Inside the Fish Bowl is Receiving Mixed Signals

Week one is in the books and all eyes now turn to the Knights of Central Florida as Michigan looks to move to 2-0 on the season. But that’s not all that Michigan fans are keeping an eye on. Recruiting has reached the official visits stage as top targets will make their way to Ann Arbor all fall long on the program’s dime. That also includes top targets visiting elsewhere and rumors starting to run wild. And, whataya know, the rumors and speculation have already begun.

Receiving Mixed Signals

Michigan hosted their first official visitor of the weekend in Cheshire Academy (CT) WR Tarik Black and things looked to have gone as good as possible, especially for his head coach on his first visit to UM.

Black’s head coach, Dave Dykeman, spoke with 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong about their trip and how well the program did from start to finish ($):

Every single thing was first class from the minute we got there to the minute we left,” Dykeman said. “He got some great time to spend around the staff and the recruiting staff. It was very well done that’s for sure.”

Dykeman also spoke with The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown about how impressed he and Black were with the visit ($):

“I think he walked away incredibly impressed,” Dykeman said. “It was his fourth time at Michigan and I think every time he goes up there he’s more and more impressed with everything happening there. There’s something pretty special happening at Michigan right now that’s for sure.”

As for Black, he caught up with Scout’s Brian Dohn to discuss the visit and the Michigan pitch ($):

They need me to play there early,” Black said. “They will have six scholarship guys for receiver next year when (Amara) Darboh and (Jehu) Chesson leave. Those big receiver positions will be open.”

The trip clearly went well. But did it go well enough to land that silent commitment that was supposed to go out prior to his season starting? Though it’s all speculation, I wouldn’t rule it out. Michigan has become the heavy favorite moving forward and should remain there barring any crazy changes, especially since Black is supposed to “lockdown” his recruitment after his official visit to Auburn this upcoming weekend.

If anyone’s asking, my Crystal Ball isn’t going anywhere.

So, everything continues to look good for Michigan and Black. But what about Clay-Chalkville (AL) WR Nico Collins?

Well, it looks like my previous residing state’s in-state school is starting to nip at the ankles of the Wolverines the most.

On Friday, Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz mentioned that Georgia, not Alabama, was making a big push for Collins and looked to be the biggest threat for the big receiver ($). But that’s not where it stops. According to Dawgs247’s Rusty Mansell (no, not the nickname for Johnny Manziel when he tries to make his football comeback), UGA’s push for Collins is going over like gangbusters as he’s hearing that the Bulldogs are “probably the team to beat” in this recruitment ($). That intel was followed by Crystal Ball predictions from both Mansell and his co-worker at Dawgs247, Kipp Adams.

Sidenote: Dawgs247 may have the best collection of names in the entire recruiting world.

The Crystal Ball predictions are still heavily in the favor of Michigan here for Collins but it’s clear that things are not as much of a “slam dunk” as previously thought. As for my take, I’m sticking with UM here, especially with an official visit expected to happen later this fall. Georgia is a threat but I believe UM’s total package and longer relationships will win out in the end (at this point).

More Jersey Visitors

In the next stage of innovative recruiting by Jim Harbaugh, Michigan hosted several multiple top recruits over the last couple weeks. But it wasn’t a normal recruiting visit as the program hosted the teams of these recruits to play a game in the Big House. And though I’m sure some will look to ban that in the future, this was a big hit with the top targets, especially Paramus Catholic (NJ) LB Drew Singleton.

Singleton and the Paladins played and beat St. Frances (MD) the night before Michigan kicked off their season against Hawaii. And, whataya know, Michigan had coaches and players there to watch the highly ranked linebacker prospect:

Singleton stuck around after his win to watch Michigan’s blowout win over Hawaii. But it wasn’t his official visit. Singleton told Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz that, on top of this unofficial visit, he’ll be making an official return trip to Ann Arbor later on this year.

Prior to his visit, Singleton was one of the safer bets to end up in Michigan’s 2017 class. Afterwards, things look even better. Lorenz put up a VIP note on Singleton’s visit which included the talented linebacker telling media about his main factors in a decision which included alumni base and networking ($). To add on to that, 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong joined in and commented saying that he believes Singleton’s just enjoying the recruiting process, similar to Donovan Peoples-Jones and Ambry Thomas.

As for when Singleton’s official visit could happen, the Wisconsin game looks like it could be the perfect time as it’s not only becoming the top official visit game for the staff but he’ll have the chance to attend alongside fellow New Jerseyan and easily one of the top players on the board, IMG Academy (FL) C Cesar Ruiz.

The nation’s top center caught up with Rivals’ Adam Gorney about his upcoming official visits, including what he likes so much about the Wolverines ($):

It’s a long-time favorite,” Ruiz said of Michigan. “It’s just the place where I’ve been the most comfortable the longest. I have two former teammates that are committed there and I always went on visits there and I got to bond with the coaching staff, a lot of the players and I got that vibe.”

Ruiz is a player I believe is another safe bet to choose Michigan at this point and Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz’s source is hearing something very similar ($). Like the previously mentioned top targets, Ruiz looks to be enjoying the process before he’ll eventually commit to UM.

Holding on to Herbert

When Michigan beat out Florida for 2017 American Heritage (FL) OL Kai-Leon Herbert, it shocked some national recruiting analysts. The Gators were the heavy, heavy favorite for the majority of his recruitment but it was a mid-summer visit and the total package opportunities at UM that helped the Wolverines receive his commitment via killing zombies in a Bleacher Report video.

Well, it looks like that could potentially all go to waste as Herbert unofficially visited Gainesville for Florida’s season opener and it looks like confidence is growing for the Gators’ to flip Herbert.

247Sports’ Luke Stampini touched on the growing confidence for UF, mentioning Michigan’s large offensive line haul, Herbert’s closer proximity to Gainesville and two of his teammates already committed to UF being main factors ($).

To add into that speculation, Herbert removed every Michigan item from his Twitter bio. In the past, this move has gone both ways. Several commitments have done something similar and followed suit with a decommitment. However, there’s also Brandon Peters doing it last cycle and never truly wavering on his pledge. I’m leaning towards Herbert potentially leaving the class at this point. Though UM won’t let him go that easily. Look for him to officially visit Ann Arbor this fall and for the staff to try and solidify that commitment once again.

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