Inside the Fish Bowl Doesn’t Believe in Pre-Engagements

The 2016 BBQ at the Big House is in the books and even though Michigan didn’t pick up any commitments, everything went off just as well as possible. Whether it was the scavenger hunt or the amusement park-like atmosphere inside the Big House, everyone looked to have a fantastic time.

Some may look at an event of this size not producing immediate commitments as a fail but that simply isn’t the case. The majority of the recruits on campus weren’t at that point just yet and the ones that were are still players to watch throughout the weekend and following week.

Commitment Issues

One of the main talking points on Twitter and message boards today was the rumors of silent commitments. Those rumors were all coming from the same people who have been beyond wrong with several other rumors in the past. That history, along with the whole meaning of silent commits in general, is why I always suggest taking any silent rumor with a big grain of salt.

One of The Fort message board members, beeggsblue, said it very well:

99% of the time silent commits aren’t worth the air they’re written on. They are the contrivance of people who want to seem to be insiders. These people rarely give out names, as it would be, ” unfair to the recruit who wants to remain anonymous.” In fact, what they are doing is jerking the heart-strings of starry-eyed dreamers who in their impatience would inadvertently fill up their favorite school’s class in May, well before late-emerging studs such as Myles Garrett come along.”

Well said, beeggsblue. Well said.

Sometimes, I’ll buy silent commits, especially when they come from legit sources. So, I spoke with multiple legit sources, including one very close to the situation, to see if these rumors were true. And, like I expected, there weren’t any commitments at the BBQ.

Now, one very good source did mention players giving the staff a good feeling about where things stood. Though they said “not really”, when I asked about commitments going down today, they did say that a lot of visitors informed the staff they are leaning that way but are planning on waiting.

So, let’s give the rumor crew the benefit of the doubt for a second. Could they have heard something similar? Sure. But if they did, they took the staff hearing that players planned on committing to them in the future as silent commitments. And that’s not what a silent commitment is.

To put it in layman’s terms, it’s like your crush saying, “If I’m not married by the time I’m 35, I’ll marry you” and thinking that it means the same as the two of you getting engaged but not wanting to update your Facebook status just yet. One is an engagement while the other is a pre-engagement. They’re close but not the same.

Michigan did very well at the BBQ and is very likely to land several of the uncommitted visitors. But nothing is guaranteed as of right now.

Positive Progress Reports

Silent commitment rumors aside, Michigan did a fantastic job here and have rocketed up several visitors’ list. A source said that Michigan “made a lot of progress on some guys”.

Two names that the staff spent a ton of time on were Antioch (CA) RB Najee Harris and Poly Prep (NY) OL Isaiah Wilson. Both Jim and Jay Harbaugh were locked in on Harris and spent a ton of time with him and his mother (which was a big, big deal) throughout the trip. That was the same with Wilson and the offensive coaching staff as the source said “they were all over him today and say he’s huge on their list”.

Speaking of huge, the source also said “he’s one of the biggest dudes I’ve ever seen”. And when you look at pictures from the BBQ, that’s not a stretch:

Neither of those things are really ground breaking news as Harris and Wilson have been priority recruits for the staff for awhile now. The real news is the progress the staff made with both of these elite targets. 

247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong is hearing Michigan has leap frogged Alabama for Wilson ($) while my source mentioned him as one of the main targets that the staff felt like they made “major progress” on during the trip. Unless something changes from now until the end of the month, look for Wilson to make a return to my August BGRC. 

As for Harris, Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz is hearing Michigan made a significant move ($) while TMI’s Sam Webb is hearing that UM is a legit threat for him moving forward ($). Getting his mom on campus was obviously big and the fact that the Harbaugh men took the reins in this recruitment. Both have ties to California and know how to talk to the quiet superstar recruit.

If they are able to get him on campus for an official this fall, I’ll truly start to believe Michigan could flip Harris from Alabama. 

Bear Fight! 

Those two weren’t the only elite level prospects on campus that Michigan made a big move for at the BBQ. One name that I’ve included in recent BGRC’s and a player I’ve mentioned multiple times as a recruit who UM would make a huge move for after this trip was Calabasas (CA) CB Darnay Holmes.

Holmes was easily one of the most active recruits on Twitter all day long as he was the posting captain for Team DB during the Scavenger Hunt. But it was what was going on off of social media that pushed Michigan way up his list.

Holmes has been longtime friends with freshmen CB David Long and WR Kekoa Crawford, both of whom were expected to be two of his main recruiters while on campus. Those early relationships along with him coveting a top level educational opportunity and wanting to enroll early made Michigan an obvious candidate here.

