HUGE Michigan Recruiting Update.
Since Jim Harbaugh took the helm as Michigan’s head coach, the Wolverines have acted swiftly in devising a recruiting board and attacking the 2015 class’ remaining top prospects. With about ten scholarships to use in this cycle, Michigan is aiming for a high-quality finish, extending efforts deep into Florida, Texas and California—traditional recruiting hotbeds.
Last weekend was a huge recruiting period for Michigan with four uncommitted prospects on campus. Avon Old Farms, Conn. five-star tight end Chris Clark took his long awaited official visit to Michigan, and the Wolverines delivered a memorable trip. With Harbaugh’s staff officially assembled, Clark had the opportunity to meet with his potential position coach in college, Jay Harbaugh, for the first time.
After Harbaugh greeted Clark at the airport, the Michigan headman took the prized recruit to the Michigan vs. Northwestern basketball game. Clark said “I got to sit in with Coach Drevno, Coach Harbaugh and Coach Jay Harbaugh and we talked about the type of offense they’re looking to run and how it would suit my game,” Clark told Steve Lorenz of 247sports.com. “I’d say that my game under the new staff is an even better fit than it was under Coach Hoke. I know Coach Harbaugh has had a lot of success with the tight end position at both Stanford and in the pros, and it speaks for itself there.”
In addition to the tight end development under Harbaugh, Clark was vividly reminded of how integral the tight end position has been in Harbaugh’s offense previously. All of these points were well received by Clark, who also hit it off with the younger Harbaugh.
Jay Harbaugh also visited Clark at his school on Wednesday. Clark will officially visit UCLA this coming weekend and he will decide between the two schools on February 4th.
Ranking in the top 100 nationally, linebacker Roquan Smith also visited Ann Arbor last weekend to check out what the Maize & Blue has to offer. Once D.J. Durkin was hired as Michigan’s defensive coordinator, the Wolverines immediately shot up Smith’s board.
Smith recently named a top three of Georgia, Michigan and UCLA, but the prevailing notion is that it’s a toss-up between the Bulldogs and the Wolverines right now. Another school to watch is Texas A&M as the Aggies may attempt to secure a visit shortly.
Also on the defensive side of the board is Damon Arnette, a 6-foot-2, 185 lb. three-star cornerback from powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas in Florida. Although Arnette is currently committed to South Carolina (since July 8, 2014), he is a soft commit and took a strong look at U-M over the weekend.
On his visit, Arnette was hosted by newly minted safety Jabrill Peppers. In conjunction with the energetic redshirt freshman, the Michigan coaching staff took the recruits out for a night of bowling. Harbaugh also visited Arnette for an in-home today.
Senior defensive end Shelton Johnson (offers from Florida St., Miami (FL.), Virginia Tech, etc.) also visited, but Michigan is not believed to be a factor anymore. UM also hosted commits Tyree Kinnel and Andrew David.
Sandwiched in between the past recruiting weekend and the next recruiting weekend was an official visit from possibly the cycle’s largest target– five-star defensive back Iman Marshall.
Right after officially visiting Florida State, Marshall made his way up to Michigan for a long-debated official visit. Although Marshall’s father could not attend, the blue chip prospect had a great time in Michigan with the new coaching staff.
Marshall donned both the No. 8 and No. 2 jerseys while on his visit, sprinting onto the field of Michigan Stadium on both occasions. At another time on his visit, the staff took Marshall to Yost Ice Arena where he met hockey head coach Red Berenson before trying his hand on the ice.
Wide receiver Freddy Canteen was Marshall’s host on this trip. The two trained together out in California previously, and the topic was explored again on Marshall’s visit. Another big time influence is Jabrill Peppers. With Peppers’ move to safety, this opens up an opportunity for Marshall for early playing time at corner.
Marshall is clearly a kid who appreciates the tradition that Michigan has to offer, as it is a location that has intrigued him since his former teammate Juju Smith began showing interest in the Wolverines.
Michigan has another chance to make a strong push for Marshall on an in-home visit with he and his father this Monday.
This weekend, too, is going to be pivotal for Michigan in terms of shaping its 2015 recruiting class. There are six prospects, all holding Michigan offers, slated to be in Ann Arbor on officials this weekend: tight end Matt Snyder, defensive end Reuben Jones, athlete Chris Williamson, defensive back Will Lockett, fullback / outside linebacker Reagan Williams and offensive lineman Nolan Ulizio.
Snyder and Jones are both currently committed to Nebraska, Lockett is a UCLA verbal pledge, Williams is a Stanford Cardinal commit and Ulizio is committed to UCONN. Williamson is uncommitted at this point.
Williamson has exploded in the past three weeks, pulling in over a dozen division one offers from top programs across the country. Michigan can offer early playing time for an athlete of his caliber and that is a big factor in his recruitment.
