Inside the Fish Bowl is Revisiting the Wisconsin Visitor’s List

This weekend, Michigan took care of business on the field against Wisconsin and took care of business with their ridiculous group of visiting recruits. Though only one commitment went down during the visit, in the form of 2018 OG Emil Ekiyor, more look to be on the horizon. Some recruits are going to go home and talk it over with their family while others will have to wait to hear back from the Michigan staff on whether or not they can accept their commitment.

Check all of the news out of the weekend in the latest Michigan recruiting update:

Wait and See 

Going into the weekend, there were a couple players that I was watching closely in terms of a commitment. The main name that I was hearing could drop was Dunbar (FL) OLB Shanon Reid, and I still feel pretty good about my Crystal Ball prediction there even though he didn’t follow through with an in-person commitment.

In my Crystal Ball post, I mentioned that Reid would drop as long as he received the green light. Well, that looks to be the hold up here. First reported by Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz, Michigan is waiting on more academic information on Reid, along with LB Jordan Anthony, before moving forward ($). But this hasn’t stopped Reid from feeling good about his potential future in Ann Arbor:

Reid spoke with Scout’s Corey Bender about his visit and why Michigan and Mississippi State are at the top of his list ($):

When I went to both of the colleges, I was impressed by their academic standards because I know anything can happen with football; nothing is promised.”

On top of MSU, NC State is another program to watch in Reid’s recruitment. But, if/when Reid is cleared on Michigan’s side of things, I don’t imagine him taking very long to join UM’s 2017 class.

As for Anthony, who was also mentioned by Lorenz as an academic wait, he’s another linebacker target I felt good about before the visit and even better about afterwards. And I’m not the only one.

My Crystal Ball for Anthony has been on Michigan since June and I don’t see it going anywhere. Though he’s expected to take an official visit to Oklahoma later in the season, as long as he’s cleared by UM, I don’t see the Sooners or any other program (especially Maryland) landing his commitment.

Commitments Coming?

Looking for another visitor who Michigan is looking better and better for after this weekend? Iowa City West (IA) WR Oliver Martin is a player that has become a priority for Jim Harbaugh and it is starting to show more and more as his recruitment moves forward.

Martin made his way to Ann Arbor this past weekend for another unofficial visit and, according to just about every source, things are trending hard towards the Maize and Blue.

Prior to this weekend, Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz jumped on board and put in his Crystal Ball for Martin to Michigan after speaking with a trusted source close to the situation ($). But he’s not the only Michigan recruiting analyst hearing very good things. Add TMI’s Sam Webb to the list as he’s hearing that Martin’s father is ready for a decision to be made, mentioning that a big question for Martin was answered this weekend by Michigan ($).

This is a recruitment to watch closely. It wouldn’t shock me in the least to see Martin make a decision in the not-so-distant future after sitting down with his family and breaking down the top contenders. And, if that happens, it’s hard to bet against Michigan here.

Speaking of safe bets, DB Jaylen Kelly-Powell is getting a run for his money as the safest bet in this class from IMG Academy (FL) C Cesar Ruiz after his official visit this past weekend.

Ruiz spoke with several analysts after the visit and pretty much said the same thing to each, the visit went as well as possible:

The nation’s top center spoke with The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown about his visit, what stands out about Michigan and his plans to make his commitment after his official visits on December 18th or at the Under Armour All-American game on January 1st ($). He also told Brown that Michigan is “in a good spot”.

Whether he waits until the new year or announces a week before Christmas, I would be completely shocked if he didn’t choose Michigan. Especially after this visit.

Making Moves

In terms of recruiting rankings, there wasn’t a more highly ranked players on campus than Pensacola (FL) OT Alex Leatherwood and Kennedale (TX) OLB Baron Browning. They were the names recruiting fans were waiting to hear about the most and the early returns on their trips haven’t disappointed.

Leatherwood has been committed to Alabama since June of 2015 and, though he’s flirted with others, he hasn’t looked that likely to flip. And while I still believe he ends up signing with the Crimson Tide, Michigan gave him a lot to think about after this visit, per Scout’s Chad Simmons ($):

To be honest, Michigan is making me think about my commitment to Alabama. My dad even likes them a lot. We’re gonna do some very deep thinking on this.

“I can’t really explain the feeling I have at Michigan — I just like it a lot.”

While I knew Michigan would make a move for Leatherwood, those comments were much more than I was expecting. I’m sticking with him sticking with Bama but I’m far less confident in that prediction than prior to the trip. Look for the coaching staff to turn the five star tackle into a true priority moving forward now that they definitely have his attention.

As for the other five star visitor, Browning is a player I felt much better about before the trip, in terms of Michigan’s chances, and feel even better now.

