14th overall in the first 247Sports player rankings. I expect Michigan to follow suit with an offer this weekend once the staff sees him in person. After that, let the fun begin.

Like Dobbs, Brown is a highly ranked offensive tackle (17th overall) and an in-state target to watch closely this weekend and throughout his recruitment. He’s already 6’6” 275lbs and shows off that size and his athleticism on both the offensive and defensive line.

If he checks all of the boxes when the staff sees him in person on Saturday, an offer could come his way. And, if that takes place, Michigan should put themselves in great shape early on as he only holds offers from Akron and Wisconsin at this time.

If there are any commitments at the BBQ on Saturday, the 2017 class looks to produce most, if not all, of them. However, Michigan has already proven their success in reeling in future recruits during visits which means you can’t rule out a player like McCall or Gervin deciding to join the class this weekend.

With a nice group of future prospects expected on campus this weekend, make sure to stay tuned by checking in on MGoFish all week for every piece of the five part BBQ preview. Follow us on Twitter @MGoFish to make sure you don’t miss a single update.

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