Inside the Fish Bowl is Quietly Chasing the Great White Buffalo

With the season officially over the Michigan recruiting trail is starting to become extremely active. Not only is there a ton of information coming out of the Army All-American Game but there’s a lot of information on other top recruits around the country starting to leak out. Starting with the good news….

Shhhh, It’s Commit Season

Thanks to a great interview by The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb with Michigan commit QB Brandon Peters, UM fans learned that the Army All-American Game’s West Squad has two silent commits to the Wolverines:

Oh, silent commits. Every fans favorite thing. While most of the time those rumors don’t hold any water, this one is coming directly from the quarterback commit of the class while he’s at the AA game which means it’s very likely true.

So, who are those silent commits?

Well, the fact that Peters said the two silents are on the “West team” nearly gives it away. Michigan is in a battle for several top players at the Army game but there are three names playing for the West that look to be very solid bets to end up in the class at this moment:

Detroit King (MI) CB Lavert Hill 

Though Sam Webb received confirmation that Hill would NOT be making his announcement at the game on Saturday, all signs continue to point to Michigan. Scout’s Greg Powers spoke with him about his recruitment and continued to speak very highly of UM ($).

Whenever he makes his decision, at this point, I feel very good about Michigan’s chances and wouldn’t be shocked to learn that he was “silently committed” before announcing his pledge.

Santa Margarita Catholic (CA) WR Dylan Crawford 

The most polished receiver Michigan is going after in 2016, Crawford continues to look very likely to choose the Wolverines when he decides on Saturday. However, he’s giving some UM fans reason to be slightly concerned thanks to his possible plans to take visits after his commitment and his ability to keep his cards close to the vest during interviews.

But that’s recruiting. Not every recruit will have a Maize glow every single time they talk about their recruitment but I don’t think there’s too much to worry about. While he has told multiple interviewers that he has yet to make his decision, all signs continue to point to Michigan with multiple Scout analysts predicting the west coaster to end up in Ann Arbor as well ($).

Loyola (CA) CB David Long

Since decommitting from Stanford, Washington recruiting analysts have been penciling Long into the Huskies 2016 recruiting class each day. Well, I hope they have a eraser handy just in case because while UW does have his last official visit (January 15th), according to multiple reports, Michigan will have the last say for the Loyola standout as they will have an in-home visit with him before he goes on vacation prior to NSD.

It’s very possible that his trip to Washington blows him away and he chooses the Huskies. But with UM rumored to have the lead at the moment (and him speaking very highly of UM during his interview with The Wolverine’s Tim Sullivan) and now getting the last chance to recruit him in person, things continue to look very good for Michigan here.

You can also add in Sam Webb hearing a Crawford commitment could help UM with Long ($).

Peters also mentioned that Detroit King (MI) WR Donnie Corley is another top target for UM at the game but from going off of my source and just about every other report, he’s likely to choose Michigan State or Ohio State on Saturday.

Lets just say if Corley chooses Michigan, no one outside of his family and close friends would have seen it coming. So, i’ll stick with what I’ve heard from sources and read from the top analysts.

Which Defensive End Will it Be? 

The Michigan Insider/Scout has been on fire this week and has been on top of several top Michigan targets as we head to the final stretch. That includes two of their top defensive ends on the board, Allen (TX) DE Levi Onwuzurike and Brophy (AZ) DE Connor Murphy.

According to Sam Webb, Scout’s Texas analysts believe Onwuzurike is down to two teams ($), and Michigan has a great shot to land him. While Scout’s Brandon Huffman believes Michigan could be the team to beat for Murphy ($).

Question is, will they have room for either or both of them? Everyone knows that Michigan is running low on spots in this class and have several top targets remaining on the board. The staff seems to be extremely high on both at the moment and it could be a first come, first serve situation.

So, You’re Telling Me You’re the Great White Buffalo?

The Great White Buffalo of the 2016 recruiting class is shaping up to be IMG Academy (FL) TE Isaac Nauta.

