Searching Down South: Michigan Looks to Land the Best from Texas

Here’s a fun but bad stat: Michigan hasn’t had a commitment out of the state of Texas since the 2011 class where they had 3 of them (though only one of them ever played for the Wolverines). That isn’t good. Not just because Michigan has pulled some great recruits out of the Longhorn state in the past but because Texas is one of the most talented high school football states in the country. It is too big of a gold mine to not pull a couple recruits out each class.

Well, Jim Harbaugh’s had enough of the lack of Texans on the roster.

At the moment, there is a good chance that Michigan ends up signing several of Texas’ top players. Here’s a breakdown of which recruits they have a best chance at landing:

*Rankings from 247Sports

DT Jordan Elliott

The 14th best player in the state, Elliott has quickly become the most likely Texan to become a Wolverine. As one of the top defensive tackles in the class, a position of need in 2016, he is near the top of the recruiting board. Thanks to the relationships the staff has built with him and his mother, Michigan is at the top of his board.

According to Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz’s sources, his mother loves UM and wants her son further away from home ($). And you know how recruiting is. Most of the time, whatever mom says, goes.

At this point, I believe Elliott ends up in this class but let me repeat, that’s at this point. He’s committed and decommitted twice already (Baylor and Houston) so this one won’t completely be over until he signs his letter of intent.

DT Chris Daniels

The 25th best player in the state, Daniels actually played his freshmen year in Muskegon (MI), grew up cheering for UM and his grandmother still lives in the state. So, the Wolverines have been a top contender for his services since offering back in February. While their odds of landing him have been a roller coaster, whenever he visits Ann Arbor, UM looks to lead for him. Well, he officially visited for the Rutgers game and, whataya know, it looks like UM just may be at the top of his board again.

Daniels spoke with The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb and told him about how awesome his trip was and how great of a relationship he has with UM defensive line coach Greg Mattison ($).

While I would still say he ends up at Oklahoma at the moment, if I had to choose, it looks like Michigan is definitely in the thick of this race. With the high need at defensive tackle, it wouldn’t shock me at all to see Daniels decide to jump on UM’s board if his OU official isn’t as great as he was expecting.

OT Jean Delance

Delance is the 13th best player in the state and, according to Wolverine247’s Steve Lorenz, he’s the top offensive lineman on Michigan’s board ($). When you look at the future depth chart, you can see why the staff is adamant about landing JD. Though there is plenty of talent coming in and on roster, there aren’t many that have the athleticism and high ceiling like Delance.

Though most believe he stays in-state and plays for the Longhorns, Michigan is said to be right there with UT. And with all of the issues going on in Austin and Charlie Strong’s future looking in doubt, the safe move for Delance could be to head up north.

At this point, I’m not ready to put him in this class. Though a great official visit for the Ohio State game could push myself and him over the top.

DE Levi Onwuzurike

As the 40th best player in the state, not many people know about Onwuzurike. That’s not saying they don’t know about him as a person or recruit but no one seems to know where he’s leaning in his recruitment. He’s one of, if not, the only ranked recruit on 247Sports that still has yet to receive a Crystal Ball prediction. That’s an impressive feat by him especially since National Signing Day is less than 3 months away.

While it’s not known where he’ll end up, Michigan is making a push to be that school. According to Sam Webb’s interview with Chris Daniels, UM wants to end their class with Daniels, Rashan Gary, Jordan Elliott and Onwuzurike ($).

Will it happen? That’s completely unknown as it looks like it would take some big time maneuvering to fit four more defensive lineman in the class. But I won’t doubt Jim Harbaugh. If he says that’s the plan, I won’t call him a liar.

LB Dontavious Jackson

Jackson is the 17th best player in the state and probably the most wanted from the Michigan fan base. He’s that stout, hard hitting enforcer in the middle that every defense wants. And UM just may end up with him, as long as they can blow his socks off again on his official visit at the end of November.

There were several rumors going around after his spring game visit that Jackson and teammate Chris Brown loved Michigan so much that they nearly committed during the trip. It’s unknown if that for sure happened but it is known that DJack (as they call him) did have himself a great time on the trip.

Jackson’s recruitment is far from over and there are several heavy hitters in contention but if Michigan can show him an even better time on his official visit for the OSU game than he had  during the spring game (that will very likely happen), look out. If the staff can sell him on the program (again), their future, and the very good shot at playing early, I believe UM could make a big time move later this month.

OLB Jeffery McCulloch

McCulloch is actually the highest ranked player in the state on this list (11th) but also looks like the biggest long shot. While he’s been a top target for the staff since the get-go, things have never really took off between “The Shark” and the Wolverines. But I won’t completely rule him out just yet.

The odds of him being in this class are closer to slim and none at the moment but he is expected to officially visit for the OSU game with several other top Texas targets. If the staff can sell him on the Buck position in Durkin’s defense, the future of the program, and possibly playing with his fellow in-state recruits, they could make a move for him.

DB Chris Brown

Brown is the 96th best player in the state and though he’s at the bottom of this list, he’s actually the recruit that was the closest to being a Wolverine so far.

According to Sam Webb’s interview with Brown’s father, Michigan was not only the leader in his eyes but was the team he was clearly selling the most to his son ($). Now, that reaction was from their spring game visit so things could have obviously changed. While it’s not known exactly when UM stands with the Brown’s or vice versa, his official visit for the (you guessed it) OSU game could possibly reignite that fire, as long as the staff is still targeting him.

It has been years since Michigan has signed a Texas recruit. That ends this year. I believe Michigan ends up landing and signing at least two names off of this list, if not more. The November 28th visit for the OSU game is gigantic for UM’s chances at ending the 2016 class on an extremely high note.

No matter how it ends up, look for UM to heavily target the Longhorn state in each class moving forward.