Inside the Fish Bowl is Waiting for the Fireworks

Everyone and their mother expected some fireworks this weekend during Michigan’s recruiting visitors weekend but those were put on hold as if Dave Brandon were the one requesting them. However, unlike Brandon’s explosions in the sky (great band, if you didn’t know), these fireworks are expected to happen.

Where are the Commitments?

Michigan hosted a nice group of official visitors over the weekend and, like just about everyone else, I was fully expecting at least one commitment. While I’ve heard a couple different rumors, nothing was publicly announced in favor of the Wolverines. But that doesn’t mean they’re not coming.

Here’s a breakdown of who made it to town and where Michigan stands with them:

  • De Paul Catholic (NJ) Michael Dwumfour made it to town on Friday and let me know he had a great time during his trip, saying he “loved” the visit and hanging out with good friend and HS teammate Kareem Walker. There were some questions about if he did hold an offer from the staff and, according to The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb, he’s had one for awhile but it’s not known if it’s committable or not ($).
    • If his offer is indeed committable, after getting some intel and doing some digging, I believe he ends up in this class and I wouldn’t be shocked to see it happen later this week. And yes, I think this would be a big feather in UM’s hat for their pursuit of DT Rashan Gary.
  • Nixa (MO) TE Chase Allen kept me updated with his recruitment throughout his visit and continued to say how much he loved his visit. I definitely thought a decision would have been made during his time on campus but he decided to hold off though that won’t be for long. He let MaizenBrew’s Brandon Justice know that a decision is “coming soon” and told TMI’s Brice Marich that Michigan is his leader.
    • I wouldn’t be surprised to see Allen get home, break down the contenders with his family and then announce a decision this week. One I expect to be for the Maize and Blue barring any changes from his side or the staff’s.
  • McKeesport (PA) ATH Khaleke Hudson was a player I was watching closely this past weekend and for good reason. I received some intel saying that Hudson was giving a lot of positive vibes during his visit and then 247Sports’ Ryan Bartow backed it up by putting in a Crystal Ball for Hudson to UM and added “At this point, I can’t see Hudson land anywhere but Ann Arbor” ($).
    • Penn State has long been a favorite in this recruitment and with his official visit to State College set up for this upcoming weekend, I believe he’ll take that trip and if it doesn’t blow him away, he’ll commit to Michigan soon after.
  • Rockford (MI) K/P Quinn Nordin made national headlines heading into the weekend thanks to his slumber party on Thursday night with Jim Harbaugh. Afterwards, Nordin took Harbaugh with him to school and then was driven to Ann Arbor by Michigan’s head coach to start his official visit. Like every other trip to A2 this cycle, Nordin looked likely to flip but held off.
    • From Harbaugh’s personal pursuit, it looks like Nordin is definitely a full scholarship take. However, I think he wants to continue to enjoy the process and take his remaining official visits before announcing a final decision. But unless something drastic happens from now until NSD, I still see him flipping to the Wolverines sooner or later.
  • Texas grad transfer OL Jake Raulerson didn’t hide his enjoyment for his trip during his official visit. And from everything I’ve gathered, Michigan looks to be in great shape here. Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz is also hearing very good things about UM’s chances here ($).
    • A timeline is not yet known but as long as the staff is still fully on board with bringing him in, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Raulerson announce a commitment sometime this week.
  • Gilman (MD) OT Stephen Spanellis was recently offered by Michigan and joined his high school teammate and current UM commit OT Devery Hamilton for an official visit to Ann Arbor. He also spoke with TMI’s Brice Marich about his visit and let him know that, while he’s still committed to Virginia, he’s now more interested in the Wolverines ($).
    • It’s not known exactly where Spanellis stands on the staff’s board but I believe he could be a guy they stay on up until NSD and may push for him if they miss on some other targets. But at the end of the day I believe he ends up signing with Virginia.

Tracking the Top Targets on Tour

Several of Michigan’s top uncommitted targets remaining on the board took official visits around the nation this past weekend, including:

DL Rashan Gary

The top player in the class and top player on Michigan’s board made his way across the country with his mother to Los Angeles to check out USC and, according to Scout’s Brian Dohn interview with Rashan’s mother, things went very well ($):

He could definitely go to USC,” Coney said. “The visit was a game-changer.”

While this is definitely a good sign for the Trojans, Coney also compared USC to Michigan on multiple occasions saying they are very similar academically but USC obviously has the weather advantage.

I fully believe USC will be a finalist for Gary along with Michigan and Ole Miss but hanks to UM’s longtime pursuit, relationships with both the staff and current commits, as well as his unofficial visit to Ann Arbor next weekend, I’m sticking with the Wolverines here.

CB David Long

Like Gary, Long has been a priority recruit this cycle since taking over the program last January and, thanks to that, UM is in great shape heading towards NSD.

After sporting Michigan arm bands in the Army All-American game, all signs pointed to UM as he made his way to Washington for his last official visit. And, according to RealDawg’s (Washington’s 247Sports affiliate) Ruth Robbins, Long made it “abundantly clear during (his) visit that he’s more into Michigan” ($).

