Inside the Fish Bowl is Looking at the Options

While football isn’t happening here in the state of Michigan, that doesn’t mean it’s not going on elsewhere. Not to mention, recruiting never sleeps. The Michigan coaching staff has been pushing for a select number of targets to finish up the 2021 class while also getting a nice start on relationship building with the 2022 and 2023 classes.

With the fall quickly approaching, expect to see some more movement on the trail in the near future:

Commitments Coming?

Michigan didn’t receive a football commitment throughout the month of August but that drought doesn’t look like it’ll stretch through September thanks to at least three top 2021 targets with decision dates on their mind:

OG Drew Kendall

“I am trying to commit (next) week but not certain on the day I’ll be announcing,”

Drew Kendall via Steve Wiltfong, 247Sports (8/28/20)

Will this finally be the time? Kendall has been “close” to announcing a commitment for about four months now. But it could be pushed back yet again as Kendall makes up his mind, per The Wolverine’s EJ Holland ($).

Whether he makes his decision in a week or a month, this is becoming one roller coaster of a recruitment. For months, his decision looked to be held up by Rocco Spindler’s decision (he picked Notre Dame in mid-August, if ya forgot), as well as some other deciding factors.

But all those hold-ups now look to be out of the way. So, he’ll be committing to Michigan pretty soon, right? Meh, maybe.

Though the Michigan coaching staff and commitments, including his fellow Massachusetts recruits, have been pushing for him for months now, it’s not a slam dunk. His father’s alma mater, Boston College, has long been the biggest threat and has been gaining steam as a decision approaches. Enough so that EJ Holland moved his FutureCast from the Wolverines to the Eagles as this recruitment drags on ($).

Stanford is another school to keep an eye on. Kendall is a high academic kid and has reportedly applied at Stanford. But, according to multiple reports, the 3,000 miles between Palo Alto, CA. and Dedham, MA. may be too far of a distance for the Kendall’s.

According to TMI’s Sam Webb, this one went from a “Michigan lean” to closer to 50/50 heading into a decision ($).

Will he choose to create his own path at Michigan? Or will he choose to follow in his father’s footsteps and stay close to home at Boston College? I’m glad I don’t have Crystal Ball access anymore because I’d be split here.

RB Tavierre Dunlap

Dunlap hasn’t received the attention he may have deserved earlier on in this cycle. The four-star running back out of Texas has been firmly on Jay Harbaugh’s wanted list for awhile but with all of the focus on in-state RB Donovan Edwards, Dunlap was seen more as a fall-back plan. But that has completely changed.

Not too long ago, Michigan was reportedly battling USC and Utah the most for Dunlap’s services. However, it’s now Oklahoma State who the Wolverines will fight for the four-star’s upcoming commitment, per his head coach.

“I know Coach (Jay) Harbaugh has built a really good relationship with him. I think he’s talked to some current players up there and he enjoys that conversation as well. He likes their storied history as well.”

Charles Burton, per Steve Wiltfong/247Sports

And I wouldn’t worry too much about the impact on Edwards’ decision. For quite some time, Michigan has reportedly been chasing these two as their top (and pretty much only). According to TMI’s Steve Lorenz, Michigan is “set to take two” running backs if it’s Edwards and Dunlap ($).

Landing either Edwards or Dunlap would be nice. Both would set up Michigan’s depth chart for years to come and be another feather in the cap for Jay Harbaugh’s recruiting prowess. We’ll see if he can pull it off.

S Daymon David

Boston College is back to battle Michigan for a top target but this time it’s with one of the most wanted names on the board.

The hard-hitting Maryland safety has been a priority target for Bob Shoop and Don Brown throughout the summer and has been the team that has hung around the longest.

Once a Michigan-Oklahoma battle, then a Michigan-Boston College battle, and now (thanks to a late offer) it’s a Michigan-Boston College-Oregon battle as he’s reportedly heading towards a decision.

Let’s look at the three options:

  • Michigan
    • Brown and Shoop have made him a priority target as they look to finish out this class. Though the depth chart is loaded with recent recruiting success, David could add another dynamic to the bunch. The biggest, most-historic program of the three that also gives the rising recruit the chance to move away from home, play big-time football, and get a top-notch education.
  • Boston College
    • The closer-to-home, high academic school that has been around from the start of his recruitment blowout. Jeff Hafley has done a nice job on the recruiting trail already and is pushing for another big win over a blue blood program.
  • Oregon
    • Mario Cristobal and the Ducks threw their hat in the ring on August 20th and immediately jumped into his top three ($). Admittedly his “dream school” since he was a kid, Daymon told 247Sports’ Brian Dohn that he’s also a fan of their production at the safety position.

My Take:

Oregon has that dream school feel but may be late to the party and that cross-country trip may be too much for the Ducks to overcome.

Then there’s Boston College. It has the proximity factor and close relationships with David. However, if big time football is what he wants, that may not be the right place for him.

Though visits haven’t happened, I believe the strong relationships with the coaching staff and the total package that Michigan offers will help the Wolverines win out here.

Familiar Names to Re-Remember

OG Noah Josey

Now, if you don’t remember Josey, he’s been on the staff’s board for a long time as he visited Ann Arbor for the 2019 BBQ at the Big House. But as the cycle went on, he looked to be kept on the back burner a bit.

With the class looking to add one more offensive lineman and Kendall going from likely to questionable to join, Josey and Michigan have rekindled that relationship, first reported by TMI’s Sam Webb ($).

Michigan is clearly hoping to wrap this haul up with the four-star Kendall but if it ends up being the three-star Tennessean, that would be a pretty solid Plan C.

DT Jay Toia

Another large human being that the staff has had on its board for quite sometime but things seemed to cool off as the pandemic rolled along and USC reconfirmed their position. But the heat looks to be turning back up here.

The four-star USC commit recently spoke with 247Sports’ Greg Biggins about his recruitment, how he committed too early to enjoy the process, and how he’s looking to officially visit his top five schools; USC, UCLA, Utah, Nebraska, and Michigan, who he seems to be a big fan of:

“You really can’t go wrong with Michigan, that’s a special place,” Toia said. “They have great tradition there and have always been one of the top programs in the country every year…A big thing for me will be finding a school that is strong academically as well as strong in football and that’s definitely Michigan. I look at them as the Ivy League of the Big 10 and they’re very strong in my major, which will be Engineering.”

Jay Toia via Greg Biggins/247Sports

Toia also talked about Michigan’s pitch to play early and how he’s comfortable enough with his top schools to make a final decision even if visits are unable to take place.

There’s still a ways to go in this recruitment and it may be one that comes down to whether or not he can make a trip to Ann Arbor. If so, look out. If not, Shaun Nua and staff may have to pull out all the stops to flip Toia from the Trojans.

Commit Clips

Ah football. Breath it in. It’s back as high schools and small colleges have kicked off their seasons. For how long? We’ll see but here’s to hoping it all goes well. That’s especially true for Michigan’s commitments, some of whom were lucky enough to have their season openers this past weekend.

As expected, as division one recruits normally do, they all showed out:

LB Junior Colson

WR Markus Allen

FS Rod Moore

Photo Credit: Patrick Barron/MGoBlog

Garrett Fishaw