Jones was visited by a contingent of Michigan coaches this week as Harbaugh, Durkin and defensive line coach Greg Mattison dropped by Lakeland, Florida for an in-home visit with the highly coveted defensive end.
The Wolverines are also working on adding another quarterback to the 2015 class to compliment Brother Rice commit Alex Malzone. Harbaugh has expressed interest in McLane Carter out of Gilmer, Tx. Carter is in search of his first offer, but is reportedly hearing from other big time schools and is a name to watch.
Another prospect that appears higher on the Wolverines’ board is Texas QB commit Zach Gentry. The New Mexico product stands at 6-foot-6 and 240 lbs. and is mobile with strong pocket presence. Gentry may schedule an official visit for this weekend. If that does materialize, look for Michigan to have a good chance in flipping Gentry with Kyler Murray in the Longhorns’ sights at quarterback.
Taking two quarterbacks in the same class is not uncommon for a Harbaugh-led team. While at Stanford, Harbaugh had dual quarterback commits in three out of four seasons. This looks to be a theme that will continue into 2016 as the Wolverines are recruiting another highly skilled passer to go with Messiah deWeaver.
K.J. Costello camped at Michigan over the summer and was very close to committing to U-M while on his camp trip. Michigan backed off, but the Wolverine are back in it as Harbaugh reaffirmed Costello’s scholarship offer shortly after taking the job.
Costello is also teammates with four-star wide receiver Dylan Crawford, who camped with Costello at Michigan and also sports an offer. Both are highly interested in Michigan.
With UM legend Tyrone Wheatley signed on to coach running backs at Michigan, the Wolverines also look to make a strong late charge in earning a recommitment from Cass Tech’s Mike Weber.
After committing to Ohio State in the Brady Hoke fallout, Weber has become an absolute priority for the new Michigan staff. Wheatley has been in Cass Tech and is strongly pushing for an official visit. If this happens, which is likely, Michigan has a shot to flip Weber.
Wheatley is also in pursuit of Oak Park athlete John Kelly, who Harbaugh said could play on either side of the ball at Michigan. Add four-star Detroit King junior wide receiver Donnie Corley and King junior cornerback Lavert Hill to the list of players from Southeastern Michigan receiving visits from Wheatley so far.
With so many cornerbacks receiving offers from Michigan lately, it is also clear that UM will look to take multiple corners in this cycle as well. One intriguing prospect that netted an offer is three-star Nate Dalton out of Houston, Tx. Dalton had an official visit scheduled to Michigan for this weekend, but cancelled the visit after an in-home meeting with Harbaugh.
With Dalton out of the picture, one prospect that does have a shot to make Michigan’s ’15 class is Rutgers commit Jarius Adams. Durkin offered Adams last week and he will officially visit on January 30th.
PODCAST: Check Out My New Michigan Podcast!
Today I started a new podcast for Wolverine Sports radio! I love the concept and jumped at the chance to get involved with this new venture. Today was the first “Big House Nation” show, I’m a tad rusty, but it went well.
I talked to Dan Henson (Drew’s dad), former D1 Coach about the new Michigan Coaching staff. He broke it down pretty well. I also chatted with Anthony Broome from Maize n’ Brew about last weekend’s big recruiting weekend in Ann Arbor.
PICTURE: Five Star CB Poses With Woodson Picture
This is a good picture, but Blake Countess isn’t going to like it. 2 and 5 at CB could be pretty sweet, but Iman Marshall is a long shot at this point in the recruiting game.
— Biggie (@iman_marshall8) January 19, 2015
Twitter Erupts With Michigan Recruiting News (OPEN THREAD)
Excited to meet @JayHarbaugh this weekend new tight ends coach of um
— Chris Clark (@Clark8Chris) January 15, 2015
Four coaches, including Mora, visited Tyrone Wheatley Jr. today. Coach Tuie from USC did as well.
— Brandon Brown (@BSB_Wolverine) January 15, 2015
Four-star DE Shelton Johnson snags Michigan offer & will visit this weekend http://t.co/prniU8CH9Q
— Tom Beaver (@TomBeaverGBW) January 15, 2015
— Anthony Broome (@anthonytbroome) January 15, 2015
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) January 15, 2015
— Steve Lorenz (@TremendousUM) January 15, 2015
Jim Harbaugh has been seen at many of the most prominent football high schools in metro Detroit today: http://t.co/7pxNneUfjm
— Freep Sports (@freepsports) January 15, 2015
— Joshua S. Henschke (@JoshuaHenschke) January 15, 2015
— Anthony Broome (@anthonytbroome) January 15, 2015
Jim Harbaugh also visited Orchard Lake St. Mary’s today: pic.twitter.com/YLWDlGHMgr
— Mike Sullivan (@MikeSullivan) January 15, 2015
— Bob Redman (@BobRedman_Scout) January 15, 2015
Attacking this day with Enthusiasm Unknown to Mankind
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) January 15, 2015
— Clint Brewster (@clintbrew247) January 15, 2015
Couple sources indicate that there are legs to the idea Kevin Hogan would transfer to Michigan.
