Inside the Fish Bowl is Alive Before the Dead Period

Here comes the dead period but in no way will it be silent for Michigan. On top of multiple top targets announcing their decisions this week but there are also several other top targets that will announce their decisions at either the Army or Under Armour All-American games, including their top offensive line target, Jean Delance.

But before the dead period hits, UM hosted several top targets and commits for their official visits to Ann Arbor this past weekend. And from all accounts, things went very well.

Visitor Reactions 

CB Lavert Hill

From all accounts, Hill had another good trip to Ann Arbor, which is a great sign thanks to the new information per Scout’s Allen Trieu that the King standout will NOT enroll early and has more visits lined up ($).

Some may see this as a bad sign for Michigan’s chances but according to 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong, though his recruitment looks to be getting tighter, “Hill wants to be a Wolverine” ($). So, unless something drastic happens, like Michigan hires a bad defensive coordinator or a visit blows him away, between now and his decision date (expected at the Army All American game), he should end up choosing UM.

OT Jean Delance 

According to Steve Wiltfong, the weekend went so well for Delance that he’s close to putting in a Crystal Ball prediction to Michigan ($). Add that in with this being his last official visit before making his decision at the UA All-American game as well as how big of a priority he has been reported to be to the staff and you have to be feeling good about UM’s chances more than ever.

LB Jonathan Jones

Out of all of the uncommitted visitors, Jones looked the most likely to pull the trigger during his trip. Well, WR Nate Johnson beat him to it but that doesn’t mean it didn’t cross his mind.

According to The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb, Jones “contemplated” making a decision but obviously decided against it. Instead, he’ll stick to the plan of publicly announcing on National Signing Day ($). Add in Jones telling 247Sports’ Ryan Bartow that Michigan is tied at the top with Notre Dame and I am still feeling very good about UM’s chances. Mainly because of the great chance at seeing the field from day one.

What Now? Receiver Recruiting

Michigan added a really nice receiver on Saturday when Independence (TN) WR Nate Johnson committed during his official visit. While some star gazers weren’t exactly ecstatic with his addition, he looks to be a perfect fit for what the staff was looking for in a slot receiver.

As for how this affects the receiver recruiting moving forward, according to TMI’s Sam Webb, UM will continue to recruit their WR targets:

Continuing to recruit receivers only makes sense, in my opinion. And for many reasons:

  1. You don’t turn down/stop recruiting top talent that you have a shot with before National Signing Day (ask John Beilein how that works out).
  2. Dynamic receivers are badly needed on the roster so the staff could look to take at least one more receiver in order to put together the best 2016 class possible.
  3. With so many questions about IMG Academy (FL) TE Isaac Nauta, the staff could fill that 2nd tight end spot with a 4th receiver.
  4. After talking with a coach who’s scouted Michigan’s current wide receiver commits, Brad Hawkins and Ahmir Mitchell, they weren’t completely sold on either remaining at the position throughout their college careers. Both are great athletes but a little raw as receiver and could end up being a more impactful player at the safety position. If the UM staff feels the same way, taking another receiver is a good idea.
  5. As always, you never know what could happen from now until NSD. There could be a lot of other unforeseen changes to the class so you don’t want to burn any bridges.

As for the top receivers left on the board, Miami Senior (FL) WR Keyshawn Young is the most likely 4th addition (if the staff does indeed that another receiver) though Santa Margarita Catholic (CA) WR Dylan Crawford is looking more likely after WR Eddie McDoom committed to Oregon on Sunday. Detroit King (MI) WR Donnie Corley is also an option but, if I had to guess, it would be down to Young and Crawford for that (possible) last receiver spot.

Then again, the staff could decide to hold off on taking any more receiver commitments and this was just a waste of real estate Inside the Fish Bowl.

Nauta Bad Hire

When Georgia decided to part ways with longtime head coach Mark Richt, it looked like Michigan would be in much better shape to land the nation’s top tight end recruit, Isaac Nauta. From the outside, UM still looks to have a real shot at landing him and, according to 247Sports’ Steve Lorenz, the staff feels the same as they feel like they have a “legitimate” shot at signing him ($).

One thing that was going Michigan’s way was their offensive system which features and highlights the tight end position more than any other in the country. Well, new Georgia head man Kirby Smart is obviously a fan of a similar system as he has hired Pitt’s offensive coordinator Jim Chaney as the new OC at UGA.

It’s not known exactly what offense Chaney will run for the Bulldogs but Chaney was a nice hire no matter which way they go since he has experience running both spread and pro-style offenses.

If they decide to run a similar offense as Chaney did with Pitt, it’s not exactly a good thing for Michigan.

Here are Pitt’s top tight end’s numbers:

  • TE J.P. Holtz: 24 receptions, 350 yards and 4 touchdowns
  • TE Scott Orndoff: 11 receptions, 213 yards and 5 touchdowns

Now, it’s still no Harbaugh offense but he can at least pitch Nauta about his use of the tight end. Something Richt couldn’t do while at Georgia, and it still didn’t seem to scare Nauta away from Georgia. And now it doesn’t seem to be scaring him away from Richt’s new gig at Miami.

It’s really hard to predict what will happen with Nauta at this point. If he was going solely off of which program fits his production needs the best, it’s Michigan. But Georgia will remain the team to beat because of his hometown ties.

At the moment, all signs are pointing to him deciding with his heart on this one.

Jabrill’s Injury

Injuries happen. It’s just a part of football and life. And it’s even worse when it happens to your team’s top talent. Well, that is the case with Michigan’s Mr. Do It All, Jabrill Peppers as Jim Harbaugh confirmed rumors of the sophomore safety dealing with an injury:

Obviously, Harbaugh isn’t going to come out at this point and say exactly what happened, what the injury is or how long he’s out. But it looks like it could be out for longer than any UM fan was expecting.

According to The Wolverine’s Michael Spath’s sources, it looks like the rumors about Peppers possibly missing the Citrus Bowl could have legs to them ($).

On a positive note, Jabrill doesn’t look to be too down about the situation and his injury looks to be more of a finger injury than anything else, like some rumors had you believe.

Quick Hitters

Photo Credit: Leon Halip/Getty Images