Now that the book is closed on Michigan's 2014 recruiting class, the Wolverines' coaching staff has wasted no time in switching their focus onto the '15 and '16 classes. On Thursday, Michigan made their first move in offering sophomore Greg Little. Contrary to his surname, Greg has reached six and a half feet and nearly 300 pounds (280) as a sophomore in the heart of Texas, an area that Michigan has shown renewed interest in lately. It may be difficult to set up a visit, but Little is so highly-regarded that it is worth a shot.
As it stands right now, Little is in the conversation as one of the top tackle prospects in the country for his class and holds offers from the likes of Clemson, Oklahoma, and Texas. Since the Wolverines already have another elite 2016 big man in the fold in Erik Swenson, an early commitment from Little may put a momentary halt on their recruitment at the offensive line positions.
Michigan's next move on the 2015 class came this past Friday as the Wolverines made a push for a rising linebacker out of Indiana who made waves in 2013. Playing a number of positions for the Andrean defense last year, Josh Barajas has received growing interest from around the Big Ten. With Illinois and Purdue already offering, Barajas can add Michigan to the list after a phone call on Friday with a member of the Wolverines staff.
"My coach told me to come down to his office and that coach Mallory had called," said Barajas. "I spoke to coach Mallory and then that's when he shocked me with the good news."
While his conversation with Michigan defensive back coach Curt Mallory was brief, it allowed Josh to further the relationship with his primary recruiter for the Wolverines. Mallory stopped in to see Josh shortly after the Dead Period ended in January, and the two have been in contact since then.
"It went good," said Barajas. "I really like coach Mallory. He seems like a really down to earth guy. It went very well. He told me a little bit, just the gist of what Michigan has to offer with their academics and school. Things like their football program."
While his knowledge in the Michigan program is brief at this time, he looks to expand on what he already knows on a visit in the near future. While a date has not yet been established, Barajas is tentatively expecting to visit at the end of the month. Michigan has a Junior Day in the works for their February 28 showdown at the Crisler Center against Michigan State, which is when Barajas is most likely to be on campus.
Once Barajas makes it to Ann Arbor, the 6'3", 210 lb. outside linebacker can begin to focus on what makes Michigan different from other schools. Among the factors that will contribute to his decision, Barajas will look for the interpersonal relationships that he can build while on Michigan's campus.
"What I look for is the family atmosphere and the whole relationship between players and coaches," said Barajas. "Not just on the field, but off the field too. That's really what is most important for me when I get to college. It's about the relationships and who they are as people, not just coaching style. I want them to be nice, real down to earth. I want to establish that they will get on my butt when I do something wrong and not just suck up to me the whole time I'm there. A place that will really lay down the law and push me to be my best."
One area that may come into play as national schools start to ramp up their recruitment in Barajas is how far away from home his future school would be. Michigan is well within his preferred range, however, and looks to be in good position moving forward.
"I would like to stay within five or six hours within driving distance," said Barajas. "Pretty much all Big Ten schools are in play. I think Michigan is only two or two and a half hours."
At this point, Barajas has been hearing from mostly Big Ten schools, which fits his criteria in terms of distance. Josh also broke down the interest he is receiving from schools other than Michigan.
"Indiana pretty much will offer, but they want me to come down before it's official," said Barajas. "I haven't been down to Purdue, so I can't base it off of anything. Illinois was a great visit and it had exactly what I was looking for. The coaches were down to Earth and they established the law there, so it was a good visit. I still have yet to go to Michigan."
One school that Barajas has shown considerable interest in is Michigan State. The Spartans' menacing defense carried Michigan State to a 13-1 season in 2013 and Barajas certainly took notice. Even with those schools in the mix, Barajas is looking forward to visiting Michigan and spoke on the possibility of an early commitment to the Wolverines.
"I'm not throwing it out the window," said Barajas. "You never know. If I'm really impressed, then why not."