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.”
— David Dykeman (@coachdykeman) September 3, 2016
— David Dykeman (@coachdykeman) September 4, 2016
As for Black, he caught up with Scout’s Brian Dohn to discuss the visit and the Michigan pitch ($):
The trip clearly went well. But did it go well enough to land that silent commitment that was supposed to go out prior to his season starting? Though it’s all speculation, I wouldn’t rule it out. Michigan has become the heavy favorite moving forward and should remain there barring any crazy changes, especially since Black is supposed to “lockdown” his recruitment after his official visit to Auburn this upcoming weekend.
If anyone’s asking, my Crystal Ball isn’t going anywhere.
So, everything continues to look good for Michigan and Black. But what about Clay-Chalkville (AL) WR Nico Collins?
Well, it looks like my previous residing state’s in-state school is starting to nip at the ankles of the Wolverines the most.
On Friday, Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz mentioned that Georgia, not Alabama, was making a big push for Collins and looked to be the biggest threat for the big receiver ($). 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:
Jim Harbaugh and the squad out in the Big House on college football eve pic.twitter.com/p4ArIobzn4
— Patrick Barron (@BlueBarronPhoto) September 2, 2016
Rashan Gary and Jabrill Peppers at the high school game in the Big House tonight pic.twitter.com/gx2XgPbHsO
— Patrick Barron (@BlueBarronPhoto) September 2, 2016
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.
— S A U C Y ™ (@_OverCees) September 3, 2016
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 ($).
To add into that speculation, Herbert removed every Michigan item from his Twitter bio. In the past, this move has gone both ways. Several commitments have done something similar and followed suit with a decommitment. However, there’s also Brandon Peters doing it last cycle and never truly wavering on his pledge. I’m leaning towards Herbert potentially leaving the class at this point. Though UM won’t let him go that easily. Look for him to officially visit Ann Arbor this fall and for the staff to try and solidify that commitment once again.
- According to Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz, Michigan is still recruiting 2017 Penn State commit and Grimsley (NC) S/OLB Brelin Faison-Walden ($). This is a move I thought would be possible thanks to Faison-Walden’s versatility and ability to play a Jabrill Peppers-like role. If PSU struggles this season, things could get very interesting here between BFW and the Wolverines.
- The Wolverine crew has been all on Michigan and 2017 Aledo (TX) OT Chuck Filiaga, mentioning him as a top OL target for the staff. And now Filiaga has put Michigan in his top 10 and looks like a very solid candidate to take one of his five official visits to Ann Arbor.
- There aren’t many recruit names I mess up more than 2017 Beaver Falls (PA) DT Donovan Jeter (on two different occasions have called him Donovan Johnson). But I’ll need to lock down that name as the big man from the Keystone State will officially visit Michigan for the Wisconsin game on October 1st.
- One offensive lineman that looked to be off of Michigan’s board after his commitment to LSU was 2017 Cy-Fair (TX) OL Austin Deculus. Well, according to TMI’s Brice Marich, Michigan has begun reaching out to Deculus again, looking to set up a visit to Ann Arbor ($). While I’m not holding my breath here, it shows that the staff isn’t going to leave any stone unturned and is going to do their best to bring in the best recruiting haul possible.
- There aren’t many 2018 recruits that may be higher on Michigan’s board than former Gilman standout under Biff Poggi and current IMG Academy (FL) DT Taron Vincent. However, Ohio State has been the early favorite here, but that hasn’t stopped UM from making a move. Via Scout’s Chad Simmons, Vincent now has the Wolverines in his top five schools ($). Look for Biff Poggi to be a big factor for UM’s chances moving forward.
Photo Credit: FRANK JANSKY/ICON SPORTSWIRE