— mgoblog (@mgoblog) January 15, 2015
Michigan Offers Florida 4 Star Wide Receiver!
One of the few uncommitted top recruits in the country heard from Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh today and took to twitter to let everybody know about it.
Just talk to Jim Harbaugh!! Received an Offer from Michigan Wolverines #GoBlue
— Ryan Davis (@thaRD5) January 15, 2015
@) a receiver from St. Petersburg, Fla. is an uncommitted, a four star and the No. 8 ranked WR by Rivals. Nearly all of his interest is in Southern schools and he’s scheduled to visit Auburn this weekend
Ohio State’s National Title Means Nothing To Jim Harbaugh and Michigan
There are so many media trolls looking to stir up an artificial rivalry between Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh in the wake of Meyer’s first National Championship at OSU that it is laughable. The rivalry doesn’t need the media, it’s already doing just fine organically.
So far today I’ve heard “the seat just got hotter for Harbaugh at Michigan,” “Harbaugh’s gotta win NOW,” “the pressure is on Harbaugh,” etc. All of these ridiculous narratives are garbage and completely made up. There is zero outside pressure on Jim Harbaugh to win immediately, although I am sure he expects it from himself. The guy hasn’t even been on the job a month and people expect him to compete for a National Title in the next twelve months? That is out and out ridiculous. Jim Harbaugh is a long term play at Michigan, he wasn’t brought to Ann Arbor to crank out a couple of B1G titles in the short term and then move on to another gig. He’s at Michigan to build a long-term foundation and to reestablish Michigan as a national power.
Sure Urban Meyer’s National Title raises the bar for everybody in the B1G, but nobody at Michigan has unrealistic expectations for 2015, sure, they expect drastic improvement from one of the best coaches in America, but they aren’t expecting a B1G title, just yet. The good news is Harbaugh is beginning in his best situation as a college Head Coach, he built programs from the bottom up at San Diego and Stanford, but Michigan isn’t nearly that far gone as a program. The only things Brady Hoke’s Staff did well was recruit and play a little defense. Harbaugh is returning most of the players from a top 10 nationally ranked unit in 2014, so there is talent on that side of the ball.
The offense is another story, the biggest issues are finding a quarterback and some play-makers. Finding a QB is by far the biggest challenge, I still think Morris or Speight will end up under center in Utah on opening night. Morris is odd, he has all the tools but doesn’t appear to have the mentality. Morris’s sample size is small, but I expect Harbaugh to work some magic on this kid. Everybody I talk to says if Morris can’t get it done they believe Speight can do the job. Nobody has anything negative to say about Speight other than his inexperience. Finding play-makers shouldn’t be that difficult, they have Drake Harris from the 2013 class ready to go, Freddy Canteen draws rave reviews from observers and you have to think ONE of the highly touted running backs Derrick Green, Daveon Smith, Ty Issac or Drank Johnson will have to have a break out season, right?
The path to a B1G title and a date with Urban Meyer is a difficult one, no doubt, but you can bet this program will have a much better showing on the recruiting trail and in the standings in 2015. As far as OSU, don’t buy the “dynasty” just yet, OSU had plenty of stumbles in 2014 and the obstacles will only be more difficult in 2015. I think we all need to tap the breaks a bit on 2015.
Jim Harbaugh Hires His Son Jay As TE Coach!
Wolverine 24/7 is reporting that Jim Harbaugh has hired his son Jay as his TE Coach at Michigan. Jay recently served as Quality Control Coach for Jim’s brother John with the Baltimore Ravens.
Jay Harbaugh’s hiring completes Michigan’s new coaching staff.
|OC||Tim Drevno||DC||DJ Durkin|
|TE||Jay Harbaugh||DB||Greg Jackson|
|WR||Jedd Fisch||ST||John Baxter|
|S & C||Kevin Tolbert|
Is Roy Manning OUT At Michigan?
There are reports from Youngstown that Mike Zordich is leaving YSU to join Harbaugh at Michigan. This can’t be good for former Wolverine Roy Manning with only 2 slots left on the coaching staff.
|OC||Tim Drevno||DC||DJ Durkin|
|WR||Jedd Fisch||ST||John Baxter|
|S & C||Kevin Tolbert|
I’m told that YSU Assistant Mike Zordich is leaving the Penguins to take a assistant coaching position on Jim Harbaugh’s staff at Michigan
Can Harbaugh Beat OSU in 2015? There Is Precedent!
Eight years ago, Harbaugh arrived at a moribund Stanford program and told anyone who would listen the Cardinal were going to win with “character and cruelty” – then went out and did just that. Five games into his first season with a team that won a single game the year before, Harbaugh took his 40-point underdog Cardinal into the L.A. Coliseum and beat college football king USC.
With a walk-on quarterback.