A terribly taxing stretch of Michigan football became that much more taxing last night with the decommitment of five-star prize George Campbell. The top-ranked wide receiver in the class of 2015 pulled his commitment from the Wolverines Friday but didn't want the news to leak immediately:
No. 2 ranked WR George Campbell has decommitted from Michigan. He decommitted Friday, didn't want it out for awhile but that happens.— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) December 18, 2013
I was inside of a Saginaw theater watching Anchorman 2 when I heard the news; that's two massive disappointments in one sitting.
Michigan fans naturally have a plethora of questions regarding Campbell's decision to reopen his recruitment. Why is he doing this? Will Michigan be able to reel him back in? If not, who's next up on the board? I can answer the last two with a fair amount of confidence; I advise you to leave the answer to the first alone and not become That Guy who curses at a teenager on Twitter.
I highly doubt Michigan will be able to get Campbell to join the class again, and there are plenty of reasons why I believe that. First, Campbell holds offers from the likes of Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Notre Dame and Ohio State; Alabama hasn't offered yet, but something tells me it's only a matter of time until they do. Campbell is a Florida native who has the opportunity to play elite football close to home, and that usually doesn't turn out well for the University of Michigan.
Second, and even more important, is the fact that Michigan's program is surrounded by a cloud of doubt -- and it has been since early in the current season. I denied it for weeks and weeks, but it's undeniable at this point: Michigan's pseudo-instability is costing it recruits. George Campbell doesn't know if the coaching staff that recruited him to Ann Arbor will still be there a year from now, or two years from now, or when he graduates from college. No one who matters to Campbell will be fired this off-season, but they could very well all be gone at the end of next year if more offensive line woes drag the team to a sub-par season. Considering Michigan's current depth chart on the offensive line, there's a real possibility of that scenario playing out, and Campbell knows it. He says that Michigan is still in the hunt, but I'm not counting on it.
With Campbell off the board, who does Michigan pursue next? It's still early in the process for the class of 2015 despite all of the exposure its receiving, so new names should appear on the board soon. New Jersey receiver Irvin Charles could see Michigan's interest in him go up; the same could be said for California prospect Equanimeous St. Brown. Steve Lorenz of 247 Sports also thinks that Florida prospect John Burt could become a top target.
The good news is that Michigan has recruited the receiver position well in previous classes, which softens the blow of this decommitment quite a bit. Four-star receivers Freddy Canteen, Maurice Ways and Drake Harris will all be on campus next year, and the Wolverines still have Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson, Da'Mario Jones and others ready to step up.