Inside the Fish Bowl: Early August Recruiting Update

The BBQ at the Big House has come and gone, but the coals are still burning, even after the staff landed their 22nd commitment of the class in CB Sir Patrick Scott, there are plenty of visitors that could be close to joining the class.

What’s Next? 

With the addition of Scott, the class has 5 defensive backs (3 corners) and it doesn’t look like the latest commit will be the last DB in the class. According to most reports, Michigan has a good chance to flip Detroit (MI) CB Lavert Hill from Penn State and after speaking with Elk Grove (CA) CB Lamar Jackson, Michigan is in great shape with him and both should be takes from here on out.

The other visitor that everyone was hoping to see finally end his recruitment was Cedar Creek (NJ) WR Ahmir Mitchell, and though he’s been consistent in saying it’s down to Michigan and Ohio State, I would be completely shocked if he chose the Buckeyes over the Wolverines. And according to Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz, that decision could come “in the near future” ($).

Time for the Wet Naps 

While Scott was the only player to (publicly/knowingly) pledge to the Wolverines during the BBQ, Michigan may now be the favorite for the majority of the recruits that visited. And the name that is making the most noise is one I added to the list of possible commitments on Friday, Boulder (CO) OLB Carlo Kemp.

I was told be a source very close to the situation that they felt good about Kemp choosing Michigan and it looks like that was a feeling shared by a lot of people in attendance. Both Scout’s Allen Trieu ($) and Anna Hickey ($), as well as Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz ($), were hearing similar things and based on the run of Crystal Ball predictions to Michigan, it looks like that information has become well known.

Quick note: a source close to the situation also let me know that the staff is looking to bring in four Buck linebackers in 2016 with two already on board. So, even if Carlo Kemp commits to Michigan, Fresno (CA) Caleb Kelly is still very much in play.

As for another name that Michigan is looking better and better for each day, Detroit (MI) WR Donnie Corley is once again a legit option to end up in this class.

According to Wolverine247’s Steve Wiltfong, Michigan is “surging” for Corley after his 2nd visit to Ann Arbor of the week ($):

Just everything they’re doing with the team and I can tell how the guys are talking and I talked to the guys, Harbaugh is changing a lot of things and I liked that about it.”

While I’d still be shocked to see Corley choose the Wolverines, if the staff can flip his teammate and good friend, Lavert Hill, look out.

Unable to Make It

While most of the news from the BBQ was positive, three top targets were unable to make it campus: DT Rashan Gary, WR Donovan Peoples-Jones and OT Michael Jordan.

And yes, that is the Ohio State commit, Michael Jordan.

TheMichiganInsider’s Sam Webb has been hearing rumors of Jordan being open to Michigan again for awhile now and heard that he would be at the BBQ ($). However, it looks like he did not make it into town as he was not seen in any of the #AmaizingQuest photos on Twitter. While that’s not the most concrete evidence in the world, he either was unable to make it into town or left before the scavenger hunt/showed up afterwards.

Other Recruit Reactions 

As for other recruits that were on campus for the BBQ, I caught up with a lot of them for some visit reactions and it was all very, very positive. That includes some great quotes from OT commit Erik Swenson, RB commit Matt Falcon and DB target Jaylen Kelly-Powell.

Set at Linebacker for Years

There were a lot of talented position groups at the BBQ but there may not have been a better group than the linebackers. From 2016 commitments to 2017 and 2018 top targets, Michigan looks to be the favorite to land the majority of the LBs that were in attendance, including

  • 2016 OLB Carlo Kemp
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  • 2016 LB Will Small 
    • While Small doesn’t look to be a take at the moment, he let me know that the staff is still recruiting him. Though I believe he may need to accept a preferred walk-on role to join the UM class, he’s definitely a name to watch as he has yet to hide to love for the Maize and Blue.
  • 2017 OLB Corey Malone-Hatcher
    • After speaking with his father, Orlando Malone, Michigan is still in fantastic shape with the staff’s #1 priority at Buck LB target for 2017. As for those rumors of him ending his commitment soon, it looks like it’ll likely be further down the road as they’re doing their due diligence on CMH’s top schools.
    • As for their trip to Ann Arbor, they both loved it but it wasn’t only because of the new staff’s change to the scavenger hunt (winner was based off of creativity instead of speed, like in 2014) or the staff in general but instead, it was the food. From the all you can eat ribs, chicken, pulled pork, baked beans with pork and mashed potatoes to the banana pudding that he said “reminded us of our Alabama roots”, the staff obviously made the right choice for the caterer.
  • 2017 LB Josh Ross 
    • Ross has been seen as a Michigan lean since day one of his recruitment and most believe it’s just a matter of time before he joins the class.
  • 2018 LB Bartek Rybka 
    • Rybka was raving about this visit from the moment he landed in Michigan and though it’s still very early in the process, the Wolverines look to be the clear favorites. While he does not hold an offer from the staff just yet, if he shows out on the field, one should be coming his way in the not-so-distant future.
  • 2018 LB Justin Ademilola 
    • Joining Rybka on his visit, Ademilola is one of the staff’s only 2018 linebacker offers and both he and his twin brother Jayson are very high on the Wolverines. His brother even let me know that Michigan is “definitely” standing out in his recruitment.

When you add in the 2016 commitments (David Reese, Dytarious Johnson and Dele Harding*), the elite 2016 targets who have Michigan leading or in their top 2-3 (Devin Bush Jr, Caleb Kelly, Dontavious Jackson and Jonathan Jones), and the staff’s top out of state 2017 (Drew Singleton), the future looks excellent for the program’s linebacking core.

Nauta Still in Play 

I touched on TE Isaac Nauta‘s recruitment soon after he decommitted from Florida State last week, saying Michigan has a good shot as long as he visits before making a decision. Though most analysts believe he’s going to end up choosing Georgia, he’s reiterated many times that he’ll be taking an official to Ann Arbor and is wide open in his recruitment.

The main reason most believe he ends up as a Bulldog is because of his immediate family living in the Peach State. However, the “bulk of his family” is in Michigan and he told Rivals’ Radi Nabulsi and Jake Reuse all about his family and their connections to the program ($):

Michigan is where the bulk of my family is,” Nauta said. “It’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. That’s where I grew up, and it’s where most of my family still lives. I lived there for eight years. I have family ties because my uncle played under Harbaugh’s dad, and he played for Coach (Greg) Mattison, too. I was also the first freshman in the history of Michigan football to be offered by them. To me, that really stood out and showed how much they wanted me. Obviously, that was with Hoke’s staff, but, when Harbaugh came in, he wanted me to know they want me just as much as that old staff did.”

It is still an uphill climb for Michigan but if family is as big of a factor as it looks to be, Harbaugh still looks to have a very realistic chance to land the top tight end in the class.

#CommitWatch… 3 months

I spoke with an offered recruit who has Michigan out front and was told that his recruitment could possibly come to an end when he visits Ann Arbor for the Ohio State game at the end of November. While it’s not a slam dunk, it’s a very real possibility, if the staff presses for it.