Though everyone’s eyes are on the NCAA tournament, college football recruiting is still pumping out news and Michigan is involved in quite a bit of it. That includes rumors surrounding elite targets, top lists and upcoming visitors. A big reason why is the program’s latest staff additions.
But first, the biggest news…
Get the Popcorn Ready
Everyone and their mother in the Michigan recruiting world is hearing very good things about UM’s chances of landing a commitment this week from Bob Jones (AL) S AJ Harris.
All in all today was a great day with the Michigan football family 🏈〽️
— AJ Harris (@aharris59) March 19, 2016
— AJ Harris (@aharris59) March 20, 2016
Well, I was able to confirm a decision is expected to be happening soon and UM is in great shape.
Stay tuned and have the popcorn ready. By the way, for the best popcorn, go with 2 minutes and 15 seconds. Not the popcorn button. You’re welcome.
College football recruiting is all about relationships. Building them, growing them and maintaining them with both the recruit and the people in their life. But those relationships don’t just appear out of thin air. Having a diverse, versatile coaching and recruiting staff is extremely important and Jim Harbaugh has built one of the most well rounded staffs in the country.
One of Harbaugh’s latest additions to the staff is former Cleveland Browns defensive quality control coach and University of Hawaii linebackers coach, Tony Tuioti has hit the ground running in his new role as UM’s director of player personnel.
As Michigan’s lone Polynesian top staff member, Tuioti has his eyes on the top Polynesian recruits in the class, including:
- Berrien Springs (MI) DT Phillip Paea
- Brighton (UT) ATH Sione Lund
- Bingham (UT) DT Jay Tufele
- Westlake (UT) S Chaz Ah You
Another name to watch is Ohio State commit and Bishop Gorman (NV) DT Haskell Garrett.
According to a source, Haskell has been in contact with Coach Tuioti and the new Michigan staffer is really “working the Hawaii connection” to try and get the OSU commit to Ann Arbor for a visit.
That connection is a big one for Haskell and his father, who likes what he sees going on at Michigan. And, according to two different sources, it’s looking possible that Garrett’s recruitment opens back up in the future. With UM starting to pick up their interest, the Bishop Gorman standout could be a name to watch closely throughout the cycle.
As for another top defensive tackle out of Nevada, Michigan’s recent offer to Centennial (NV) DT Greg Rogers is a very big one.
Rogers let me know how big of an offer this was and how it was one he was looking forward to receiving. He also spoke with Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz about his interest in Michigan and how 2016’s top player and UM signee is helping the Wolverines chances with Rogers ($):
Coach said that they really want to add another difference maker in the middle in my class to create havoc going forward. I followed Rashan (Gary) when he was being recruited, and while I don’t know him personally, the fact that he chose Michigan over all the other schools is something you take notice of. We would be a lethal combination, there’s no doubt about that.”
Rogers mentioned that it’s unlikely that he makes it to Ann Arbor for an unofficial visit, he said it’s a “high chance” Michigan receives one of his official visits this fall. If that does indeed happen, keep a close eye on Rogers. UM is sitting pretty moving forward.
Receiving A Lot of Love
Michigan has nearly extended 30 offers to wide receivers in the 2017 class even though the staff may only have room for 1-2 commitments in this class. It’s not a secret who the top target on the board is as Cass Tech (MI) WR Donovan Peoples-Jones is the best player in the state and one of the best overall players in the entire class.
Yooo this is Tough 👀 pic.twitter.com/U14zsOecwH
— DPJ™ (@dpeoplesjones) March 19, 2016
Another receiver that the staff is very high on is Servite (CA) WR Terrell Bynum. I caught up with the four star receiver to talk about his interest in Michigan:
“Its been really good. Them and UW (Washington) are probably recruiting me the hardest and i love the staff. i can’t wait to visit”. As for that visit, he said that he and St. John Bosco (CA) OT Wyatt Davis will be visiting “sometime soon”.