Not knowing exactly what she heard or saw, I’d guess Long’s (alleged) snapchat referring to Michigan as “we” could have been part of it:

Robbins, while seeming a little salty along with several other RealDawg board members, also put in a Crystal Ball for Long to Michigan but then switched it to foggy after hearing some more information. While Scout’s Greg Biggins is also feeling Michigan ($).

According to 247Sports’ Ryan Bartow, Long will announce his decision on Thursday, January 21st and will see both Jim Harbaugh (Monday) and Chris Peterson (Wednesday) before that announcement ($).

At this point, I believe Harbaugh will seal the deal on Monday and Long will end up committing to Michigan on Thursday.

DB Jordan Fuller

Fuller is another top target for the coaching staff and is looking like a very real option for the class heading towards NSD. However, he made his official visit to (rumored leader) Ohio State this past weekend.

This visit looked like a great opportunity for the Buckeyes to really take a big lead in his recruitment, however, from his interview with Scout’s Brian Dohn, while he called his trip “very good” he didn’t seem to give his trip to Columbus the most glowing review of all time ($).

Now, it’s hard to really know any recruit is feeling about his trip through an article and Fuller is a smart but quiet recruit. He’s not giving up a ton of information but from what I can gather, the Buckeyes still look to be the favorite going into his Michigan official. But that’s where things could change.

The Old Tappan standout will be on campus for an official visit this upcoming weekend and with the educational factors and future trajectory of the program, along with the several other New Jersey targets on campus at the same time, UM has a real shot at Fuller right before NSD.

CB Lavert Hill

Though just about every Michigan target remaining on the board made a visit this past weekend, no one made more headlines or jumbotrons than Hill.

The former Penn State commit made his way to State College for an official visit and the Nittany Lions clearly had big plans to try and reel him back into the fold. In a move I’ve never seen before, PSU put Hill on the ice during intermission of PSU-Wisconsin hockey game, put him on the scoreboard and had the fans give him a standing ovation:

Seems super illegal, right? I thought so and it would have been if Hill hadn’t already signed a financial agreement with PSU in the past. So, there’s not much else to see here.

As for Penn State’s chances with Hill, I believe they’ll be on the table for his NSD announcement but this looks to be a Michigan-Michigan State battle. And it’s one that is looking too close to call as it will come down to blood vs water. He has his brother in Ann Arbor and a couple friends and former teammates in East Lansing.

Michigan has been long known as the heavy favorite here but MSU has made up a lot of ground over the last couple weeks. Hill will see UM’s Greg Jackson on Monday (per Rivals’ Josh Helmholdt), officially visit EL next weekend and I wouldn’t be shocked to see UM push to get him on campus again right before NSD. Either way, this is one recruitment to watch very closely over the next two weeks.

Other top targets making official visits this past weekend included:

More Attrition Coming?

Michigan has lost a couple commitments throughout the cycle and it doesn’t look likely to end before NSD.

Notre Dame offered commit WR Nate Johnson on Saturday during his OV to Miami (FL) and the Fighting Irish now quickly becomes a legit threat to flip him. Soon after landing the offer, he cancelled his visit to Vanderbilt for this upcoming weekend and replaced it with a trip to South Bend.

But this isn’t the first time hearing that Johnson could leave the class.

Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz mentioned that Johnson’s recruitment is one of the main things to watch up until NSD thanks to his official plans elsewhere and Notre Dame’s growing interest ($).

While Michigan has four wide receivers commitments in the class, Johnson and Dylan Crawford are the only pure receivers so I couldn’t imagine the UM staff just letting Johnson go without a fight.

At this point, I’ll stick with Johnson remaining in the class but should have a much better feel for it after his OV to South Bend.

Speaking of Crawford, he’ll be a commit that several will watch closely as Oregon just lost the commitment of WR Eddie McDoom. The latest UM commit was very high on the Ducks prior to his decision but, IMO, I believe he sticks with the Wolverines. He didn’t have to make his announcement at the Army All-American game but did because he was ready.

Obviously it’s unknown if Oregon will even take another run at him or if he’d even respond to them after giving his pledge to the Wolverines but we’ll see what happens from now until NSD. 

Side Note: As for McDoom, 247Sports’ Ryan Bartow quickly put in a Crystal Ball to Michigan for him after speaking with him and learning of his plans to visit UM this weekend ($). Oh #crootin is fun. 

As for a commit that is starting to look like a possible decommit before NSD, Cooper City (FL) DE Rashad Weaver took an official visit to Temple this past weekend and the Crystal Ball predictions are starting to come in for him to flip to the Owls. This is definitely a recruitment to watch closely.

As for a commit that isn’t going anywhere, Ben Davis (IN) ATH Chris Evans reaffirmed his commitment to Michigan yet again over the weekend to Scout’s Anna Hickey:

Evans is one of the most dynamic players in Michigan’s class so keeping him is a big win for the UM staff. He has a chance to see the field early in his career thanks to his versatility.

Photo Credit: Getty Images / Gregory Shamus