Thanks to a summer visit, family ties to Harbaugh and a fantastic fit in Don Brown’s defense, the Wolverines looked to be the dark horse candidate for Browning. But now, they may be one of the favorites.

According to a source, Michigan may be running second behind Texas for Browning after this visit. They also mentioned how the issues going on in Austin with Charlie Strong looking very likely to be fired. If that is to happen, UM’s chances obviously go up.

On top of that, Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz is hearing Michigan “made a statement” with Browning during his official visit ($).

Could Michigan really pull off the shocker and sign the five star linebacker out of Texas? I’m not ready to go there yet but the odds have clearly increased. He’s gone from a pipe dream to a player to watch, especially with changes expected at Texas. If the Longhorns make a move and are unable to hire a new coach that can sell Browning, this could be a battle between Michigan, Ohio State and UCLA.

Poly Pipeline

Since being hired as Michigan’s director of player personnel, Tony Tuioti has made it his main goal to build a Polynesian pipeline to Ann Arbor. He’s targeted the best Poly players across the country and has made them a priority on the recruiting trail. Two of the names that were quickly identified as perfect fits for the Wolverines just so happened to be two of the top ranked Poly players in the 2017 class. And Michigan is sitting pretty with both of them.

Starting with the latest visitor, Aledo (TX) OT Chuck Filiaga is a player the staff looks to be extremely high on. He’s a big, physical offensive lineman that has the build and skill to play early on in his career. And, like with the other high level offensive line targets, this was a main pitch (as well as the Poly connections) from the staff that looks to be working very well:

Filiaga spoke with Wolverine247 about his first trip to Ann Arbor, which he clearly enjoyed ($):

It was a great visit,” Filiaga told 247Sports. “From the game, the crowd, the coaches, the players, they all make it something special! Michigan truly does have a great set up for its program.”

USC has looked to be the main threat to land Filiaga throughout the cycle but with his move from California to Texas, as well as the disastrous season happening in Southern California, Michigan may now be the team to beat moving forward.

With the staff only having room for so many offensive lineman and so many top offensive lineman being realistic options for this class, keep a close eye on Filiaga from here on out. He’s a guy I could see receive a run on Michigan Crystal Balls in the not-so-distant future.

As for the top Poly player on the Michigan recruiting board, Bingham (UT) DT Jay Tufele made headlines earlier today when he confirmed his official visit date to Michigan:

Tufele is the top defensive tackle on the staff’s board and, arguably, the best defensive tackle in the entire class. He’s a high motor lineman that plays with great strength and athleticism, which could help him see the field early and often at whichever school he chooses.

At this point, it’s unknown exactly who is number one on his list. Ohio State has been named the favorite multiple times in the past and is the biggest threat to sign him on the trail. But don’t count out Utah and BYU. His connections to his in-state programs is strong and it’s not crazy to think either program could sign him.

As for Michigan, they may be in the best situation to land Tufele.

The Wolverines have made him a priority from early on and the fit inside the program and defense could be better than at any other school. This upcoming visit to Ann Arbor has the feel of a game changer. If Tuioti, Mattison and Harbaugh are able to show him and his family a great time, I could see Michigan becoming the favorite as he heads into the final months of his recruitment.

Quick Hitters

  • 2017 Grimsley (NC) S/OLB Brelin Faison-Walden received one of my latest Crystal Ball predictions as he made his way to Ann Arbor for his official visit this past weekend. While he didn’t flip his commitment from Penn State during the trip (not like he wasn’t expected to), Michigan is firmly on his radar and has their foot in the door. According to TMI’s Sam Webb, this was more than just a “token visit”, mentioning multiple members of his family taking the trip with him ($). Not a ton has come out on BFW but I still feel good about my flip prediction.
  • 2017 Bishop Hendricken (RI) DE Kwity Paye was another weekend visitor that happened to be committed elsewhere that Michigan made a move with. As a Boston College commit, it’s no surprise the Michigan offer, let alone the visit, moved UM up his list. But how high? Paye told Scout’s Brian Dohn that UM and BC are his top two schools and that a flip could happen if he doesn’t enjoy his BC official visit as much as his UM official ($). It’ll be interesting to see if he remains a take by the time that visit takes place.
  • 2017 Trinity Christian Academy (FL) CB Shaun Wade was originally expected to visit Michigan this past weekend. However, the visit didn’t take place and he’s now skipped out on two visits to Ann Arbor (BBQ as well). But, unlike last time, there’s no plan to visit again. When asked about his interest in UM and if he would visit, Wade told Scout’s John Garcia Jr. “not right now” ($).

Photo Credit: Patrick Barron/MGoBlog

Latest posts by Garrett Fishaw (see all)