Quickly, if you don’t know what that is, this should help:

Out of every recruit in the class, Nauta seems to fit Jim Harbaugh’s system better than anyone. However, it is very likely that Michigan misses out on him and he announces for Georgia in the 4th quarter of the Army AA game.

According to his interview with The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown, Nauta was planning on making his final decision last night and admitted that Michigan is “still in it” and “definitely up there” ($).

That sounds great and all but it’s still pretty likely that Michigan misses out on the #1 tight end in the class as he chooses to stay home in Georgia and play for the Bulldogs.

Though, if you’re looking for a glimmer of hope, myself and Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz don’t believe it was a done deal going into this week like others believed (i’ll explain my thinking on that after he decides).

I fully believe it’ll be Georgia for Nauta but at the same time I believe Michigan has a better shot here than Lloyd does with Mary:

Taking a Full-er Run at New Jersey

Another top target for the staff that they may miss out on is Old Tappan (NJ) ATH Jordan Fuller.

247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong put in a Crystal Ball for Fuller to end up at Ohio State on Tuesday and that seems like the likely landing spot at the moment. However, this race is far from over.

Michigan will have a shot to make up a ton of ground on January 22nd when they host Fuller for his official visit. That visit will also feature a couple other top targets, including Paramus Catholic (NJ) WR Donald Stewart and DT Rashan Gary (unofficial visit).

The Wolverines will have some ground to make up on both Ohio State and Notre Dame here but thanks to the New Jersey connections and educational opportunities in Ann Arbor, I believe they have a real shot to land him when makes his decision on/around NSD.

Quick note: Speaking of Gary’s visit to Michigan, according to Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz, Stewart won’t be the only Paramus Catholic teammate of his in Ann Arbor as 2017 LB Drew Singleton will be visiting as well ($). And with Valor (CO) QB Dylan McCaffrey expected to announce in the near future and Singleton making yet another unofficial visit to campus, the 2017 class could be cooking with gas going into the 2016 NSD.

Leave Jordan Alone!

While 2016 commit Westside (TX) DT Jordan Elliott puts on a show at the Army AA practices, I think I know where the added motivation and anger is coming from: reporters continuing to ask him if he’ll flip his commitment again.

Now, I’ve said it before, I understand why a lot of people think it’s possible. However, when a player continues to give the same message and tell reporters that he’s all Michigan, I think it’s time for other teams to give up on that dream.

Also, just another quick note to recruitaholics out there on social media and message boards: the internet isn’t that hard to navigate and recruits will find your messages bad mouthing them pretty quickly. Like Elliott did to this class act:

Think before you tweet or message board and please don’t dog on recruits for making their own personal decision. I promise it wasn’t in spite of just you (unless you’re that guy above. I hope that was a big reason why he didn’t choose his school).

Another Hill for Michigan? 

For months now, Michigan has been a favorite to land the commitment of (likely) possible transfer QB Taysom Hill.

Jim Harbaugh has a long relationship with Hill as he recruited him out of high school and landed his commitment to Stanford before heading to the NFL, opening the door for Hill to choose BYU. They also reportedly remain in contact and with Michigan having a world renown business school and questions at the quarterback position in 2016 (maybe John O’Korn isn’t Tom Brady?), it seems like a perfect fit.

I believe that to be the case and so does the folks over at Vanquish the Foe:

I think the only thing I’m really confident about is that Hill won’t be playing QB at BYU next season. A few months ago, I thought that “not playing college football” was the most likely outcome, and I guess I’ll stick with that, followed by a transfer to Michigan as the most likely. But things change fast here, and lots of other outcomes are certainly possible.”

With the college transfer quarterback market becoming the new “thing” in sports and plenty of top options already choosing their programs, Jim Harbaugh may have to make his move pretty quickly to land Hill. And though Virginia and former BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall have already “offered” him, I think the opportunity to compete for a ring during his last season may outweigh a near guaranteed starting spot with the Cavs.

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