To back up my feeling of Michigan becoming the out-of-state favorite after this first visit, both Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz and The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown are both hearing that, thanks to this visit, it looks like this race will come down to Michigan and UCLA for Holmes.

I mentioned a couple months ago that I believed Holmes was the David Long of this class and believe now more than ever. His official visit for the Colorado game in just over a month should put UM in even better shape. A successful season on the field and priority-like recruitment from the staff should make this a very close race up between the Wolverines and Bruins until he signs his LOI.

Family Matters

Speaking of defensive back recruiting, I’m feeling better than ever about Michigan’s chances with both Cass Tech (MI) DB Jaylen Kelly-Powell and King (MI) CB Ambry Thomas‘ after this BBQ and especially after speaking with a source.

Though Kelly-Powell tweeted out that he won’t be making a commitment until after his senior season, I still feel very confident that he ends up choosing Michigan. That’s one main reason I’ve felt good about Thomas eventually choosing UM as well.

The two Detroit defensive backs are cousins and have mentioned several times that they’d like to play college ball together and Michigan is the program that is in best shape with both. But that’s not all. Thomas’ mom was a main fixture at the BBQ as she was tweeting out updates from her Twitter account throughout the day.

Getting mom on board is huge, that’s one of the main factors in most recruitments. Adding that in with all of the other information that has been out for the last year as well as some behind the scenes information and I’m just waiting for Thomas and Kelly-Powell to join the class together.

The Hudson Coaster

As for some “what the hell is going on?” news. 2017 Central Catholic (OH) DL James Hudson‘s recruitment has been one of the craziest in terms of rumors in recent memory. He went from nearly committing while at Michigan back in June to Michigan State becoming the favorite to sign him in July to him being the most likely to drop at the BBQ.

Well, that last part looked to be true earlier today when he tweeted out his plans to announce his decision while still at the BBQ:

All Michigan, right? That’s what I, and most others, figured. However, that may not be the case. According to Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz, Michigan State looks to be the team that will receive his commitment on Monday ($).

My Crystal Ball on Hudson has been all over the place. It was on Michigan for two months and then went to Michigan State for about a week. It then went to Cloudy for a day and then to Michigan right before this weekend. After Lorenz’s report, it’s now back on Cloudy. And that’s where it’ll stay.

Michigan clearly wants Hudson to be a part of this class as both the coaches and Rashan Gary were said to be all over him throughout the BBQ. That’s why it’s hard to believe he decided, while on campus, that Michigan State was his decision (unless something drastic happened).

Tune in Monday because Hudson has done one hell of a job making sure no one is 100% positive on where he’s going to commit. That’s an impressive feat in today’s world of recruiting. Let’s just say the only way I’d be shocked here is if he chose someone besides Michigan or Michigan State on Monday.

Best Foot Forward

On top of hosting a slew of five star talents in the 2017 class, they also hosted two in-state five star talents in the 2019 class in Belleville (MI) OT Devontae Dobbs and East Kentwood (MI) OT Logan Brown.

Being top in-state talents, it was obvious that Michigan is going to be a main factor for the soon-to-be-sophomores. And now that both Dobbs and Brown were offered at the BBQ, UM quickly jumps to the top of their lists.

Though it’s too early to be 100%, I quickly put in my Crystal Ball for Dobbs to Michigan once I found out about his dad being a huge UM fan. Brown is another player that could very well end up receiving a CB prediction but there’s not enough info out at this point.

Either way, getting in early with these two is big. If they both continue on the same path, Michigan will have two elite level offensive tackles right in their own state.

Jumbo Quick Hitters

  • I put in my Crystal Ball prediction for 2017 Skyline (WA) OL Henry Bainivalu to choose Michigan after his visit for the BBQ was confirmed. And that looks to have been a great call. The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown heard some very good things about the big man out of Seattle which included him thinking about a decision ($). I’ll have some more on him soon. Make sure to keep a close eye on him moving forward.
  • 2017 St. Mary’s (CA) ATH Popo Aumavae tried to make it to the BBQ but was unable to do so. He did inform me that he definitely plans on taking an official to Michigan this fall though. He’s a player that I added to my last BGRC and still feel pretty good about being in this class.
  • 2017 Gadsden City (AL) OT Toryque Bateman was a player everyone and their mother thought would/could drop this weekend. Well, according to a source, it looks like things are going to slow down on that front. That’s all I can say about that at this point.
  • 2017 El Cerrito (CA) OL Aaron Banks was one of the top ranked players that wasn’t getting as much love as the other big names but is one to watch from here on out. He clearly had a great time with his mom and brother from the look of his Twitter account but TMI’s Sam Webb is hearing even more, including an MDen shopping spree ($).

Photo Credit: Isaiah Wilson/