Inside the Fish Bowl is Leading the Way in 2016

Do you already miss Michigan football? Bye weeks are brutal but luckily that’s over now and you won’t have to go another weekend without watching the Wolverines until December.

While you were enjoying the last free Saturday afternoon until the winter, the Michigan coaching staff was on the road visiting and recruiting their top 2016 targets, including a stop in Florida for the biggest high school game of the week as Rashan Gary‘s Paramus Catholic took on Isaac Nauta‘s IMG Academy.

Top Team for Top 10 Targets? 

Though IMG pulled out a close win, Michigan may end up being the biggest winner of that game. UM is in great shape with several top players at both schools, including their lead for Gary and charge to the top for Nauta.

The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb was able to catch up with Nauta after the game and broke down what he likes so much about Michigan and how he doesn’t have a leader:

While interviews with Michigan analysts don’t always give you the best look, thanks to recruits normally giving them/us what they think the UM fans want to hear, sources close to the situation are a better way to get a pulse on the situation. And The Wolverine crew was able to catch up with one that believed Nauta was close to pledging to Harbaugh while on his trip if it weren’t for some pressure back in Georgia ($).

This recruitment is far from over but the longer Michigan goes without pushing TE Jacob Mathis to commit, the better they feel about their chances for the nation’s #1 tight end.

As for Gary, I (along with most) believe Michigan has a clear lead for his signature on National Signing Day, especially when you add in all of the positivity from his official visit for the BYU game and what he told 247Sports’ Ryan Bartow will be his deciding factors ($):

How close it is. How my mom feels. The food. That will be the main factors,”

Well, out of all of his “finalists”, which includes several SEC schools, Clemson and USC:

  • Michigan is the closest (check)
  • It’s been well rumored/reported that Gary’s mother, Jennifer Coney, loves Michigan (check)
  • While Ann Arbor may not have the history of great barbecue and comfort food of the south, it still has some of the best restaurants on any college campus (check)

Gary also caught up with TMI’s Sam Webb as well after his game vs IMG and said some similar things about what he’s looking for in his future school ($). All of which Michigan looks to have a big advantage:

If the on the field product continues to shine like the recruiting product, there’s a very real chance that Michigan walks away with two of the top 10 players in the country.

Leaders and Best? 

While Michigan looks to possibly be leading for their two top players on the board, they also are said to be in the drivers seat for three other top 2016 targets.

WR Keyshawn “Pie” Young

Young has looked like a Michigan lean since landing his offer from the staff over the summer, however, he was never able to make it to campus. Well, that will change on November 28th when he’s in town for the Ohio State game and I would not be shocked in the least bit if he pledged to the Wolverines during that trip. He has plans to announce his decision in December but I believe the staff may push for it then so he can guarantee himself a spot in this class.

And it’s not like he’s hiding his love for Michigan very well. You normally don’t see tweets like this directed at only one program (and no, he didn’t send out multiple tweets with different hashtags):

Add in Michigan desperately needing that speed and things are looking excellent for the Wolverines picking up Pie in the not-so-distant future.

WR Dylan Crawford

Speaking of top wide receiver recruits with speed to burn, multiple reports are saying Michigan is the leader for Crawford after his official visit to Ann Arbor for the MSU game. Though once that came out, the offer he was looking for the most finally was available as Oregon threw their hat into the ring.

While several Michigan fans thought this was the end of UM’s chances, The Wolverine crew is hearing that while it’s made him stop and think, Michigan is still sitting pretty ($):

The Oregon offer is a big deal for him,” the same source said. “If he hadn’t gotten it, he might have committed to Michigan over the weekend. Oregon has been his personal favorite, but he and Mom are both really sharp when it comes to the recruiting process, and Mom is on [Michigan’s] side.”

Like Gary’s recruitment, Crawford’s mom is a big factor in the recruitment. If she is indeed on Michigan’s side and Crawford is looking at the projected future of both programs, the Wolverines may add their top two receiving targets before December (as long as there’s room, of course).

DT Jordan Elliott

Elliott is a name that most, including myself, should have been paying closer attention to on the recruiting trail. While he committed and then decommitted to Houston, he’s been quietly liking Michigan for quite some time.

The staff has been all over him since offering back in March and he’s included UM on every top teams list. Add in him showing up at the staff’s Houston satellite camp with his mom just to meet the coaches in person and the writing should have been on the wall that he was very interested.

Well, if you didn’t believe he was interested before, you should now. Elliott told Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz that Michigan is his current leader ($).

With that news along with him officially visiting for the Rutgers game on November 7th and Elliott clearly not afraid to make a quick decision, things could escalate quickly here.

Some have asked about if Elliott would be a take with Gary looking likely to join the class as well and I believe he would be for sure. Not only is he a top 100 talent in the class but he also would fill a huge need. The 2016 Michigan depth chart doesn’t feature a scholarship nose tackle younger than one junior/redshirt sophomore (Bryan Mone).

So, if the staff is looking to fill that gap (literally and figuratively), Elliott should not only be a take but he should be a top target moving forward.

Trending Down Sooner or Later

Everything has been very positive, up until now. I know, I know, I’m the worst, I’m sorry. But it’s Monday and everything isn’t always perfect.

I was able to catch up with my Oklahoma source about two of the top ranked players on Michigan’s defensive board, 2016 OLB Caleb Kelly and DT Chris Daniels, to see what was the latest feeling on them.

On Kelly:

I hear OU, I hear Michigan for Kelly. 50-50 at this point. Clarity next month, for sure (officially visits Oklahoma on November 21st).”

While they even think it’s a 50/50 race, they still are hearing it’ll be the Sooners for Kelly:

I can tell you most still feel he’s a Sooner. The Chip Viney (OU’s DBs coach) effect is the deal breaker.”

As for Daniels:

Chris Daniels seems to be an OU lean, but he does like Michigan a lot. Should have a better feel after his official to OU for TCU game.

Going back to how important moms are in recruiting:

Daniels’ mom loves OU. That’s gonna be hard for anyone to beat out.”

As for a current commit that looks to be fading from the Wolverines, LB David Reese has been one of the hottest recruits on the trail over the past week and some change. He’s picked up big time offers from Texas, Nebraska and Florida, and it’s not really coming from out of the blue.

Reese’s father spoke with The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown about how they were the ones to put out “feelers” and even he doesn’t know where his son will end up playing college ball ($).

Some clarity should be coming out in the near future as the Reese Sr told Brown that he and his son are expected to meet with the Michigan coaching staff this week.

Photo Credit: The Miami Herald/Fansided