I’d put Bynum in that top tier of receivers on Michigan’s board along with Peoples-Jones as well as Cheshire (CT) WR Tarik Black and Clay-Chalkville (AL) WR Nico Collins.
Speaking of Collins, according to Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz, his family is actually from Detroit and is full of Michigan fans ($). Though most believe he’s destined to end up staying in state and playing for the Crimson Tide, he’s not hiding his affinity for the Maize and Blue:
— Scout HS Alabama (@ScoutHSAlabama) March 20, 2016
Collins is also expected to make his 2nd visit to Michigan for the spring game on April 1st.
Michigan has made Alabama a main target state in 2016 and 2017. If the staff can pull the top player in the state (Collins) away from Bama, Auburn and the other regional powers, Greg Sankey and the SEC coaches will be doing even more to try and ban Harbaugh from their states.
Big Man Lists
The Hun School (NJ) DT Fred Hansard announced last week that he’ll be making his collegiate decision on his birthday, May 14th. He also released his top seven schools from which he’ll be making his choice.
— Fred Hansard (@Fred_Hansard56) March 18, 2016
Though Michigan is included and Hansard looked like a legit option to join the class, it’s unlikely UM is the choice unless something drastic happens. No one seems to know which way he’s leaning so I’ll take a shot in the dark and say he chooses Ohio State.
As for a big New Jersey target that UM is in good shape for, Montvale (NJ) OG Joshua Fedd-Jackson told Scout’s Brian Dohn that “North Carolina, Rutgers and Michigan” are his leaders ($).
Fedd-Jackson also told Dohn he’ll visit Ann Arbor this spring but from reading his answers, UM may be running third on his list.
Another big offensive guard that has Michigan near the top of his list is Central Catholic (PA) OG CJ Thorpe who visited UM on Saturday. I caught up with Thorpe soon after his trip and he was really feeling what UM had to offer. When I asked where the Wolverines stand for him post-visit, he said “Top 5 for sure”.
With so many top offensive lineman favoring Michigan, it will be very interesting to see who lands those 5-6 spots.
All the Quick Hitters
- Five star South Grand Prairie (TX) DB Jeffrey Okudah has had Ohio State out front for quite sometime but Michigan is making up some ground. He told Rivals’ Josh Helmholdt about his plans to visit Ann Arbor this spring ($).
- St. Joseph’s Prep (PA) RB D’Andre Swift is a top target for the Michigan coaching staff and could visit in the near future. He told Scout’s Brian Dohn about how interested he is in UM thanks to the staff and their consistent pursuit ($). He also said he wants to see Michigan this spring.
- According to Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz, Michigan is “primed to make a major run” at top 2017 target Burbank (CA) DE DJ Johnson ($). Back when he received his offer from the staff, he told me that it was “really big” for his recruitment. He clearly wasn’t lying.
- The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb caught up with Santa Margarita Catholic (CA) WR/TE Grant Calcaterra, who is really feeling UM and has set up his visit to A2 for the end of March ($).
- Though Michigan’s interest has cooled since DJ Durkin’s departure, American Heritage (FL) CB Marco Wilson told The Wolverine’s Tim Sullivan he and some of his teammates may be looking to visit UM this summer ($).
- Vidalia (GA) LB Nate McBride is the top inside linebacker in the class and a top target for most programs. It looks like Michigan is also following suit as he told Lorenz that Harbaugh is starting to recruit him and he’s trying to set up a visit ($). I’ll put McBride in the “extremely doubtful” category as he’s expected to end up in the SEC.
- Michigan is hosting 2018 Bishop Gorman (NV) QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson for three days this week, per Wolverine247 ($). He’ll also make a stop at Ohio State later in the week. The two rivals could end up battling it out for the up and coming talent thanks to their coaches ability to develop players.
- At least three of the top 2018 recruits in New Jersey will visit Michigan for the spring game as Paramus Catholic (NJ) LB Bartek Rybka tweeted out his plans to join St Peter’s Prep (NJ) DE Jayson Ademilola and his twin brother OLB Justin Ademilola on the spring game visit.
Photo Credit: Tony Ding/AP